What is a butterfly koi?

Butterfly Koi
Butterfly Koi

Some basic facts about butterfly koi

Some people don’t see the charm or uniqueness of butterfly koi and think of them as the “black sheep” of koi.  We have even heard people say butterfly koi are not real koi fish!  Simply not true!  As many other DO know, butterfly koi can be some of the best koi in any koi collection!

How did the butterfly koi originate?

Brown and grey carp with long fins were found in Indonesia in the early 1980s.   A NY company heard about them and bought some but then they thought they were too ugly to sell.  But, a group of curious breeders at Blue Ridge Fish Hatchery heard about them and decided to order some too.  They took their odd-looking long-finned fish and bred them with their finest traditional koi fish.   They actually turned out great!

The long finned koi ended up being robust and disease free.  They could also be bred in many beautiful colors.  An original Blue Ridge breeder was named Wyatt LeFever.  When his young son first went to see the fish, he said “Dad they look like butterflies.”  The name is still used today for the fish.

Butterfly koi size

Butterfly koi become more and more impressive as they grow.  Their fins keep growing until the blood vessels can’t sustain the fins to be any longer. The older the fish, the longer and more impressive the finnage. A full-grown koi can almost like a long, slinky dragon moving through the water..

The fish may not be as large as traditional koi, but they can run from 36-40 inches in the right pond with the right food.  Butterfly koi are pleasant and graceful and a delight to watch swim.

Is a butterfly koi a “real” koi fish?

Yes, they are.  In the past, Japanese koi enthusiasts did not appreciate the long-finned  koi.  Over time, Japanese breeders started seeing the beauty and value in the fish, partially from their immense popularity in the United States.  Now the butterfly koi are a very popular koi fish pond choice.   For more information on koi ponds in the Philadelphia area, contact us.

Philadelphia pond help

Need Philadelphia pond help?  We are the company to call.  Here’s a recent video we had made that shows explains why you should hire AquaReale for your pond needs  Call us at 215.880.6811 with any questions.