Tips for feeding your koi

Keeping koi has gained in popularity not only because they are beautiful, but also because they are extremely adaptable and quite hardy. Koi are typically very healthy fish with a fairly strong immune system. What you feed your koi is essential in keeping them strong and healthy. Koi are omnivores, meaning they will consume both plant and animal matter with their preference running towards larvae and aquatic insects. They are also natural bottom-feeders. However, if you’d like to encourage them to come to the surface to feed, floating pellets lay on top of the water and they allow fish to easily eat in order to get the nutrients they need. This also gives you an opportunity to estimate their overall feeding levels in order to prevent fish tank build up and excess organic waste. Koi are pretty easy to feed as long as you understand some basic facts.

Types of food

First off, koi food is expensive. With that said you need to experiment which food is right for your budget and the condition of your koi. Keep in mind, the highest quality of food for your koi may not be the highest price. Most prices for koi food are based on the popular name brand and not the quality of nutrients in the food. There are three top name brand koi foods. Dainichi offers a high quality of koi food that encapsulates their food with vitamins and minerals after going through the cooking process so that nutrients aren’t lost through the heating. One of the most popular name brand food is Hikari. They have been in business for over 100 years and use the freshest ingredients for their koi supply. One of their most popular products is the multi-season food which eliminates the need of changing food seasonally. Sakura koi food is another brand name that features high levels of Vitamin E which is important for a shiny and healthy appearance and for fish scale health. The important thing to note is these are not the only quality koi foods on the market. Microbe-Lift, TetraPond, PondCare and Blackwater are several other quality brands that are just as popular with koi owners and may fit your budget better.

Sinking koi food

If you have a fish that for whatever reason cannot or will not come to the surface for feeding, you can provide them with a slow sinking fish food to ensure they get the nutrition they need. There are several medicated sinking foods available by various brand names. However, if you have a fish that isn’t sick but is new to the pond and is still acclimating or perhaps one that has a kinked spine and has difficulty getting to the surface to feed, one of the best slow sinking foods I have found is offered by Aquatic Eco-Systems. The caution in using any sinking fish food is to watch for leftover waste. If the fish are not eating it, it will stay at the bottom and rot and is more difficult to remove.

Low temperature feeding

During the cooler months, it is best to feed your koi a low protein, high-carbohydrate diet for when the water temperature is between 50 and 70 degrees. When your koi consumes an easily digestible food, it reduces their waste which means less of a detriment to your pond’s environment. When the temperatures start to warm up, give your koi extra protein for growth since their fat reserves have been reduced during the winter.

Feeding amounts

If you find leftovers in the pond, try to remove them immediately to avoid water quality problems. You should never give your koi more food than they can eat within a five minute period of time otherwise the food will sink to the bottom of their water and decompose therefore creating lots of organic waste.

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This is not a good thing since water quality is the number one factor in koi health. If you find leftovers, try to remove them immediately to avoid water quality problems. Excess Koi food won’t necessarily harm your fish, but if they over eat they don’t digest it as efficiently and simply release it into the pond as a waste product. This extra waste pollutes the water and causes your filter to work harder. If you can, use a feeding ring when you feed your koi. This will reduce the amount of food that gets pulled into the filter and wasted.

Pond plants

Anyone who has kept koi know they love to nibble on pond plants. They can provide vital nutrients for your koi as well as being an attractive feature in any pond. If you want to keep your koi away from your plants, be sure to place the plants in a floating basket.

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If the plant is submersible like a water lily, place some larger rocks over the roots to keep the koi from digging into the root base and dislodging the plant. A number of fish stores will sell or even give away frogbit to pond owners. This is an invasive floating plant that will take over a pond without fish in it. Koi love to eat frogbit, however, and they will keep it from taking over your pond.

Overall, the best way to find out the food that is best for your koi fish is to research and compare products. You will never know if you don’t educate yourself. After learning the proper way to care for your koi fish they are sure to live a long and productive life.