Your koi fish is a long term investment that requires food to help them grow into full adults. Selecting the best koi food for your fish will require a little bit of planning and budget for best long term growth and overall health results.
Pellets or Flake Koi Food?
Koi food comes in several varieties, including pellet and flake. Even though koi fish have teeth, most likely they will swallow their food whole. Koi do not give much thought to devouring their food and often times are jumping over each to swallow what falls in the water during feeding times.
Smaller koi should be fed flake, as it will be easier for them to swallow and decrease the chances of overeating leading to bloat. Young fish usually do not know when to stop eating and bulky pellet food can lead to problems with digesting.
Larger koi should be fed larger pellet food, although they are still likely to overeat, the pellet food is smaller in proportion to their larger body size and they have the extra room in their stomachs to hold a little more. If you feed pellet food, try to crumble between your fingers, it should be soft enough to break apart. If it is rock hard, it will be rock hard in your Koi fishes stomach and difficult to digest. The best pellet koi food will be somewhat easy to crumble so when it does come in contact with water, it becomes even easier to digest.
Source of Protein
Next, take a look at your koi food source of protein. It should be primarily from fish meal or other fish based source. Low-quality koi food is going to contain very little to no fish source of protein. If you see plant-based protein source, consider this a low-quality koi food and avoid it.
Primarily Fish Meal High-quality protein source, rich in amino acids and protein to support the health and growth of your koi fish.
Fish Meal / Plant Based Medium quality protein source, still has fish-based protein for amino and growth but is blended with plant-based protein to reduce the cost of manufacturing. Not necessarily a bad quality, probably more affordable while providing fish protein.
Primarily Plant Protein Low-quality protein source, most if not all protein comes from non-aquatic or fish source. Manufacturers may provide similar protein ratios, take a good look at the source of the protein. Plant protein is not bad, it's when there are no signs of any fish protein that makes this food a lower quality.
What Do Koi Eat?
Koi fish are naturally omnivorous which means that their menu can consist of algae, bugs, plants and animal matter, and flies. In short, koi fish need a dose of protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals in a balanced manner.
With these things in mind, when koi fish do not get their ample due of nutrition, it would be evident from their lack of color, meaning that they would appear dull. The health of a koi fish is studied from its color, and as a koi owner, it is imperative that one looks for these signs.
Koi fish can be fed wheat germ pellets which act as a source of protein along with a compact source of nutrients. Koi fish can be fed squash, watermelon, peas, and fruits to offer them the right source of carbohydrates as well.
When Koi fish gets the right diet, their colors show it. The colors of koi become more vibrant and they become larger as well.
How To Choose The Best Food For The Growth And Color Of Koi?
As mentioned earlier, there are a lot of choices of koi food for koi owners to pick from. While some of them may do the job of keeping the koi fish alive, it is essential that the right food is chosen for healthy growth and enhanced color of the koi fish.
In order to do that, it is helpful to look for spirulina as this supplement can help the fish to display more vibrant color, and the signature red color of the koi fish appear richer and brighter.
Not only does spirulina help with the enhancement of color, but it also boosts the immune system of the fish and that leads to a longer and a healthier life of the koi fish. It would also be helpful to look for wheat germ oil in the koi food, as it is an important essence in delivering the right and balanced nutrients which helps the overall growth of the fish. The wheat germ oil aids in helping the koi fish to grow to its maximum size as well.
The Feeding Habits Of Koi
When it comes to feeding koi, it is more complicated as compared to other aquatic animals. In order to understand the process of feeding koi fish, it is helpful to understand the biology of koi as their feeding habit is directly related to their biology.
Koi is cold-blooded in nature and this means that they are unable to control their own body temperature. The objective of a pet owner is to create a controlled environment for koi fish so as to mimic their natural environment. So with keeping that in mind, the metabolism of the koi fish depends on the temperature of the water. This means that in hotter temperatures, the koi fish burns up energy faster which means that the frequency of feeding then must increase, while during the winters, it must decrease.
Since the backyard pond or the indoor aquarium is an artificial habitat as opposed to their wild outdoor environment, the koi fish could be sensitive to fluctuations in temperature. And with the above information stated, the owners must make it a point to understand the conditions which will affect the fish as the disruption of their environment will cause their metabolism to rise or fall and could prevent the koi fish from thriving.
It is also important to note that the size of the fish is also proportional to the food they consume. Many breeders keep indoor ponds to keep a constant higher temperature and feed more often to accelerate growth. Without knowledge of temperature and how it affects metabolism, many owners make the mistake of dropping more food than necessary, which ends up becoming a waste and this affects the living conditions of the koi fish, preventing good health and growth.
How Much To Feed Koi?
When the temperatures get below 50°F, one needs to lower the frequency of feeding to about once a day or less. Since the temperature is cooler at that moment, the koi fish will take at least two to three days to digest the food. It is strongly advised that the koi fish must not be overfed. It is preferable that the feeding is spaced to every other day during the cooler temperatures.
To be precise, when the temperatures get between 50°F to 60°F, a koi fish owner can feed the fish at least once or twice a day since it gets a little warm. The koi fish must be fed a steady diet of low-protein food like vegetables and fruits.
When the temperatures get higher and it reaches around 80°F to 85°F, it is important that the amount of protein must be increased as the koi will burn more energy. It is essential that the protein intake must increase by at least 40%.
Besides the food, it is also important to check the quality of the water as well. Remember, the surrounding environment has maximum impact on the metabolism of the fish. And if the water’s composition is not right, then there is a high chance that the koi fish will stop eating and it would ultimately lead to stress, illnesses, and death.
If you are keeping your koi in a pond with other aquatic animals like ducks, chances are that the koi fish will feel an invasion of space. This will give rise to stress and they will most probably stop eating. It is important to keep in mind that owners respect the need for koi to thrive without feeling threatened.
And lastly, check for signs of illnesses in your koi fish pond. If a koi fish is not feeling well, it will stay away from the rest of the group. Koi fish can be prone to parasites and bacterial infections. It is also easy to notice their health from the color of their skin as well. The best thing to prevent illness or disease is to keep a watchful eye on water quality.