A Complete Guide to Koi Fish Colors and Their Meaning

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Colorful koi fish in pond

Koi ponds rate highly as popular backyard investments for their tranquility, unique appearance, and the appeal of having colorful fish living in your front or backyard.

But those who aren’t koi enthusiasts might not know that hundreds of types of koi fish exist, each with distinct colors and patterns. And even those who do love koi likely don’t know each of the different common colors has a unique symbolic meaning.

So here, we’ll look at a few common types of koi fish and koi fish colors and what they mean so that you can build a koi pond with as much symbolic significance as visual appeal. The price tag on some of these koi fish can get really expensive too!

While there are many options of koi fish you can have, they need a healthy pond environment to live in if they’re going to thrive. The different types of koi ponds can also be unique to your individual style.


Kohaku koi

Kohaku koi are the most common koi breed and the first thing people think of when they envision koi fish.

Kohaku koi typically have white bodies with red or orange patches. Those colors together symbolize success in the owner’s career field. And if you have a Kohaku koi with the color red around its mouth, it represents success at work and in romance.


Showa koi

Showa koi typically have three distinct colors, but most of them are black-bodied fish with bright red and snow-white patches. Black koi represent determination and fatherly strength.

You can tell Showa koi apart from similarly colored koi varieties by the black spots on or near their heads.


Asagi koi

Asagi koi have a unique pair of dominant colors that help them stand apart from other koi fish breeds. They have a silver body, which symbolizes financial prosperity, and red patches around their head and fins, representing strength and motherly care.

The silver spots on Asagi koi have a distinct, mesh-like scale pattern that sometimes has a blue tint.

Taisho Sanke

Taisho Sanke koi

Taisho Sanke koi are similar to Showa in that they have red, black, and white as their three dominant colors. The significant difference between them is that Taisho Sanke koi have white bodies while Showa koi have black bodies.

Unlike Showa koi, the Taisha Sanke koi don’t have black marks around their heads, only on their backs and fins.


Utsuri koi fish

Utsuri koi fish come in three different types: Hi Utsuri, Ki Utsuri, and Shiro Utsuri. Hi means red, Ki means yellow, and Shiroji means white, so each of the three Utsuri variants has a name based on its distinct color.

All Utsuri koi have black bodies, but their radiant colored patches symbolize financial growth.


White body koi fish with black and red markings

Bekko koi are typically white-bodied fish with black patterning, but some have red or yellow bodies with black marks. Their common colors appear identical to Utsuri koi, but Bekko koi always have black markings and varying body colors. In contrast, Utsuri koi consistently have black bodies and changing red, white, and yellow marks.

“Bekko” translates literally to tortoiseshell in English, and Bekko koi symbolizes finding true love.


Shusui koi fish are similar to Asagi but lack the distinct silver body and scales most Asagi koi have. They still have a scaled back, but it’s a thin, single row of scales rather than Asagi’s mesh pattern.

Shusui koi are white-bodied fish with patches of red and spots of black. Like Kohaku koi, their white and red color scheme makes them a symbol of career growth.

Other Koi Fish Colors

Gold koi

The most common koi fish colors include black, white, and red, with a handful of other koi breeds sporting silver and yellow bodies. However, you can also find a few less-common koi fish colors with powerful symbolic meanings.


Pink koi fish traditionally symbolize youthful femininity. They commonly appear in koi ponds of parents looking to bring good fortune to their daughters.


Koi fish with blue markings traditionally symbolize inner peace and comfort. However, some people also interpret particularly vibrant shades of blue with childhood.


Like silver-bodied koi, those gold marks symbolize financial prosperity. People who find gold koi fish take them to mean that an influx of cash is on the horizon.

Other Symbolic Meanings of Koi Fish

Koi fish in backyard pond

The different common koi fish colors all have different symbolic meanings. However, koi fish also share spiritual meanings regardless of color, making them and koi ponds popular additions to homes.


As we mentioned earlier and examined above, people can choose their favorites from hundreds of different koi fish with distinct colors and patterns. And that variety has made them a symbol of uniqueness.

Koi fish express themselves through their color schemes, and so those who embrace koi fish also express their individuality and unique expression.


Koi fish never stop fighting, regardless of the obstacles in front of them. Known for swimming against currents with ease and even being able to swim through waterfalls, they have become symbols of persistence over the years.


A few koi fish colors symbolize financial fortune, but koi fish as a whole also represent personal fortune and positive outcomes. Many Asian cultures teach that koi fish will bless you with good energy and happiness if you see and touch them.

Because of those symbols, many people install koi ponds. But raising your own koi fish isn’t necessary for luck, according to cultural significance. As long as you see and physically connect with a koi fish, you’ll receive positive energy.


Koi fish are common targets for hungry birds and other predators, but because of their perseverance against those threats, they developed a reputation as a symbol of courage.

Keep Your Koi Pond Healthy With Backyard Depot Ponds and Landscaping

Finding the right koi fish is challenging, especially when you want koi fish colors that match the energy you seek for your outdoor area. But after committing to a selection of koi fish, you can count on Backyard Depot Ponds and Landscaping to keep their pond healthy and livable.

Our expert maintenance and repair team will rid your koi pond of dead leaves and contaminants like algae and murky water so that it looks and feels like the peaceful home your koi fish deserve.

Contact Backyard Depot Ponds and Landscaping through our contact form to get a quote.