How Much Are Koi Fish Worth?

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Feeding koi fish in pond

If you’re a homeowner planning to renovate your backyard, you might be considering investing in a koi pond. While koi ponds provide a great way to beautify your yard with unique color and style, the fish themselves can be a more expensive investment than many realize.

So how much are koi fish and their ponds worth? Below, we’ll look at the average high and low-end costs for koi fish and the equipment you need to keep koi fish happy and healthy.

Average Costs of Koi Fish

For some, koi fish represent colorful pets that you can bring home to make your pond and home life more exciting. But for others, koi fish become investments and status symbols that boost a property’s value and elegance. And that difference in mindsets creates a dramatic variance in how much koi fish cost.

Some koi breeders sell baby fish for as little as $2.50 per koi and about $3.50 for a fully-grown koi. On the other hand, high-quality koi typically sell for around $17,000 per fish. And the most expensive koi ever sold fetched a price worth nearly $2 million!

While most koi fish cost between $10 and $20, you will encounter breeders on both ends of the price spectrum that set their prices based on dozens of factors.

What Determines a Koi Fish’s Value?

Several criteria separate the $2 koi fish from the $2 million one, including their length and body structure, color, and genetics.

Pond Quality vs. Show Quality

“Pond quality” and “show quality” refer to terms often used by koi fish enthusiasts to describe a fish’s attractiveness.

Show-quality koi fish shoppers look for fish with perfectly symmetrical bodies with no visible irregularities and bright white with patches of an equally bright primary color like red or blue. Enthusiasts consider these fish as “ready for show,” and they are more expensive as a result.

On the other hand, pond-quality koi typically have dull or common colors, visible deformities or undesirable body shapes, and not enough visual flair to leave the pond and enter a show.

Type of Koi

Shoppers can find hundreds of koi varieties native to different countries, and some become more sought-after than others. Not necessarily because of the breed itself but more for the traits certain types of koi are likely to develop.

Showa koi fish remain some of the most expensive koi breeds, mainly because they often develop the bright skin, color patches, and body shape that show-quality koi shoppers look for in koi. 


Show-quality koi shoppers prioritize larger fish between 10 and 15 inches over shorter ones. Even if two fish look identical and are the same breed but have a seven-inch length difference, the longer one can cost as much as $200 more.

Some koi fish breeds can grow as long as 36 inches, and those extra-long fish typically cost even more. For example, a 34-inch Showa koi with all the generally desirable features typically costs $17,000, compared to $350-$400 for a 10-inch Showa.

How Much Are Koi Fish in the United States?

United States-bred koi fish typically don’t cost as much as those bred in Japan. But while you can save money beyond import costs by shopping for koi within the country, you won’t find as many show-quality fish.

One of the most expensive United States koi fish on the market is a 15-inch Doitsu Kujaku that costs roughly $700.

How Much Are Koi Fish in Japan?

The best breeds of Japanese koi fish remain the most desirable and expensive on the market. For example, Japanese koi breeders have extra-long Showa fish nearly 30 inches long, costing around $8,500.

Additional Koi Fish Costs

So, again, how much are koi fish worth?

Koi fish costs depend mainly on their size, colors and patterns, and shape. And if you’re okay with a pond-quality koi (which 99% of people are), you can build a koi pond while saving thousands of dollars.

However, building a pond sustainable for fish requires some planning and pond equipment that can be more of an investment than some want, even if they want the more affordable koi fish.

Koi Pond

Koi pond with koi fish

Before shopping for koi fish, you need to ensure you have a high-quality pond they can call home.

Koi fish need a pond of at least 6×8 feet to live comfortably, and they require even more space if you purchase multiple koi or long-breed fish. A small, barebones pond costs roughly $10,000 at most outdoor renovators. Our team at Backyard Depot Ponds and Landscaping provides custom-built, expertly crafted luxury ponds at similar prices.

Fish Food

One benefit of having a koi pond is that the fish eat insects and algae, so they’ll help keep your water feature clean from everyday wear and tear. And if you want to feed them every day, you can! Fish food is not a requirement but does add to the fun of having a water feature in your home.

Cleaning Equipment

You need to keep your pond water as clean as possible to ensure your koi don’t develop fish diseases, which requires much more effort than hoping they eat every ounce of algae they see.

Most koi pond companies have a pond maintenance program that helps to keep your pond clean and fish happy/healthy.

Pond Heaters & De-Icers

If you have an outdoor koi pond, you’ll need to purchase a de-icer to keep the water livable for your fish. Pond de-icers typically cost anywhere from $150 – $300.

Call Backyard Depot Ponds and Landscaping Today for Your Dream Koi Pond

Koi fish swimming in pond

Koi fish can cost anywhere from a couple of bucks to thousands of dollars. If you’re looking to turn your backyard into a koi pond oasis, be sure to think about the costs associated with building the pond as well!

At Backyard Depot Ponds and Landscaping, we believe wholeheartedly in transparency in everything that we do. This is why we’re so open to talking about what everything related to ponds costs! So whether you want a brand new koi pond or need renovations on an old one, you won’t find a team better than ours.

Fill out our contact form today to get started on your next koi pond project!