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The Most Important Decision

When Buying Koi Is

Who and Where

They Come From… Period!

Blackwater Creek Grades of Koi

Judging Koi is a subjective matter, and grading Koi is as well. Throughout history, Koi varieties, patterns and even colors have improved tremendously. Because of this, there are no specific rules that are applied, across the board, when grading Koi. Here are the "Grades" of Koi we produce.

The larger the fish, the better the quality.

Here's a great example. When the first Gin Rin (sparkly) scales were seen in Koi, the value of the fish was equal to the number of these sparkly scales. One scale equaled 100 yen back then (this would equate to about $3.00 in today's money).

In the present day, a Gin Rin (sparkly) scaled Koi is considered good quality only of it has at least two full rows of theses scales. 

We grade our Koi using our own in house standards. Standards which are based on decades of knowledge gained through hands on training in Japan and Blackwater’s own production of tens of millions of Koi throughout the years. With this in mind, our Premium Koi grade is the highest grade sold in quantity.

Premium Grade is typically comprised of less than 5% of the Koi harvest. These fish represent the highest grade of fish produced at Blackwater Creek. They contain all the qualities possessed in the imported varieties including great conformation, color, and pattern. Our premium fish always place well at the various Koi shows throughout the country.

We have produced many varieties in this “Premium” category; Bekko, Matsuba, Showa, Chagoi (the friendly ones), Soragoi, Karasu (black crow), Shusui, Asagi, Hariwake, Goshiki, Sanke, Kohaku, Matsukawabakke (our specialty), Kikokuryu, Ochiba (falling leaves), Goromo, Shiro Utsuri, Kin Ki Utsuri, Hi Utsuri, Kumonryu, Kikusui, Platinum Ogon, Kin Showa, Yamatonishiki, Hesei Nishiki, Hikari Moyo, Kawarigoi Mix, and many, many Gin Rin, and Doitsu varieties.




Select Grade make up approximately 25% of the Koi harvest. This grade of Koi are our mid-grade Nishikigoi. These fish have recognizable colors and patterns that allow easy identification of variety.

We produce many varieties of Koi Fish in this grade;  Bekko, Matsuba, Showa, Chagoi (the friendly ones), Soragoi, Karasu (black crow), Shusui, Asagi, Hariwake, Goshiki, Sanke, Kohaku, Matsukawabakke (our specialty), Kikokuryu, Ochiba (falling leaves), Goromo, Shiro Utsuri, Kin Ki Utsuri, Hi Utsuri, Kumonryu, Kikusui, Platinum Ogon, Kin Showa, Yamatonishiki, Hesei Nishiki, Hikari Moyo, Kawarigoi Mix, and many, many Gin Rin, and Doitsu varieties.





Decorative Grade which represent 50% of the Koi harvest. Our Decorative grade Koi fish are a great mix of colors, patterns, and varieties. These “starter” fish make wonderful additions to any pond or retail sales system. They are considered decorative because the patterns are mixed and the colors mixed as well. These fish are the most common fish out of any given spawning group. As with all fish produced at Blackwater Creek, the parent stock used were from direct Japanese bloodlines. These fish are great for getting introduced to Koi Fish without spending much money.





Whichever Koi grade you choose, you can be sure they are hand selected by an experienced crew that will provide Koi you or your customers will love. Our Koi are priced based on the difficulty of production and the rarity of certain individual fish.

If you are interested in purchasing some of the best fish we produce, they are sometimes offered in our “Wow” fish section. If you would like to see good examples of certain Koi varieties we produce, check out our Koi varieties pages. Wholesale quantities of these grades are offered to established retail businesses. 

Premium Grade Koi Logo Select Grade Koi Logo Decorative Grade Koi Logo

We offer 3 grades of Koi for sale after culling and grow out in the Koi mud ponds.