It’s fish feeding time again! After a long winter, your pond will be thawed out and the water temperature will begin to rise. You may have been advised not to feed your fish once the temperature dropped below 50 degrees but now that spring is here, your koi will become more active and look for their favorite dining fare.
With so many options available, what’s the best food for your koi? Well, the answer depends on a few things, and here are some that can guide your choices.
Koi Are Omnivores
That means they’ll eat both plant and animal matter, including your pond plants! If you find those slippery rascals chowing down on your precious water lettuce then it may be time to rethink your feeding routine.
Just like humans, koi like variety. Some foods have fruit flavors, some fish flavors. And much like humans, not all koi have the same preferences. If you find your fish are picky eaters then test another type and flavor.
Koi enjoy commercially prepared foods and treats but they do also need some fresh food so it’s not uncommon for them to continue munching on your pond plants. You can also provide some fresh food in their diet – human food, that is – including lettuce and oranges.
Koi have Different Nutritional Requirements At Different Times Of The Year
In cooler months when you’re feeding fish less frequently, food should be higher in carbohydrates.
But in the summer months when your koi are more active, their metabolisms will increase and they’ll need food with a higher protein content. You can feed them increasing amounts of protein as temperatures rise, from about 25% when temperatures are below 50 degrees, to 35-40% protein as they climb through they 80s.
During cool months you also want to feed your fish less frequently or not at all when the temperature drops too low. In the summer you can feed them several times per day. But be careful! Koi actually have no stomachs so what goes in quickly comes out. That means if you overfeed, you’ll end up with cloudy water that isn’t as healthy for your fish and doesn’t look so great in your back yard, either.
Different Foods Provide Different Nutrients
As healthy as kale is, if that was all you ate you’d probably be nutritionally deficient. And a little ice cream one in a while won’t kill you!
The same is true for koi. A variety of food can provide a variety of nutrients that will help them grow and thrive.
As we mentioned, some foods are higher in protein than others. Some foods are designed to contain specific vitamins and minerals that can act as immune stimulants, probiotics, color enhancers and more. And some foods are a treat.
Be mindful that if you’re adding human food to your koi’s diet, consult with a professional for all the dos and don’ts. You may throw bread to the ducks but you don’t want to feed it to your fish. Nor should you give them pasta, dairy, sweets, meat or anything high in fat.
Consider Your Feeding Style
If you don’t have time to feed your fish or if you’re going to be away on vacation, you may want to consider and automatic feeder. You can set it to dispense the right amount of food automatically each day.
For an automatic feeder you’ll do well with bulk pellets.
For hand feeding, Aquascape’s Koi Krunchies are a particular favorite. They’re full of Vitamin C, which aids in proper tissue formation, disease resistance and digestion. Plus their cylindrical shape makes them ideal for holding out and watching as your fish nibble from your fingertips. If you’ve got kids who love to spend summers beside the pond, this is a great choice.
Some foods float; some sink. This is important to know because you should ensure that your fish know what to expect when being fed. If they consistently leave food floating, it can result again in cloudy and unhealthy water. You can actually train your fish to understand when to recognize that they are being fed and knowing the type of food you’re giving them will help you train them effectively.
If you need help choosing the best food for your koi, let us know. We stock Krunchies, bulk food and other varieties depending on your needs.