Earlier this year, the Vancouver Aquarium became a temporary home to 13 colourful koi. The fish arrived in January in advance of renovations at the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden. Our facility and our animal care team’s expertise made us the perfect temporary caretaker. So when the Vancouver Board of Park and Recreation asked for our help, we just couldn’t say no to these stunning and beloved fish!

Koi are ornamental varieties of the common carp originating from Eastern Asia, and are most famous for their beautiful variation of colours and patterns. Although koi are relatively low maintenance pond fish, they still require some specific TLC and this is where our animal care team’s expertise came in.

The Vancouver Aquarium provided temporary care for 13 koi from the pond in Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden while it underwent restoration.

From acclimating them to their temporary home, to careful monitoring of the water temperature and the health of the fish, our team made sure the koi received top-notch care during their stay with us.

“We worked collaboratively with the Vancouver Park Board to transport the koi from the pond. One of the first things we had to do was make sure the water temperature in our pool was cold enough for the fish,” explained Lee Newman, curator of fishes at Vancouver Aquarium.

Some koi can grow up to three feet long.

The water temperature then had to be carefully monitored to make sure it didn’t warm up too quickly because if it did, pathogens – disease-causing organisms – could start to grow before the koi’s immune systems could keep up. The cooler temperature was also important because the koi were in hibernation during the winter months when they first arrived at the Aquarium.

Koi are sought after by hobbyists around the world because of their colour and pattern variations. There are koi competitions around the world to showcase the fish’s body formation and colours.

“Our animal care expertise is widely known and respected. We’re pleased that the Vancouver Park Board reached out and asked us to provide a temporary home for the koi,” said Dolf DeJong, general manager of the Vancouver Aquarium. “We are always happy to lend a helping hand ensuring proper care of animals, and it was our pleasure to have played a part in the restoration of the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden.”

The animal care team, in collaboration with the Vancouver Park Board, returned the koi to their newly renovated home at Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden.

The 13 koi returned to Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden this week. Lee and his team will continue to work with the Park Board to oversee the health of the koi and help them adjust to their new home in the Garden.

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