There is a huge range of different types of koi carp, available in an almost limitless variety of colors! There are 22 main recognized varieties of koi upon which hybrid strains and variations are based, and new varieties are being developed all the time.
In this article, we will introduce you to the 22 main varieties of ornamental koi carp.
The 22 Main Types of Koi Carp
Kohaku, meaning “red and white,” the first ornamental Koi variety to be developed.
Taisho Sanke, which is similar to the Kohaku, but also has small black markings.
Showa Sanke, a black Koi with red and white markings.
Tancho, a Koi variety with a single red patch on the head.
Chagoi, meaning “color of tea,” which can range from olive color to brown, bronze or copper. This variety is considered to be one of the friendliest Koi varieties.
Asagi Koi has a light blue color on the top, with red on the bottom half, or sometimes cream or yellow.
Utsurimono Koi are mainly black, with red, yellow or white markings in a zebra pattern.
Bekko Koi are white, red or yellow, with black tortoiseshell markings.
Goshiki is dark colored with a red pattern, similar to the Asagi.
Shusui Koi have one large line of mirror scales, with a greenish coloration and sometimes, points of color on the cheeks and lateral line.
Kinginrin Koi have a glittering, metallic appearance, and are often golden or silver in appearance.
Kawarimono is the term used to describe Koi that do not easily fit into any other specific category of Koi.
Ogon is a Koi that is metallic in color, and only one shade.
Kumonryu, which translates as “nine tattooed dragons,” is black with a curling white pattern. They are apt to change color with the changing seasons!
Ochiba is a light grey or blue Koi, with a brown, yellow or copper pattern.
Koromo is white, with blue or black-edged scales.
Hikari-moyomono is a Koi that consists of two different metallic colors, or that has colored markings over a metallic base color.
Kikokuryu means “sparkle,” and is the metallic version of the Kumonryu.
Kin-Kikokuryu means “gold sparkle black dragon,” and is a developed version of the Kumonryu pattern, with at least six different possible variations.
Ghost Koi are actually a hybrid fish, of wild metallic-scaled carp and Ogon Koi. There is some debate among Koi keepers as to whether or not this fish constitutes a true Koi carp.
Butterfly Koi is another hybrid, of the Koi and the Asian carp. It has very long, flowing fins and again, is not always considered to be a true Koi carp.
Doitsu-goi is a cross-bred fish that is a variation of the standard Doitsu pattern, available in various different strains.
New koi varieties are being developed all the time, both by professional breeders, and enthusiastic hobbyists! However, all koi strains are considered to be based on one or more of the 22 main categories listed above. For more detail on these varieties, see the Wikipedia article on koi carp.