Hi Utsuri koi fish hiding beneath lilly pads

In the digital age, you can buy koi fish almost anywhere. eBay, websites—domestic or international (reputable and not so much), and yes, the are even koi fish on Craigslist (where in some instances, you can get them for free).

If you keep an eye on it as summer wears on, the posts advertising koi fish on Craigslist start to become more frequent. “Koi fish? On Craigslist? Really? Why?” you might ask. Those that have had a positive experience (or are desperate to find homes for koi they don’t want or can’t keep) might respond with: “why not?”

Why Koi On Craigslist?

It could be any number of reasons for selling/giving away koi on Craigslist. Someone could have bought a house that came with a pond where the previous owners left the fish. They might have given it a shot for a while and didn’t like the “hassle,” or simply didn’t want the headache of caring for them at all.

As most koi owners know, tastes in koi will change. And when they do, they will need to make room for new arrivals. So these perfectly healthy koi are free to a good home. Or what they hope will be a good home. Because as little as the “buyer” knows about the seller, the opposite is true, too.

Image of Koi Fish on Craigslist post
Image of Koi Fish on Craigslist post

Some koi may have followed nature down her path, and owners now have baby koi that are not so baby anymore. So there’s the question of “what do I do with the offspring?”

It could even be a retailer casting a wide net. And of course, there are always the opportunists that view Craigslist as an easy spot to make a little money by selling something.

Here is one particular post:

Unfortunately my koi pond is way too small for the amount of koi fish I own. I have approximately 60 koi fish, ranging from 5″ ($13/each) to 18″+ (240/each). There are all sorts of colored fish (black/ yellow, orange/white, red/white, orange, white)

So you know what they look like, how big they are and how much they cost, but nothing about their condition. With sixty fish, perhaps one of the first questions is how big is the tank? What type of filtration? Number of water changes? Water parameters? Have you checked for parasites? These are a few questions that pop into mind.

Questions for Craigslist Koi

So what are the questions you should be armed with before heading down to see your potential new pond inhabitants (because it is strongly recommended that you go and see them first, even if the seller is willing to ship—however unlikely that is)?

  • Where did you get the fish?
  • How long have you had the fish?
  • Have you ever had to treat for parasites?
  • Have you noticed any other health issues?
  • What do you feed them?
  • How often do you feed them?
  • Do you perform routine water changes?
  • How often do you check water quality?

These questions will help to paint a better picture of how the koi have been treated as well as what condition you can expect them to be in. Also, by going to see the facilities, you will be able to do a little detective work as to water condition, filtration type, the size of the facility and condition of the koi.

Some Other Musings and Suggestions

It’s Craigslist. A pinch of salt is healthy when entering into any transaction or on-site pick up. And more salt might be required in your quarantine tank before you introduce any koi you get from the seller into your pond or tank. If they are being given away, assuming the worst when it comes to the koi’s health is probably a healthy attitude to adopt.

That is not to say that Craigslist koi will all be parasite- or disease-infested. But, again, it is Craigslist. On the flip side of that, however, Craigslist always has a few diamonds—or in this case Living Jewels—in the rough waiting to be found. Just make sure you know what you are getting. And quarantine them anyway.

A Craigslist koi can also be a great and inexpensive way for a beginner that lives in the same area to get into the hobby (or lifestyle when they get hooked!).

Of course, you could always go for the more hassle-free approach, and contact Next Day Koi. Our extensive selection of koi fish for sale range from AAA to economy and come from reputable koi suppliers. All of our koi go through a rigorous 14-day quarantine process before they are made available for sale and are shipped at some of the best rates in the industry.

9 responses

    1. Sorry, there is no one available to speak with you on the phone. All of the fish that we have available for sale are listed on our website. Please email us with any questions you may have and someone will respond promptly.

    2. This post was from a long time ago, but my father in law has 24″ plus koi for sale in Oakley mi if you’re interested please email me for more details

  1. Dana M Kim :

    I was interested in buying some new koi. What is shipping or do you pick up? What are prices for smaller koi?
    Thank you

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