Unlocking new koi patterns

The Koi patterns that you encounter in the pond are connected to the pattern of Koi that you’re swimming around.

So for the first pattern (Sutato), you will only encounter other Sutato Koi for the first 4 Sutato patterns you have in your collection. For every encounter after that, there’s a chance that you’ll encounter the next pattern up.

As you continue to collect more and more Sutato, the chance of encountering the next highest level increases (which can make collecting those last few in a set difficult).

So if you’re stuck, wondering why you can’t see any of the next level of Koi, then you need to collect a few more of your current pattern before a new pattern will be unlocked. This also means that you can’t really skip collecting a pattern (say if you didn’t like the pattern) since you’ll need to get at least 4 before the next pattern will become available.

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Tips for leveling and ascending fast

How can you speed up the time it takes to level-up your Koi, expand the pond and ascend?
Here’s a few suggestions…


  1. Spend your Ability Points on Agility and Speed at roughly 60:40 proportion, and leave Rarity at zero. Agility seems to be the most important attribute to increase your catch rate. Later with some of the faster prey, you’ll need your speed to be good too, but once you get agility to maximum, catching all prey is much easier.
  2. Swim vertically not side-to-side. Because your screen is longer vertically, you’ll have more time to react to catch prey – particularly for mobile devices. It also allows you to see further to line-up catching Puffer Fish.
  3. Every time you expand the pond, make a mental note of the prey types you need to catch. Keep this in your head and you’ll be more effective catching the right prey that you need. You can also rely on the “required prey” status at the top of the screen, to help you remember what you should be catching, and how many.
  4. If you uncover a power-up or gem, grab it right away. Don’t save it for later – who knows when you’ll be back to exactly this part of the pond. Power ups can help a lot in catching prey, so if you get a power-up, use it to the fullest in catching the hardest prey.
  5. Don’t forget other prey (but don’t go out of your way to catch them). If you’re searching for specific prey types, don’t completely ignore the non-essential prey that are near you. Even though other prey aren’t contributing to your immediate goal to expand the pond, they do give you experience and help you level up your stats, so grab them on-the-way.
  6. Ignore potential mates, if you’re not interested in breeding. Chasing a mate around will just cost you time if you already have those patterns and colors.
  7. For catching prey – try to get into a flow of catching one, to the next. Because of the momentum of the Koi, you can tap on a new target at the same time or just before you bump into the previous prey. This will increase your catch rate. In addition, go after prey that are directly in front of you, so you can keep your speed to the maximum. Everytime you turn sharply, your speed will drop so, focus on those prey that are in the direction you’re going.
  8. Different prey yield different experience points. Some, like the double-ended fish give you a lot of extra points, so it can be worth levelling a lot with the double-ended fish to speed up breeding opportunities. Every half-level, you’ll encounter a random mate, so if you want to breed faster, level-up faster.

Got a tip for levelling up? Post it in the comments!

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How should you spend your first 10 pearls

When the game starts for the first time, you will have 10 pearls that you can spend on some of the in-game items like speed and agility boosts, but I recommend spending the 10 on an additional Koi slot.

You have 8 egg slots, which you shouldn’t run out of quickly, but you will definitely run out of Koi slots – you might be breeding and ascending a few Koi, and suddenly you’ll hatch a rare pattern or color… and then you’ll need that extra space in your Koi slots to manage your collection.

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Eggs and the Egg List

So as mentioned in the page on breeding, after you breed with a mate, the resulting egg goes into your Egg List.

Here you have 8 available slots to hold your eggs until they’re ready (or you are) to hatch them into your pond. Eggs seem to take a different amount of time to be ready to hatch based on the patterns of their parents.

It’s important to keep the numbers of eggs in your list below maximum, because if you have the Egg List full, you will not be able to breed.

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Make sure you leave room in your Egg List!

If you have space available in your “My Koi” you can go ahead and hatch some of the ready eggs into your pond. When they hatch, you will discover what color and pattern they are, and that combination is immediately registered in your collection. After that, you can decide whether you want to trade, release or ascend them.

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Colors in Zen Koi are made up of combinations of Koi Base colour and pattern colour. the names of these seem to be inspired by Japanese colors, but combined to make new colour names.

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So for instance this Koi above has the base color of black (Kuro “くろ” in Japanese), and the pattern color of white (Shiro “しろ” in Japanese). These colour names are squished together to form “Kushiro”.

The Sutato part of the name refers to the pattern, which we’ll discuss on the patterns post.

You may wonder, what if this Koi had white base color with black pattern. In this case the color names are reversed “Shikuro”

There are 16 common color combinations:

White = Shiro (しろ)

White/White = Shishiro
White/Yellow = Shiniro
White/Red = Shidai
White/Black = Shikuro

Yellow = Kiiro (きいろ)

Yellow/White = Kishiro
Yellow/Yellow = Kiniro
Yellow/Red = Kidai
Yellow/Black = Kikuro

Red = Aka (あか)

Red/White = Akashiro
Red/Yellow = Akaniro
Red/Red = Akadai
Red/Black = Akakuro

Black = Kuro (くろ)

Black/White = Kushiro
Black/Yellow = Kuniro
Black/Red = Kudai
Black/Black = Kukuro

When you breed with another fish, the resulting offspring may have any combination of the parents’ base and pattern colors.
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So for this image above, you can see the potential offspring colors that are a combination of the base and pattern colors from the two parents.

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Breeding Basics

After gaining a few levels, you’ll encounter the message “Your Koi is now an adult and can breed.” This is the beginning of a major part of Zen Koi game, the breeding and collecting different kinds of Koi. Breeding can also be the most exciting part of an otherwise relaxing game.

Every now and then as you play, another adult Koi will swim near to you, a large circle will surround you two, and if you follow them closely, you will be able to breed with that Koi, and the resulting offspring will have characteristics of the two parents.

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In order to breed with another Koi, you will need to follow them closely until the circle timer is full. The other Koi may change direction, so you’ll have to closely follow to try to catch up.

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If you manage to complete the breeding, an egg will result, and you will be able to save it in your “egg slots” to hatch at a later date.

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Sometimes when you hatch an egg, the offspring will follow you around the pond for a while. It’s very cute.


Breeding tips and tricks:

  1. When the other Koi first come towards you, don’t swim towards them. Instead, pause until they reach you. Then they will swim off, and you can quickly follow.
  2. The breeding completion circle goes faster the closer you are to the other Koi, so swim close!
  3. If you lose sight of the other Koi, you may lose your chance to breed with them.
  4. Instead of tapping to follow, try press and hold to move during breeding – with your finger following the nose of the other Koi. This will get you closer and closer.
  5. You will always be able to move faster than the other Koi, but they may be more agile.

Got any breeding tips, please share them in the comments!

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Jellyfish are one of the first fish you’ll encounter in the game, they’re pretty slow, although they move in a pulsing pattern, so there will be times your Koi will miss them or overshoot. Not to worry, you should be able to catch up without too much problem.

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Angel Fish

Angel fish or Flying fish swim in bursts – so will slowly swim forward as they extend their wings, then burst forward in a rush. This can make them very frustrating to catch if your speed isn’t fast enough.

However usually by the time you get to catching Angel Fish, your Koi’s speed will be pretty fast, so you shouldn’t have as much difficulty catching them as Stone Fish or Puffer Fish.

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