Wild-cross Koi Project Update

Wild-cross Koi Project Update

We occasionally get requests from people who would like to see an update on a project.  Wild-cross projects tend to be some that are most often asked about.  I should do these updates more often.  It’s not the writing that gets me. It’s the photography. I used to think that I would love it. Just give me a high quality camera, which I have, and I will really enjoy taking all sorts of photos. I guess that’s not the case. Apparently I just don’t have the patience for it. Probably sounds strange coming from someone who has been raising angelfish for 40 years, but if the pictures don’t look as good as the subject I will work at it for a while then I hear that little voice in my head saying “Well, enough of that”. I just got done wasting an hour on some angels that didn’t want to cooperate, so… I’m going to do the update and go with what I got. Fortunately I got a few decent shots the other day so they aren’t all bad : )

You may remember that we took a large wild Peruvian Scalare male and bred it to a high quality veil Koi female.
All wild crosses are interesting and unique. Body shape, color, and temperament make each cross well worth the effort, however, the F1 generation creates a somewhat bland looking silver gold marble ghost. The Gold Marble gene from the Koi is co-dominant with a bit of marbling showing through, but not much color. The stripeless gene that creates the blushing trait tends to break up the bars on the wild silver. Fortunately, the Peruvian genes add a lot of subtle color and speckling to help keep them interesting.

From here we went in two directions. The first pairing was made with two F1 fish from the original cross. The siblings used to create the pair are pictured below.

This pair produced 27 different types fry ranging from 50% wild type to 50% wild Koi superveil. I decided to keep only the Koi and Blue Koi. Both varieties grew out as expected, with the Koi showing orange crowns and the Blue Koi a dull gray.

Next we did a back-cross using the same 50% wild from the above F1 pair and a nice orange Koi from the HR line. We selected two pairs. Both looked very similar.
Pair 1 Orange male Koi veil x f-1 50% wild Koi cross female
Pair 2 Orange female Koi veil x f-1 50% wild Koi cross male


These pairs both produced 12 different types of fry. Again I kept only the Koi and Blue Koi. These results were however nothing like what we expected!  The pairs just above produced the biggest advances in color by far. The results of similar wild crosses, made years ago, never came close to these in terms of orange coverage. I would generally expect to back-cross at least one or two more generations to get these results. The photo below compares a solid 25%-wild Koi on the left (F1 backcrossed to our best Koi), to a 50%-wild Koi on the right which came from one of the above F1 pairs.  Both fish retain the very nice finnage and body shape but only the back-cross (25% wild)  inherited the ability to produce complete orange coverage.

The Blue Koi (Gm/+ S/S)were the big surprise. A number of them don’t really qualify as blue koi. They are very different. Rather than the typical iridescent bluish gray color, they have a strong underlay of orange that shows through the gray creating a very unique fish. We will know more when we see the offspring that these fish create when crossed back to orange koi one more generation. We’re looking forward to that.



If you want to purchase some of these 25% Wild offspring, you can at this page.




  1. Oops, I don’t have premiums. I have the select HR koi line paired with the wild crosses. I assume that could make a difference with my questions on genetics.

  2. Thanks Steve, Just a bit of an update. Due to the massive size of this fish, I assumed it was a male. I tried pairing it up with a standard fin premium female with no luck. I figured I would humor myself and throw in a known standard fin premium male I purchased at the same time as a Nickel sized juvenile. He has grown quite rapidly since November,and they have been together now for four days. They immediately started cleaning their slate and are now “practicing” going up and down the slate. I wouldn’t be surprised if I find a spawn on the slate in the next day or two! I recently purchased another large 25% wild cross koi (standard fin) along with a couple more premiums, and am more than happy to discover that she is also a female. I have the perfect veil premium male to pair her up with. Although I only have seven fish to work with, I am extremely impressed with 6 of them (6 out of 7 is not bad!), and cant wait to pair them off and see what happens. No worries about number 7, you refunded me with no problem. I’m also fairly certain that I ended up with three pairs out of seven fish, and consider myself pretty lucky. Two pairs consist of a wild cross female and a premium male, and one pair will be a premium koi x premium koi. Both pairs consist of a standard fin and a veil. After a long hiatus from fish keeping, I’m certain I have the bug again. I’m currently funding my newfound hobby by selling the albino bristlenose fry that are the result of the longfin/standard pair I bought from you a few months ago. In fact, I have to separate them periodically just to reduce the number of fry they are producing! This is fun! I have never purchased fish through the mail until I stumbled across your site. I’ve also never owned angelfish of such high quality, and therefore never thought about breeding them. I think they are even brighter orange now than they were when I received them. I have done a little research on angelfish genetics recently, and I am a little curious about the expected types of fry I that will result from a pairing of one of these 25% wild cross koi to your premium koi. The current pair is minimally marked with black and I am guessing both may carry only one gold marble gene each. Does this mean they could produce sunsets? Also any chances of pearlscales or albinos? If I’m not mistaken, I thought I read somewhere that the wild cross koi line contained some pearlscales and albinos somewhere down the line ( I can’t remember if pearlscale and albino are dominate or recessive at the moment). It appears that I’m going to have to sell more bristlenose fry very soon, in order to buy a few spawn rearing kits! Thanks again.

    • Andy, one of the most common errors is for people to think you can look at a fish and determine the genetics and therefore the phenotypes that will appear in their offspring. It’s actually the reverse that is true. You look at the offspring (it might take several different outcrosses) to determine the color genetics of the pair. We can guess what will appear, but we cannot know for certain. In my view, the necessary test crosses to determine a pair’s color genetics are a waste of time and I don’t do it. If you are into color genetics research then it’s useful. We don’t do that here.

      • I cant thank you enough for these fish! I bought several of your select koi and wild cross koi. I ended up with a superb pair. The female is one of your standard fin 25% wild-cross koi, and the male is a standard fin select koi. They have been producing like crazy. My first spawn was on March 17 of this year and the offspring from the first spawn are already huge, and I have had many spawns since. I have paid off the original fish I bought from you and then some. They are producing a fair amount of offspring with significant orange in their caudal fin (maybe 15% of them, and every single one of them has at least 90 % orange coverage, and i’m not exaggerating). I cant wait to pair one of these females with a nice veil select male I purchased from you at nickel size that has also developed about 30% orange in his caudal fin. He is really nice, huge straight fins and about 95% orange on the body and a significant amount in all of his fins, and a nice round, high body. Anyway, thanks for all of your hard work. You make it easy. All I did was put two of them I liked together! The koi I have raised from this pair are really cool. They seem to have a lot of bright blue edges and highlights on their fins (perhaps from the wild genetics), lots of iridescence, and lots of crazy bright orange concentric patches embedded in the extra blue in their dorsal fins. They really are cool. So far I have kept 30 of the brightest orange ones with orange in their caudal fin, and I’m trying real hard not to keep more. Its hard to not keep them all. I have all of them in a display tank right now, and its pretty impressive. Most people in my neck of the woods have never seen angelfish like this, and it sort of stops them in their tracks. Your spawn rearing kits are foolproof, your brine shrimp eggs have a significantly better hatch rate, and hatch earlier, and the custom sponge filters allow me to raise a ton of fry along with frequent water changes in a relatively small space. Thanks again.

  3. I purchased a 25% wild veiled koi, and its an impressive fish! It’s as beautiful as the the three select koi I ordered along with it. Perfect fins, and I believe a bit of white makes for a nice contrast in koi angels.

    • Hi Andy, personally I prefer all wild-cross fish to their domestic counterpart. I’m more attracted to perfect body and fin shape than I am to color. Perfect shapes are almost impossible to obtain on most domestic lines of ornamental angelfish. This is the reason we cross wild fish into our domestic lines on a regular basis. Good luck with the fish.


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