April 19

Sarah Robertson

What Is Matsuba Koi?

Koi are a type of fish that is often kept in ponds and aquariums. They are known for their vibrant colors and patterns, and there are many different varieties of koi available. One of the most popular types of koi is the matsuba koi.

Matsuba koi are solid, metallic-hued koi with a black netting or "pine cone" design on their bodies. Matsuba can have a variety of body colors, but the yellow, red, white, and black koi pattern is the most common one.

They are frequently kept in ponds and aquariums. The beautiful markings of Doitsu matsuba koi make them a popular choice among fish enthusiasts. They're tough fish that can survive in a variety of water temperatures.

Origin of Matsuba Koi 

It is very important to know about the origin of koi fish before discussing Matsuba Koi, the variant. Kois are said to have come from China and been introduced to Japan in the 1800s. The Japanese selectively bred koi for their coloration and patterns, and the fish quickly became popular in Japan. They were raised as ornamental fish and were given great care and attention.

Matsuba Koi is a result of Japanese selective breeding. They were bred for their black pinecone markings, which are the most common type of Matsuba Koi. The fish originated in Japan and have become popular all over the world. Matsuba Koi are hardy and thrive in a variety of water conditions, making them a popular choice for fish enthusiasts.


Matsuba koi have a solid, metallic color with a netting or "pine cone" black pattern on the body. The base color of Matsuba can vary. They can come in a variety of colors, However, white, yellow, orange, red, and black patterns are the most common. They have a black dorsal fin and a white ventral fin.

How Can You Distinguish a Male From a Female Matsuba?

Sexing your matsuba koi is much easier when they’re mature and over 12 inches or so, but it can still be done with some accuracy before then. There are 3 main indicators of sex in matsuba koi. They are:-

Fin Shape and Color 

Male matsuba koi have smaller, more pointed fins that are typically transparent. Female matsuba, on the other hand, have larger, rounded fins that are either partially or fully translucent or even see-through.

Body Shape

The second method to determine whether a matsuba is male or female is by looking at its body form. Male matsuba are somewhat longer and thinner in build, while females are wider to accommodate the eggs.

This causes them to have a blimp-like form, which is commonly associated with higher-end matsuba koi. The width of the body is the most significant reason why female matsuba koi are more frequently exhibited than male ones since it displays the patterns and color better.


Females are significantly larger than males. This is due to the historical breeding techniques employed in Japan, according to experts. Breeders would expose each female to a variety of male breeders in order to maximize genetic diversity and protect the females.

As a result, bigger females were paired with smaller males to balance and protect them. Over the years, this choice for smaller, slower-growing males and larger females has caused the entire variety to lean in that direction, an unexpected consequence of selective breeding.


How big do Matsuba koi get? This is a frequent question among Matsuba koi fans. A Matsuba koi's average length, when kept in ideal circumstances, is 24 inches, including the tail. In captivity, Matsuba koi can develop up to 18-20 inches long, with some growing considerably larger.

What Is the Average Lifespan of a Matsuba Koi?

The average lifespan of a Matsuba koi fish is 20-25 years. However, some have been known to live for over 30 years. This is due to the fact that Matsuba koi are a hardy breed and can withstand a variety of water temperatures and conditions.

Types of Matsuba Koi 

Over a hundred years breeders have developed a unique way to turn a certain fish species into a true work of art. One such fish is the matsuba koi.

Matsuba koi can add a bit of flair to any garden pond. There are many different color varieties of matsuba koi, and each has its own unique set of characteristics. Some common types of matsuba koi include:-

Gin Matsuba

Gin matsuba are metallic koi with silver color or white color with black body markings. They are one of the most popular types of matsuba koi. They have a white head and a white base color with a black dorsal fin and a white ventral fin.

The scales end at the shoulder, forming a beautiful curve that is very symmetrical. Each scale has a lovely reticulation effect thanks to the prominent black markings that can be seen on each scale.

In short, his type of Koi has a solid metallic-white base, a metallic sheen, a gleam, and luster on its entire body. That is where the Gin part of its name comes from.

Ki Matsuba

This variety of koi fish has a yellow pattern with a pinecone marking that is black. The Doitsu Ki Matsuba is one of the most common types of matsuba koi. They have a black dorsal fin and a white ventral fin similar to the Gin Matsuba. However, their body is mostly yellow with black markings. The scales are edged in black, and the markings on the body are sharply contrasted against the yellow base color.

Aka Matsuba

Aka matsuba koi are nonmetallic red koi with dark pinecone scale reticulation and of Asagi lineage. They are one of the most popular types of matsuba koi. Sometimes they may also have an orange color or orange pattern which some people call orenjii matsuba. However, they are just Aka matsuba that change color due to variation in water temperature.

The Aka Matsuba has a black dorsal fin and a white ventral fin similar to the Gin Matsuba and the Ki Matsuba. Among the three, they are the darkest in color. Aka matsuba koi has black scale patterns, and the body markings are sharply outlined against the red base color.

How to Care for Matsuba Koi 

Matsuba koi is one of the most beautiful and unique types of fish that can be found in garden ponds. As with any other type of fish, it is important to know how to properly care for matsuba koi in order to keep them healthy and looking their best.

The first step in caring for matsuba koi is to provide them with a good environment. This means setting up a pond that is big enough to accommodate them and ensuring that the water is clean and clear.

The Matsuba requires cold water temperatures between 36 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit, with a pH of 6.8 to 7.2, in order to thrive. Your koi pond should always be at least 1,000 gallons and three inches deep.

Tank Decor 

Matsuba koi can be housed in either a traditional aquarium or a koi pond. If you have a pond, make sure to include an efficient filtration system and plenty of plants for them to conceal themselves.

Adding aquatic plants to your pond may offer you both beauty and seclusion for your Koi during the mating season. The water lotus and water lily are two popular species that people add to koi ponds.

Another fantastic feature of your pond is adding a variety of different aquatic species or the same species of fish in different colors. When selecting koi, be sure to choose a variety of colors as well as shapes and sizes to create a beautiful landscape.

Matsuba Koi Diet & Nutrition

Koi species in general have no teeth in their circular mouths, making it difficult for them to bite or tear. Instead, they have lips that are more suited for sucking in food. Matsuba koi like any other koi species are omnivorous, which means that they will eat both plants and animals. They will eat pretty much anything they can fit in their mouths.

In the wild, Matsuba fish consume insects, crustaceans, and other small aquatic animals. They can be fed a range of different foods in captivity, including pellets, flake food, freeze-dried bloodworms, tubifex worms, and brine shrimp. Apart from these options, they may also be given the following:

  • Algae
  • Silkworm pupae
  • Bloodworms
  • Earthworms
  • Mosquito Larvae
  • Tadpoles
  • Duckweed
  • Hyacinths

How Much Do Koi Fish Eat? 

It is important to keep a close eye on the diet of your matsuba koi in order to ensure that they are getting the proper nutrients. While underfeeding can stunt their growth, overfeeding can lead to problems such as bloating, constipation, and swim bladder disorder.

Be sure to only feed your koi what they can consume in five minutes or less and remove any uneaten food from the pond or aquarium. The ideal diet for matsuba koi is composed of 32 to 36% protein and 3 to 9% fat.

You should also make sure that any feed given to koi has a low phosphorus content. Excess phosphorus in a pond ecosystem will promote unchecked algae growth, resulting in additional health issues for koi and other fish species.

What does Do Koi Fish eat in the Different Seasons?

Matsuba Koi don't have a built-in mechanism to keep their body temperature constant. As a result, the weather in which they live has an impact on their feeding habits from year to year.

In the summer, when the water temperature is between 71°F and 85°F, a high-protein diet is advised since they will be more active. Furthermore, koi eat three times a day on average, with a maximum of four meals.

When the water temperature is between 41°F and 60°F, a carb-based diet of wheat germ is suggested since long-term energy and conservation are more essential during the cooler winter months.

When the temperature drops below 40°F, koi go into a state of hibernation known as torpor. Torpor lowers their metabolism and slows down their bodily functions, which helps them survive in climates where the temperature gets below freezing during the winter.

Breeding & Spawning Matsuba Koi

The breeding process of Matsuba koi is similar to that of other koi species. It can be a lot of fun but is a time-consuming process. It is critical to choose koi that have the physical characteristics you desire in your offspring. To improve the number of koi eggs that hatch and survive their early weeks, keep the pond clean and free of predators.

Choosing the Breeding Pair

  • Breed only the healthiest and strongest matsuba koi in your pond
    This is the first and foremost rule of breeding matsuba koi. Only healthy and strong fish should be used for breeding as they will be more likely to survive the process. Choosing unhealthy or weak matsuba koi fish to breed can result in the death of the parents and their offspring.
  • Choose Matsuba that are at least 3 years old
    Matsuba koi do not become sexually mature until they are about three years old. To improve their chances of breeding and producing high-quality offspring, wait till they are three years old. When matsuba are three years old, they are typically 10 inches (25 cm) long.
  • Identify at least 1 male and 1 female to stay in the mating pond
    Male and female matsuba koi are often difficult to tell apart. However, the males may generate tiny white bumps on their pectoral fins and heads during mating season. Also, it is easy to spot males once they start breeding as they will chase the females around the pond. Remove any matsuba from the pond that you don't want to breed; otherwise, you'll end up with extra koi.
  • Select matsuba koi that reflect the characteristics you want in your offspring
    This is the most important step in breeding matsuba koi. In order to produce offspring with the desired physical characteristics, you must select parents that reflect those features. For example, if you are looking for a bigger matsuba, then you would select a mating pair of matsuba koi that are larger in size.

Breeding Tank Setup and Matsuba Conditioning

  • Breed matsuba koi in late spring or early summer
    It is critical to be prepared for the possibility that matsuba koi might produce up to 1 million eggs. Koi breed in late spring and early summer when the water temperature is around 20 degrees C / 68 degrees F. The water must be clean and well-oxygenated with a pH of 7.0 to 8.5
  • Use a filtration system to keep the water clean
    A clean pond is essential for the health of your matsuba koi and their offspring. If your pond is particularly dirty or filled with algae, you may need to completely clean it out before beginning the breeding process. Keep the water in your pond clean with a specialized matsuba koi pond filtration system during the breeding season. They may be costly, but they are critical for reproduction.
  • Use a skimmer net to remove any debris or predators from the water
    Before breeding matsuba koi, make sure to install a high-quality skimmer net in your pond as it is a must-have for any koi breeder. The main purpose of the skimmer net is to collect debris from the water or predators that might eat your matsuba koi eggs or fry.
  • Feed your matsuba koi 4 times per day while you are trying to breed them
    This is a critical step in breeding matsuba koi. In order to produce healthy eggs, the parents must be well-fed. Feed your koi a high-quality diet four times per day during the breeding process. matsuba Koi are omnivores and will eat a wide range of foods. Flake food, pellets, and bloodworms are all excellent options. Protein supplements may be purchased from a pet fish shop to help your koi grow bigger and stronger during the breeding season.
  • Place a fry mat in the pond.
    This is a smooth and sticky mat that allows the koi to deposit their eggs. If a matsuba koi can't find somewhere to lay its eggs, it won't always mate. The mat should be placed in an obvious location at the bottom of the pond.
  • Prepare a separate tank for the adult Matsuba koi fish
    If you want to breed a lot of koi, be sure to get rid of the adult fish before laying your eggs. Ensure that the tank is clean and has a filter system before attempting this procedure.

Spawning Process 

Female Matsuba will appear swollen around their stomach before spawning. This is an indication that the eggs within her have reached the right size for fertilization. The male matsuba will now look slimmer and may have large pectoral fins.

The male matsuba will become highly aggressive during the mating season, and he'll start expressing interest by pursuing the female matsuba around the pond and smashing into them repeatedly, attempting to fertilize her eggs. Once the female has released her eggs, the male will shoot them with his sperm.

A flock spawning may result in thousands of eggs and fry based on the number of sexually mature fish in the flock, as well as the health and fertility of the fish. Adult fish will eat many of the eggs, so precautions should be taken to ensure the majority of eggs will survive.

Caring for Young Matsuba Koi 

  • Make sure that the water quality in the fry tank is good. The water in the fry tank must be clean and well-oxygenated at all times. Use a filtration system to keep the water clean.
  • When the egg-laying is done, remove the spawning brush mat from the rearing tank and insert it into the nursery tank.
  • Make sure the tank where you're going to put the eggs has a clean ammonia level. The protein in the eggs and milt cause ammonia levels to rise if left unchecked. On a daily basis, you may reduce the ammonia level by changing only part of the water.
  • To create a mild water current, place the airstone in the aquarium. When you set up the airstone, make careful to turn off the filtration equipment.
  • Koi Fish fry feed on their yolk for up to 24 hours after hatching. Fry will consume microscopic algae and protozoa in the water for their first 2-3 weeks. After that, start feeding fry food 3 times a day.
  • After 10 days, feed the newborn koi powdered koi pellets. Using a blender or mortar and pestle, finely powder the koi pellets. Sprinkle the powder over the pond. Fill a basin with enough powder to last the fish for approximately 5 minutes. Feed your koi four times per day. Continue to feed the baby koi powdered food until they are four weeks old.
  • Increase the size of the food for 1-month-old koi. Start feeding tiny crumb pieces to 4-week-old koi. The pellets will still need to be crushed, but they no longer have to be finely powdered.
  • Remove any sick koi fish that is weak or injured. Identify the koi that are tiny, have physical impairments, or aren't the color patterns you want. Koi can be culled at any age; however, it's preferable to wait until their patterns become apparent before deciding whether or not to keep them.


What Size Is the Baby Matsuba Koi Offspring Initially? 

The baby matsuba koi offspring will measure 1/4 inch or less when they first hatch.

What Temperature Should Matsuba Koi Eggs Be Kept at?

Ensure that your matsuba koi egg development tank has ideal conditions. The water pH should be neutral or somewhat basic (7.0 – 7.5), and the water should be heavily oxygenated. To ensure that the matsuba eggs can hatch, keep the temperature of your aquarium at 68–71 degrees Fahrenheit (20–21.6 degrees Celsius).

What Is Best to Use to Keep Algae Out of My Pond? 

Algae-eaters, such as otocinclus catfish, are one option. Live plants will also remove some of the nutrients required by algae to flourish.

How Do I Know When My Matsuba Koi Is Ready to Breed?

Prior to spawning the female fish will appear swollen around the abdominal area. Make certain you put a net over the breeding tank since once the matsuba koi begin breeding, the process will become aggressive and violent, and you don't want your koi to end up on the floor.

How to Tell a Male and Female Matsuba Koi Apart? 

It's not difficult to determine a matsuba koi's gender. Male koi are somewhat lean and have thin fins. Their colors are vivid. Female koi are heavier and have less vibrant hues.

How Do You Know if Matsuba Koi Eggs Are Fertilized?

Fertilized matsuba koi eggs look like little beads with small dots on them, which are either clear or very light brown in color. Here's a video of fertilized koi fish egg 46 hours after fertilization. White and fuzzy koi eggs that were not fertilized will become white and fuzzy.

Do Koi Eggs Need Aeration? 

Yes, aerate the water with an air stone to provide oxygen to the eggs. Maintain a temperature of 68 and 71 degrees Fahrenheit. Physical deformities can occur as a result of extreme temperatures. The matsuba eggs will hatch after approximately five days.

How Long Does a Matsuba Koi Fish Stay Pregnant? 

They don't give live birth, and the eggs are fertilized outside of the body, so there aren't any baby matsuba koi in your fish regardless. Before she's ready to shed her eggs, though, your koi will appear swollen and pregnant for a few days.

Is It Hard to Breed Matsuba Koi Fish?

It's easy to see why matsuba koi fish are popular pets and why they're such attractive specimens. matsuba Koi fish may be entertaining and beneficial to breed, but the process can take time. You must provide your koi with the proper setting in order for them to reproduce.

A clean pond is essential for the health of both the matsuba koi and their offspring. You may also improve your chances of koi breeding by feeding them throughout the month leading up to the mating. Wholemeal bread, oranges, and whole lettuce are excellent nutritional foods to try. It's also a good idea to provide your fish with a fry mat.

Matsuba Koi Face- Is It Possible to Mistake a Human for This Fish?

You've probably seen a photo of this fish or one that's comparable to it on the internet. Some individuals believe that it has what appears to be a humanlike face. However, the face of the Matsuba koi is merely a result of its unique features and isn't meant to resemble a human. They have big, beautiful eyes and a protruding mouth that give the fish its characteristic look.


So, what is a matsuba koi? They are attractive Japanese pond fish that make excellent pets. These colorful fish are simple to look after if you have a little patience and some fundamental knowledge of their demands. Even though they are very expensive koi fish, they are loved and praised by many as they are known to add beauty to any pond or aquarium.

The price of matsuba koi fish is determined by considering their color variations, pattern shape, and pattern type. There are many varieties of matsuba koi fish such as Gin matsuba which is a metallic white-based fish with a silver sheen, Aka matsuba which is a redfish with black markings, and Ki matsuba which has a beautiful golden yellow body pattern.

As the popularity of these gorgeous fish grows, breeding them has gotten easier, allowing more people to appreciate the exquisite beauty of these amazing creatures. However, there are several variables to consider while breeding matsuba koi, including water temperature, egg aeration, and proper nutrition. If you treat your matsuba koi properly, they can be a great companion and source of delight for years to come.

Sarah Robertson

I am a passionate blogger who also happens to be a fish keeping enthusiast. Writing about my hobby is something that I absolutely love to do, and it's no secret that my chosen topic is always centered around fish keeping.

Sarah Robertson

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