What Do Koi Eat

by | Sep 22, 2023

Not only are koi beautiful to look at, they also bring a smile to your face when they come to you for food, especially if you are the one always feeding them – they remember their feeder! Feeding koi can be a delightful activity performed alone or with your loved ones, as you feed the koi together. If you treat them well, koi will sometimes even literally eat out of the palm of your hand. What are the best foods and feeding tips for koi fish so they are happy and healthy always? We have some helpful information on what koi fish eat:

Koi Eat According to Their Sizes

If you’re buying fish food at the store, purchase according to the size of your fish. Smaller koi fish would need to eat flakes or small sized koi food. Larger koi, however, would prefer fish food pellets or pebble-sized food.

Koi are not Fussy Eaters

Koi fish eat anything, from small bugs and insects, to plants and algae at pond bottom. Of course, they also eat fish food bought from the store, and fish supplements as well. If you forget to feed them, they can generally get by on existing plant and animal matter in the pond for a while.

Koi Prefer Carbohydrate-Rich Foods

Choose fish food types according to seasons to match their metabolic rates. In the early spring and late fall, koi fish would prefer more carbohydrate-rich foods, like most fish flakes or pellets. However, in the summer when koi grow quickly and also are most likely to mate, they prefer more protein-rich foods, so get high protein fish food for them when the months get warmer.

In the winter, koi can go without food the entire season as their metabolism levels are extremely low.

Occasionally, koi also enjoy to eat food that we would eat ourselves! You can sometimes feed your koi cereal, shrimp, lettuce, rice, peas, watermelon, or really just about anything you’re eating that day, as long as they are cut or broken into small bite sizes for the fish to eat. We would probably keep the expensive steaks for ourselves to eat, though!

Seasons Affect What Koi Fish Eat

Check the weather – before a storm, you would want to avoid feeding your koi. Fish need more oxygen when they are digesting their food. However, oxygen levels in the air drop when it rains, so the water does not get oxygenated as well as it normally would.

The same principle applies if your pond pump breaks and the pond water is no longer oxygenated – avoid feeding the koi until you fix the pump.

Keep Track of Feeding Frequency

The more frequently you feed your koi, the better they will remember you and come to you when it’s feeding time. Koi feeding time is the best time for your koi, and it could be for you, too! Enjoy the moment when feeding your koi!

Things To Keep In Mind

Just remember, if you’re having water quality issues stop feeding fish for a few days and see if it improves. We’ve seen over the years the number one reason for water quality issues has been overfeeding.

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