Koi Fish Feeding – The Complete Guide

It is well-known that choosing high-quality and fully nutritive meals for your fish will ensure the basic predisposition for them to grow healthy and to be more resistant to diseases and stress.

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And the same rule is valid if you keep your fish outdoors, not just in sealed tanks. Even though they get to enjoy a natural ambiance when kept in garden ponds and there will certainly be some tasty insects around, feeding your aquatic pets with great food is still a priority.

So, what do the kings of ponds, koi fish, eat? Here comes the complete guide on koi fish feeding.

What do Koi Fish Eat?

These living works of art are omnivorous, so they can basically feed on anything. From small fish and insects to algae and decomposing plant matter- you name it. Many times, they will stick towards the bottom of their ponds or wild habitats and happily collect all debris that they find interesting.

Koi fish are greatly adaptable when it comes to their food, but the best way of providing them absolutely all nutrients they require to thrive is by selecting high-quality commercial food as their core diet. And, obviously, you are more than welcome to add as many treats as you like, as long as you are not overfeeding them.

Best Commercial Food for Koi Fish

  1. Blue Ridge Fish Food is one of the top feeding choices among modern American keepers. They are specially designed for koi fish, getting the absolute maximum out of the nutrients and embedding them into a healthy feeding plan. They feature some extra doses of protein to ensure a fast growth of your pets, as well as satiating meals. Additionally, this choice of food is enriched with spirulina, which greatly contributes in maintain amazingly vivid coloration on their bodies. This particular brand comes in the shape of small pellets, which float towards the water surface, making it easier for you to collect any uneaten particles before they pollute the water.
  2. Hikari Food is another amazingly suitable choice of food for healthy koi fish. Plus, it is produced in Japan, and who would know best on koi fish other than Japanese experts? Similar to the first option, this too has higher amounts of proteins in order to enhance the growth of fish. On top of that, they are enriched with stabilized vitamin C, greatly helping to strengthen the koi’s immune system and make them become less prone to diseases and infections. They are specifically designed for medium-sized breeds of koi fish.
  3. TetraPond Koi Growth Food is an amazing solution for those who are taking care of young koi fish, or those which are smaller-sized. Indeed, these floating pellets feature an innovative growth formula, which works extremely fast to enhance the growth of your fish. They are highly digestible, so this can certainly help in improving the quality of your pond water, as there should consequentially be less fish waste around.

How Often to Feed Koi Fish?

There is no universal rule on how often to feed koi fish. These creatures are peculiar because they own no stomach, meaning that they should only be fed small portions in order for being able to digest them.

A general rule which you can apply here is offering them only as much as they can eat in a couple of minutes. And you should feed them often, as they get hungry quickly because of their lack of a stomach. However, this depends on the size of your fish as well as outdoor temperatures.

Therefore, feed them more frequently during hot summer days and less frequently during colder autumn periods. 2 to 3 times per day is generally suitable for healthy adults.

How Long Can Koi Go Without Food?

If you are keeping your koi fish in an outdoor pond, you can be sure that there are plenty of live creatures out there for them to feed on. Even though you are absent for a couple of weeks and are not comfortable with others feeding your precious pets, there is no need to worry.

They will simply adapt during such a period of time by feeding on small invertebrates, insects, and plant matter. Koi fish love foraging pond bottoms for sources of nutrients and they can survive for weeks on such tiny meals.

Can Koi Die of Overfeeding?

Yes, koi fish can easily die from overfeeding, just as any other fish species would. This is actually enhanced with these colorful creatures since they have no stomach and can get constipated in no time. This can cause serious health complications if not spotted on time, and it can eventually lead to your fish dying.

And if they do not get constipated, they will certainly produce excessive amounts of waste, which can soon bring to water quality getting worse and worse. On the other side, even if they decline all the extra food that you offer them and decide to leave it uneaten, such food will soon start decomposing and worsening their water quality.

Ammonia spikes are, sadly, one of the top reasons which lead captive fish to die.

Remember, you should only feed your koi pets with such amounts which they can eat in a few minutes. All that is left is excessive, and you should remove such leftovers from the water manually whenever you get the chance to.

Do You Feed Koi in the Winter?

No, you do not have to feed your koi fish during wintertime. Moreover, it is highly recommended not to feed them. Koi fish are naturally designed to survive extremely cold weather conditions, but they do so by hibernating.

That means that they will basically function at super-low energy levels until the water gets warm enough for them to start absorbing heat from it. During hibernation, koi fish are not able of digesting entire meals, as they do have not enough energy for doing that.

However, they can occasionally feed on tiny insects and plant matter which they find along the pond bottoms. This is more than enough to keep them healthy until springtime arrives.

Once your fish wake up from their hibernation months, make sure to feed them properly, as they will be super-hungry. But do not feed them as often as you would during summertime, as they should be fed less frequently during colder days.

What to Feed Koi Fish When Out of Food?

One of the greatest advantages of keeping koi fish is that they will happily accept any meal you offer them. Therefore, there are plenty of tasty food choices which you can provide your pets with when you run out of their commercial food.

You should only be careful to wash them out first to avoid any bacteria or parasite presence, as well as to avoid any processed type of nutrients.

Good examples of food which you probably already have around your kitchen are:

  • Lettuce and other leafy greens like spinach or kale
  • Watermelon cleaned out of all seeds
  • All sorts of previously peeled fruits, including citruses
  • Shrimp and small-sized fish

Wrapping Up

Koi fish are amazing pets. They are so beautiful, and we could observe them for hours without getting bored. Plus, they are both sensitive and resistant at the same time. Sensitive when it comes to water quality and feeding plans, and resistant in regard to what can they be fed with, even when there is no human around.

In order to get the maximum out of your colorful omnivorous pets, you should only feed them with high-quality commercial pellets as a core diet. Plus, you may add various occasional tasty snacks which they will love.

And finally, we have saved the best part of feeding koi fish for last: interactive hand-feeding! They will learn it quickly and you will spend tons of joyful moments during feeding time.

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