To ensure that your pond
fish have healthy and long lives, it is important to select high-quality food
according to the size, type and digestive abilities of the fish. When you feed
your fish a nutritionally balanced food based on the age of the fish and
weather conditions, you are contributing to their health and longevity.
Nutrition and Growth
Fry and young fish grow
rapidly, and koi often increase in length by four to eight inches each year.
Therefore, it is important that they receive a nutritionally balanced diet
throughout their lives to continue to grow and thrive.
is made of
various components such as proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and
minerals. A careful balance of these components must meet standard nutritional
requirements. The amounts of these nutrients that fish need varies depending on
water temperature, species, size of fish and maturity.
The Vital Components
essential for tissue formation, healing, and reproduction. Because proteins
cannot be stored in the body, fry and young fish need large quantities on a
regular basis, especially in captivity where protein sources are not readily
available in their habitat. A deficiency of protein causes koi to grow more
slowly. Proteins can only be used effectively for growth when water
temperatures are over 50°F.
Fats provide a
source of energy. Fatty acids, such as triglycerides and phospholipids, are
vital components of cell walls. Koi are unable to make important fatty acids
known as linoleic and linolenic acids that are essential for growth—therefore
they must be provided in their diet. Omitting fatty acids from the diet can
cause fin erosion and heart and liver problems.
a source of energy. An overabundance of carbohydrate in the diet is very bad
for koi health and may result in degeneration of the liver and heart failure.
essential for the normal metabolism and growth of fish; requirements for some
vitamins increase during spawning. Vitamins are divided into two categories:
fat-soluble and water-soluble. Fat-soluble vitamins are found in a variety of
forms, all of which are metabolized slowly and can be stored in body fat. Water-soluble vitamins are quickly
absorbed and any excess is excreted.
basic metabolic functions and contribute to healthy bones, osmoregulation
(water balance), and a healthy nervous system. Fish get minerals from their
diet (contributed by ash in the food) and from the water in their environment.
What to Feed and How Much
Choose a premium food to
ensure fish receive proper nutrition. This is particularly important with koi,
which are often kept in a relatively bare pond with few natural sources of
The amount of food to give
pond fish depends on many factors, including water temperature and the size of
the fish. In general as the fish grows, its
metabolism slows down and, consequently, its food requirements are reduced.
Weather Conditions and
When to Feed
requirements of pond fish vary considerably throughout the year. For optimal
fish health, follow these seasonal guidelines.
A wide variety of
available to feed in water temperatures above 50°F. Some of the specially
formulated foods to meet specific needs are:
food provides nutrition for energy, longevity, and overall health.
diet is highly nutritional and brings out vibrant reds and yellows on koi
Growth food is
high in protein and contains essential amino acids that help rapidly growing
blend promotes natural color enhancement, health and vitality.
wheat germ-rich foods
in water temperatures below 50°F. It is a vital ingredient that maintains the
immune system during late fall and early spring when fish are prone to disease.
When water temperatures drop below 50°F, the fish’s metabolism slows and the
ability to process foods is greatly reduced.
Stop feeding completely
temperatures below 39°F. Feeding fish in water temperatures below 39°F upsets
the natural intestinal flora, diminishes the immune system and can lead to
infection and disease. Koi can obtain what little nutrition they require from
within the pond (e.g. from algae) or from their stored energy reserves.
Remember, feed fish one to
three times daily and only as much as they can consume within five