Koi: Carpe Diem


Koi are members of the carp family. The fish trace their origin to Central Europe and Asia. They were a food source as early the Jin Dynasty during the fourth century B.C. in China. Koi can live long lives from100 years to 200. They are omnivorous, cold-water fish. Their natural predators are: herons, raccoons, cats, foxes, badgers and hedgehogs.

Keeping a koi pond at the proper temperature, 55-79 degrees Fahrenheit. A well-designed Koi pond will have sections too deep for herons to stand, overhangs high enough to discourage mammals from reaching in, and shade sails overhead to block the view of raptors. The fish need a filtration system and food.

Koi eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Their food floats, so the natural bottom feeders are drawn to the surface. They recognize the hand that feeds them. The caretaker use their feeding to check for any signs of injury or disease. Well cared for koi like the ones at the San Luis Rey Mission live long lives. The original koi are well and thriving. They are now 65 years old. It boggles my mind to think we are the same age.

I wonder if they waste any time ruminating on a life well lived? From what I’ve seen they live in the moment. Eating, swimming, sleeping whenever they please. I’m not sure I’d recognize a stressed koi. The koi I see always seemed sublimely happy.


About Casey Knight

Professor, author, mother, and nature lover.
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