Koi Feeding 101

What do I feed my koi?

Figuring out the right food to feed your fish can be a tricky task. Remember, unlike your fluffy pets, a fish’s metabolism is tied to the water temperature. Please keep in mind that this is different from the ambient (air) temperature! All pond owners should make sure they have a reliable thermometer in their pond.

Below 55 degrees F: Koi do not have a speedy enough metabolism to breakdown any food. It can sit in their stomachs and rot. DO NOT FEED – ANYTHING.

Between 55 and 65 degrees F: Koi need an easily digestible food, preferably one with a wheat germ base. Ultra Balance Maintenance feed is a good choice. Your pond needs to be between these temperatures for 5 hours minimum in order for your fish to completely digest their meal.

Above 65 degrees F: Koi can eat an all-season, higher protein food at these temperatures. However, they can stick with the wheat germ food in order to minimize their growth. Wheat germ can be an all-season alternative for those who want to keep their fish a bit smaller. All-season foods typically have higher protein, with some specialty diets promoting color enhancement. We recommend Ultra Balance Growth feed as a higher temperature diet.

How much do I feed my koi?

We get asked this question all the time. The simple answer is that there is no set measurable amount for fish feeding. We recommend the 5 minute method: Sprinkle a tiny bit of food into the pond for the fish and after they’ve eaten it all, sprinkle a bit more. Continue for 5 minutes, then stop. This will prevent excess food from ending up in your filtration and adding to your water quality woes.

When do I feed my koi?

For ponds without a lot of direct sunlight, it is best to feed your koi midday, around noon or 1pm, when your pond is warmest and your koi have a high metabolism.

For ponds with a lot of direct sunlight, it is best to feed in the morning or evening, when your pond is nice and warm, but not so warm where your fish do not want to eat.

Again, these recommendations are temperature dependent. Check your thermometer at least a few times a day and see when your pond reaches its peak and how high the peak goes. Some ponds reaching into the mid- to high-80s or higher may see fish that are not interested in eating.

What else can I feed my koi?

In addition to their regular, balanced diet, there are many snacks available to koi. Some like fruit, such as watermelon and oranges. Others like lettuce. Experiment with some healthy snacks before reaching for the dried krill candy. And, as always, ask us any questions you may have!

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