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Complete Guide to Ghost Koi (What Are They?)

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Ghost koi in pond

Koi come in an incredibly diverse array of patterns and colors. These stunning ornamental fish are prized all around the globe for their peaceful nature, making them perfect additions to garden ponds. With an unmatched value by international standards, koi breeds are some of the most unbelievably costly pets that money can buy . They are true collector’s items, with owners of rare breeds being the envy of seasoned fish enthusiasts.

Considering the historical value given to well-defined patterns and depth of coloration, one might wonder if new, non-Japanese varieties can stand to gain popularity and be sought out in today’s marketplace. Although the Japanese are sticklers for just a handful of critically judged breeds, Western breeders have begun to experiment with hybridizing more strains and creating wholly new varieties. The butterfly koi, a long-finned koi that has sparked controversy, is a variety that has come from this endeavor.

Another modern product of koi hybridization in the West is the ghost koi. This fish doesn’t have its own Japanese name, unlike the breeds that have been selectively bred in the East for centuries. Perception of the value and beauty of ghost koi is largely subjective. Some koi purists and experts consider the hybrid a misfit – practically sacrilegious to have in their ponds – and are reluctant to accept it as an official variety! Others find them just as rewarding to care for and as beautiful as the traditional breeds.

Ghost Koi – A Western Hybrid

Golden ghost koi in pond

Fondly called “ghosties”, ghost koi are a hybrid between Ogon koi and mirror carp. For this reason, many breeders may not consider them true koi despite their being classified as the same species ( Cyprinus carpio ). They are less domesticated compared to Japanese breeds because mirror carp are a wild mutation of the common carp. Regardless, many fish lovers have grown fond of ghosties due to their interesting patterns and metallic coloration.

The first ghost koi hybrid was created in the 1980s by a British farmer. The wild-sourced mirror carp was dark-colored, resulting in offspring that had the metallic sheen of Ogon koi and uneven black coloration. The exact appearance of the first offspring is unknown, but the resulting strains that arose from subsequent breeding have lighter colored, metallic heads and pectoral fins. The shine from these can be quite exceptional under the moonlight.

The darker markings are instrumental in creating the illusion of these seemingly disappearing “ghost” fish. After subsequent generations, selective breeding has allowed for the production of more strains of ghost koi. There are now varieties with other colors, but the beautiful metallic sheen is maintained. The colors tend to develop and become more vivid, with proper care, as the koi ages.

Some koi retailers and pet shops may refer to evenly white koi or carp as ghost carp just because of their color. These aren’t identical to the variety discussed here. Note that if they are wholly solid-colored and metallic, with distinctly unblemished bodies, the fish may be a Purachina or Platinum Ogon . One of the two primary types of Ogon koi is the parent variety for white ghost koi.  This and more are discussed below.

Ghost Koi Varieties & How to Identify Them 

1) white ghost koi.

carpe koi ghost 1012 cm

These come in the traditional koi shape and are also available in the butterfly-finned variety. A hybrid between Purachina Ogon and mirror carp, the white ghost koi has pearly white scales with black markings along its sides and back. The dorsal space in between the eyes is usually free of color. Pectoral fins may or may not have markings.

As this is a fairly new variety, strict specifications on color distribution and pattern requirements are not yet in place. The metallic scales on the head and fins may be silvery in color. There are some specimens that may appear to have the patterns that would typically be seen on an x-ray, except the colors are reversed as the general body tone is white. They look slightly similar to the Japanese Gin Matsuba variety.

2) Yellow ghost koi

carpe koi ghost 1012 cm

This variety looks much like its white counterpart, except its base color is a muted greyish or golden yellow. It is a hybrid between Yamabuki Ogon, which is distinguished by its solid yellow color, and mirror carp.

Scales along the sides and the back tend to be light to dark grey and can look like smudged charcoal. Some specimens may have white-colored scales as well. The pectoral fins may have a gradient of all colors, with rays being distinctly marked. These colors can begin to appear in juvenile koi and tend to be conserved throughout the duration of their lives. Of the highly valued Japanese varieties, yellow ghost koi looks most similar to Ki Matsuba .

3) Butterfly ghost koi

carpe koi ghost 1012 cm

Both yellow and white ghost koi can fall under this category if they have elongated fins. Among the varieties, this one takes the cake for being supported by a niche market. Overzealous koi owners dislike the separate varieties of ghost koi and butterfly koi to begin with, so a combination of the traits would be all the more frowned upon.

Due to the controversies associated with these separate breeds, hybrids between them are likely to be housed in personal ponds and would seldom be seen in competitions or koi conferences.  Nonetheless, those with a general love for ornamental fish would gush at the beauty and gracefulness of butterfly ghost koi .

Keeping Ghost Koi – Health, Growth & Diet

1) water quality.

Ghost koi are able to thrive in garden ponds that maintain high-quality standards for Japanese koi and goldfish. Ideally, the pH should be kept fairly neutral to prevent the fish from developing eye, gill, and skin diseases. Markedly alkaline water may also cause the conversion of waste and elemental compounds into toxic substances. Regularly check the water pH and conduct frequent water changes to maintain optimal levels.

To fully appreciate ghost koi, it would be best to keep the water crystal clear. The fish’s grey coloration and metallic scales would invariably be less appreciated in murky or plankton-rich water. Dissolved oxygen levels should also be maintained at a minimum of 6 – 7 ppm at all times. Apart from keeping the fish calm and comfortable, this would help prevent the buildup of toxic materials.

If you struggle to maintain the water quality of an outdoor pond or are just starting out and getting the hang of pond maintenance, ghost koi are actually a fantastic ornamental fish to start with. Due to their wild heritage, they are more likely to tolerate suboptimal conditions and are generally more resistant to diseases (but may be prone to koi herpesvirus ). Moreover, ghost koi have something called ‘hybrid vigor’, which is often seen in mixed breeds that tend to be sturdier and less prone to illness than their purebred ancestors.

2) Temperature

As carp are coldwater fish, it follows that ghost koi are able to tolerate seasonal changes in temperature. The key is to ensure your pond’s depth is at least 3 feet as the koi will simply move toward the pond bottom if ambient temperatures are too cold for them. They should be able to survive outdoors given this depth, even if the surface freezes over. Floating and marginal vegetation should help keep the water cool during summer.

If kept in a tank, the ideal water temperatures for ghost koi range from 18 – 24˚C (64 – 75˚F). Their metabolic capacities are highest at this range. Ghost koi are known for being hardy, so they are more likely to withstand considerable changes in temperature (as opposed to true Nishikigoi). Nonetheless, maintenance of optimal parameters should substantially increase their lifespans.

Ghost koi are poikilothermic, just like their predecessors. This means that their metabolic demands change according to water temperature. In spring and summer, their metabolism peaks, and they are able to consume and convert high-protein fish feeds and natural food types into more body mass. As temperatures drop, they are less likely to metabolize proteins and may prefer carbohydrate (wheat-germ) rich feeds. Once water temperatures dip to below 5˚C (41˚F), you should withhold feeding completely.

Ghost koi are omnivorous and may, on occasion, consume pond plants, wild tadpoles, smaller fish, and insect larvae. If they receive ample fish feeds at the right frequency , however, they are less likely to do so. One of the appealing things about koi is they can be interacted with through hand-feeding. Ghost koi are just as likely to take treats from a human hand as fully domesticated varieties.

4) Lifespan and growth rate

When properly cared for, ghost koi live for 20+ years on average. This is typical of many types of carp as they are generally long-lived fish. Ghosties can grow to a considerable length of about 30 inches (76 cm) and more. This variety’s maturation and physical growth rate are similar to that of Japanese koi. They tend to grow larger than cheap, domesticated koi varieties (many of which are the types sold by general pet shops) due to their ancestry.

5) Behavior

Many koi owners share the same apprehensions about ghosties being similar to the more aggressive common carp . Despite their wild heritage, ghost koi are not prone to being aggressive around Japanese koi or other ornamental pond fish. In fact, they are remarkably friendly and peaceful.

Those that are sold in the market are more likely to have been bred using more established ghost koi strains, and not with an authentic Ogon and wild-caught parent. Keep in mind that around 40 years have passed since the first generations were bred, so the ghost koi of today tend to be identical, in terms of behavior, with true Nishikigoi.

While there is hearsay of ghost koi having the tendency to become bullies in ponds, instances of aggression would rarely have anything to do with their heritage. Fish aggression can go well beyond genetics. If you do find that your ghost koi (or any type of koi for that matter) seem to be acting out in an odd way, it’s possible that your pond is too crowded or the water conditions are imbalanced. Keeping a low-density, highly oxygenated pond with compatible fish is extremely important for koi comfort and normal growth.

How to Breed Ghost Koi

Ghost koi are intra-specific hybrids (both parents are varieties of the same species), so they can be bred to produce fertile offspring. Interestingly, these fish are so robust and vigorous that they can rapidly become “invasive” in a small pond. It’s likely that they may also interbreed with other koi varieties. If you would like to prevent this from occurring, you may need to separate males from sexually reproductive females during their gravid period (usually May to June).

In contrast, if you’d like to breed ghost koi, you’ll need to install or create safe areas in the pond for the female to lay her eggs. Floating and submerged vegetation are usually ideal for this. The eggs can be collected after fertilization, which occurs soon after the male koi releases his sperm into the water column. Move the eggs into a small, tightly controlled tank setup that is dedicated to rearing the fingerlings. For more in-depth instructions, browse through our articles on koi “pregnancy” and caring for their young .

Market Value of Ghost Koi & Where to Buy Them

Ghost koi underwater

Because ghost koi are hybrids and are not officially recognized as a legitimate koi breed, they tend to be much cheaper than true Nishikigoi. They are not raised in traditional aquaculture facilities that have specialized in breeding specific, high-value koi strains for dozens of years. Their price usually depends on the conditions in which they were bred, their size and sex, and the visual impact of their colors and patterns.

In the UK, where this variety originates, young ghost koi can go for anywhere between £3 – £20 , on average. On the high end, beautifully metallic and large, sexually mature individuals can go for as much as £130. Unlike Japanese koi, their prices seldom go beyond this range.

Ghost koi can be purchased from fish shops, garden centers, and aquascaping stores in the UK. They are not as commonly carried in the US and are not actively traded in the Far East. Online-based retailers that specialize in purebred koi are unlikely to carry them. You may come across individual ghost koi for sale on retail portals like eBay or Amazon, as small-time breeders are more likely to list them there. If you intend to import this variety, make sure to double-check for legal requirements and restrictions in your area.

Chris G

Pond consultant and long-time hobbyist who enjoys writing in his spare time and sharing knowledge with other passionate pond owners. Experienced with pond installation, fish stocking, water quality testing, algae control and the troubleshooting of day-to-day pond related problems.

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Backyard Pond Ideas and Supplies

Ghost Koi Guide: Essential Care Tips, Feeding Habits & More!

Ghost koi are a special variety of koi fish . While they are hardy and can tolerate a range of conditions, it’s essential to provide them with optimal care to ensure their health and longevity. Proper pond maintenance, a balanced diet, and regular health checks will ensure that your Ghost Koi thrive.

In this guide, we will cover everything from their appearance and size potential to their feeding habits and ideal habitat. You’ll learn about their distinct characteristics that set them apart from other koi breeds. We’ll also provide you with valuable care tips, including optimal water conditions, recommended tank or pond setup, and the best practices for feeding ghost koi.

Ready to become a ghost koi pro? Keep reading to discover everything you need to know about ghost koi – their appearance, traits, and more. We’ll guide you through their care requirements, feeding habits, and creating the perfect habitat for them. So, grab your notebook and get ready to become an expert in ghost koi care. Let’s dive in!

carpe koi ghost 1012 cm

Characteristics of ghost koi

Ghost Koi, often referred to as “Ghost Carp,” are a hybrid variety of koi. They are the result of breeding a wild, metallic-scaled carp with a traditional koi. This breeding gives them their unique appearance, which combines the solid metallic body of the wild carp with the patterns and shapes of traditional koi.

Originating in the UK in the 1980s, Ghost Koi quickly gained popularity due to their hardiness and distinctive appearance. They are not considered “true koi” by purists because of their hybrid nature, but their resilience and beauty have earned them a special place in many ponds and aquariums worldwide.

Ghost koi are known for their unique and captivating appearance. Their translucent scales make them appear ghostly, hence their name. These beautiful fish have a mesmerizing mix of colors, including shades of silver, white, yellow, and black. Their scales create a stunning reflective effect, making them a popular choice among pond owners.

When it comes to growth rate and size potential, ghost koi are impressive. These fish have been known to grow up to 36 inches in length, making them one of the larger varieties of koi. Their fast growth rate sets them apart from other koi breeds, so you can expect to enjoy watching them reach their full potential in a relatively short amount of time.

Ghost koi also come in a variety of color variations and patterns, which adds even more excitement to their overall aesthetic. Some may have black patches on their bodies, while others may exhibit a metallic sheen or unique patterns like patches or spots. Each fish is truly one-of-a-kind, making them a joy to observe and appreciate.

In addition to their captivating appearance, ghost koi possess some unique traits compared to other koi breeds. One such trait is their ability to blend well with their environment. Their translucent scales and muted colors allow them to easily camouflage in their surroundings, making them less vulnerable to predators. This adaptability also makes them a suitable choice for ponds with various types of aquatic vegetation.

Table 1: Overview of Ghost Koi

Temperament and Behavior

Ghost Koi are known for their hardy nature and adaptability. They are generally peaceful fish, making them suitable for communal ponds with other koi varieties and pond-friendly fish. However, like all koi, they can be territorial during breeding seasons.

Ghost Koi are also known to be more skittish than other koi varieties, likely due to their wild carp ancestry. It’s not uncommon for them to dart away when approached or when there’s a sudden movement outside the pond. That said, over time and with regular interaction and feeding, they can become more accustomed to their owners and may even come to the surface to greet them.

Distinctive Features Setting Them Apart

The most distinguishing feature of the Ghost Koi from other koi varieties (like shusui and agasi koi , for example) is its shimmering, metallic scales. These scales often reflect light, giving the fish a ghostly, ethereal appearance, which is how they got their name. Their bodies are typically silver or gold, with patterns that can range from a solid color to ones with patches of darker colors, often resembling the patterns found on traditional koi. The combination of their metallic sheen with these patterns makes each Ghost Koi unique.

carpe koi ghost 1012 cm

Their bodies are also more streamlined compared to the bulkier bodies of traditional koi, another trait they inherit from their wild carp ancestors.

Table 2: Care and Maintenance of Ghost Koi

Care tips for ghost koi

Giving your ghost koi the right water conditions is crucial for their overall health and well-being. These fish prefer clean and well-oxygenated water. Keeping the water in their habitat clear and free from pollutants is essential.

Additionally, maintaining a well-balanced pH level is important to ensure their proper growth and development.

Temperature requirements

Ghost koi are most comfortable in water temperatures between 68 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit. Sudden and extreme temperature fluctuations can stress them out and make them more susceptible to diseases. It’s important to use a reliable thermometer and regularly monitor the water temperature. Installing a heater can help regulate the temperature during colder months or in climates where the water may become too cold.

Water quality maintenance

Regular water quality maintenance is essential for the health of your ghost koi. Be sure to regularly test the water for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH levels. High levels of ammonia or nitrite can be harmful to your fish and lead to illness or even death. Conducting regular water changes and using filtration equipment can help maintain optimal water quality for your ghost koi.

Filtration systems and equipment

Investing in a good filtration system is crucial for maintaining a healthy environment for your ghost koi. A high-quality filter can help remove debris, excess fish waste, and harmful chemicals from the water. There are various types of filtration systems available, such as biological filters, mechanical filters, and UV sterilizers. Choose a system that best suits your specific needs and the size of your koi habitat.

Importance of regular water testing

Regularly testing the water parameters is essential for keeping your ghost koi healthy. Testing kits are readily available and easy to use. Monitoring parameters such as ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH levels can help you detect any issues early on and take appropriate actions to prevent illnesses or fish stress. It’s recommended to test the water weekly or bi-weekly to ensure optimal conditions.

Suitable tank or pond size

When it comes to providing ample space for your ghost koi, bigger is always better. These fish can grow quite large, so it’s important to provide a spacious environment for them to thrive. The size of your tank or pond will depend on the number of koi you plan to keep. As a general guideline, each koi should have a minimum of 250 gallons of water. However, if you can provide more space, your ghost koi will be happier and healthier (especially since ghost koi can grow to be quite large at up to 24 inches of more).

Recommended tank or pond setup

Creating a suitable tank or pond setup is crucial for the well-being of your ghost koi. Make sure the tank or pond is properly cleaned and prepared before introducing your fish. Provide hiding spots and places for your koi to explore, such as caves or structures. Lush vegetation and floating plants can also provide shelter and contribute to water quality by absorbing excess nutrients. Additionally, ensure that there is adequate aeration and circulation in the water to maintain oxygen levels and overall water quality.

Best practices for feeding ghost koi

Ghost koi have specific dietary needs to ensure their health and vitality. They require a well-balanced diet that consists of both protein and plant matter. This combination provides the necessary nutrients to support their growth and overall well-being. It is essential to provide a mixture of both animal-based and plant-based foods.

A woman feeding Koi fish in a pond.

When it comes to feeding your ghost koi, there are various options to choose from. High-quality koi pellets are a popular and convenient choice. These pellets are specially formulated to meet the nutritional requirements of koi fish. Additionally, you can supplement their diet with live or frozen foods such as brine shrimp, bloodworms, daphnia, and chopped earthworms (or even make your own homemade koi food !). These protein-rich foods provide a nice treat and help promote natural foraging behaviors.

Another option is to incorporate fresh fruits and vegetables into their diet. Sliced peas, lettuce, watermelon, and oranges are tasty treats that can provide additional vitamins and minerals. Just be sure to cut them into appropriate sizes for easy consumption.

Feeding frequency and portion sizes

Feeding your ghost koi the right amount is crucial for their health. It is recommended to feed them small portions multiple times a day rather than one large meal. This approach mimics their natural feeding habits and prevents overeating, which can lead to health problems.

A general guideline is to feed your ghost koi enough food that they can consume within 5 minutes. If there is excess food after this time, it is a sign that you have overfed them. Adjust the portion sizes accordingly to avoid waste and maintain water quality.

Remember that overfeeding can have negative consequences for your ghost koi, including poor water quality, obesity, and digestive issues. It is crucial to resist the temptation to overfeed them, even if they appear eager for more food.

On the other hand, underfeeding can lead to malnutrition and stunted growth. It is important to find the right balance and provide enough food to sustain their energy and growth requirements without overdoing it.

Supplemental feeding options

In addition to their regular diet, you can introduce supplemental feeding options to enhance their nutrition and overall health. Vitamin-rich foods like spirulina, wheat germ, and kelp flakes can provide added benefits and support immune function.

However, it is important to use these supplemental foods in moderation and not rely on them as the sole source of nutrition. They should complement a well-rounded diet rather than replace it entirely.

Monitoring and adjusting feeding habits

Be observant of your ghost koi’s behavior and adjust their feeding habits accordingly. If you notice that they are constantly begging for food or exhibiting lethargy, it may be a sign of overfeeding or inadequate nutrition. Similarly, if they are not showing interest in food or appear thin, it may indicate underfeeding.

Regular monitoring of their weight, appearance, and activity levels can help you fine-tune their feeding routine. Remember, every fish is unique, and it may take some trial and error to find the perfect balance for your ghost koi’s dietary needs.

Creating the ideal habitat for ghost koi

When it comes to creating the ideal habitat for your ghost koi, location is key. You’ll want to choose a spot that offers some shade throughout the day, as direct sunlight can overheat the water and stress out your fish. Look for an area that has a good balance of sun and shade, or consider using aquatic plants or structures to provide some cover.

carpe koi ghost 1012 cm

Ideal water depth and dimensions

Ghost koi thrive in ponds or tanks that are at least three to four feet deep. This allows them enough space to swim freely and also provides a buffer against extreme temperature fluctuations.

Remember, too, that deeper ponds can provide more stable temperatures, especially in areas with extreme seasonal temperature fluctuations.

In terms of dimensions, a larger pond or tank is always better, as it gives your fish more room to explore and reduces the risk of overcrowding. Aim for a minimum of 1,000 gallons for each ghost koi in your setup.

Considerations for outdoor or indoor setups

When deciding whether to keep your ghost koi in an outdoor pond or an indoor tank, there are a few things to consider.

Outdoor setups provide a more natural environment with access to sunlight and a wide range of plants and organisms. However, they are also exposed to the elements, which means you’ll need to provide adequate filtration and be prepared for seasonal changes. They can also attract predators like birds or raccoons, so some form of protection (like netting) might be necessary.

Indoor setups, on the other hand, offer more control over the environment but may require additional heating or lighting systems.

Optimal pond landscaping and hiding spots

Ghost koi appreciate a well-designed pond that mimics their natural habitat. Incorporating various landscaping elements, such as rocks, gravel, and aquatic plants, can create hiding spots and provide a sense of security for your fish. These elements also contribute to the overall aesthetics of your pond, making it a more visually appealing feature in your garden.

Lush vegetation options for natural filtration

One of the keys to maintaining good water quality in your ghost koi habitat is natural filtration. Lush vegetation, such as water lilies, water hyacinths, and hornwort, can help absorb excess nutrients and provide oxygen to the water. These plants not only add beauty to your pond but also play a crucial role in maintaining a healthy and balanced ecosystem for your fish.

Additional design elements for a comfortable environment

In addition to landscaping and vegetation, there are other design elements you can incorporate to make your ghost koi’s habitat more comfortable. Consider adding a waterfall or fountain feature to provide aeration and create a soothing environment. The sound of running water can also help mask any external noises and reduce stress for your fish. Don’t forget to include suitable lighting options for both day and night, as koi appreciate a natural day-night cycle.

Breeding ghost koi: A comprehensive guide

To successfully breed ghost koi, you need to ensure certain prerequisites are met. First and foremost, you’ll need a healthy male and female pair of ghost koi that are at least two or three years old. This is because younger koi may not be sexually mature or ready for breeding.

Ghost koi, like other koi breeds, are egg-layers . The female ghost koi will release eggs into the water, which the male will then fertilize with his milt. It’s important to note that koi breeding can be a complex process and may not always be successful, so patience and observation are key.

Selecting compatible breeding pairs

When selecting breeding pairs, it is important to choose koi with compatible genetics, as this will increase the likelihood of successful offspring. Look for koi with similar body shapes and colors, as well as good overall health. You can consult with a reputable koi breeder or pond expert for guidance on selecting compatible breeding pairs.

Breeding setup and tank preparation

Before breeding, you’ll need to prepare a breeding setup. This typically involves setting up a separate breeding tank or pond with appropriate conditions. The tank should have a depth of at least 3 feet to provide the necessary space for the koi to spawn and protect their eggs.

Monitoring and caring for breeding eggs

Once the breeding has taken place, it’s important to monitor the eggs closely. Koi eggs are sticky and will attach to surfaces such as vegetation or rocks. The eggs should be left undisturbed, as the parents will provide some care by fanning water over them to provide oxygen. Regularly check the water quality to ensure optimal conditions for egg development.

Raising and caring for fry (baby koi)

After a few days, the eggs will hatch into fry, which are tiny and vulnerable. At this stage, it’s crucial to provide a suitable environment for their growth. You may need to transfer the fry to a separate rearing tank to protect them from predation by adult koi or other fish. The water temperature should be maintained around 75-80°F, and proper filtration and feeding schedules should be followed to support their growth.

Additional considerations for commercial breeding

If you’re considering commercial breeding of ghost koi, there are additional factors to consider. It’s essential to ensure you have enough space and resources to accommodate a larger number of koi. You may also need to establish a system for identifying and culling weak or undesirable offspring. Consulting with experienced koi breeders or attending workshops can provide valuable insights into the commercial breeding process.

Common ghost koi challenges (and how to overcome them)

Keeping your ghost koi healthy and disease-free is crucial for their overall well-being. Common diseases that can affect these fish include bacterial infections, parasitic infestations , and fungal diseases. These can manifest as visible symptoms such as discolored patches on the skin, fin rot, or abnormal behavior.

koi fish veterinarian inspecting a fish

When you notice any signs of illness, it’s important to act quickly. Quarantine the affected fish to prevent the spread of the disease to others and consult a fish veterinarian or aquatic expert for proper diagnosis.

Dealing with parasites in ghost koi

Parasites can be a pesky problem for ghost koi. Common parasites that may affect them include flukes, anchor worms, and ich. These parasites can cause irritation, rubbing against objects, and even weight loss.

To address parasites, treatment options include medicated baths, dips, or adding appropriate medications to the water. It’s crucial to follow the instructions of the chosen treatment method and closely monitor the fish for any signs of improvement or worsening.

Handling stress and aggressive behavior

Stress and aggression can have a negative impact on the health of your ghost koi. Stress can occur due to factors such as overcrowding, poor water quality, excessive handling, or sudden changes in their environment.

If you notice signs of stress or aggression, such as fish chasing each other or hiding in corners, it’s important to address the underlying cause. Ensure proper water quality, provide ample hiding spots and visual barriers, and avoid overcrowding. Additionally, observe potential aggressors and consider separating or rehoming them if necessary.

Addressing water quality issues

Water quality is crucial for the health and well-being of your ghost koi. Poor water quality can lead to various health problems and even fatalities. Common water quality issues include high levels of ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates, as well as imbalances in pH and water hardness.

To maintain optimal water quality, regular monitoring and testing are essential. Regular water changes, use of appropriate filtration systems, and the addition of beneficial bacteria can help prevent or mitigate water quality issues. Always aim for stable and balanced water parameters that suit the specific needs of ghost koi.

Managing unwanted breeding or overpopulation

If you have a mixed population of male and female ghost koi and do not want them to breed, it’s essential to take preventive measures. Separating males and females into different tanks or ponds can help prevent unwanted breeding. Additionally, removing any spawning materials and closely monitoring the fish for signs of breeding behavior can reduce the chances of accidental reproduction.

If you do encounter an unexpected overpopulation of ghost koi, it may be necessary to consider options such as selling or rehoming some of the fish or expanding their habitat to accommodate the increased numbers. Always ensure that the new owners can provide appropriate care for the fish.

Well, there you have it, my friends – a comprehensive guide on how to care for ghost koi. We’ve covered everything from their unique characteristics to their feeding habits, creating the ideal habitat, breeding, and troubleshooting common challenges. Let’s quickly recap the main points:

  • Ghost koi are a unique variety of koi fish with distinct characteristics, including their appearance, growth rate, color variations, and traits compared to other koi breeds.
  • Proper care for ghost koi involves maintaining optimal water conditions, including temperature, water quality, and regular testing.
  • Feeding ghost koi requires understanding their dietary requirements, portion sizes, and avoiding overfeeding or underfeeding.
  • Creating the ideal habitat involves choosing the right location, pond or tank size, design elements, and vegetation options for natural filtration.
  • Breeding ghost koi requires understanding their reproductive behavior, selecting compatible breeding pairs, and providing suitable tank setup for monitoring and raising fry.
  • Common challenges include disease identification, parasite control, managing stress and water quality issues, and addressing unwanted breeding or overpopulation.

With these key facts in mind, you have the knowledge and tools to provide the best care for ghost koi. So go forth, my fellow pond enthusiasts, and create a haven for these captivating creatures. Remember, a well-cared-for ghost koi will reward you with its beauty and grace for years to come. Happy pond-keeping!

Related Questions

Can ghost koi be kept in a pond with other types of fish.

Yes, ghost koi can usually be kept in ponds with other fish species. However, it’s important to consider the size and temperament of the other fish. Ghost koi have a calm and gentle temperament, so they generally get along well with most pond fish. Just make sure the pond is spacious enough for all the fish to swim and have their own territory.

Can ghost koi live in an indoor aquarium instead of a pond?

While ghost koi are primarily suited for outdoor ponds due to their large size potential, they can also be kept in indoor aquariums if the tank is adequately sized. However, keep in mind that ghost koi require plenty of swimming space. A tank size of at least 100 gallons is recommended for a single ghost koi, and larger tanks should be considered for multiple koi or if you want them to reach their maximum growth potential.

carpe koi ghost 1012 cm

Nick is the heart and soul behind Backyard Pond Ideas with a lifetime of experience caring for ponds and aquatic life. This website is the place where Nick shares his expertise with the world.

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Complete Koi Ich Treatment Guide: Effective Treatment & Tips for Healthier Fish

Complete Koi Ich Treatment Guide: Effective Treatment & Tips for Healthier Fish

Ever noticed tiny white spots dotting your koi, making them look like they’ve been sprinkled with salt? That’s Ich, a pesky parasite that’s more than just a cosmetic issue. Commonly known as ‘white spot disease’, Ich can wreak havoc in freshwater aquariums. This microscopic menace invades the outer layer of fish, causing irritation, gill damage,…

Comforting A Dying Fish – How To Help Your Pet Fish Through Their Final Days

Comforting A Dying Fish – How To Help Your Pet Fish Through Their Final Days

Taking care of the fish in your backyard pond or aquarium is no easy task, but what’s even more difficult is watching them pass away. Fish are pets just like any other and over time they become true members of the family. So it’s natural that many people wonder how to help comfort a dying…

How to Keep Koi from Eating Pond Plants: Effective Strategies and Techniques

How to Keep Koi from Eating Pond Plants: Effective Strategies and Techniques

Koi fish, with their vibrant colors and graceful movements, are a captivating addition to any pond. However, their natural curiosity and appetite can sometimes lead them to nibble on the very plants that enhance the beauty and balance of their aquatic home. While this behavior is instinctual, it can be detrimental to both the aesthetics…

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Your Pet Planet

Ghost Koi: Behavior, Lifespan, Types, and You Queries

silver and red Ghost Koi Fish

A popular ornamental fish, Ghost Koi, called Ghost Carp, is a cross between a wild card and a decorative koi. This fish’s eye-catching and distinctive color, which ranges from silvery white to light yellow with black, grey, or brown blotches, defines it. The Ghost Koi is a resilient and versatile fish that performs well in various aquatic settings, making it a preferred option for backyard aquariums and ponds. Ghost Koi get along well with other fish species, such as Snakeskin Gourami and Ball Python Snakes , as they are calm and gentle. They are the best option for beginning aquarists since they are straightforward to care for and maintain. The Ghost Koi is a stunning and exciting fish that enthrall any fish lover.

Table of Contents

Ghost koi types

This fish breed is new to many people. So, we want our readers to know about many types of ghost koi fish.

White ghost koi

carpe koi ghost 1012 cm

These fishes exist in both the classic koi form and a butterfly-finned version. The white ghost koi, a cross between a Purachina Ogon and a mirror carp, has pearly white scales with black patterns on its sides and back. Usually, there is no color in the dorsal region between the eyes. There may or may not have markings on the pectoral fins.

Being a relatively new variety for many people, they currently needs to be rigorous guidelines for color distribution or pattern requirements. The head and fins’ metallic scales might be silvery. Some specimens may appear to exhibit patterns commonly visible on X-rays, but the color switches around since the body tone is often white.

Yellow ghost koi

carpe koi ghost 1012 cm

Except for its subdued greyish or golden-yellow base color, this variation resembles its white counterpart. It is a cross between the mirror carp and the Yamabuki Ogon, which its solid yellow hue may identify.

Scales on the back and sides might have a smeared charcoal appearance and range in color from light to dark grey. Some specimens could also have white scales. The pectoral fins may have a gradation of all colors with well-defined rays. These hues can start emerging in young Koi and are usually maintained throughout their lives. We can see the most resemblance to Ki Matsuba among the highly prized Japanese species in yellow ghost koi.

Butterfly ghost koi

carpe koi ghost 1012 cm

If they have extended fins, ghost koi in yellow and white colors may fit this description. This particular kind stands out for being backed by a specific market. Overzealous koi owners already despise the ghost and butterfly koi in their forms, so combining the two would be unwelcome.

Hybrids between them are likely to be kept in private ponds because of the controversy surrounding these distinct varieties; they are rarely seen at contests or koi conferences.

However, people with a general appreciation for beautiful fish would be in awe of the elegance and grace of butterfly ghost koi.

Transparent koi fish

carpe koi ghost 1012 cm

Transparent koi fish are fascinating aquatic organisms distinguished by their remarkable transparency. This feature allows their internal organs and skeletal structure to be visible through their translucent bodies. These stunning fish, which exist in various brilliant hues such as red and white, black, and gold, have an ethereal appeal that captivates the spectator.

The vigorous swimming motions of translucent koi fish provide a sense of grace and elegance, making them a popular option in decorative ponds and gardens. With their delicate fins and exquisite patterns, these magnificent animals bring a sense of calm and tranquillity to any aquatic setting. The transparency of their bodies gives them an unearthly aspect, producing an awe-inspiring display as they glide through the water.

Koi ghost carp

carpe koi ghost 1012 cm

A ghost carp is a distinct subspecies of carp, koi, and mirror carp. Its unusual look distinguishes it from other fish, appearing as a phantom moving beneath the water’s surface. Ghost carp have virtually transparent scales that look ethereal and frightening. They are also visible in wild and captive populations and arise spontaneously or through selective breeding. Ghost carp are famous in koi ponds and decorative fish tanks for their beauty, but they need to be regarded as authentic koi carp since they lack the unique markings of koi fish. In the wild, these ethereal-looking fish may grow to great sizes, with some reaching weights of more than 30 pounds. Ghost carp are usually calm and friendly.

Ghost koi care

carpe koi ghost 1012 cm

As we have already mentioned, it is a good part of the house aquarium, it is essential to take care of them, so they can add more beauty to the tank. The first thing we should offer this fish is the water that it requires. At the same time, the second one is to maintain the temperature. Get the details of moisture and temperature in the below passages.

Ghost koi might flourish in garden ponds that uphold excellent standards for Japanese koi and goldfish. The pH should ideally be kept close to neutral to keep the fish’s eyes, gills, and skin healthy. Significantly alkaline water may also result in the toxicity of waste and elemental chemicals. Maintain ideal levels by checking the pH of the water frequently and changing the water continually.

It would be nice if the water remained clear to truly enjoy the ghost koi. The fish’s gray color and silver scales would unavoidably be less noticeable in cloudy or plankton-rich water. Additionally, dispersed oxygen levels should always be kept at a minimum of 6 to 7 ppm.


Carp are cold-water fish. Therefore, ghost koi can withstand seasonal temperature shifts. So, to keep Koi from moving towards the pond bottom if the surrounding temperatures are too low, you must ensure that your pond is at least three feet deep. Given this depth, even if the surface freezes over, they should be able to survive outside. Floating and marginal plants should aid summertime water cooling.

If maintained in a tank, the recommended water temperature for ghost koi is between 18 and 24 C (64 and 75 F). At this range, they are most capable metabolically. Because ghost koi are tough, they are more likely to endure significant temperature fluctuations.

Diet of the koi ghost

Ghost koi are omnivorous fish that occasionally eat plants, smaller fish, insects, and wild tadpoles. They are less likely to do so if they have enough fish food at the proper frequency. Koi are famous because one can handle them by hand-feeding, which is one appealing aspect. Ghost koi are just as prone to accept treats from human hands as types that have been fully tamed. This shows that their metabolic requirements vary depending on the water’s temperature. They may absorb and convert high-protein fish feeds and other natural food sources into higher body mass in the spring and summer when their metabolism is at its best.

Do koi fish eat tadpoles?

Yes, tadpoles are not known to be a treat for the ghost koi fishes.

Do ghost koi eat other fishes?

This question is often asked by different people on different platforms. For them, ghost koi are not predatory animals, so there are no chances for them to eat other fishes. If this happening takes place, it is always very rare.

Koi fish behavior

carpe koi ghost 1012 cm

Concerns about ghosties resembling the more aggressive common carp are widespread among koi owners. Even though they have a tumultuous history, ghost koi don’t often act aggressively against Japanese koi or other beautiful pond fish. They are incredibly tranquil and amiable.

If a ghost koi is offered in the market, it probably develops utilizing more seasoned ghost koi strains rather than an actual ogon and wild-caught parent. Remember that about 40 years have elapsed since the initial generations were bred. Thus, modern ghost koi typically behave in a manner identical to that of genuine Nishikigoi.

The lifespan of this animal

Ghost koi typically survive for 20 years or more under ideal conditions. Since carp are fish that live long, this is true of many species. Ghosties can reach lengths of up to 30 inches (76 cm) . This type’s maturity and physical growth rate are comparable to the Japanese koi. Due to their lineage, they frequently grow bigger than low-cost bred koi species.

Breeding process of this fish

This fish can be crossed to create viable offspring since they are intra-specific hybrids (both parents are species-specific variants of the same species) . Interestingly, these fish are so strong and optimistic that they can quickly establish themselves as “invasive” in a little pond. They could also breed with other types of koi, according to probability. You may need to keep male and female who are sexually active apart throughout the gravid period, typically May to June, to avoid this happening.

If you want to raise ghost koi, you’ll need to build or make secure spaces in the pond where the female may deposit her eggs. Typically, this works best with floating and submerged plants. Soon after the male Koi discharges his sperm into the water column, fertilization occurs, and the eggs may be retrieved. Place the eggs in a tiny, precisely regulated tank arrangement that will be used to raise fingerlings. For more detailed instructions, read our articles on koi “pregnancy” and taking care of their young.

The Ghost Koi is a stunning fish that has captured the attention of people around the world. Ghost Koi are gaining popularity in the aquarium industry because of their distinctive color and size. However, it’s crucial to remember that these fish demand particular care and attention and a sizable, thoroughly-filtered pond with lots of space for them to swim and develop.

It may survive for many years and add delight and beauty to any aquatic setting with the proper care and attention. Do your homework and provide your new underwater companion with the most significant habitat possible if you consider adding a Ghost Koi to your collection.

What kind of habitat a Ghost Koi requires?

It enjoys a large, shaded pond with crystal clear water. They need a precise temperature and an atmosphere with a proper filter and oxygen.

Can you keep Ghost Koi with other fish?

Yes, this specific aquatic organism get along well with other fish of a similar size and temperature. They may eat tadpoles, insect larvae, and smaller fish by them.

What distinguishes Ghost Koi from Nishikigoi?

Nishikigoi and Ghost Koi have the same genetic makeup, although Ghost Koi often have darker body patterns and scales.

What is koi fish lifespan?

If taken care of properly, it can live up to 25 years or more. Ghost koi fish needs balanced food, clean, well-oxygenated water, and regular checking for any symptoms of illness or disease.


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Ghost koi - what the heck is a ghostie.

carpe koi ghost 1012 cm

It seems a Ghostie is a mis-fit or the right-fit Koi, it just depends who you ask. 

So, what are these Ghost Koi I've been hearing more and more about? Well, it seems they have been around since the early 1980s when a British farmer allowed a mirror carp to spawn with a Koi. The offspring from a cross of a metallic Koi and a wild, dark-colored carp are known as Ghost Koi. Notably, the most striking areas of a Ghost Koi are the metallic head and flashy pectoral fins that glimmer in the sunlight and disappear into the depths of a dark pond like a ghost, hence the name. They are considered a hybrid, being a cross within varieties of the species Cyprinus carpio creating feritle offspring. 

Koi purists tend to relate to them as mis-fits that should have been culled and do not find value in them. Garden pond owners relate to them as being vigorous, hardy, tame, rewarding to view, and more affordable. A novice or beginning Koi enthusiest may find them a great first Koi as they are considered tough as nails requiring less pampering, have a natural high disease resistance, and grow rapidly, because of the stronger genes passed from the broadstock carp. As they are not a high-grade Koi, requiring generations of breeding and farming, a larger percent of offspring reach the market making them more affordable. The coloration is made up of whites, silvers, charcoals, gun-metals, and golds. Ghost Koi can also have a variation of scale patterns, including fully-scaled small scales, large mirror scales, linear (lateral line and dorsal) scales, and leather (scaleless) variations. Gin rin (sparkling) variations can also occur within the fully scaled. 

Because of their resilience, they require less demanding and sophisticated filtration systems to maintain superb water quality and do well in garden ponds; this also makes them more affordable. They are less effected by common Koi ailments, such as ulcers, which is another advantage for the novice and hobbist. They do benefit from a large pond and a well-balanced food compared to premium-grade food and color enhanced food. Their color pattern appears on younger Koi and is stable throughout its life. 

So, it seems, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and Ghost Koi are finding their niche in the market and in ponds. 

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carpe koi ghost 1012 cm

Koi carp is very popular freshwater ornamental fish due to their various color patterns. It belongs to the family Cyprinidae under order Cypriniformes of class Actinopterygii. It is commonly known in English as ‘Japanese Carp’. In Japan this fish is also known as Nishikigo or colored koi. This fish is regarded as symbols of strength, good luck and prosperity in Japan. It is the most widely distributed freshwater fish in the world which is native to central Asia. It has variety of names for the various color patterns. Among them the most popular are the Kohaku, Showa and the Sanke. It is extensively farmed in Asia and the Middle East especially in Israel and is a popular angling fish in Europe. It was originally bred as fish food by Chinese peasants. Around the early 1800′s, the Japanese began to breed koi for their aesthetic beauty and they produced several color variations and patterns. One of the first color patterns were recorded in Niigata region in Japan as early as 1805. Today, there are hundreds of color variations available, of which, the most well-known colors are mixed color like the white with red spots (Kohaku) or the white with black and red spots with more black from red (showa) or the white red and black with more red then black. Koi carp prefers still waters in lakes or backwaters in rivers.


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Overview Koi carp has symmetric, tub-like body with dynamic, broad shoulders and moderate triangular head. Mouth is small and oblique with two pairs of whisker-like feelers or barbells at the corner of their mouth. Koi or Japanese carp are domesticated ornamental varieties of common carp and show a much broader range of colors and patterns with various combinations of white, black, red, yellow, gold, cream, pretty white and orange markings. They have small eyes, thick lips and large, thick scales on the body. Caudal fin is deeply emarginated and pectoral fin is large and rounded. There are several color varieties of koi with different names for each variety. Some of these varieties include Kohaku, Tashio Sanke, Tancho and ogon. Among them Kohaku is the most popular variety of koi with a white body and red pattern on the back. It is also known as the King of Koi. The Tashio Sanke is tri-colored koi with a white body, red pattern and black accents on the back. Ogon is entirely solid gold colored koi while Tancho has a red spot on the top of its head with no red on its body. Koi carp is omnivorous and in wild, it consumes a range of small food items such as mollusks, crustaceans, insect larvae and seeds. They can also consume plant material and general organic matter, especially when other food sources are not available. It can grow up to 90 cm in length and can live up to 60 years for proper care.

Feeding Koi carp is omnivorous and in wild, it consumes a range of small food items such as mollusks, crustaceans, insect larvae and seeds. They can also consume plant material and general organic matter, especially when other food sources are not available. In captivity it accepts a wide range of food including floating pellets and sticks, as well as live food such as river shrimp and bloodworm. Give them a varied diet of different types of food to maintain body coloration every day. Earthworms can be fed to the fish all year round to gain the affection of your Koi. Feed should be offered 2-3 times daily.

Housing The koi carp is a hardy fish which requires small containers to large indoor or outdoor ponds. Some people think that the traditional indoor aquarium is less desirable than a round plastic tub for keeping koi. Koi fish excretes a lot of waste material. The pond/tank needs a filter system to remove the fish waste and ammonia from the water. To keep your fish healthy every four to six months, 10 to 15 percent of the koi tank/pond’s water should be removed and replaced with fresh water. Oxygen levels should be at a minimum of 5.0 mg/L for koi. It prefers water chemistry with pH of 7.2-7.8, hardness of 3-4 dKH and temperature of 65°F-75°F (20°C-25°C). Koi carp is schooling type fish that prefers to live with other koi in your pond or tank. It is a peaceful fish and can be mixed with other peaceful fish like goldfish or comets. Avoid mixing them with smaller fish that can fit into their mouth. Other good tank mates include most bottom feeders. It should not be kept with semi-aggressive or aggressive fish.

Breeding Koi carp is an egg-layer and in wild it can typically spawn in the spring. It can spawn multiple times in a season. The mature female Koi expels their eggs on vegetation or special breeding mats. The breeding tank should have good water chemistry with pH of 7.2-7.8, hardness of 3-4 dKH and temperature of 65°F-75°F (20°C-25°C). In commercial operations, spawning is often stimulated using pituitary hormone injection. It reaches sexually mature at the age between 3-4 years. Before spawning the parent should be conditioned with good protein food which helps get them ready for spawning. A typical adult female can lay large numbers sticky eggs in a single spawn. The fertilized eggs hatch in 5-6 days. For the first 24 hours, egg sac supplies sufficient food for the larvae. Following that period, for the first three months, a feeding is required five times daily. In this case green algae provide supplements of natural food. The free swimming fry should be fed with newly hatched brine shrimp (Artemia) larvae.

Sexing In juvenile stages it is impossible to make differences between male and female koi. The belly of a mature female koi is generally plump, whereas the body of male is streamlined and more torpedo shaped.

Availability Koi fish is domesticated version of common carp and it is most famous by its beautiful colors that have been created via selective breeding. There are several varieties of koi fish that differ in color, patterns and type of scales. Its popularity is increasing day by day due to their gorgeous color patterns and easy to care for. It is readily available in fish stores and online vendor with moderate price.

Written specially and exclusively for koi on demand by Dr. A.K.M. Nazrul Kabir

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Cyprinus x hybrid


A cross between a single-coloured metallic koi (Ogon) and a standard domestic Common carp, Ghost koi get their name from the coloured highlights on an otherwise dark body. Their koi heritage brings either a gold or silver metallic sheen, which adds colour to a fish with rapid growth rate and vigour. 'Ghosties' have all the charisma of koi in a cheaper and hardier package, making them very popular with pond keepers. Like koi, they grow large and often show a faster growth rate thanks to their food fish ancestry, particularly those with reduced 'mirror carp' scalation.

There's no denying that their price puts them in more typical garden ponds than purebred koi but they're equally large and destructive fish, so bear this in mind before adding youngsters. To see them at their very best, keep them as you would koi - in big, deep, well-filtered ponds. To ensure healthy development and maximise water volume, a pond designed for carp should be at least 1.2m/4' deep but the bigger the better. These are pets that get better with age and tend to outgrow smaller facilities, this leads to serious owners often upgrading their ponds as their fishes mature. Large, greedy carp in big ponds need serious filtration and this is a factor to be considered at the planning stage, with helpful hardware such as bottom drains installed in the early stages of construction. The fact that many standard garden ponds have one or two swimming amongst goldfish and orfe is a tribute to how hardy they are, and they'll enjoy uprooting the plants and foraging in the mud in the same way their wild ancestors did. The fact that dedicated carp ponds tend to be bare is testament to the fact that they demolish most attempts at planting, so ensure any vegetation is out of reach and consider adding a 'plant filter' where the benefit of waste removal can be harnessed safe from the fishes. Unlike wildlife ponds, carp ponds are best filled using tap water to ensure healthy mineral content - keepers in soft water areas are advised to add buffers to increase KH levels and monitor these alongside the usual parameters such as ammonia and nitrite. As these conditions favour the growth of algae, an ultraviolet clarifier is usually an essential piece of equipment to maintain the clear water that allows you to appreciate your pets.

As well as a few variations such as White ghost and Golden ghost, these fishes may also be seen on sale as Ghost Carp.

As Koi are now reclassified as Cyprinus rubrofuscus and Common carp remain Cyprinus carpio , these fish should now be considered hybrids. 

Good quality specialised diets are available for all sizes of these fish including pellets and sticks. Take care to avoid the temptation of overfeeding - adding food little and often will soon train the fish to associate their owner with food. Feeding is linked to temperature and it's important to offer a cold weather formulation in late autumn, winter and early spring. Prawns, earthworms, lettuce and even orange segments are all good treats to be fed now and again. 

Breeding Although Ghost Koi are able to reproduce with one another, expect a high percentage of offspring that revert to the original parent fish. Spawnings will occur naturally in the pond if sexually mature males and females are present, where conditions are to their liking (water quality, water temperature, light levels etc), and where there is a medium such as mops/ropes/brushes where the eggs can be scattered. However, many spawnings go unnoticed as the eggs are often consumed quickly by the parents and other fish in the pond (and even other predators such as dragonfly larvae, snails, and tadpoles). To ensure survival of the eggs/fry, the aquarist will usually have to intervene, collecting the eggs before they are devoured, and keeping them in a spacious container with pond plants and some continuous form of gentle oxygenation. The eggs typically hatch within 4-5 days, and the fry will feed on their yolk sacs for the first few days, after which time a constant supply of small live foods such as infusoria and daphnia will be required. Koi, of course, can be selectively bred in separate breeding ponds if the aquarist is fortunate to have access to this type of set-up. In this scenario, the water of the breeding pond should match that of the main pond, and it should be lined with spawning ropes and the like. A well-conditioned selected pair can then be added and observed regularly for signs of spawning. Once the eggs have been deposited over the spawning medium, these can be separated from the parents and grown on in an independent container as described above.

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For delivery before Christmas, orders must be placed on or before 3pm on Wednesday 20th December. We cannot guarantee delivery of these orders pre-Christmas as we are reliant on our couriers, but will use our best endeavours to get orders placed on this date out to you before Christmas. For full details of our festive delivery and opening times click here

Please note: online orders placed after 3pm on Friday 22nd December will not be dispatched until the New Year. For full details of our festive delivery and opening times click here

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Ogon (Ghost) Koi Carp

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carpe koi ghost 1012 cm

Ogon (Ghost) Koi Carp

These Koi are mostly single coloured (Ogon) and contain a mixture both Common & Mirror scale plating along with elements of Ghost Koi. (View our video below to see exactly what we mean!) They are a gorgeous variety of Koi and have proved VERY popular with customers! These fish are fast growing carp, and can get to an excess of 24”(60cm) in length. Although Ogon (Ghost) Koi are renowned for being ‘bullet-proof’, they will require a filtered pond. As with any carp species, they will produce more ammonia than other ornamental species. Customers wanting to purchase fish are asked to call us on 01952 201970 where we can process orders and take payment over the phone. We have a duty of care to our fish and as such do not have a 'click to buy' function for livestock on our website. Please feel free to call us at anytime.

Nishiki Koi Club

Ghost koi was created in the 1980s by breeding wild carp of the species Cyprinus carpio with koi (nishikigoi). The result was a fish that in many ways is similar to a normal koi, but with dark scales down the back. Many ghost koi specimens also sport dark markings on the face and body, and some are almost fully black.

Today, both scaled and scale-free (doitsu) versions of ghost koi are available in the trade.

Buying ghost koi

Ghost koi tend to cost less than standard nishikigoi, and many purists do not consider them true nishikigoi since they are a cross breed with Cyprinus carpio. In some contexts, they are referred to as ghost carps rather than ghost koi.

Ghost koi have roughly the same maximum size as standard koi, but tend to grow big faster since they eat more.

Since ghost koi was developed in the 1980s, we still don´t know their maximum lifespan. The oldest known koi (not ghost koi) lived to be over 200 years, and but living for 50-100 years is more common for koi. Of course, such long lifespans require a suitable environment, suitable food, and so on. Many koi die much younger than this due to illness, predation, injuries, etcetera.

Keeping ghost koi

You can feed your Ghost koi a high-quality food intended for standard koi.

Compared to standard koi, the Ghost koi is known to be a more voracious eater. It is important not to overfeed it.

When standard koi and ghost koi are kept together, the ghost koi will usually appear first at feeding time and also eat faster and more. It is important to make sure your standard koi gets some food too.

Ghost koi fond of patrolling the water surface, looking for food there and waiting for feeding time. This makes them more visible than the standard koi, which is more prone to be digging around in the substrate below.

Ghost koi is known to be pretty hardy, even compared to standard koi, which is probably something they have inherited from the wild carp Cyprinus carpio . Still, pathogens and pests that can infect and infest standard koi can injure and kill ghost koi as well.

We recommend that you inspect your ghost koi regularly and become aware of their normal look and behaviours. That way, you can spot health issues at an earlier stage when they are easier to deal with.

When you buy new fish for your pond, consider guaranteeing it to prevent the spread of infections and parasites.

Keeping your ghost koi in suboptimal conditions (e.g. when it comes to temperature and pH-value) will weaken their immune system and make them more like to develop health issues.


When the time is right and the water is warm enough, the ghost koi will seek out heavily planted areas of the pond. The females scatter their eggs and the males fertilize them in the water. It is common for Ghost koi to eat their own eggs (and the eggs of other fish in the pond), so professional breeders usually remove eggs to a separate container after spawning. The young offspring can then be released back into the pond when they are big enough to no be considered food.

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What Is A Ghost Carp Fish? (Koi) Ultimate Fishing Guide

What Is A Ghost Carp Fish

In my ultimate guide to understanding what is a ghost carp fish. We see what they eat, where they live, and how to catch these illusive ghostly fish. And what carp baits work best.

Whether a seasoned angler or a curious novice. This guide will provide all the knowledge you need to understand and appreciate these spooky-looking species of carp fish . So read on and embark on an adventure to discover the enigmatic world of ghost carp.

What Is A Ghost Carp Fish?

Ghost carp, scientifically known as Cyprinus Carpio, is a unique subspecies of the common carp, koi and mirror carp. They are named “ghosts” due to their distinctive appearance, which resembles a phantom gliding beneath the water’s surface. These ethereal creatures have a captivating beauty that is admired by anglers.

Ghost carp fish are unique with almost translucent scales, giving them an ethereal appearance. While they may look like a separate species from the common carp. Ghost carp are actually just a variation that can occur either naturally. Or through selective breeding.

Ghost carp can be found in both wild and captive populations. And are often prized for their beauty in koi ponds and ornamental fish tanks. Sometimes referred to as “ogon koi,” which means “golden koi” in Japanese. Despite their popularity, ghost carp aren’t considered true koi carp. Because they lack the distinctive patterns of the koi fish.

Ghost Carp Key Points

So what do ghost carp eat?

Like conventional carp and koi carp , the ghost carp population are omnivores. And they will eat almost anything, including both plants and animals. In the wild, a ghost carps’ diet mainly consists of other fish , insects, crustaceans, fish eggs, algae, and aquatic plants. In captivity, ghost carp can be fed on foods, including pellets, vegetables, and fruit.

Ghost Carp

Origins and Habitat of Ghost Carp

Ghost carp have a fascinating evolutionary history that traces back hundreds of years, originated in Japan in the 1800’s. It is believed that this carp species originated from selective breeding and genetic mutations within the Common carp population.

Over time, certain genetic traits became more pronounced, resulting in the distinct characteristics we see in ghost carp today. These traits include their pale coloration and translucent scales. And this is what gives the ghost carp fish their ghostly appearance.

The ghost carp species can thrive in different bodies of water, including ponds and lakes. They prefer environments with clean water that provides adequate oxygen levels for their survival. They are also sensitive to temperature changes; therefore, water that is not too cold or warm is preferred.

Appearance of Ghost Carp

Ghost carp is a unique fish species that has gained popularity in recent years. Also known as ghost koi, these fish are a hybrid of the common, mirror carp and koi fish. Their appearance is what sets them apart from other carp fish species.

The translucent scales of ghost carp give them a distinct look. When light passes through their scales, they appear to be glowing, hence the name “ghost” carp. And they have a white or silver coloration that adds to their ethereal appearance.

White Ghost Carp

Hybrid Characteristics

Ghost carp are a combination of mirror carp and koi fish, which contributes to their unique appearance. They have the body shape and size of mirror carp but possess the color patterns of koi fish and the scales that look similar to those found on the common carp species.

Identifying ghost carp is easy due to their distinctive appearance. Their translucent scales and white/silver color make them stand out from other fish species. If you’re looking for an interesting addition to your aquarium or pond, consider adding a few ghost koi into the mix.

Smaller Size

Compared to other carp species, ghost carp are relatively small in size. They typically weigh around 10-15 pounds. However, ghost carp in UK waters are known to reach 30 lbs.

Note; one of my biggest fish happens to be the illusive ghost carp fish. Which I caught using the method feeder approach with cat food as the bait choice. I have also caught many other big carp species with this method like Grass carp , Mirror and the Common carp.

How Long Do Ghost Carp Live?

Ghost carp can live on average, for around 15 to 20 years. This is a decent amount of time for a specimen fish, but it’s important to note that this is just an average. Some ghost carp may live shorter lives, while others may live much longer, up to 40 years.

Ghost carp can live on average, for around 15 to 20 years. This is a decent amount of time for a specimen fish, but it’s important to note that this is just an average. Some ghost carp may live shorter lives, while others may live much longer, up to 40 years.

Proper Care

One factor that can affect the lifespan of a ghost carp fish is the level of care you provide them with. With proper care and attention, some ghost carp can live for many years.

To ensure your ghost carp are living their best life. Ensure their environment is clean and well-maintained. This includes testing the water quality and performing necessary water changes. It’s also important to feed the fish a healthy diet and track their health.

Growth Rate

Another factor that can impact the lifespan of your ghost carp is their growth rate. Generally speaking, ghost carp fish (ghost koi) grow at a moderate pace, and reach full maturity within a few years. But, it’s worth noting that rapid growth due to overfeeding or other factors can actually shorten their lifespan.

How to Catch Ghost Carp

Learning how to catch a ghost carp can be a thrilling experience. These elusive fish are known for their translucent scales and shy behaviour, making them a challenge to catch.

But with the right methods, fishing tackle, and using the right baits, you can increase your chances of landing one of these ghostly-looking carp species.

Chopped Up Fishing Bait

Recommended Methods for Catching Ghost Carp

There are several popular carp fishing methods that you can use to catch more carp . One popular method is surface fishing. This involves using floating baits such as bread or even dog biscuits can work well. These baits can help entice the fish to the surface.

Another technique to help catch these illusive ghost carp species is float fishing. Which involves suspending your bait at a certain depth using a float. Use fishing baits such as corn, tiger nuts, or even cat food has came up trumps for me in the past.

Lastly, another fishing technique you can try is the method feeder approach. I have caught some of my best fish using the method feeder. And using baits like boilies on a bed of particles. With the method feeder approach you can spread the feed around the swim. This may help to entice these fish out of their hiding spots.

Although, the best bait to use for catching ghost carp does depend on the environment you’re fishing in. This will determine which approach is best to use.

Tackle to Use When Fishing for Ghost Carp

To embark on a successful ghost carp fishing expedition, choosing the right gear is crucial. This includes a sturdy fishing rod, a reliable reel, strong fishing line, and appropriate hooks.

It’s also essential to have a landing net and unhooking mat to handle the fish with care and ensure their safe release. For surface fishing, a light rod and reel setup with 10-15 lb fishing line is ideal. For float fishing, a slightly heavier setup with a longer rod may be needed.

Bait Options for Ghost Carp Fishing

Like other carp species, ghost carp can be effectively targeted using a range of baits. These include bread, dog biscuits, sweetcorn, pellets, tiger nuts, and boilies. It’s important to experiment with different carp fishing baits to determine which ones yield the best results.

Personally, I have successfully caught numerous ghost carp using various bait combinations. One particular approach involved using worms and maggots, along with a particle mix consisting of hemp and pellets to attract the fish to the swim. As for the hook bait, I opted for cat food, which proved to be enticing to the ghost carp. The largest ghost carp I ever caught weighed in at an impressive 27 pounds.

Breeding Ghost Carp: Can They Reproduce?

Breeding ghost carp can be a challenging task, but it is possible with the right conditions and careful selection of parent fish. Ghost carp are a hybrid of true koi and wild-type Cyprinus Carpio, which makes their breeding process different from other types of koi.

Parent Fish Selection

The first step in breeding ghost carp is selecting the right parent fish. It is essential to choose healthy, mature fish that have desirable traits such as good body shape, coloration, and pattern. The chosen parent fish should also be free from any genetic disorders or diseases that could be passed on to their offspring.

Ideal Breeding Conditions

Ghost carp require specific conditions for successful breeding. They need clean water with optimal pH levels between 7-8 and water temperature around 20-25°C (68-77°F). The breeding tank should also have enough space for the parent fish to swim freely and lay eggs.

Reproduction Age

Ghost carp reach sexual maturity at around three years old, which is when they can reproduce. However, it’s important not to rush into breeding them too early as it could result in weak or deformed offspring.

Feeding and Caring for Ghost Carp: Tips for Keeping Them Healthy

Feeding and caring for ghost carp is crucial to ensure their well-being. These freshwater fish can eat a variety of food sources, including pellets, flakes, and live or frozen foods. Here are some tips on how to take care of ghost carp:

Food Sources

it’s important to provide them with a balanced diet. Pellets and flakes that are specifically formulated for carp can be used as the main source of food. However, feeder fish such as guppies or goldfish can also be used to supplement their diet.

Feeding Schedule

Ghost carp should be fed two to three times a day in small portions. Overfeeding can lead to health problems such as obesity and poor water quality. It’s best to feed them at the same time every day so they can establish a routine.

Water Quality

Maintaining good water quality is essential for the health of your ghost carp. Regular water changes should be done weekly or bi-weekly depending on the size of your aquarium or pond. The ideal pH level for ghost carp is between 7-8.

Ghost carp require ample space to swim around and grow comfortably. A minimum tank size of 100 gallons is recommended per fish if kept in an aquarium setting. If kept in an outdoor pond, make sure it’s at least 3 feet deep with plenty of hiding places.

Temperature Control

Ghost carp prefer water temperatures between 68-77°F (20-25°C). Make sure you have a reliable heater installed if you live in an area with fluctuating temperatures.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are ghost carp an invasive species.

Ghost carp, also known as koi or Japanese carp, were originally brought to different parts of the world as ornamental pets. However, their escape from captivity has caused the fish to spread rapidly in some ecosystems. Some experts argue that this makes them an invasive species, as they can disrupt native plants and animals.

Are Ghost Carp Bad For Lakes and Ponds?

Yes, ghost carp can have a negative impact on lakes and ponds if they are allowed to get out of control. Ghost carp fish were originally introduced as pets. But can cause trouble as they can rapidly spread and disrupt the delicate balance of plants and animals in the body of water, harming native species.

How Fast Do Ghost Carp Grow?

Ghost carp, can grow at different speeds depending on various factors. On average, they can grow about 4 to 6 inches per year. However, with optimal conditions and plenty of food, some ghost carp have been known to grow even faster, reaching lengths of over 20 inches within just a few years.

How Big Do Ghost Carp Grow?

Ghost carp can grow to impressive sizes. On average, they can reach 2 to 3 feet in length and weigh anywhere from 10 to 30 pounds. However, some ghost carp grow even bigger, and measure over 4 feet long and exceed 50 pounds in weight. These impressive sizes make ghost carp a true marvel of nature.

Ghost carp, can live on average for around 25 to 30 years. However, with good care and if they are kept in a healthy environment, some ghost carp have been known to live even longer, reaching ages of 70 years or more. It’s amazing to think that these elegant creatures can grace our waters for several decades.

Ghost Carp Vs Common Carp?

Ghost carp and common carp may appear similar, but there are some key differences between them. Ghost carp have a mesmerizing appearance with their translucent scales, while common carp have more typical colors. Ghost carp are also generally larger in size and can grow up to 4 feet long, whereas common carp usually reach about 2 feet.

Ghost Carp Vs Mirror Carp?

When it comes to ghost carp and mirror carp, there are distinct differences to look out for. Ghost carp have those fascinating see-through scales that make them stand out, while mirror carp have shiny, reflective scales. Ghost carp tend to have a more translucent appearance, whereas mirror carp have a pattern of scales that resembles a mirror. So, their scales are the key factor that sets these two carp varieties apart.

Ghost Carp Vs Asian Carp?

There are some distinctions between ghost carp and Asian carp. Ghost carp have translucent scales and are often kept as ornamental pets. While Asian carp are known for being more of an invasive species. Ghost carp have been introduced intentionally, whereas Asian carp have invaded waterways unintentionally. And are known to pose a threat to native ecosystems due to their ability to outcompete other fish species for food.

In conclusion, ghost carp are fascinating fish with unique characteristics that make them a popular choice among anglers and pet owners alike. By following the tips outlined in this guide, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying these beautiful creatures for years to come.

So get out there and start fishing for those illusive translucent carp fish species. If you have enjoyed reading this guide, about “what is a ghost carp” let us know in the comments below.

Thanks for Reading, Tight Lines.

More Helpful Content: Do Carp Eat Other Fish? Everything You need To Know!

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Fishunity.com is a website run by James. With over 25 years of experience in Carp, Sea, and Course fishing, including Pike fishing. My biggest fish to date is a 38.6lb, Common Carp. I have fished in many locations across the UK, Southern Ireland, Spain and France.

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Ghostkoi - Cyprinus carpio

Ghostkoi - Cyprinus carpio

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The Ghostkoi is a color strain of the popular Koi or Nishikigoi from Japan (Cyprinus carpio) from the family of carp fish. Our Ghost brocade carp come from a premium koi breeding and can also become very old in the garden pond. 60 years and more are not an isolated case. Koi carp can grow up to 100 cm long and weigh over 25 kg in the course of time.

The Ghost Koi is also called "the Koi that does not exist" . In principle, this term covers all metallic varieties for which there is no separate name. The basic color can be silvery, red or orange, golden or yellow, even brown or bluish. Sometimes Ghost Koi also have red markings and black markings, so they can be bicolored or even tricolored and look quite different. Often there is a black veil over the body of the Ghost Koi and sometimes also over the head. In addition, the Ghost Koi have a beautiful metallic sheen. Here you get the Ghost Koi, which swim into our net.

The very socially inclined Ghost Koi belong in a group of at least 5 of their colorful conspecifics, never in single keeping. The gentle Giant Koi do not care that their group members resemble them in color or shape, therefore the group can be mixed very well. A group for the first stocking of the garden pond may be composed of at least 5 or more Koi of approximately the same size. Koi can be kept well with other fish in a sufficiently large pond. These should not interfere very much. Rudd, roach or gold smelt and gudgeon are suitable candidates for a koi pond. Sturgeons and other lively by-fish can severely disturb koi during hibernation and are therefore not ideal.

Koi eat both plant and animal foods. In a good koi food this is taken into account that the carp fish are omnivores. In the pond, in addition to algae and water plants, they also feed on young fish, tadpoles, insects, worms, larvae, small crustaceans and other small animals that they find in the mud of the pond bottom.In cooler temperatures in spring and autumn, less is fed in the koi pond, in summer the carp tolerate more food, in winter there is nothing for it, because the koi are then in hibernation anyway.

Ghost Koi need a lot of space in the garden pond according to their size. For a group of 5 Koi you have to plan 5000 liters of pond volume , and for each additional Koi another 1000 liters . For practical reasons, the pond depth should be a good 130 cm, so that the large koi can stay in the pond in winter, because the water does not freeze through completely. Above a certain koi size, this approach is practical.

It is important that the koi pond is not in full shade, partial shade is perfect. For safe wintering of koi in the pond , the use of an ice freezer has proven to be effective, so that the water surface remains open, allowing good oxygen exchange. In the hot summer season, an oxydator for ponds helps to ensure sufficient oxygen levels . To prevent smaller koi from being caught and eaten by herons or other predators, it is best to secure the koi pond with a special protective net .

Steep pond banks increase the space for the koi, but a shallow water zone is also useful. Here the voracious large fish cannot get to the pond plants, which can filter pollutants from the pond water in the marshy zone and shallow water. A reed belt can also help clean the pond water well and prevent algae plagues , as can water plants in the pond itself. Water lilies, for example, are said to be disliked by koi. However, because koi need very clean water despite their active metabolism, a powerful pond filter is needed to effectively clean and clarify the water in the koi pond, despite good planting.

The shallow water zone is not only used for biological cleaning of the pond water, young koi also grow up here in relative safety. Koi are not only strong spawn predators, they also love to eat young fish. If you want to have offspring from your koi from time to time, you are therefore well served with a shallow water zone. Quantitatively more young Koi can of course be raised in a separate large cold water aquarium . It is ideal to provide spawning brushes or spawning mops for the female koi to attach their 500,000+ eggs to.

Ghostkoi - Cyprinus carpio

Artikel: Ghostkoi - Cyprinus carpio

Question: "Hallo können sie mir weiterhelfen? Wollte fragen ob die Gosthkois sich mit Graskarpfen vergesselschaften lassen.LG"

from Kevin (Garnelio)

Hallo Tamara, vielen Dank für deine Frage! Beide Arten sind friedlich miteinander. 

Question: "Spezielle Frage immer wieder fehlen ein paar Koi`s im Teich ich weiß das dies Katzen von der Umgebung sind die sie fangen, sicher ein natürlicher Prozess, aber vielleicht wissen Sie wie man da ein bischen abhilfe schaffen kann, der Teiche ist zwa runderherum aussen bepflanzt auch an den Uferzonen, aber ich weiss nicht? Danke im voraus."

Hallo Anton, vielen Dank für deine Frage! Hier helfen Netze, oder Geräte die die Tiere erkennen und dann Geräusche machen oder grelles Licht auf die Tiere werfen, oder auch sie mit Wasser anspritzen, da gibt es viele Möglichkeiten. 

Question: "Gibt es die Koi in verschiedenen Farben?"

Ja, sie werden verschiedenfarbig versendet.

Question: "Ich möchte gern 6 Ghostkoi aus dem Angebot und 6 Jap. Drachenfische bestellen. Wie ist das Procedere einschließlich Vorkasse?"

Du legst sie dir einfach in den Warenorb, das System führt dich automatisch durch die weitere Bestellung.

Question: "Ab wann kann ich Fische bestellen und wann beginnt die Auslieferung?"

Es wäre das beste, du setzt neue Fische erst dann wieder in den Teich, wenn die Wassertemperatur mindestens 15 Grad beträgt.

Question: "Woher kommen die Fische und sind sie gesund. LG"

Hallo Frau Zettl, die Fische kommen von ausgewählten Züchtern und erfreuen sich bester Gesundheit.

Question: "Wie würden die Fische zu mir transportiert werden und könnte ich mir eine Farbgebung aussuchen?"

Fische werden dir mit einer zertifizierten Lebendtierspedition zugestellt. Ein Aussuchen ist bei uns nicht möglich, sofern nicht anders angegeben. Liebe Grüße, Kevin

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Pond info categories, ghost koi & ghost carp… resilient pond fish.

A new variety of koi appeared in the trade in the early 1980′s under the intriguing name of ghost koi (or ghost carp). Nearly two decades later, the range of fish available to the trade under this description is almost as diverse as the number of outlets that sell them.

The popularity of the ghost koi (or ghost carp) in the UK is so great that in a recent survey, pondkeepers voted ghost koi as the nation’s favourite koi variety, surprisingly head and shoulders above any of the more conventional and more colourful koi varieties.

What are ghost koi / ghost carp and what makes the nation’s favourite koi variety so popular?

It is not simply the ornamental trade that is so obsessed with this variety. Over the last decade, ghost carp (notice the subtle change in the name) or ‘ghosties’ have also shot to the top of the list of most carp anglers. Having stalked common and mirror carp in lakes for many years, the introduction of ghosties into the same waters has added a new flavour to the angler’s catch, adding another variety and an unusual splash of colour to the angler’s catch.

Ghost koi and ghost carp are the same fish and are carp hybrids, the result of a cross between a metallic koi and a common carp. NB This is not a hybridisation between species but between varieties of the same species producing fertile offspring.

Recognising that koi are the same species as carp (Cyprinus carpio) and it is through man’s selective breeding that koi occur in an infinite array of colours and patterns, it is not surprising that a cross between metallic koi and common carp produces viable offspring – ghost koi. These offspring exhibit ‘hybrid vigour’ where the hybrids outperform the parents’ growth, fertility and health.

Ghost koi are made up of variations in: Colour (Gold, Silver etc)

Intensity of metallic lustre

Scalation (Pattern and type of scales)

These are controlled and determined by the characteristics of the broodfish

The conventional cross to produce ghost koi will be:

Purachina (platinum ogon) White ghost koi

or Yamabuki (yellow ogon) x carp = or Gold ghost koi

However, the production of ghosts is not limited to a single cross of metallic koi x carp. Variations are possible between the 4 scale types in carp:

Common (Fully scaled fish – small scales)

Mirror (Fully scaled fish – large mirror scales) ‘Doitsu’

Linear (Partially scaled mirror with line of scales along lateral line and dorsal) ‘Doitsu’

Leather (Scale-less fish of mirror variety)

Depending on specific crosses used, these crosses generally produce offspring offering an array of the above 4 scale patterns. There are also specific crosses between Linear and Leather carp, 25% of which will not develop into viable fry, possessing a lethal gene. Gin Rin variations (sparkling scale) can also occur in the fully scaled (common) ghosts.

Some work over recent years at Brooksby College has also shown that ghosts can be produced by crossing ghost x ghost, producing 2nd generation ghosts. However, the offspring of this cross are less metallic than the original koi x carp hybrids and the wild-type fish (throwbacks) are more numerous than the original metallic koi x carp cross.

This range of crosses may explain to some extent the diverse range of ghosts on the market, from the duller ‘charcoal’ ghosts through to ‘gun-metal’ and the very conspicuous ‘titanium’ ghosts.

A higher grade ghost is also available on the market which in fact is not produced in the above manner. For example, when an all metallic koi cross is carried out, and with koi not breeding true, then ‘throwbacks’ occur where individuals are produced that exhibit some of the ancestral ‘wild-type’ characteristics. I.e. some progeny exhibit the darker carp characteristic that has diluted some of the pure metallic features of the broodstock. I.e. they are not pure metallic. If this occurs in the more complex coloured koi varieties e.g. kohaku, sanke, showa etc then the throwbacks are culled as having undesirable and unmarketable characteristics. However, the throwbacks from metallic crosses resemble excellent ghosts, are generally more metallic than a standard ghost and are therefore marketable as a ghost koi.

It is therefore possible to see why there is such a range of ghost koi varieties on the market. They can only loosely be defined as a colourless, dark metallic fish of koi shape with incomplete metallic skin, head or scalation.

Ghosts do not only share their shape and colouration with koi but also the way in which colours can develop over time and with the age of the fish. At Brooksby, where each year significant quantities of ghost koi are produced on the college fish farm, some recent work has shown that ‘disappointing’ 1 year fish can improve into their second year. Where relatively drab fish had been harvested in year 1, if left for another year to grow on, ghost-like characteristics had really improved, developing into a stunning fish. Pectorals had become completely metallic, flashing in the sunlight and heads had become significantly more metallic and noticeable.

Why are ghost koi so popular?

Ghost koi offer excellent value for money. For a number of reasons they are cheaper than standard koi but this does not really make them a second-rate alternative to koi.

Ghosts are cheap to buy because compared with koi and other selected ornamental pondfish they are relatively cheap to produce. Although they are farmed in an identical way to koi, they offer a number of attractive benefits to the ghost koi farmer.

Koi breeders and farmers have traditionally passed experience and expertise down through generations to develop high quality and reliable bloodlines. When they breed from these bloodlines, only a minute fraction of the spawn reaches the market as high quality stock, commanding a high price.

By contrast, broodstock required to produce ghosts are readily available at a reasonable price without the necessary investment of time and effort over many generations. In addition, the majority of ghost offspring are marketable, and the expertise, time and expense of culling is not required on the same scale as in koi production and as more fish reach market per spawn, the unit price of each fish is greatly reduced. However, the research, experience and knowledge of which particular broodstock produce the best ghosts is essential to provide the market consistently with top quality metallic ghost koi.

As ghosts are hybrids of koi and carp, they are more vigorous than koi producing better growth and offering better disease resistance. In koi breeding, through years of selection for colour and shape, inbreeding of stock has reduced koi vigour rendering them weaker, slower growing and more susceptible to disease than their wild ‘carp’ ancestors. This benefits both the ghost koi farmer and keeper who experience accelerated growth and enhanced health, vigour and vitality over their ‘true’ koi cousins by virtue of the stronger genes passed on from the carp broodstock.

Having had experience of farming and keeping both koi and ghosts, the contrast between the husbandry of both varieties is quite stark.

Koi generally have to be treated/medicated almost as a matter of course and great attention shown to water quality and nutrition to keep them in top condition and to achieve breeding success. Having more recently had experience at farming ghost koi no medication whatsoever has been required to treat ghosts at Brooksby College fish farm and growth has exceeded that experienced in koi farming. A testament to the ghosts vigour, disease resistance and undemanding physiology compared with that of koi.

The spin-off for the ghost koi keeper is that they can taste koi keeping but without the disease hazards feared and often experienced by conventional koi keepers. As their investment in ghost koi is likely to be less than in koi then if they lose a fish they are less likely to suffer a significant financial loss and as their requirements are less demanding, they can be kept quite satisfactorily in a garden pond environment. In fact it has been argued that ghost koi are even hardier and less demanding than goldfish.

Money can also be saved by not having to go to the expense of extensive filtration systems that many koi keepers need to install to maintain a stable and suitable water quality for their relatively frail koi.

Where ghosts are kept with koi, they often outgrow their weaker relatives, courtesy of their stronger genetic make-up. This phenomenon can also be seen in many ponds where drabber koi or goldfish outgrow and are healthier than the more visually striking and purer varieties. I.e. they retain some of the vigorous wild-type genes.

The record carp in the UK is over 55lbs. Ghosts have reached 30lb in the UK (so far) and there is no reason if given the time and space, why they should not get that large in similar conditions. They certainly have the ability to outgrow koi.

Ghosts can also become exceptionally tame, coming to eat from your hand. This ‘friendly’ nature is often their most appealing feature as they rush toward prospective purchasers in retail stock tanks asking to be taken home and put in your pond.

Consequently ghosts can be very rewarding pond fish. They are undemanding in terms of their husbandry but will benefit from a large pond. While maintaining some ornamental value, they do not suffer the shortcomings and limitations of other ornamental varieties and often endear themselves to pondkeepers as a very rewarding fish for their confident character and exceptional value and growth. No wonder they are the UK’s favourite koi variety.

Care Tips …. There are very few care tips and nothing specific to the ghost koi.

Keep them in as large a pond as possible and treat them as a pond fish rather than a koi. They do not require a premium koi diet with colour enhancers but a well balanced pond fish diet will be sufficient for this undemanding fish. They can be fed earlier in the Spring and later in the Autumn than koi without risking associated health problems experienced in purer inbred ornamental varieties.

As ghosts will readily consume quantities of food, the pond must have effective means of removing solids to maintain clarity coupled with effective biofiltration to breakdown toxic metabolic by-products. I.e. normal pondfish practise.

Selection tips

Be careful when selecting ghosts for your pond to take into account the sizes and natures of your existing pond fish. These vigorous and competitive fish can change a well balanced ‘placid’ pond into an aggressive free-for-all at feeding time. Try to buy them smaller than your existing fish. They will soon outgrow the other inhabitants anyway, but it allows your existing stock to adjust to the new ghost carp and will save you money by buying small ghosts to start with.

Personal taste dictates which ghosts you select, but shop around as a whole range of colour variants in ghosts exists. Huge quantities are consistently imported from Israel and a lot of UK bred ghosts are also on the market offering an acclimatised and short-travelled fish. Something to consider when buying.

Commonest Ailments

It is very rare to find ghost koi with ulcers or other common koi ailments. In fact this is an opportunity to buy a ‘koi’ without the health and disease risks associated with koi.

However, non life-threatening carp pox can be quite common is Spring but will fade with time and as temperature rises.

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Complete Koi

Ghost Koi - Koi Carp For Sale - 38cm #105

Shipping terms, how much is delivery, returns policy.

You can return or exchange any goods bought from Complete Koi & Aquatics within 28 days from receiving them.

If your goods were delivered, on arrival do not sign and accept delivery if there is any indication of damage caused to the goods.

When choosing products at Complete Koi & Aquatics, please take your time or seek advice from our helpful staff. The return of any unwanted products will be at the customers expense. In order to return goods, they must be in an unused, undamaged, re-sellable condition. You must also present the relevant paperwork when returning goods to help us identify you as the buyer.

Any non-faulty/undamaged goods which arrive in an unsellable condition will NOT be considered for a refund, exchange or credit. Until we receive the goods, you are responsible for the condition and any damage which occurs to the goods. You should obtain a proof of postage for the goods so that in the event of the goods becoming lost you have a evidence of returning it. Once we have received the goods, we will refund the purchase price (less any original carriage charges) immediately, or in any case within 30 days.

Damaged/faulty Goods

Damaged/faulty goods are eligible for replacement subject to individual warranties. Goods must be returned to Complete Koi & Aquatics within 14 days of reporting the issue.

We require all returns to be sent with relevant documentation to enable us to identify the buyer and cross check the faulty equipment.

Once received Complete Koi & aquatics will conduct a full assessment of the faulty goods, and on confirming they are damaged OR faulty we will repair or replace them at our discretion. Due to the large range of goods we supply, it may be necessary to send the goods back to the manufacturer for an expert assessment on the alleged damage/faulty.

If the manufacturer tests the goods and deems them NOT faulty or damaged, they will be returned to the customer at an additional cost to cover postage and packaging. Some high-end products may not be replaced if found faulty/damaged but repaired, this is done at the manufacturer’s absolute discretion.

Complete Koi & Aquatics does not accept liability for any consequential loss caused by damaged or faulty items, delay in dispatch or delays by couriers.

Fish/Aquatic Plants

At Complete Koi & Aquatics, the health and welfare of your fish is our utmost priority. If your fish appears unwell OR in the unfortunate event of losing a fish, then we recommend contacting the store directly. Staff will assist in looking into the cause of the problem and advise on best cause of treatment.

Recover the body of the fish and place in aquarium/pond water in an airtight container OR bag – DO NOT FREEZE. Take a separate sample of aquarium/pond water Bring the fish and water sample to Complete Koi & Aquatics for detailed analysis, at your first convenience.

We do NOT accept returns of ANY fish. If you feel your concerns have not been handled correctly, please ask to speak with management.

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What is a Ghost Carp: Origins, Habitat, and How to Catch Them

If you were thinking that ghost carp fish or ghost mirror carp have some supernatural properties, we hate to break it to you but the ghost koi carp is just one of the many variants of koi. Although it won’t magically appear in a koi pond at midnight and give the koi fish in the pond a heart attack, the breed can actually be pretty interesting. What is a ghost carp, what makes it special, and why is it a coveted fish? All these and more will be tackled in this quick guide.

Hopefully, we’ll be able to help you arrive at a conclusion as to why this koi fish suddenly became so popular and if you should go get one to add to your koi collection. Let’s dive right into it!

ghost carp

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What is Ghost Carp Fish?

Unlike most koi fish, ghost carp have British origins. A farmer back in the 1980s bred a mirror carp with metallic Ogon Koi, resulting in the ghost koi fish. As it’s a fairly new breed, there are many koi enthusiasts and breeders that don’t recognize it as true koi.

Its origins notwithstanding, you’ll be able to find lots of people fascinated by the appearance of ghost koi. As such, the koi variant has been bred until now.

Distribution and Habitat

Although the majority are bred in captivity, ghost carp and other koi variants can also be found in public waterways.

Generally speaking, carp are native to parts of Asia and eastern Europe. Carp and other subspecies are widespread, reaching as far as Azerbaijan and Croatia. Now, they’re introduced to over 80 countries far from their native range. It’s not impossible to find carp in the USA, Canada, Chile, Guatemala, and Guyana.

Ghost koi, in the wild, can tolerate slow-moving bodies of water but they prefer still waters. In some locations, carp are in brackish waters.

What’s great about carp , in general, is it’s a hardy species. It can tolerate different water temperatures from 3°C to 33°C and survive in waters that aren’t very oxygenated as the species can breathe at the surface.

In winter, ghost koi and other variants move deep into a body of water and search for warmer water.

A ghost carp is heavy and large with a deep body. It’s a gully scaled fish while other variants can have fewer scales like leather and mirror carp.

But, just like all carp species, ghost carp don’t have scales on the head. It has long dorsal fins and the color can differ. Ghost koi can still differ in coloration.

There are those that have a pure, uniform color while others have black or metallic patterns spread throughout their bodies. There’s a yellow ghost carp created by breeding common carp or mirror carp with Yambuki.

The colors of ghost koi develop and brighten when they mature. Like other carp species, the ghost koi have upper jaws that slightly protrude and thick, rubbery lips.

Carp don’t have teeth; however, they have powerful pharyngeal teeth that are able to crush whatever they feed on before being swallowed by the fish.

Feeding and Spawning

Ghost carp can be incredibly greedy. They are omnivorous and will search for anything edible present in the water. They can even cause disruption on the bottom when finding food, which is why they’ve also been labeled as ‘freshwater pigs.’

As with most carp species, ghost koi will feed at any depth and feast on algae, mollusks, invertebrates, snails, aquatic plants, and freshwater shrimp.

As a ghost koi reaches sexual maturity, it begins to spawn. This is between two to three years of age. Timing the spawning of carp will depend on its living environment. When the water temperature reaches 16-22°C, that’s usually when they spawn.

In the UK, spawning is in early summer or late spring. When the time is right, carp will move to an area that has thick weeds in shallow water. It’s been recorded that carp have a preference for spawning after heavy rainfall and the water rises.

The yellow or orange eggs of ghost carp are sticky and they will be attached to weeds. The female carp lays a million eggs and is able to spawn more than once every season.

Unlike other species, ghost koi don’t protect their eggs from predators. It will take 3 to 8 days for the eggs to hatch, but this will depend on the area and water temperature of where they’re deposited. Juvenile carp remain attached to vegetation for the next 3 to 4 days up until they’ve fully consumed their yolk sac.

How to Catch Ghost Carp

Ghost carp are actively fished in still waters. A lot of fisheries across the globe, including the US, advertise if they have ghost koi.

Take note: they can be hard to locate. Ghost koi are prized fish by anglers as they’re thought to be intelligent and a challenge to catch.

If you are able to find a good fishery that stocks the fish, try various locations in the water to locate them. Look out for overhanging trees and any overhanging vegetation as ghost carp use the areas for cover.

In terms of the bait, pellets are the most preferred bait by most carp anglers, including us. But, other tried and tested ones include worms, peanuts, dog biscuits, maggots, sweetcorn, red worm, brandlings, mussels, bread, and luncheon meat. You can add extra flavor to luncheon meat so it has a more pungent smell.

As always, we suggest you try bringing with you different baits . Keep on changing if you’re not getting action or interest.

If you’re intrigued by the beauty, mystique, and wits of ghost carp, make sure you’re ready for quite the challenge as it can be hard to catch them. Don’t be afraid of ‘pushing the envelope.’

Persist in catching these magnificent creatures as they’re definitely able to make you feel accomplished as you hold up your prize to pose for a picture!

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About Tony Barker

My name is Tony and I’m the creator of this blog. As a person who has always been passionate about fishing and outdoor life, I started this website to share my experience and interest in fishing with other like-minded people. Here I will share with you the tips and tricks I have accumulated in a lifetime of fishing.

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Is a Koi a Ghost Carp?

In this article, we will delve into the fascinating world of Koi fish and explore the question – Is a Koi a Ghost Carp? Let’s begin by understanding what Koi fish are and how they differ from Ghost Carp.

What are Koi fish?

Koi fish, scientifically known as Cyprinus rubrofuscus, are a popular species of ornamental fish that originated in Japan. They are highly prized for their vibrant colors and graceful swimming patterns. Koi fish have been selectively bred over many generations to achieve the wide range of color variations that we see today.

What is a Ghost Carp?

Ghost Carp, on the other hand, are not a specific species of fish. The term “Ghost Carp” is often used to refer to wild-type common carp that have a pale or light-colored appearance. These carp typically lack the vibrant colors and patterns commonly associated with domesticated Koi fish.

The Differences between Koi and Ghost Carp

While both Koi fish and Ghost Carp belong to the same family (Cyprinidae) and genus (Cyprinus), there are several key differences that set them apart:

  • Coloration: Koi fish exhibit a wide range of bright colors, including red, yellow, orange, black, and white. In contrast, Ghost Carp typically have a more subdued coloration with shades of brown or silver.
  • Size: While both species can grow to impressive sizes, Koi fish tend to be larger than Ghost Carp on average. Koi fish can reach lengths of up to three feet, whereas Ghost Carp usually grow to around two feet.

Koi Fish as Symbols of Good Luck

Koi fish hold significant cultural and symbolic importance in many Asian cultures, particularly in Japan. They are often associated with good fortune, perseverance, and success. In Japanese culture, Koi fish are highly revered and are often featured in art, literature, and even tattoos.

In Conclusion

In summary, while both Koi fish and Ghost Carp belong to the same family and genus, they differ significantly in terms of coloration, patterning, and size. Koi fish are prized for their vibrant colors and patterns, while Ghost Carp have a more subdued appearance. Whether you prefer the vivid beauty of a Koi or the natural simplicity of a Ghost Carp, both species offer their own unique charm.

So next time someone asks you if a Koi is a Ghost Carp, you can confidently explain the differences between these two distinct types of fish!

7 Related Question Answers Found

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Lindsay Collins


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  1. Complete Guide to Ghost Koi (What Are They?)

    1) White ghost koi. These come in the traditional koi shape and are also available in the butterfly-finned variety. A hybrid between Purachina Ogon and mirror carp, the white ghost koi has pearly white scales with black markings along its sides and back. The dorsal space in between the eyes is usually free of color.

  2. Ghost Koi Guide: Essential Care Tips, Feeding Habits & More!

    Ghost Koi, often referred to as "Ghost Carp," are a hybrid variety of koi. They are the result of breeding a wild, metallic-scaled carp with a traditional koi. ... Similar to traditional koi, often reaching lengths of 60-70 cm in well-maintained ponds. Lifespan: With proper care, they can live for several decades, similar to other koi ...

  3. Everything you need to know about Ghost Koi

    Koi will often consume most of their eggs after spawning so it is good practice to remove eggs to a separate brooding tank/pond after spawning or alternatively let nature take its course and hope for survivors. Given their links to the original wild carp, Ghost Koi are very hardy but as expected, can be affected by ALL fish-based parasites.

  4. What Is a Ghost Koi Carp?

    The Ghost Koi Carp can grow to be quite large, often reaching lengths of up to 36 inches (91 cm) or more. This makes it an ideal choice for larger ponds or water gardens where it can showcase its full potential. Its size, combined with its unique appearance, makes it a captivating centerpiece for any aquatic environment. ...

  5. Ghost Koi: Behavior, Lifespan, Types, and You Queries

    - April 20, 2023 214 A popular ornamental fish, Ghost Koi, called Ghost Carp, is a cross between a wild card and a decorative koi. This fish's eye-catching and distinctive color, which ranges from silvery white to light yellow with black, grey, or brown blotches, defines it.

  6. Ghost Koi

    Well, it seems they have been around since the early 1980s when a British farmer allowed a mirror carp to spawn with a Koi. The offspring from a cross of a metallic Koi and a wild, dark-colored carp are known as Ghost Koi. Notably, the most striking areas of a Ghost Koi are the metallic head and flashy pectoral fins that glimmer in the sunlight ...

  7. Koi Ghost

    It can grow up to 90 cm in length and can live up to 60 years for proper care. Feeding Koi carp is omnivorous and in wild, it consumes a range of small food items such as mollusks, crustaceans, insect larvae and seeds. They can also consume plant material and general organic matter, especially when other food sources are not available.

  8. Carp

    Ghost Carp (simply an alternative name for Ghost Koi), are a hybrid, and are usually the result of breeding Mirror or Common Carp with Purachina Koi (Platinum Ogon) to get White Ghost Koi or Yambuki (Yellow Ogon) to obtain Yellow Ghost Koi.

  9. All About Ghost Koi Fish

    The Ghost koi or carp is a wonderful addition to any pond especially a new pond. Ghost koi are beautiful, friendly, and hardy which makes them the perfect first koi for a new koi parent. If you decide to add a Ghost koi to your pond be sure to have enough room to accommodate it as it quickly grows to be one of the largest koi in your pond.

  10. Ghost Koi-Cyprinus carpio hybrid

    A cross between a single-coloured metallic koi (Ogon) and a standard domestic Common carp, Ghost koi get their name from the coloured highlights on an otherwise dark body. Their koi heritage brings either a gold or silver metallic sheen, which adds colour to a fish with rapid growth rate and vigour. 'Ghosties' have all the charisma of koi in a ...

  11. Ripples Online

    These fish are fast growing carp, and can get to an excess of 24 (60cm) in length. Although Ogon (Ghost) Koi are renowned for being bullet-proof , they will require a filtered pond. As with any carp species, they will produce more ammonia than other ornamental species. Customers wanting to purchase fish are asked to call us on 01952 201970 ...

  12. Ghost Koi at Carpco

    We have some lovely large Butterfly Ghost Koi on the farm currently, these Ghost Koi range from 6 - 10 inches.Check out our Ghost Koi range here: https://car...

  13. Ghost koi

    Ghost koi. Ghost koi was created in the 1980s by breeding wild carp of the species Cyprinus carpio with koi (nishikigoi). The result was a fish that in many ways is similar to a normal koi, but with dark scales down the back. Many ghost koi specimens also sport dark markings on the face and body, and some are almost fully black.

  14. What Is A Ghost Carp Fish? (Koi) Ultimate Fishing Guide

    30/05/2023 In my ultimate guide to understanding what is a ghost carp fish. We see what they eat, where they live, and how to catch these illusive ghostly fish. And what carp baits work best. Whether a seasoned angler or a curious novice.

  15. Ghostkoi

    Our Ghost brocade carp come from a premium koi breeding and can also become very old in the garden pond. 60 years and more are not an isolated case. Koi carp can grow up to 100 cm long and weigh over 25 kg in the course of time. The Ghost Koi is also called "the Koi that does not exist".

  16. Ghost Koi & Ghost Carp are very popular and resilient pond fish

    Ghost koi and ghost carp are the same fish and are carp hybrids, the result of a cross between a metallic koi and a common carp. NB This is not a hybridisation between species but between varieties of the same species producing fertile offspring.

  17. Ghost Koi

    Ghost Koi - Koi Carp For Sale - 38cm #105. Ghost Koi - Koi Carp For Sale - 38cm #105. Shop now. Pay with Klarna 0 Customer Service 01204 582105 Register Sign In FREE UK SHIPPING ON ORDERS OVER £49.00* 0 Home page About Us ...

  18. Ghost Koi

    Specification Ghost Koi Description: Classic English Ghost Koi ( Cyprinus carpio ). They are a 'cross' between a Mirror or Common Carp and a Yamabuki Ogon Koi. This produces the ghost like features that give them their name. Many don't class the them as a true Koi, and it is certainly not bred by purists in Japan.

  19. Ghost Carp Fish

    Ghost Carp, also known as 'invisible' carp, is a species of carp known for its unique camouflage pattern. It thrives in murky waters and has been known to survive in temperatures ranging from 24-29 degrees Celsius.

  20. Is a Ghost Carp a Koi?

    A Ghost Koi Carp is a fascinating fish that has gained popularity among koi enthusiasts. It is a hybrid breed resulting from the crossbreeding of a wild carp (common carp) with an Ogon Koi. The result is a stunning fish with a unique coloration and pattern that sets it apart from other koi varieties.

  21. What is a Ghost Carp: Origins, Habitat, and How to Catch Them

    Appearance A ghost carp is heavy and large with a deep body. It's a gully scaled fish while other variants can have fewer scales like leather and mirror carp. But, just like all carp species, ghost carp don't have scales on the head. It has long dorsal fins and the color can differ. Ghost koi can still differ in coloration.

  22. Is a Koi a Ghost Carp?

    The Differences between Koi and Ghost Carp. While both Koi fish and Ghost Carp belong to the same family (Cyprinidae) and genus (Cyprinus), there are several key differences that set them apart: Coloration: Koi fish exhibit a wide range of bright colors, including red, yellow, orange, black, and white. In contrast, Ghost Carp typically have a ...

  23. Ghost carp

    This was taken in 2011 and she is 75 cm plus ... check out some of the koi in the indoor pond & the stock tanks further up where hey had ghost carp last year. Top. Feline Pond Advisor Posts: 9663 Joined: June 18th, 2013, 1:23 pm Country: England ... ↳ Koi and Carp; ↳ The Unique Koi Club; ↳ Koi Identification; ↳ Virtual Koi Shows;