Is It Okay To Put Butterfly Koi In Aquarium?

  • #1
My understanding is that they're smaller than regular koi, so maybe it should be fine? Provided that I have a big tank 150+ gallons
  • #2
Butterfly koi don’t get the body size of some of the other koi. They can still get to be thirty inches or more. It truly depends on what you want in this one fifty. How much filtration you’re willing to provide. While they’re beautiful, I just wouldn't tank a koi. Now, if you had a pond in mind for it to go to once it became too big for your tank, you could get a baby and enjoy it for a while. Short while. They grow fast.
  • #3
Consider ponds with a viewing glass window. Best of both worlds!
  • #4
I would agree that 150 gallons is an uncommonly large aquarium for most people; however, it is also commonly accepted that koi should never be in home aquariums due to their size potential.

Having said that, I mean, if you're going to keep koi at home in an aquarium , 150 gallons would be a pretty fair place to do it. IF you chose to go that route, I would keep several things in mind:

1- You will need PLENTY of filtration. I mean PLENTY. Not just "Oh I need a decent filter" etc- because koi and goldfish are very dirty, waste-producing dudes and dudettes. Bringing me to 2

2- You will need to be very sparing in the amount of fish you actually keep -- bordering on a couple.

I have a newer 60 gallon setup. When I was a kid, I had a bunch of both tropical and goldfish aquariums, several at a time in a few cases. Several 20, 25, and even 30 gallon sizes. Back then, all I wanted was something really big. 25 years later, I get a 60 gallon, thinking it's huge, and of course, after a few days, it's not so big.

I put a pair of goldfish from a local pet shop (that I really DO NOT like, but whenever I go I feel compelled to do SOMETHING, since they keep their fishes in these tiny tanks and in what I think are terrible conditions... so I actually left, went home, and then said, "I am going back and getting one or two of those fish, at least I can 'rescue' SOME) -- a Sarasa Comet and a 'common' Fantail. They seemed to love their new home and did very well. A week or two later, I found out there was a noted koi farm around the corner from my new house, which also breeds several types of amazing quality goldfish (in addition to show-winning koi with $100 babies and $500, catfish-sized koi in an in-ground-swimming-pool-turned-pond-oasis, among 20 other ponds of various breeds of koi and goldfish) ... I really only wanted ONE more fish, but the owner was ahem extremely reluctant to sell me only one fish (I believe she considered it a waste of her time, but used the excuse that the fish needs a friend for it's new home) -- so I wound up with a pair of (amazing) shubunkins to go with my comet and fantail. Already, they're getting bigger and producing copious wastes and my 60-gallon tank doesn't seem so spacious anymore. Add in a necessary dwarf rubberlip pleco (Since I was having a terrible algae problem) and now I am pretty much boxed in ... I cannot really add any more fish because they will all grow, and eventually I'll be in a position where I have good, beautiful, amazing fish needing a bigger home. Will I have $1,000+ for an outdoor pond? Doubtful. Sometimes I think I should have just gone with a pond to begin with, but that is a road not taken.

So in conclusion here- I admit it's a tempting thought to have koi in a 150-gallon aquarium. It's probably possible if you only have a few of them and over-equip the tank and are very diligent. Not necessarily recommended in the least but probably possible.

I will say, 150-gallons would allow you to have 5-10 beautiful goldfish of various kinds and they'll live for a long time with plenty of room with plenty of space, room for many many plants, decorations etc. And not to brag but my 4 goldfish are extremely beautiful IMHO, not at all secondary to koi in my humble opinion, I am sure you could do similar.
  • #5
while they don't get as large as regular koi, they still get pretty big. 150 gallons would still be a bit cramped once it grows bigger.

also depends on the tank dimensions. something like a 24" X 60" X 24" 150 gallon could work for 2 or 3.
  • #6
They can still get massive. The biggest koi I remember seeing was a butterfly, actually. Here are a couple pics of a butterfly among non-butterfly koi. All these fish are less than six-years-old, but at least 30”. One of the biggest, if not largest, is the orange-colored butterfly on the top left corner. It was even larger than the chagoi, which are known for getting big. Pictures don’t do them justice, especially their girth. These pictures were taken by me at a koi importer and distributor, and the owner showed the fish to me after I, more or less, said that I didn’t like the look of butterflies and thought that they stayed relatively small. They all came from Japan.


  • #7
Just wanted to throw this out there-

a Koi Farm right near my house. I had no idea it existed until recently. Apparently they are quite famous in the show Koi scene and have an *amazing* setup -- 30 different koi ponds at least! Plus several different goldfish ponds. AND THEN they have an entire in-ground pool converted into a pond for their championship, massive, famous Koi.

This is how big koi can get. And she has an entire in-ground pool FULL of them. They look like striped bass! This is just one of them she apparently posed with. I saw them live, up close, and it was amazing, they were HUGE.

So this is why people say, you can't have koi in an indoor aquarium. They get big and live a long time.

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