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Transporting koi

Too often, Koi become ill after transport, and many things are blamed when the primary cause was a lack of understanding of the stressors involved at each step in the process. Every effort must be made to minimize stress each time the Koi are handled.

Transporting Koi involves an understanding of the ever-changing chemistry of the shipping water within the bag. For the convenience of the reader, some information in this article was duplicated from other topics on this web-site. Koi are moved many times in their lives. Breeders move fry to grow on ponds and between ponds for various reasons. The longer a Koi is kept by a breeder, the more times it is moved and handled. Eventually, the Koi is purchased by a dealer and shipped to the dealer’s facility, where it may be moved and handled many more times before it is ultimately purchased by a pond owner. The hobbyist/pond owner moves the Koi from a quarantine tank to the pond.

The hobbyist may also choose to transport their Koi to shows, to a veterinary surgeon, to exhibitions or seminars, or just between ponds. Transporting Koi correctly is more complicated than many realize, but understanding the different dynamics may assist in doing it safely because failure to transport Koi correctly will cause the Koi harm and even death. As a quick overview a list of golden rules were compiled to assist the reader. Explanations and motivations are also provided later on.

Netting/Bowling a koi

One of the essential skills that a koi keeper should master is the knowledge to properly net and bowl a koi. As explained in previous articles, handling a koi may be necessary for transporting, showing, treating injuries, health treatments or for closer inspection. If done incorrectly, it can injure or do irreparable harm to a fish.


The first rule is to handle a fish as little as possible because you need to limit the influence of gravity, protect the slime layer or cuticle and prevent split/broken fins and bruises. Never rush it, you need enough time to guide a fish and not to chace it around the pond! Many health problems in koi are caused by careless handling or netting.


Last Updated on Sunday, 22 January 2012 23:13


Showing your Koi

This article was posted on the South African Koi Industry Forum By Pieter De Villiers on 20 March 2007 and published here with his kind permission.


If your want to show your Koi, you need to transport them to the show and therefore you should take note of a few things before and during the show.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 05 May 2010 23:30


Equipment and supplies

This section will deal with the supplies and techniques that have been found to most effectively transport Koi.

Last Updated on Thursday, 27 November 2008 16:31



Physiological Response to stress
Fish are easily stressed by handling, grading and transporting. The major concerns in transporting Koi are the management of handling stress, mechanical shock, heat stress and water quality. Stress is typically not a single phenomenon and can vary in intensity. Stress can have a chemical cause or a physical cause. Just a perceived threat can also trigger a stress response. Koi display a wide variation in their physiological responses to stress, which is evident in the hormonal (adrenalin) and cortisol changes that occur following a stressful event. Adrenalin changes are typically an immediate response to stress and cause increases in cardiac output, blood sugar, respiration, oxygen uptake, and blood flow to the gills. Cortisol changes are typically a response to chronic stress and affect the Koi’s osmotic balance and metabolism. A single stressor may thus reduce the capacity of Koi to tolerate subsequent or additional stressors.

Last Updated on Thursday, 27 November 2008 16:29