7 Proven Steps

to designing, planning, & building an amazing pondless waterfall.

Steal our step-by-step pondless waterfall guide.

by Gregg Sawyer 

May 29, 2023

Koi fish breeding can be a rewarding pastime for fish enthusiasts who enjoy witnessing the miracle of life. It may also be an opportunity for entrepreneurs to make a living selling koi fry or mature fish. However, breeding koi requires careful planning, adequate resources, and a willingness to put in the work. In this guide, we'll offer tips to help you prepare for breeding season, choose the best koi for breeding, and increase your chances of success.

1. Selecting the Right Breeding Stock

Before starting your koi fish breeding journey, you need to choose the right breeding stock. Select healthy, mature koi that exhibit desirable characteristics such as vibrant colors, patterns, and body shape. Ensure that you choose koi of the same species to increase the probability of producing high-quality offspring. You can either purchase koi fish from a reputable breeder or select them from your own stock. After selecting the koi pair, prepare them for the breeding process. Feeding them a high-protein diet for several weeks before breeding can improve their fertility. Koi breeding often involves artificial spawning, where breeders induce the koi to release their eggs and sperm. Breeders typically use hormones to stimulate the breeding process, but natural spawning can also occur. Once the koi spawns, eggs should hatch within three to four days, and the fry will need to be fed with small food or live prey daily. Aeration and low lighting are beneficial for their development. 

2. Providing the Right Environment

Koi fish require the right environment to thrive in. The breeding pond should have adequate filtration, aeration, and water flow to maintain optimal water quality. The breeding pond should also have sufficient space for the koi fish to move around freely. Additionally, the temperature of the water should be closely monitored and maintained between 68-74°F. Maintaining a healthy breeding environment is critical. Remove any dead eggs or fry regularly using a siphon or net. Keep the water clean and well-oxygenated, and monitor the pH levels, temperature, and ammonia levels. Breeders must also be prepared to handle any potential issues, such as infertile eggs, weak fry, or diseases. Regular water changes and quarantine may be necessary to avoid contamination.

3. Understanding the Breeding Process

Koi fish breeding can either be done naturally or through artificial means. Naturally, male koi fish will chase and nudge the female until she is ready to spawn. The breeding process occurs during the spring and early summer when the water temperatures are warmer. If you choose to do artificial breeding, you must carefully observe the koi fish during the breeding process to ensure that the eggs and sperm are fertilized.

4. Hatching the Fry

After the breeding process, the fertilized eggs will hatch into fry in about three to seven days. The fry should be kept in a separate tank or pond with plenty of hiding spaces to prevent predators from consuming them. Feed the fry small amounts of food several times a day, as they have a fast metabolism. Over time, you can slowly increase the amount of food and frequency of feeding.

5. Growing and Raising the Koi

As the fry grow, you must regularly monitor their health and implement the necessary measures to prevent diseases, parasites, and infections. Gradually, you can introduce the koi fish into a larger pond with other koi fish to encourage socialization and growth. Depending on the quality of the offspring, you can choose to sell them, keep them as breeding stock, or enjoy them as a beautiful addition to your pond. 


Breeding koi fish is an exciting journey that requires dedication, patience, and research. By selecting the right breeding stock, providing the right environment, understanding the breeding process, hatching the fry, and growing and raising the koi, you can produce high-quality offspring that are beautiful and vibrant. Remember to be mindful of the koi's health and well-being, and you are well on your way to becoming a successful koi fish breeder. Happy Breeding!

About the author 

Gregg Sawyer

Gregg is founder/partner of Sawyer Waterscaping in Cheyenne, Wyoming. He built his first pond in his parent's backyard at age 12 and has had a passion for designing and construction natural waterscapes ever since.

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