No matter what level you are at in koi ownership you know that koi need to eat. A koi fishes survival depends on good nutrition. This handy, dandy guide will show you how to feed koi fish so they stay healthy and keep looking terrific.
We will cover what they like best food-wise so you can go shopping for their favorite treats. I will let you know about places that sell koi food and some to avoid like the plague.
Timing in feeding is a very important topic too. Koi don’t eat the same amount at all times of the year. I tell you the time when to put away the feed bucket. We start with some general feeding guidelines.
Koi Fish Feeding Tips
1) Koi will eat almost anything organic. They like cereal, koi food, lettuce, algae and dead leaves, vegetables, and krill. They aren’t picky eaters by any means. Koi are closely related to carp who also eat everything small enough to go in their mouth.
2) Age is another thing to consider when you’re feeding your koi. Young koi can be fed goldfish flakes as goldfish and koi are both in the same family of carp. Their eating patterns are similar. Adult koi fish eat the vegetables, breakfast cereals, and other stuff listed above
3) What time of year is it? The temperature is dropping. Winter is almost here. Koi fish metabolism is affected by the surrounding weather. If it gets cold enough their metabolism totally shuts down and they won’t eat when the water temperature dips below 41°. In late Spring to late Summer koi are at their most active and can be fed up to 4 times a day.
4) Only feed koi what they can eat in 5 minutes.
5) If your pond pump is broken, then don’t feed the koi because their metabolism depends on oxygen in the water.
6)Koi fish can and will eat almost anything we people consider tasty. As long as it is bite-size, they will chow down on it! Watermelon is a favorite of theirs. Koi are omnivorous though. That means meat and vegetables is on their menu.
7)Get floating food because koi have to come up to feed and you get to watch them eat. Watching your koi eat is very entertaining to watch and it means getting to see your fishy pets every once in a while. Otherwise, they might just stay at the ponds bottom eating your sinking food
What to Feed Koi at What Time-Lettuce Discuss It
In a natural waterway, the wild carp eat merrily at the silt in the water looking for bugs, crustaceans, and plant matter. Koi in a backyard pond are in an enclosed environment and have to rely on their owners to feed them.
We’ve already established what koi will eat but did you know that they have different food needs at different times of the year. They have to trust you to give them the right nutrition. The koi diet used to be whatever the owner could find in the grocery store or dig up in their garden.
Now there’s fancy koi fish food they can buy online after typing in their credit card number, or as is usually the case
they already have that data saved from a previous visit and only have to click once or twice and done!
A good rule of thumb is to give them more carb-heavy food in the Spring when they are most active. We know that carbs give you energy.
Secrets To Feeding Koi By Hand
Koi are distrustful of you in the beginning. Here comes this weird creature making all kinds of sudden movements and hands waving back and forth. It freaks them out.
1) Feed your koi the floating food so they have to surface to eat
2) After you put the food in stand back a few feet and be still. Just watch and observe them at first.
3) Maintain that same distance for about a while so they acclimatize to you being around
4) In a couple of weeks, they are starting to get cozier with your presence and are also associating you as their yummy food source.
5) Just keep getting closer as the years go by. By week 3 you should be able to get a few koi to take food from your hand
Some of you have probably heard that habits are formed in 21 days. If you move into a new house, then it takes about 21 days to get used to it. It takes twenty-one days to start flossing as a habit. That’s why I think 21 days is a good time frame to use for developing a bond for you and your koi.
Take at least 21 days before you start trying to get close to your koi. It might take a while before you can actually hand-feed your koi, but the wait is worth it.
Koi are intelligent fish and will remember you. They will start to trust you once they are used to you being around them. You can’t have these braver fish eating out of the palm of your hand until this trust starts.
Some koi are braver than others. Koi fish have different personalities just like people do. Chagoi and Ochiba seem the bravest. When other koi see these fish being gutsy and eating from your hand they may follow suit.
Getting your fish to eat from your hand is hit-or-miss until all of your fish are on board with doing this. The gun-shy koi still affect the braver fish in your bunch and startle them with their jumpy attitudes. It’s a little trial and error to get them to the point where they eat from your hand.
Once you have them doing this it is a very fun way to bond with your pet koi.
Feeding Koi Fish in the Winter-Do or Don’t
Koi go into a state of hibernation during the Winters coldest times. Some hibernating animals go into stuffing their cheeks with nuts going back and forth from their homes to the ground amassing their nut vault. Others Rip Van Winkle in their caves. Different animals hibernate in different ways.
Koi float at the bottom of your pond or aquarium. They go belly-up with their pectoral fins tucked into their bodies. They do very little at this time including eating.
There are times when you should feed your koi when the water is 50° or above. If this temperature is consistent you could feed koi a few times a week. If it’s below the 50° mark don’t feed them even if they mooch.
Koi Fish Most Active Times Of The Year
Koi are much more active from late Spring to late Summer. This is when the water is the warmest and they should be being fed the most. Their metabolisms are working at their best when the water temperature is 68 to 86° F. Feed your koi 2 to 4 times a day at these temperatures.
Feed koi fish twice a day for temperatures above the 86° F mark. If your koi are smaller, feed them about 3x/day.
This post covered a lot of ground on how to feed your koi carp and when to put the brakes on. I told you about the right water temperatures for pulling out the pellets and when to stop feeding your precious koi fish. You received some pointers about the cool trick to teaching koi to eat out of your hand too.
I hope this article equipped you with the knowledge to let you know how to give your koi fish sustenance. Feeding them properly will help them be the healthiest they can be. It’ll help them have a nice color and be a healthy weight.
Remember to feed them less in the winter, stop altogether when the water is 50° F and below, and to start increasing your feeding when the water reaches 68°. Koi fish need good, quality food the most when water temps are in the range between 68 degrees to 86° F.
What does your koi feeding schedule look like? Leave me your thoughts in the comment area below. Thanks for reading.