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Dec 27, 2010 - There are definite shape differences in adult koi based on the gender. However, those differences are not as apparent in the young fish.
During the breeding season, male koi show little white growths — tubercules — on their heads and pectoral fins, whereas females do not. These are not a sign of illness and will disappear once the fish have finished spawning. Female koi usually do become larger than males, although the method serves to help determine gender only for fish you know are same-age adults.
All koi carp are colorful, so you can’t distinguish gender by noting which has the more brilliant scales. Size in kois is more related to age than to gender, so size rarely helps determine sex. But a few visible physical differences exist between male and female koi fish. Unless you are breeding koi fish, you probably need to know the sex only in order to decide whether to call an individual Karen or Kevin. The older the fish, the easier the task should be.
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How Can You Tell The Age And Gender Of A Koi Fish
The opercula (the bony covering to the gill chamber) and head on the males become quite rough, like sandpaper. Male fish usually feel rough to the touch on their opercula (the bony covering to the gill chamber) and head, they can also have a slightly yellow tinge to the white skin on the head. You can run your hands gently over the cheeks and sides of the Koi and if it is male they will often feel rough to the touch, rather like sandpaper, and if it is female they will feel completely smooth. The roughness is caused by tubercles which grow along the sides of male Koi and which they use to stimulate the female fish to release her eggs when spawning.There's really no need for sexing koi fish unless you intend to breed them, or you nurse a preoccupation for assigning appropriate names by gender. Because there are so few visible differences between boys and girls, accurately sexing koi is tricky business. Even noted koi experts get it wrong sometimes. Sexing koi before they're fully mature is a shot in the dark at best.There are a lot of reasons to want to know the sex of your koi. It’s obviously very helpful in breeding, and a lot of koi owners are just curious or want gender-appropriate names. I personally tend to respect the privacy of my koi as an equal-opportunity Fish Overlord, but to each his or her own.Female koi are, in general, larger than their male counterparts. That aspect of their physiology is the result of selective breeding to protect the females when put in with groups of male koi. In other words, koi breeders would usually put one female with a group of males to create a more diverse gene pool. In order to protect the female fish from injury, they used larger females and smaller males, and those traits were passed on to their offspring.