The Japanese carpe is a popular fish in the garden pond because of its pretty colours, its size and because it is at ease close to people.
Like the common carpe, it is a cold water fish appreciated by gardeners with a outdoor pond. The Japanese carpe originated in China. It is a descendant of the MagoÏ carpe, which ressembled the European carpe, as it was mainly grey in colour.
Introduced to Japan around the year 200, these carpes became, around the year 1000, decorative species raised exclusively by the Japanese nobility. They acquired many contrasting colours over the centuries and today they look like very big goldfish, measuring up to 60 cms. long.
The Japanese carpe was introduced to Europe after World War Two. They are different from other species in that they are creatures of habit, with a peaceful temperament and behaviour. They are at ease in the presence of humans. If they are fed at a regular times, they will soon come to touch the hand that feeds them.
Some japanese carpe will even allow them selves to bt stroked ! The big advantage of Japanese carpes is that they are mainly herbivorous. They live side by side with all varieties of goldfish, which gives the pond an esthetic look, as the basin can thus be filled by fish of differing sizes and colours.
Many types of Japanese carpes exist, among which are the scaly carpes, which are typically Japanese, the common carpe, with its large scales along its back and its hooked gills, the German carpe with no scales, and the American carpe with its sail-like gills. The dominating colours of the carpe are the red and whte of the classic Kohaku carpe, but many varieties are otherwise available, such as the Sanshoku (red, white and some black scales), the Tancho (with a round red mark on its head), the Shiro Itsuri (black and white), the Ki Utsuri (orange and black), the Shiro Muji (all white), the Ki-Goi (bright yellow), and the Goshiki (5 colours : black, red, white and different shades of blue).
Did you know ?
The Japanese carpe is quite an imposing fish. To give it enough space, put no more than 10 or 12 carpes measuring 15 cms. in a cubic metre of water and only 1 or 2 carpes measuring more than 45 cms. in the same volume of water.