Can you eat Koi fish?

In this short article, we will provide an answer to the question, “Can you eat Koi fish?” with an in-depth analysis of Koi fish, some characteristics of Koi fish, the nutritional composition of Koi fish and the health benefits of eating koi fish. 

Can you eat Koi fish?

Yes, you can eat koi fish, but you may not want to. Koi fish reside in the freshwater and mostly all freshwater fish are safe to consume but it is most likely that you can not bear the taste and the smell of the koi fish. For this one reason, you can rarely find it on menus or in restaurants in the form of fish taco recipes or curry dishes.

What is a Koi fish?

Koi fish, scientifically known as Cyprinus rubrofuscus, is a very common pet variety for indoor and outdoor fishponds all over the world for centuries.

Koi fish have an exceptional life span for a fish. They tend to live for approximately 70 years when kept as a pet. However, in nature, they have an average life span of around 30 to 40 years. Koi fish have a length of nearly 25 cm and a weight of 160 g.

Koi fish are extremely valued for their spiritual and cultural importance across different cultures, usually symbolizing peace, harmony, and prosperity. They are the descendants of the common carp, Cyprinus carpio. However, koi meat is not like the common carp, rather it is quite hard. 

Like all carps, koi fishes are bottom-feeders that feed upon a wide variety including algae, plants, crawfish, insects, and worms. They also feed upon aquatic grasses, giving these fishes easy existence where predators do not swarm.

They tolerate low levels of oxygen well, which allow them to dominate the food chain in standing waters where other species simply can not survive. They can also inhale air directly from the surface, providing them with a huge edge over other fishes.

Koi fishes are residents of temperate waters, they prefer temperature ranges between 59 °F to 77 °F. Under 50 °F, their immune system starts to suffer, making them more prone to diseases and parasitic infections. They can often survive beneath the ice provided that water is available. 

Koi fish spend most of their life span in standing and shallow water, so there is a possibility of bacterial infection from consuming raw koi fish. So, if you desire to eat koi fish, then you have to cook it thoroughly with adequate heat. In addition, koi fish sometimes may be given chemicals for breeding colourful and attractive varieties that can be dangerous to the human body. 

Other characteristics of Koi Fish

Koi fish are grouped into three groups depending on the feature they possess

Based on colours- Koi fish has a variety of colours ranging from red, yellow, blue, black and cream.

Based on Patterns- Koi fish have their whole bodies covered with different patterns such as stripes and spots on various fishes.

Based on Scales- Koi fish are identified by how the scales on their bodies lie; the scales are either laid backwards, forward or straight on the fish’s body.

The nutritional composition of Koi fish

Koi fish are rich in essential amino acids, making them a beneficial source of protein. The nutritional breakdown of Koi fish is as follows:

  • Calories 130.46 kcal
  • Protein: 16.97 g
  • Total Fat:  6.98 g
  • Saturated Fat: 4.23 g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 1.80 g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.95 g
  • Calcium: 248.37 mg
  • Phosphorus 161.15 mg
  • Sodium 236.24 mg
  • Potassium 180.34 mg
  • Iron: 2.80 mg
  • Manganese: 0.73 mg
  • Zinc: 1.12 mg
  • Selenium: 0.35 mg
  • Vitamin A 93.90 IU
  • Vitamin D 43.12 IU
  • Vitamin E 1.27 IU
  • Vitamin K 1.15 mcg
  • Water 68.00 g
  • Ash 05.33 g

Health benefits of eating Koi fish 

Consumption of koi fish have certain health benefits:

Helps in repairing muscles

Koi fish are rich in proteins. It is essential for building and repairing muscles and tissues, as well as it serves as the building block for many enzymes, hormones, and other molecules. 

Aids in weight loss

The protein content in Koi fish also aids in weight loss as it makes you feel full for longer.

Helps to improve heart health

Koi fish is enriched with Vitamin B12, which is great for heart health. It also helps in treating problems like anaemia


In this short article, we have provided an answer to the question, “Can you eat Koi fish?” with an in-depth analysis of Koi fish, the nutritional composition of Koi fish and the health benefits of eating koi fish. 


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.