matsuba koi

Matsuba koi Discover the Enigmatic Matsuba Koi: A Unique and Resilient Beauty

matsuba koi

Are you familiar with the Matsuba koi? This stunning variety of koi fish has a unique and eye-catching appearance that makes it stand out among the other types of koi. Its distinct pattern of black pinecone-like scales on its back is a sight to behold. But, did you know that there’s more to the Matsuba koi than just its striking appearance?

In this in-depth and well-researched blog post, we’ll delve deeper into the world of Matsuba koi and uncover the mystery of its unique appearance and characteristics.

Let’s start with the basics: what is a Matsuba koi? Matsuba, which means “pinecone” in Japanese, is a type of koi that has black scales arranged in a pinecone-like pattern on its back. These black scales can vary in size and shape, giving each Matsuba koi a distinct and individual appearance.

But, what makes the Matsuba koi so unique? It’s not just its appearance, but also its hardiness and resilience. Matsuba koi are known for their ability to thrive in colder temperatures, making them a popular choice for koi enthusiasts in regions with colder climates. They also have a reputation for being more resistant to diseases compared to other koi varieties.

In addition to their hardiness, Matsuba koi are also known for their fast growth rate. With proper care and feeding, Matsuba koi can grow at a rapid pace, sometimes reaching up to 18 inches in just a few years.

But, the Matsuba koi’s uniqueness doesn’t end there. In recent years, a new type of Matsuba koi has emerged: the Doitsu Matsuba koi. This variety has a smooth, scaleless body, except for the distinct pinecone-like scales on its back. The Doitsu Matsuba koi’s smooth body allows for a clearer view of the pinecone pattern, making it even more striking and captivating.

So, what’s the secret behind the Matsuba koi’s distinctive appearance and impressive characteristics? It all comes down to genetics. Matsuba koi are bred specifically to achieve this unique pattern of black scales on their back. Through selective breeding, koi breeders have been able to create a variety of Matsuba koi with different sizes, shapes, and patterns of scales.

In conclusion, the Matsuba koi is not just a beautiful fish, but also a resilient and hardy one. Its unique appearance and impressive characteristics have made it a favorite among koi enthusiasts around the world. Whether you’re a seasoned koi keeper or a newcomer to the hobby, the Matsuba koi is definitely a variety worth considering.

Learn more
Matsuba koi Ogon
Matt-scaled Matsuba are grouped in Kawarimono, but their metallic equivalents are benched Hikarimuji. The most commonly available are Kin Matsuba (metallic gold, first produced in 1960) and the Gin Matsuba, its silver equivalent.

Orenji Matsuba and Aka Matsuba Ogon are not often seen. The pinecone scalation must be pronounced; if the black is more of a gray, these koi look washed-out.

Beginners are often confused by the Doitsu Matsuba Ogon, as the scale reticulation is not present. Instead, the black, German scales are aligned in the usual position, where they contrast sharply with the metallic body.

Orange Doitsu Ogon, although rare, are particularly striking. They are also known as Mizuho (“Rice Ear”) Ogon.
Ogon are important fish in their own right, but have also been instrumental in the development of many other metallic koi varieties in Hikari Utsuri and Hikarimoyo.

MATSUBA (maht-sue-bah)
It is a one colored metallic koi with dark pigment on the scales.

This variety is in the Hikari Muji class and is considered one color regardless of the contrasting scales.

KIN MATSUBA are orange-red metallic skin, GIN MATSUBA are platinum based.


  • Aka Matsuba Red koi with dark scale reticulation

  • Doitsu-Koi with no scales other than enlarged scales along the lateral line and two lines running either side of the dorsal fin

  • Fuji -Metallic luster with tiny bubbles

  • Gin Matsuba – Metallic silver with pinecone scalation

  • Hi-Red

  • Higoi – Red koi

  • Hikarimoyo Class for all
    multicolored metallic koi except Utsuri and Showa

  • Hikarimuji-Class for single colored metallic koi

  • Hikari Utsuri – Class for metallic Utsuri and Showa

  • Kawarimono-Class for all nonmetallic koi not included in any other group

  • Kigoi Nonmetallic lemon-yellow koi

  • Kin-Gin-Rin/Gin-Rin
    Kol with highly reflective gold and/ or silver scales

  • Kin Matsuba Metallic gold koi with pinecone scalation
    Matsubagoi Koi with black patterns in the centers to scales giving a pinecone appearance

  • Mizuho (“Rice-ear”) Ogon ~ Another name for Orange Doitsu Ogon

  • Nezu (“Mouse”) Ogon Dull metallic, grayish silver koi

  • Ogon~
    Single-colored metallic koi

  • Orenji Orange

  • Platinum Ogon Metallic white koi (also known as Purachina)

  • Purachina Metallic white koi
    (also known as Platinum Ogon)

  • Shimi Undesirable individual dark brown or black scales on otherwise blemish-free areas of ground color

  • Yamabuki Ogon Yellow-gold Ogon

Different types of Matsuba koi

Koi Varieties – Aka Matsuba

aka matsuba koi
Aka matsuba
Aka Matsuba

Aka Matsuba, unlike Gin and Kin Matsuba, are nonmetallic koi and grouped in Kawarimono. It is rarely seen nowadays, but good examples have crimson scales with the typical “pinecone” dark reticulation. This variety can grow to a huge size.

Firstly, a fundamental criterion for assessing the quality of an Aka Matsuba koi lies in its base colour. Given that this koi variety is characterized by a single-coloured appearance, the base colour must exhibit perfection. Specifically, the red hue should possess a deep, dark shade that remains consistent throughout the entire body.

It is crucial to avoid any instances of missing scales, damage, or scars, as they become conspicuously evident on an Aka Matsuba. In terms of quality, the superiority of an Aka Matsuba increases with deeper and more consistent red colouration.

The most valuable specimens of this variety exhibit the darkest shade of red. Additionally, the fins, tail, and head should all showcase the captivating red colour, ideally extending to the very tips of the fins and tail.

Although lower-quality Aka Matsuba may exhibit visible stripes or patches lacking in colour on the fins or tail, these imperfections, while not ideal for this particular variety, can introduce intriguing patterns and garner appeal among certain koi enthusiasts.

When evaluating an Aka Matsuba koi, it is important to take into account the reticulation pattern, specifically focusing on the color and uniformity. Reticulated scales refer to scales that exhibit a gradient effect, with a lighter hue at the base transitioning to a darker shade at the top of each scale.

The quality of reticulation is enhanced when the hue contrast between the tint and the scale and skin color is particularly pronounced. For instance, in the case of an Aka Matsuba koi, characterized by deep red scales and skin, an ideal reticulation color would be a dark grey or black, resulting in a striking contrast between the red and the black. This, in turn, accentuates the net pattern or pinecone effect, creating a visually prominent feature on the body of an Aka Matsuba koi.

As previously stated, it is essential that the reticulation of the koi’s coloration adheres to either a dark grey or black shade. Ideally, each individual scale should exhibit a gradual transition from grey to a deep, dark black, with a preference for darker shading at the top of each scale.

Consistency in color is of utmost importance, whereby every scale must possess uniform light and dark hues, as well as an identical gradient effect. Any deviation from this standard, whether it be variances in shades within the reticulation pattern or the actual positioning of the scales, will be readily noticeable and considered a significant flaw in this particular koi variety. In fact, when evaluating any reticulated koi, the primary emphasis lies on achieving consistency, with each scale showcasing uniform shades and patterns.

The Aka Matsuba variety represents a striking fish that stands out primarily due to the simplicity of its pattern. A flawless Aka Matsuba specimen can often surpass the appeal of many other more intricate koi varieties, exemplifying the extensive range of koi fish and ensuring that there is a koi suitable for every individual preference.

Orange (Orenji) Ogo Matsuba koi


For those who like their Hikarimuji full-on, the Orange (Orenji) Ogon is the fish to buy. Looming up from the depths of the pond, it makes an instant impact upon visitors. Stunted pectoral fins, a common Ogon fault, are not a problem in this fine example.

The slight “pinecone” effect on these scales is not true Matsuba patterning, but is caused by variations in the thickness of the reflective pigment.

Rare Kin Matsuba

rare kin hi matsuba koi fish
A rather rare Kin Hi Matsuba. This example is spoiled by dark nostrils and eye patches, but the pinecone scalation is even and well-defined. Most would consider this a two-colored koi, but not, apparently, the Japanese.

A rather rare Kin Hi Matsuba. This example is spoiled by dark nostrils and eye patches, but the pinecone scalation is even and well-defined. Most would consider this a two-colored koi, but not, apparently, the Japanese.

gin matsuba koi

Gin Matsuba have a white base color

kin matsuba koi

kin matsuba

Kin Matsuba (literally ‘golden pine needles,’ for individual, glittering scales appearing like raised markings)”, and “Gin Matsuba

aka matsuba koi

Matsuba koi Discover the Enigmatic Matsuba Koi: A Unique and Resilient Beauty 1

Aka Matsuba are a red Koi with a black net pattern

doitsu gin matsuba koi

doitsu gin matsuba

matsuba koi human face

matsuba koi human face

doitsu ki matsuba koi

Matsuba koi Discover the Enigmatic Matsuba Koi: A Unique and Resilient Beauty 2

ki matsuba koi butterfly

ki matsuba koi butterfly

orenji matsuba koi

doitsu blue matsuba koi

muted orange matsuba koi

ki matsuba koi

types of doitsu ki matsuba koi fish Some of the most common types of Matsuba koi include the Aka Matsuba with red and black patterns, Gin Matsuba with black and white patterns, Ki Matsuba – the yellow and black koi, Orenji Matsuba with orange and black pattern

hi matsuba koi

matsuba koi hikarimuji

blue matsuba koi

red matsuba koi

tan matsuba koi

matsuba koi yellow and white,

gin matsuba koi meaning

, yellow matsuba koi

, gin rin matsuba koi

, white and orange matsuba koi

, matsuba koi tattoo

, matsuba koi wiki

, matsuba koi butterfly

, doitsu matsuba koi

, about ki matsuba koi fish

, muted yellow matsuba koi

type of doitsu ki matsuba koi fish

matsuba koi variety

matsuba koi farm

white matsuba koi

white matsuba koi matsuba koi

Gin Matsuba have a white base color

Matsuba koi frequently ask question

how to breed matsuba koi same with other koi variety do not crossbreed it will ruin the strain

Check out also koi fish facts

learn more about different types of koi






Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.