Black and White Koi Fish

A Koi Pond Can Include Many Different Colors of Beautiful Fish

A variety of Butterfly Koi with different colors
A Variety of Koi Fish - One is Black and White

When most people think of a Koi fish, they likely picture some patterns of white and bright orange. These Koi carp may be the most common types, but they certainly are not the only ones.

Several varieties of Koi show off their unique patterns of black and white. These dalmatian-like fish are true beauties to behold, making them well worth a deeper look. 

If you’re someone looking to own fish or just a Koi enthusiast, the black and white Koi varieties are great to get to know. Read on to find out more about these Japanese Koi fish. 

Photo of Black and White Koi - one is a different color
Shiny Metallic White and Black Koi

Koi History

The history of the Koi fish dates back as far as 2,000 years. Every Koi bloodline can trace back to the Common Carp, which was a very prevalent fish in Eurasia. 

The carp was transported and transitioned to Japan, which has remained prevalent for the last 1,000 years. Due to early fish farming and a small gene pool, Koi mutations naturally began occurring that caused the fish to have beautiful colored patterns and varieties. 

Over the years, it became a popular hobby to breed Koi as a domestic garden pond fish and discover new, vibrant color combinations. Today, the fish is a popular habitant of pools, ponds, and gardens. Serious hobbyists even breed Koi for competitions where their coloring and patterns are professionally judged. 

The most common breed of Koi is the Kohaku Koi, which is the white and red fish we often see in ponds and as pets today. Though, there are several other colors to explore, including many black and white breeds.

Black and White Koi Fish
Koi Fish with Black and White Scale Patterns

Black and White Koi Fish Varieties

As we mentioned above, the black and white Koi fish is not a breed but rather a characterization that includes several different species. We can learn a bit about each breed. 

Shiro Utsuri

Shiro Utsuri Koi are black Koi that boast bright white patterns across their entire body. Their black color is like no other. They are a deep, inky hue splattered from head to tailfin. 

There are many different varieties within the Shiro Utsuri family, including Gin Rin Shiro, Doitsu Shiro Utsuri, and Gin Shiro Utsuri. All of these fish have black and white colorings.

Gin Matsuba

The Matsuba Koi fish is a highly unique creature. While it has a solid white base, its scales display a special metallic coating that looks like solid silver. On the top of this fish is a black Koi net pattern unlike any other.

While the Gin Matsuba is black and white, other variations of this breed have different base colors like red and yellow. 

Photo of a variety of koi - some with black markings
One type of Koi is Black and White but most of them have black markings and other colors.


If you’re looking for a genuinely fascinating specimen, look no further than the Kumonryu. This Koi is a scaleless fish with a combination of white and black - though some are grey and black. 

Their black markings are essentially patternless, but their scaleless skin gives them a translucent appearance. 

These fish are exceptionally unique, as they can change their patterns several times during their lifespan. 


Commonly referred to as the metallic version of the Kumonryu mentioned above, the Kikokuryu is another scaleless fish that displays black and white shades.

Rows of black markings accompany the white base of this Koi down its back. The fish also has black markings on its head. The patterns of this fish give it the appearance of a skeleton.

It has white fins, but overall, this Koi is very dark and sinister-looking. 

Lifespan & General Care

The average lifespan of any type of Koi fish is 25 to 35 years. 

Of course, a Koi’s lifespan depends on two factors: how well they are cared for and whether they’re Japanese or domestic breeds. 

Unfortunately, inexperienced Koi owners are more likely to see an age range of just 3 to 5 years due to a lack of experience and knowledge.

Additionally, domestic Koi fish have an average lifespan of only 15 years, while Japanese Koi fish can live between 40 and 60 years. 

Phot of a black and white koi
Most Koi have two colors - Such as this one, which has a white base and black marks.

General Care

Of course, if you want to get the most extended lifespan out of your Black and White Koi, it’s essential to follow some general care instructions. 

All Koi fish are omnivores, so there is a wide range of foods that they can eat. Most commonly, Koi owners feed their fish enriched Koi fish pellets that contain the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients they need.

Additionally, Koi owners will feed their fish:

  • Algae
  • Larvae 
  • Shrimp 
  • Peas 
  • Lettuce
  • Watermelon

Koi fish are very active, social animals. They love to explore their habitat, dig in the mud, and flip their tail over the water. They do exceptionally well in groups of 5 to 15 fish. 

A Koi fish needs plenty of space, and it can grow to be 24 to 36 inches long. They’re more than happy to share their tank space with species like goldfish, catfish, minnows, and sunfish as well.  

Frank Salvatore

In 2015 our family moved into a house south of Denver, Colorado with a  koi pond.  Since that time I've learned to really enjoy the koi fish and the pond. This blog is dedicated to providing helpful hints and information for koi pond hobbyists - as well as those of you who just inherited a koi pond and are thinking NOW WHAT?

About Me

Hey there - I'm Frank Salvatore. In 2015 our family moved into a house south of Denver, Colorado that had a Koi pond. The problem was I knew absolutely NOTHING about koi ponds.

This blog is dedicated to providing helpful hints and information for koi pond hobbyists - as well as those of you who just inherited a koi pond and are thinking NOW WHAT?
Learn More About Me

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