How long do Koi live?
I get this question all the time. And there is a short and a long answer.
The short answer is they can live over 200 years.
The oldest known Koi was Hanako who lived to be 226 years. But the reality is most Koi do not live anywhere close to that long.
I actually got to see Hanako while I was in Japan in 1975. I was very young and had no idea of my direction or future occupation. But there was something so special about this fish sunning in this huge moat. Her color was not special at all but the strangest thing to me was her regal splendor.
This gentle, peaceful being so happily relaxing in the small strip of sun peeking through the winter clouds above the emperor’s palace. She made me more peaceful just watching her. I think that was when I was hooked.. But of course not all Koi can or will life that long.
There are many factors that will determine the life expectancy of your Koi.
It greatly depending on the environment the koi are raised in, their diet and of course genetics. It even can be influenced by how many other fish you have in your pond. In most good quality backyard koi ponds, the koi can live upwards of 20 years or so. In Koi ponds with high end filtration and larger amounts of water, some hobbyists have gotten to enjoy their Koi for over 40 years. However this is nothing compared to koi that spend their life in mud ponds and lakes. The Japanese have koi that are well over 70 years old, but these never spend much time in small cement or liner tanks. They are in large mud lined ponds fed by a natural spring.
So remember when choosing a Koi, whether a Sanke or a Kujaku pick carefully as they may be in the family for many generation to come.