Koi or Goldfish?

Koi and goldfish are perfect pond fish for backyard water gardens. 

What is the difference between Koi and Goldfish?

Koi, Comets, and Shubunkins


Koi are a type of pond fish that are known for their brilliant colors and unique patterns. They're a type of carp. 

Mature Adult Size: 20-30"

Koi Fish Lifespan: ~ 20 years

Types of Koi: Standard Koi, Butterfly Koi

Koi can be orange, yellow, white, black, blue, or a combination of any of these colors. Some are a solid color while others have unique patterns. Koi can  have metallic scales which is referred to as Gin Rin. Koi are selectively bred in order to get certain characteristics. 

Not all koi are covered in scales. Doitsu koi only have a line of scales on either side of the dorsal fin and a single line of scales down each side of the body. 

Whiskers near the mouth are a distinct characteristic of all koi.



Shubunkin are a type of goldfish. These fish have a unique calico pattern. These fish are a mix of white, orange, black, and blue.

Mature Adult Size: 9-18"

Shubunkin Lifespan: 10-15 years



Comets are also known as common goldfish. These comets can be red, white, or a mixed of both, which is called Sarasa Comet. 

Mature Adult Size: 9-18"

Goldfish Lifespan: 10-15 years


Both Koi and Goldfish can live together in a pond. 


How many fish can I have in my pond? 

It depends! In general a pond can handle more goldfish than koi due to size alone. That magic number of fish is dependent on both the size of the fish, and the water conditions.

Size of Fish # of Fish Per 1000 gallons
Small 2-6" 12-15 fish
Medium 7-10" 8-10 fish
Large 11-15" 3-5 fish
XLarge 16+" 1-2 fish

In order to hold higher fish loads, filtration must be oversized to accommodate for additional waste. Supplemental aeration also maintains adequate oxygen levels and reduces fish stress. Learn more about Koi Fish Care