By: Mike Gannon | Posted On: February 9th, 2010 | 22 Comments on KOI NUTRITION AND CHEERIOS | In: KOI PONDS, POND FISH

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This morning I fed my koi Cheerios, yes you read that right, Cheerios. Like most mornings I went out to feed my guys before heading out for the day and realized that I was at my last handful of koi food and this was one hungry pond installation full of koi fish. The fistful of food I threw in disappeared right quick and my koi seemed to be giving me a look as if they were actually sizing me up as to whether I might make a palatable breakfast for them, should I happen to slip or accidentally get pulled into the pond by this group of otherwise unassuming pond fish.

After seeing the look in their eyes my anxiety level rose a bit as I realized they got to have mo’ food. Since the local koi food store was not open at this early hour I knew I had to improvise to keep my pond full of fish satisfied, and the pressure was on. I quickly ransacked my kitchen, scrambled eggs? no. breakfast bar? no. last night’s meatloaf? definitely no. Cheerios? no. or maybe yes. YES, Cheerios, I had heard of other pond people who had given this iconic worldwide oaty breakfast staple to their fish and even claimed that the pond fish liked it, so why not my pond fish, don’t they deserve a good old fashioned breakfast of Cheerios? I had it forced upon me for most of my life…why not my koi too. Anyway, this box of Cheerios had been here since 2004 and it seemed half a decade later it was time to use it. Waste not want not.

I went back out to my backyard pond installation, which is a professionally installed pond by Full Service Aquatics by the way, holding the box of cereal between myself and my koi so as to make my intentions apparent to my loving koi. I sat at the arbor, just out of reach of the vice like grip of my koi’s fins and tossed in a handful of those oaty treats. My koi eyed them suspiciously. One of my koi peered through the opening of a Cheerio at me with the menacing look of “if this aint’ good I will squeeze right through this oaty treat, and pull YOU right back through it into this pond and teach you what a hungry fish is capable of”. I shuddered to myself. Then…he ate one, then another ate one, suddenly the rush was on and they cleared those Cheerios that were bobbing around in my watergarden just a moment ago. I tossed in some more and those koi cleared the pond surface again with gusto and continued this until the idea of making a meal out of me was a distant memory.

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So the lesson here is; learn what other foods your koi will accept, you may be surprised what you can find in your cabinets and refrigerator that will do in a bind. Koi will enjoy a wide variety of foods beyond the pelleted formulas that we all tend to rely on. It can be a lot of fun watching your pond fish devour oranges, watermelon, spinach, chopped hard boiled eggs, even dry cat food; all of this in moderation of course, and who knows, maybe you won’t have to eat your next bowl of Cheerios all by yourself!

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:


    Comments Feed
  1. Mike Gannon Says:

    on September 9, 2018 at 2:56 pm

    Hello Laurie. After copious scientific experimentation and numerous case studies were performed on breakfast cereals preferred by koi fish (both Japanese and US domestic koi were used in these studies). It was concluded that koi fish will not benefit from chocolate Cheerios, Coco Puffs, or even Count Chocula cereal. In fact the fish did not seem to like any of the chocolaty cereals they were offered. Koi fish did seem to greatly enjoy Lucky Charms, Fruit Loops, Super Sugar Crisp, and the complete Captain Crunch product line in blind taste tests that were performed. 4 out of 5 koi also ranked Apple Jacks as a favorite, but be warned that Apple Jacks cereal tends to clog up filters and pumps in many ponds. After these exhaustive studies were completed the consensus was that IF breakfast cereals are to be offered at all, they should only be done so as a novelty type of snack, not an on-going staple, and should be limited to plain ol’ Cheerios. Thanks for reaching out, and please know that NONE of the above mentioned studies ever took place so please ignore that feedback apart from keeping to the basic Cheerio should you use a cereal at all. 😉 -Mike

  2. Laurie schultz Says:

    on September 8, 2018 at 1:45 pm

    Just wanted to ck on the cereal to feed the fish. Can they have chocolate types of cereal?
    Like chocolate rice crispy or chocolate cherrios or coco puffs ? Thanks

  3. Mike Gannon Says:

    on August 1, 2018 at 11:50 pm

    Well now that would just be coocoo! -Mike

  4. John m gill Says:

    on July 30, 2018 at 8:12 am

    Could I feed my koi a coco pop ?

  5. Mike Gannon Says:

    on June 3, 2018 at 10:29 pm

    You can, but don’t! -Mike

  6. Scott Says:

    on June 2, 2018 at 4:04 am

    Can I feed my babies peach and/or apple cinnamon Cheerios?

  7. Sakura Says:

    on April 18, 2018 at 11:40 am

    The???????????? were emojis

  8. Mike Gannon Says:

    on April 24, 2018 at 11:31 pm

    I hope you get to enjoy many beautiful koi during your visit to Japan!! Tell me how it goes! Safe travels -Mike

  9. Sakura Says:

    on April 18, 2018 at 11:39 am

    Koi sounds good especially since i’m thinking of going to japan????????????

  10. Mike Gannon Says:

    on April 3, 2018 at 12:27 am

    Great to know Fran! Cheerios seem to make fish ready for hand feeding!! -Mike

  11. Fran Fischer Says:

    on April 2, 2018 at 5:34 am

    We havs been giving our koi cheerios (donut seeds) for around about 5ys now & we are able to feed them by hand . They all seem to know when its cheerio time maybe the color of the box , No. But there are very smart . They love them so much alone w other fruits & veg . Happy health fishies .????

  12. Mike Gannon Says:

    on May 30, 2017 at 10:55 pm

    Yes, tiny tiny pancakes no butter!! LOL -Mike

  13. Sophia Says:

    on May 7, 2017 at 6:46 pm

    Can I feed my betta pancakes? I really want to. :3 But tiny pancakes.

  14. Mike Gannon Says:

    on August 3, 2016 at 12:31 pm

    Koi and Blueberry pancakes will be my next blog! I’d like to have breakfast with your koi sometime!! Thanks for the comments. -Mike

  15. Susan Kandt Says:

    on July 30, 2016 at 10:10 pm

    We’ve had koi for 25 years. We have 57 of them, some of them over 25 years old and all of them huge. We belong to a water garden club, and we have all been feeding Cheerios for years in the early spring once the water temp is UP to 55 and in the fall once the water temp gets DOWN to 55. It’s an easily digestible food when the water temp is cooler. Once the water temp gets warmer, we feed good, high-quality koi food. Obviously, once the water gets down to below 55 in late fall and stays there, we stop feeding altogether. Our koi are particularly fond of blueberry pancakes, which my husband makes once a week for us (with plenty of extras for “the koi kids.”). During the winter, we freeze our leftover pancakes so they’ll have some in the spring. They think they’ve died and gone to heaven on blueberry pancake day!

  16. Mike Gannon Says:

    on January 29, 2016 at 7:47 pm

    I would not recommend giving them bacon. If you want a “meaty” treat for your koi, try giving them krill. Mike

  17. Mgannon Says:

    on February 9, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    There are many types of alternative foods that are safe for fish. Is there a food you are considering specifically? Thanks for the comment.

  18. andrea Says:

    on February 2, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    Is there other food can be feed to the fish that is safe and not harm for the fish

  19. Mgannon Says:

    on May 24, 2010 at 11:18 pm

    As long as your koi do not spit the seeds your way, otherwise get seedless melon! I use cheerios rarely actually, but they make a good treat. I have spoken with many breeders/dealers and they pretty much all say to use high quality color enhancing food as your staple, but treats can be anything from watermelon and kale to krill and cheerios! Whatever the case, feeding time is oneof the highlights of having a pond and a great way to interact with the amazing koi and pondfish we all love. thanks for commenting Jerry, great feedback!

  20. Jerry Mazzola Says:

    on May 24, 2010 at 9:55 am

    I have given my Koi Cheerios and they loved them as you say . I was at a pond shop buying some very expensive Japanese food one Saturday and a woman came up to me and said “Put that down right now, do not spend all that money on Koi food. I have fish and have had a pond for many years and I feed my fish Cheerios . ” I was horrified until I though about it for a second, we eat them and they are good for us right? I tried it and my Koi love them…I still buy Koi food because I feel the vitamins and additives are better geared to the support of thier health. As for watermelon I cut a slice like a wheel thru a melon tie it to the bridge and the Koi eat thru it from underneath..they eat the red flesh first then the white and then the green…..They do spit the seeds out though.

  21. Mgannon Says:

    on March 7, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    Cut up is preferred, julienne style if you really watn to spoil your fish!

  22. Rick Naylor Says:

    on March 7, 2010 at 10:22 am

    Do you cut up the watermellon first or just throw the whole thing in ?

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