Kohaku koi fish caught by angler in a lake

I remember a movie I watched as a kid. It was called Alligator. A kid flushes a baby alligator into the sewer, the alligator eats lab rats, grows to ridiculous dimensions and starts eating kids in pools. Perhaps a little far fetched, but the cautionary tale has its merits as a lesson to acting without thinking about consequence.

Acting as positive environmental stewards, we should never release our koi into natural waterways, and should do everything we can within reason to prevent their escape.


Why Do People Release Koi

overcrowded koi in a pondThere can be any number of reasons that koi find their way into other waterways. In some instances it can be as a result of extreme environmental factors, like flooding. But ordinarily they are released on purpose. So, why then?


Many people don’t realize how large a well cared for koi can grow. Or how quickly. This is especially troublesome when koi are kept in a tank as opposed to a pond. They can very quickly outgrow their surroundings, and as such will need rehoming. And the closest and least time-consuming option is a nearby body of water.


It can also be a simple change of address. Without the capacity to take their pets with them, some owners will release their koi into the wild to get rid of them as quickly and easily as possible.

Lose Interest

Koi keeping, as rewarding as it can be, is more than just filling a bowl with food and changing the litter box once a week. It requires time, patience and energy to provide nishikigoi with a healthy environment. Some owners don’t realize what they are signing up for and decide that it just isn’t for them. Part of hanging it up, is getting rid of their koi. This means releasing them into the wild.

Alternatives to Release


There are resources available online (like this active Petco forum) that promote the rehoming of unwanted koi fish. Searching provides access to groups who will help to find another home for koi. Instead of opting to simply dump your koi and let them fend for themselves (with all of the environmental fallout that this can result in), look for Facebook groups and forums that will help you find a sympathetic and comfy pond near you.

Koi Rescue

Koi-rescue.com has facilities to help with koi adoption. Look and ask. You might find something similar near you.


Ask around. There is a good chance that someone you know might know someone that can help you. The koi community is a fairly large one and probably not more than six degrees of separation from being able to help you rehome your koi. They would much prefer seeing a koi find a good home than the bottom of a lake.

Koi Community

Not surprisingly, the koi community is an incredibly tight knit group. With the advent of the internet and social media, it has become even more so. If a fellow koi kichi is in distress or in need of advice, koi groups online are an amazingly receptive and helpful group of people. If they are not able to take your koi, there is a good chance that through their networks, they know someone near you that can.

Once koi are earmarked as a nuisance (like in Spain and Australia) government action usually follows. And the action is unilateral, affecting all regardless of their habits or situations. Please act responsibly.

3 responses

  1. I have friends in Maine they cant have koi .That stinks,anyone thinks Im getting rid of my koi they are out of their minds. There are a lot of us out there.I’ll fight! send me what you need.

  2. Donna Schmink :

    We need to fight this situation! Once they are on the list we are sunk. I hate this! My great niece waits for the day she can build a large koi pond and have koi. She will be so sad about this. Keep me updated I love your fish. I have fancy goldfish from you right now and they are outstanding!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *