In an attempt to provide the best in nutrition for our Koi, the hobbyist has access to many different types of koi food that meet specific requirements for the fish. Nearly all Koi foods are a floating pellet or stix to bring the fish to the surface and allow us better viewing during feeding. It also allows us to monitor how much food to feed, as excess pellets floating around the pond after a few minutes indicated we offered too much food for the koi. It should be all gone within 4-5 minutes. Most adult Koi could easily survive on one feeding a day, but smaller fish will do best with two feeding periods. It is best to avoid feeding during the hottest part of the day, as the Koi are most likely not as active in the heat and will seek refuge in the deeper parts of the pond.  If you ring a bell before feeding, within days, the fish will learn to respond and start to congregate where you normally feed. While the selection of koi foods can seem a bit overwhelming, there really are no bad options, maybe only better options.

  • Spring & Fall Foods: Sometimes referred to as “cold water” diets, this type of food is usually based on a lower protein, higher carbohydrate formula high in wheat germ. Best used when the water temperature is between 50 to 70°F, this formulation is easier to the Koi to digest at the lower temperatures.
  • Staple Foods: Also considered a standard diet, staple food formulation offers a well balanced diet for every day feeding. This will make up the bulk of your Koi’s diet during the warm season.
  • Color Enhancing: Usually a staple diet that has been supplemented with additional astaxanthin and cataxanthin, color enhancing foods bring out the reds and blues of the fish. (Sometimes it is just listed as higher levels of Spirulina.)
  • Growth Foods: Generally, growth foods are Koi pellets with the highest level of protein and fat to promote the rapid growth of smaller Koi and help adult Koi to maximize their growth during the warmest months of the pond season. This food can also help Koi bulk up for the winter season when they will not be fed.
  • Treats: Just like us, the Koi will appreciate a change of pace in the foods we offer, and there are many types of foods for an occasional treat to break up the monotony. These koi treats can include freeze dried shrimp and plankton, bloodworms or even fruit based pellet foods. They also like wheat bread, peeled grapes and chopped up earthworms. With a little patience, you can even train the Koi to take the treats directly from your hand!

We discussed making sure all the food for the koi was eaten with 4-5 minutes; about the only other rule of feeding is to stop feeding once the pond temperature reaches 50°F or below. At that temperature, the fish cannot digest any food they eat. They will still beg for food, but we have to ignore them!

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  • Great stuff! Thank you for sharing this article. If I may add, keeping the pond maintained is also important in keeping the Koi(s) healthy. I highly suggest using a Pond Dye to control algae manifestation, than those toxic pond cleaners.

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