The difference between koi and goldfish | Living the Country Life

The difference between koi and goldfish

Recognize the differences between the two and how to care for them

Radio interview source: Robyn Rhudy, fish expert,




Listen to the radio story here

Size and cost

People who have fish in their backyard water gardens will argue over whether koi -- a species of carp -- or goldfish are hardier and easier to care for. A lot depends on your situation and the habitat you provide. If you want a water garden with fish and plants, keep in mind that koi can knock the plants around, uproot them and even eat them. Goldfish won't disturb the plants, and will enjoy darting around them.

Fish expert Robyn Rhudy raises koi and goldfish and says the major differences between the two are size and cost.

"Because koi grow so much larger, you really need a large pond for koi," Rhudy says. "So you would choose goldfish over koi if you had a pond that was under 1,000 gallons. And then also the cost factor because koi normally cost a lot more than goldfish."

The majority of koi sell for $10 to $50, but exotic fish with elaborate patterns and colors can cost hundreds, even thousands of dollars.

Goldfish are probably better suited to the average water gardener new to the hobby and who doesn't want to spend a lot of time or money. However, choosing goldfish doesn't mean you can't have pretty fish. You might be surprised at the assortment of markings and colors available.

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