How Long Do Koi Fish Live (And Why)?

Exact Answer: Twenty to Thirty years

Koi fish are a common species of fish that are used for decorative and recreational purposes. The trinomial name of Koi fish is Cyprinus rubrofuscus var. Koi is a popular coloured variety of the Amur carp and its full name is Nishikigoi which is a Japanese term for brocaded carp.


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These were traditionally found in Central Europe and Asia. These are coldwater fish but on account of their adaptability to a new climate, they now can be found in almost all parts of the world. Koi fishes can be found in a wide range of colours including red, white, black, blue, orange and cream.

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How Long Do Koi Fish Live?

Type of Habitat of KoiLife Expectancy Period
Koi in Natural habitatSixty to Eighty years
Koi with amateur handlerFive to Seven years
Koi with expert handlerTwenty to Thirty years

The life expectancy of the Koi fishes can be categorized into different groups based on the type of habitat the fishes live in. The types of habitat can be grouped as koi living in their natural habitat, koi fishes living with an amateur koi handler and koi fishes handled by an experienced person. The living conditions and care imparted to these fishes make a difference in life expectancy periods.

Koi fish are the most abundant in their natural habitat. The life expectancy period of this species of fish is highest in such conditions with an expected range of sixty to eighty years. Although some fishes have even been recorded to live as long as ninety years in such favourable conditions of the fish.

Koi fishes which are maintained by the amateur fish handlers have the shortest life expectancy period among the same species kept in different conditions. Such fishes have a life projection of about five to seven years.

On the other hand, Koi fishes taken care of by experienced and talented handlers have a long life. They are expected to live for anywhere between twenty to thirty years. However, with a change in the handler, this period can increase or decrease accordingly.

Why Does Koi Fish Live So Long?

The average life expectancy period of koi fishes depends on a wide gamut of factors. These include the quality of the water fishes are stored in, food available to them and the threats faced by them. However, all these categories can be majorly categorised on the broad plank of habitat.

When Koi fishes are left in their natural habitat, that is considered as the best place for their long-term well-being. The quality of water is the best with a good pH level and a nutritional value best suited for the survival of fishes. This helps the Koi fishes leaving in their natural habitat to last for longer periods than fishes of man-made habitats.

In contrast to that, these fishes last shortest when they are kept with and supervised by amateur or incompetent fish handlers. In this case, there are deficiencies in the man-made environment which are made worse by the lack of any proper care being provided to them. This makes dishes staying in such an environment difficult.

Koi fishes who are kept with experienced fish keepers are expected to have a period longer than it would last with novice fish handlers. This is on account of the care being provided to the fishes which makes a considerable difference. Moreover, this care also helps to somewhat cover for the deficiency in the man-made environment.


Koi fishes typically can last for about half a century. However, when they are kept with an incompetent fish handler, they live for shorter periods. Although, they can live for about two to three decades when kept with experienced fish handlers.

Koi fishes live the longest when they are left undisturbed in their natural environments. Although, this decreases when they are kept with fish handlers in man-made environments.


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