Last Updated on December 31, 2019 by Aiden Lindow

Koi Vs. Goldfish

You’ve built your pond, and now it’s time to choose the type of fish species, it’s the big brawl between koi vs. goldfish.

You must choose what you’d like to populate your small body of water with. Koi Vs. Goldfish

One of the most difficult distinctions to make between pond fish is the choice between koi and goldfish.

However, once you’ve learned the difference, it’s easy to spot the difference between the two at a glance.

When making this decision, there are many different factors that distinguish koi and goldfish from one another and can help you decide which species is right for you and your pond.


Appearance And Color Of Koi Vs Goldfish

Appearance And Color Of Koi Vs Goldfish

Of course, the appearance and color of your marine life will probably play a fairly large factor in the decision-making process.

This is one of the main factors that is typically the most difficult to distinguish between koi and goldfish without much prior knowledge.

Koi are likely to come in a variety of colors, but will mainly all be the same size.

Their body shape is elongated rather than round or flat.

Koi commonly exist in a variety of warm-toned bright colors such as orange, red, and yellow with gold tones but can also be found in other colors such as blue, black, white, and beige.

They have barbells around their mouth area which look like small beards.

This is the marking that distinguishes koi from goldfish more than any other. Koi have small fins and tales that aren’t a major contributor to their defining marking.

While goldfish grow into an elongated shape much the same way koi do, they tend to have slightly rounder bellies and do not necessarily come in the same wide variety of colors that koi do.

Goldfish can exist in some blue or red hues, but the vast majority of goldfish in the world is the simple orange color that they are typically associated with.

Goldfish have distinguishable large tales that can adopt a “fluffy” look as they age.

Their fins and tales distinguish they overall look more than those of the koi.

There’s a fish food called Koi Vibrance, this enhances the color of all the fish in your pond.

I have been using it for a while now, and it has truly “vibranced” my entire pond 🙂


Lifespan Of Koi Vs Goldfish

Lifespan Of Koi Vs Goldfish

Koi have a much longer lifespan than goldfish.

On average, goldfish have a lifespan of about 15 years.

The lifespan of a goldfish can be shorter or longer depending on water and air quality as well as food quality and the cleanliness of their aquatic environment, such as overfeeding.

All of these important factors will also play into the lifespan of koi, but due to genetic differences, koi tend to live longer on average than goldfish.

The average lifespan for koi is typically around 50 years, although some may live even longer than that.

This significant difference in lifespan is something to take into account when choosing which species you’d like to populate your pond.

How long are you willing to care for the fish in your pond?

Is this a pond that you anticipate keeping for 50 years or longer, or is this more of a short-term project?

Taking the lifespan of both species into account when making this consideration is important in making the right choice for you.


Body Size And Growth Of Koi Vs Goldfish

Body Size And Growth Of Koi Vs Goldfish

Another important factor to take into account is the body size and growth projection of both species.

Koi are very large and require lots of room for exercise to swim around and explore.

Koi like to burrow and dig into the bottom of a body of water using their small, but sharp teeth.

To accommodate koi, you will need to ensure that your pond is of adequate size.

Adequate size for the average koi aquarium typically needs to be larger than 100 gallons.

Anything smaller than this will be too small for your koi and will not only affect their quality of life, but also the biosphere of your pond’s environment.

You will also want to make sure that your pond is deep enough to allow koi to satisfy their natural craving for exploration by giving them plenty of space.

But not only to swim long distances but also to either swim deep down to the bottom or to rest gently below the surface depending on their daily activities.

Goldfish are typically smaller than koi but can still grow to exceed expectations.

Goldfish tend to be very small at birth but grow quite quickly.

It’s not best to keep goldfish in the same pond with koi or other tropical varieties as they are relatively slow swimmers and will miss out on the opportunity to compete for food.

Like koi, you will want to be sure that your pond has enough room for goldfish to explore.

You won’t need as much depth, as goldfish are not deep divers, but ensuring enough surface space is essential for goldfish to get the exercise they need by swimming back and forth throughout the day.


Presence of Plants in Your Pond

Koi and goldfish interact very differently with plant life and the nature of that plant life in your pond or your preferences for plants will affect your decision between the two species.

Koi enjoy the presence of plants because they love to eat them.

Koi have small but sharp teeth that they use to nibble on thick, leafy plants and as an omnivorous species, their digestive systems can handle the small amount of plant material that koi frequently enjoy snacking on.

If you enjoy the cyclical growth and maintenance of plant life in and around your pond, koi may be the right choice as they will ensure that this maintenance and regrowth is necessary to support the proper marine life atmosphere for your pond.

Goldfish, on the other hand, tend not to be interested in plants at all.

In fact, most tank aquarium goldfish owners will opt to furnish their tanks and bowls with plastic plants mainly for decor as goldfish typically choose not to interact with them at all.

If you’d prefer to keep plant growth and maintenance to a minimum, goldfish may be the right choice for your pond as they won’t bother the plant life that grows in and around your pond at all.