How To Obtain Rare Koi In Zen Koi

Credit: LandShark Games
Credit: LandShark Games /

Even if you just pick up Zen Koi for a relaxing swim among beautiful fish, you’ll inadvertently find yourself yearning for rare koi patterns. Here’s how to get them.

Zen Koi may be the most relaxing mobile game in existence. You control a koi in a small pond inhabited by tiny, edible organisms and soothing flower petals. You can swim around and eat your prey, which allows you to level up, increase your swim speed and agility, and eventually upgrade the pond to include bigger snacks. Once you grow big enough, other koi will visit with which you can mate and produce more baby koi in different patterns.

While all that sounds like a somewhat complex system, the majority of the game is just you, controlling a koi in a quaint pond, swimming around to relaxing music. No matter how casually you try to play Zen Koi, it’s inevitable that you’ll find yourself eventually wondering how to get more Sutato koi in those rare colors like blue and pink. Or perhaps you’ve seen screenshots of other patterns and want to acquire them for your collection without spending real life money.

Never fear. If you’re the type who likes to min/max while you relax, here’s how to acquire rare koi and fill out your collection in Zen Koi:

Spend pearls on slots, not new koi.

Pearls are scarce in Zen Koi if you’re not willing to pay money for them. You can obtain several pearls per day by watching advertisements (which may break your relaxation up, but the ads aren’t too painful), and occasionally a pearl will appear inside one of the water lilies in the pond. Though it’s tempting to use those pearls on special koi from the shop, save those pearls for more slots to keep koi, and worry about getting the shop koi once the rest of your collection is complete.

Keep an empty koi slot.

At first, you won’t want to release your koi, but trust me–it’s okay. Any koi you’ve collected once before can be recreated with pearls later in the game if you want that specific color again. The koi you keep should be the one you’re raising to Dragon level at the moment, plus any rare colors or new patterns you’ve run across that you want to breed later. Every koi you hatch will be added to your collection the moment it’s born, so keep an empty slot to turn over koi patterns to fill out your collection.

Zen Koi
Landshark Games /

Always breed, always hatch eggs.

When a koi visits your pond to mate with your koi, always indulge it, even if it’s not a color you’re interested in. For one, they tend to hang around for awhile if you deliberately try to avoid them, so getting them in and out quickly will make room for other koi colors to visit (make sure to tap and hold the nose of the visiting koi for a better chance of following it close enough to breed). Especially earlier in the game, chances are there’s at least one color combination available from the two parents that you don’t have in your collection yet, making it worth it to try for the desired colors. If you don’t get what you want, simply release the new koi as soon as it is born. Filling out your collection is important–you won’t get visiting koi with new patterns until you collect enough unique koi with your current patterns, so don’t ignore the common Sutatos early in the game.

Max your koi’s levels one at a time.

Ascending a koi all the way to Dragon level has its perks. For one, you gain a Dragon Point, which unlocks access to Collector’s koi patterns the more you gain. You also earn a Pearl for every Dragon you ascend. But the most advantageous perk is that the koi is removed from your koi list, making room for more. Just be sure before you ascend your dragon that it’s not the only koi you have of that pattern or color unless you’ve completed that section of your collection. You can’t raise a koi any further or use it in the pond once it has ascended.

Zen Koi
Landshark Games /

Level speed and agility over rarity.

While rarity sounds like the intuitive choice for those looking for rare koi, it’s actually not advantageous to max that stat until you’ve maxed agility and speed. Agility and speed improve your ability to grow your koi overall and make it to the final pond, at which point you can take as much time as you want to max rarity and swim around breeding before you ascend. I recommend boosting speed to four or so right away so you can catch some of the speedy early prey, then balance that with agility, then keep them even until they are maxed. Higher stats on parents mean better stats on children, so rushing your koi through the early levels produces better outcomes later on. Plus, all rarity seems to do is increase the chance that rare koi will visit your pond, and those chances are reasonably good already if you play frequently enough.

A few other notes on prey:

  • Pufferfish can only be caught if you approach them directly from behind. It’s helpful to control your koi manually for these guys instead of just tapping on the prey.
  • The little blue fish in the first pond are speedy, so gobble up some greens to level up before you try for blues.
  • Rockfish require several nibbles to consume. You’ll see a few scales fall off each time. When all scales are gone, they can be eaten.
  • Don’t just stick to one area of the pond. Water lilies will continue to open up as you revisit areas, and they may contain pearls, gems, or temporary speed/agility boosts.
  • The double-ended prey in the last pond gives the most experience.
  • Red petals slow you down while white petals hide prey and can be used to remove the green, sticky creatures.

Follow these tips and you’ll have a pond full of rare koi in no time!