Water Garden Gems' Fish

We specialize in pure Japanese Koi, born and raised in Japan and hand picked by leading judges and dealers to be flown in for our enjoyment.

moving bigs in pav

We also carry Long Fin Koi from one of the leading breeders in the world.

longfin fish page

We have a vast array of Fancy Goldfish as well as Comets and Shubinkins to choose from.

shubinkins fish page

Origins of our Koi


The history of the Koi fish is fascinating. Nobody knows exactly where the Koi we have today originated, but it is widely accepted that the common carp originated somewhere near Persia and Western Asia. To preface, Koi are a form of Carp with a mutated color gene. We will begin with the history of Carp.


Carp were originally domesticated in Eastern Asia in the early 400’s as an important source of food. It is thought that the carp migrated into China either through trade, or through natural waterways. It is not known when the carp were introduced into Japan, but it is thought to have been through trade. Because Carp are an excellent source of protein, the rice farmers of the Niigata Prefecture began to keep them as a protein supplement into their rice-heavy diet. This practice ensured the wide spread of Carp throughout Japan as a functional staple.


In the mid-1800’s, the rice farmers began to notice small spots of color on the carp. The first colors to appear were red and white. Due to their unique nature, these carp were not used for food, but were kept as pets. The colorful Carp were selectively bred, in an effort to expand the colors of the fish. This was successful, and more colors began to emerge. 


In the early 1900’s, Koi were crossbred with the scaleless Carp of Germany. This led to the creation of the “Doitsu” Koi (The Japanese word for German).


Koi keeping gained popularity in Japan when, in 1914, several Koi breeders brought samples of different varieties to an exposition in Tokyo. People from all over Japan saw these “Living Jewels,” and were smitten. This increase in popularity led to an increased demand for the fish, and the creation of new varieties spiked. Koi not only gained popularity in Japan, but around the world.


The Chinese believed that Koi brought “Ong,” meaning “luck.” Because of this belief, many people built small koi ponds outside of their houses in an attempt to bring prosperity to their lives. For others, having a koi pond became a fun and relaxing hobby. Regardless of their purpose, nothing can beat the charm and beauty of Koi ponds.


Koi are a highly social and playful variety of fish. They are ideal for the water garden or a backyard pond as they are playful, hardy, beautiful and love to be hand-fed. The more time you spend with your koi, the more you will be able to recognize their individual personalities, and the more your fish will become accustomed to your face and voice.

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