Pronounced kar-rah-soo, this variety of koi gets its name from its black colouring. Almost completely black, this fish from the kawarimono class may exhibit different colours on the ventral area, usually red, orange or yellow. The black colouring rarely fades over time and so you will always be able to savour the true beauty of this koi.
The Japanese believe that black koi bring good luck and that they are omens of prosperity. Black fish are believed to absorb any negative energy in the pond, improving the health of the other koi. So, although black is often seen as menacing or the harbinger of death, with koi, there are positive connotations. The colour can also be seen as seductive, elegant and powerful.
The origins of Karasu
The Karasu has been bred to be black. When and how they first came into being is a matter of some debate. Some enthusiasts claim that Karasu have been around for many years, while others are sure that they were a post-World War II development that occurred due to nuclear fallout! Opinions are certainly divided but it doesn't really matter how this wonderful fish evolved. All you really need to know is that it can be either wagoi (with scales) or doitsu (scaleless), and it comes in both types of finnage, butterfly and regular.
Some koi keepers don't understand why anyone would be interested in keeping a karasu. They wonder why a keeper would pay top dollar for a fish that you hardly ever see, especially if your pond happens to have a black liner! Then there is the fact that they are so plain. Others, however, are fascinated by the elegance of this koi and its enigmatic nature. Karasu koi dart in and out of view and when the sun reflects of the black, the fish can be truly spectacular.
In recent years, the karasu koi has become an increasingly popular choice with more and more keepers learning to treasure the unique qualities and refined simplicity of the variety. Karasu provide a wonderful contrast to the more colourful fish in the pond and are worthy additions to any koi collection.
What to look for in a karasu koi
You won't be surprised to learn that it is the quality of the black colouring which is particularly important in karasu. The black should be deep, vibrant and free of blemishes. Imperfections are immediately obvious against the black background and detract from the value of a specimen.
Karasu fins should not be torn or ripped and should have no colour at the tips. Any colour on the belly of the fish should be minimal and the area around the eyes must be black.
The benefits of karasu
This mesmerising variety tend to be easy going fish and monochromatic specimens always lend interest to a pond. A karasu will be a talking point amongst your guests and it's impossible not to enjoy the wonderful contrast that they bring to any collection.