Koi Friendly Feeding Tips

By: Mike Gannon | Posted On: April 4th, 2018 | 10 Comments on Koi Friendly Feeding Tips | In: FISH CARE, KOI FISH, KOI PONDS, POND MAINTENANCE

feeding koi

I’ve long maintained that learning how to feed fish is something that many fish keepers will struggle with. Finding that balance in feeding requires time and patience. We all strive to give not too much, not too little, the best nutritional value at the right time of the year, and at the right time during the fish’s life. Feeding your fish could be an art as much as it is a science. So, how about some tips from an expert on this topic.

The LOVE YOUR POND Blog is happy to present an LYP guest blogger, Ryan, from koibids.com. Ryan is sharing some “Guidelines on Koi Friendly Feeding”.

Guidelines to Koi-Friendly Feeding Time

So, you’ve bought some koi, and you’re unsure how to best stimulate their healthy growth. Or, you’re worried about their seeming lack of appetite for food pellets, and the mess that tends to be left behind. Feeding koi can be quite an entertaining affair, thanks to the happy nibbling the fish often do. However; it can also lead to stunted growth, or worse, a pond full of waste, bacteria, and algae.

Worry not, there are a few simple guidelines to follow when feeding your beloved koi. With an eye on the temperature, the five-minute rule, and the proper set of treats, you can guarantee their healthy growth, survival, and a reasonable price when putting your Koi Fish for sale.

koi feeding

Watch Water Temperature

Koi are cold-blooded creatures, much like their cousin carps. Their metabolism is very much tied to the temperature of their water. What this means for you is that their feeding habits change over the seasons. In temperatures less than 9°C / 48°F, they eat very rarely, if at all. Trying to feed them at this point may cause more harm than good, as the food may either rot inside their bodies or cause bacteria population to flourish.

Water temperature also affects what sort of food works best. For temperatures above 9°C / 48°F, but below 18°C / 64°F, it’s better to feed them easily-digestible fatty food; particularly those that primarily contain wheat germ. Proteins tend to be poorly-digested at this temperature, and your koi would appreciate the energy boost in preparation for winter, or as their first meals after the cold. Here it’s advisable to only feed them up to two times a day as their digestion is still likely to be slow.

When summer heat strikes in the range of 18°C / 64°F to 31°C / 88°F is when the protein should come out in force. Fish proteins are the most ideal for this, though it is still good to mix up their diet with some fruit, vegetables, plankton, and shrimp. Depending on the heat and appetite of your koi, you can go from two to four feeding sessions a day.

Should it get hotter than that, it is advisable to cut back on feedings as the increased stress, and potential oxygen loss could get to your fish. It is best to maximize oxygen supply by regularly cleaning the water and filters, and maybe add some aeration.

This leads to the next thing to know when feeding koi – the five-minute rule.

Count to Five (Minutes)

Have A Question For Mike? Ask the Expert

The five-minute rule is simple: give your koi just enough food that they’ll eat it all in five minutes. If anything is left behind after those five minutes pass, scoop the leftover food up and give them less food next time. It’s preferable to underfeed koi than to overfeed them. Underfeeding can stunt their growth. Overfeeding can lead to an abundance of waste, bacteria, and algae; all of which can cause koi loss due to oxygen loss.

A good way to check if you’re underfeeding them is to watch their growth and traits. If they look stunted, sunken, or their growth goes below the average of ½” to 1″ per month; then they could stand to be fed a little more. Underfeeding them, especially in hot weather, can reduce their worth when putting up koi for sale, and in extreme cases can lead to an early death by starvation.

Variety is Good

While standard fish food emphasizing both fish-derived oils and vegetable oils is still the best choice for koi fish, it may be prudent for you to switch around their food before they grow too accustomed to one type. Like humans, koi enjoy variety in their food. While changing food types, a few weeks is enough for adapting them to another season’s diet. Koi do enjoy a treat or two every so often.

Your koi will enjoy fishy treats like worms, algae, shrimp, vegetables, fruits, and even certain snacks like Cheerios. A slice of orange, chopped into quarters, is also a good treat, particularly for raising their Vitamin C levels. Treats like this should be used sparingly, and never as a substitute for proper food.

Proper feeding of koi fish for sale can be a little hard with changing metabolisms, seasonal needs, and easily-disrupted environments. It can still be rather fun however, and nothing quite beats the maternal instinct of feeding your beloved pets. The benefits of proper feeding also extends to sales; with the proper care they can grow large enough to turn a large profit if you put your koi for sale.

I hope these tips and guidelines from Ryan make your feeding times more enjoyable and more informed!

Check out koibids.com for some amazing koi fish for your pond and to catch up with Ryan and the team at koibids.com

Thanks Ryan for the guest blog spot!!

Keep it pondy. -Mike

Written by Mike Gannon

Mike Gannon

The LOVEYOURPOND Blog is written by Mike Gannon of Full Service Aquatics located in Summit, NJ. Mike is an award winning pond, water garden, and water feature builder. Always “In The Pursuit Of All Things Aquatic” Mike has been a lifelong hobbyist and providing professional services since 1995. Mike is the creator of The Pond Hunter video series seen on Youtube and has made several television appearances on Networks such as HGTV and the DIY Network. He also hosts the Pond Hunter Radio Broadcast, a show on everything aquatic, every other Wednesday at 8pm EST. You can see what else Mike is up to at the following sites:

    10 Comments on Koi Friendly Feeding Tips

    Comments Feed
  1. Mike Gannon Says:

    on January 18, 2020 at 8:23 pm

    Hello Jeff. Patience for hand feeding, mink suck, and add filtration for better water quality. Good luck! -Mike

  2. Jeff Says:

    on October 14, 2019 at 12:07 pm

    Trying to get my koi eating out of my hands for awhile now. I build a holding tank in my basement because I had a mink come in and killed 14 koi last winter.do u have any idea,s on keeping the water clean . Using shrimp ones or twice a day, trying to get them to eat out of my hands thanks

  3. Mike Gannon Says:

    on July 19, 2019 at 5:40 pm

    Hey Ajay! All you have to do is keep it pondy. -Mike

  4. Ajay Says:

    on June 6, 2019 at 10:56 am

    I just started my pound. I am learning.

  5. Mike Gannon Says:

    on July 19, 2019 at 5:46 pm

    Hello Jennifer. I hope you enjoy keeping koi! Learning to feed them can take a little while, but you’ll master it! I recommend a floating pellet type of food, medium sized pellet. There are several very good koi foods that you can choose from. I would actually just Google “premium koi foods” and you will have lots of options to best suite your fish. Good luck!! -Mike

  6. Jenifer Says:

    on May 11, 2019 at 1:34 am

    I am new to having koi. I’m worried my fish aren’t like omg the food I have been trying to feed them.. They are small still so I know they don’t eat much. However the food is just making slimy mush when it’s not eaten. What’s a good fish food for my pond and fish. I will also try some of your suggestions. They hide most of the time so I don’t know if they will feed from my hand.

  7. Mike Gannon Says:

    on July 19, 2019 at 5:50 pm

    Hey JD, I can’t thank you enough for your very kind words. It helps keep me going! You rock. – Mike

  8. JD Gullett Says:

    on May 10, 2019 at 5:52 pm

    Great article, 6 mo with a Koi pond, and trying to spawn Koi for the first time!!! Whew, truly inspired by these amazing fish but WOW do we have lot’s to learn!! Reading constantly on the subject!!! Your info is exciting, clear cut, very very informative and results are outstanding!!! Thank you for sharing your expansive wealth of knowledge, will be following you and your articles, blogs, videos ect for life!!! Cheers JD Gullett

  9. Mike Gannon Says:

    on January 16, 2019 at 11:33 pm

    Thanks for commenting Koi fish lover! It takes some patience but once they are comfortable eating from your hand they will eagerly do it! enjoy! – Mike

  10. Koi Fish Lover Says:

    on December 31, 2018 at 9:53 pm

    I love koi fish, this is soo cool though. I had no idea I could hand feed them!

Stay up to date, Sign up today

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Have Pond Questions? Visit Our Pond Question Library!


Watch Mike Gannon the Pond Hunter