Hey pond keepers, koi keepers, water gardeners, and the aquatically obsessed; as the pond season is waning into colder times we have to be pretty mindful of how we are feeding our koi and goldfish. There are plenty of foods out there that are formulated for late season feedings and low temperature foods as well, and if you are inclined to do so, those foods should be offered to your koi and goldfish around this time of year. Some of us may want to use up what is left of our Summer staple and that is just fine to do as well.
Whatever you are feeding your koi and goldfish this time of year is your prerogative, all I ask of you is LET THEM EAT!
From late August until my koi and goldfish tell me they don’t want to eat anymore about mid-October, I have been in the practice of letting my fish eat as much as they want during feeding times. I may look like a blue-eyed gringo, but when it comes to feeding my fish at this time of year the Italian Grandmother in me comes out. If my koi want another meatball, they are going to get another meatball (or two)! And a bit of gravy. n cheese.
As busy as the rest of the pond season may be, this time of year, the waning of pond season, I find the time to feed my koi and goldfish a couple times daily. My fish are still in full on eating mode, greedily gobbling down their pellets and treats. They are super active and burning alot of calories. At feeding times it is hard to think of my koi as a “school” of fish when they behave much more like a “pack” of fish. During the height of the season, when it still seems like Summer will never end, my feedings are a bit less frequent and alot less intense as far as quantities given. During the season it seems like my fish are burning off the food at a rate commensurate with the portions and regularity of my feedings. They are efficient, and keep a very nice body tone. My koi and goldfish are not bulky, nor are they lean; they look good!
So figuring that my “height of the season feedings” are really not building any fat on my fish, and my fish need some fat to burn during the winter months to sustain them while they are in torpor; when I feed my fish, I LET THEM EAT! Now, August through October(ish), let your fish eat. They need the food for their daily level of activity which is still pretty high, but they also need extra so that a fat reserve builds. Feedings this time of year will take a good 10 minutes or so. Let them eat to their content and merriment.
This is not just for their content and merriment. It is for your content and merriment as well. Feeding more often and longer this time of year let’s you spend some time by your pond with your fish. You can observe them now to make sure they are really looking good going into winter. You can get a count of how many koi and goldfish you have. Feeding your fish gets you outdoors in the sunshine, breathing fresh crisp air. You love doing it, so do it. Its a good time to enjoy a hot chocolate, wine, or whichever merriment you choose by the pond. And the benefit to your koi and goldfish is that they get to bond with you and eat! They love eating, you can see it’s true. So let them eat, and let them bulk up so they have a good and healthy amount of fat reserve to burn during their time under ice. Feed them NOW to feed them later, you gotta try to see a little further.
“Feeding your fish is one of the most important relationship building tools available for people in piscine relationships.” – quote by unknown unconfirmed unsubstantiated source.
To be clear, I am not suggesting to feed your fish recklessly. All willy-nilly. The rules all still apply. Don’t just throw food in and walk away. You still want to use quality food, especially now. You need to be observant during feedings so you do not over-feed. Our koi and goldfish will not over-eat, but us humans sure do know how to over-feed. Over feeding will drag down water quality, gum up filter pads, clog up pumps, make your water cloudy, and cost you more in food than you need to spend, etc. The key is to make the time to give responsible but plentiful feedings.
Let your fish eat during the late season, so they build fat reserves for them to burn. Koi and goldfish are big active fish, they need to eat. Think about it, the most they are going to do for several months is scrape a bit of algae. Next Spring your fish will be all the better for it if you let them eat. This time of year during the pond keeping season will become much more enjoyable for you as well. So get out there and enjoy the outdoors and the last few weeks of outdoor time. Let them EAT!
– Keep it pondy.