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What Koi Fish Eat: Keeping Your Koi Healthy

What Koi Fish Eat: Keeping Your Koi Healthy

Watching your koi fish eat is one of the most rewarding and enjoyable parts of being an owner. Having these little guys come to the surface to feed out of the palm of your hand forms a bond between the fish and owner. But are you feeding your koi fish right? Here’s a guide to making sure your koi are getting the most out of prepared pellets.

FEEDING YOUR FISH

Koi fish aren’t known to turn down many foods. But making sure your koi fish eat nutritiously will make them healthier and happier. A balanced diet will strengthen your koi’s immune system and will ward off disease, just like us. Ensuring that your koi fish eat right can yield better growth and development, and even achieve a richer color and sustainability!

Koi fish dining on floating pellets.

Koi fish dining on floating pellets.

A koi’s diet should consist of six main building blocks: protein, fats, carbs, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

PROTEINS

Proteins are essential for growth. A young koi needs more protein than an older one. Aim for a 40% protein diet for young koi. Older koi only need about 30-35%. But beware of protein deficiencies and keep it at least 30% of a koi’s diet. Koi can get their needed protein through fish meal, soya meal, and corn germ.

FATS

Fats (or lipids) provide energy. For koi, they also help with buoyancy. Unsaturated fats are beneficial to koi in small amounts – about 5-8% of their total diet. Too much will cause weight gain and harm the liver, too little will harm the heart. Koi will get their fats from wheat germ, fish meal, and corn oils in prepared foods.

CARBS

A koi’s diet should contain 30-40% carbs. Avoid koi food made from rice, wheat, and corn – they contain too many carbs. Instead, look for ones deriving carbohydrates from vegetables and fruit.

FIBER

Fiber helps koi digestion. However, too much can cause excess excrement in the pond. A koi’s diet should include less than 5% fiber. Make sure your koi are getting their fiber by feeding them corn, oats, or wheat germ.

VITAMINS

Vitamins are essential for the health of your koi. Koi fish need vitamins B, C, A, D, and K. This is especially true for young koi. A lack of vitamins will increase koi disease and death. Vitamins are added to prepared koi food for your convenience.

MINERALS

Minerals aid the growth and development of your koi and can be absorbed from both the water and from food. Some such as iron, copper, iodine, and magnesium must be consumed through food. Make sure you koi’s mineral needs are met to avoid a decrease in appetite and growth deficiencies.

Koi can get these nutrients in many forms. The most popular way of feeing koi fish is through prepared food pellets. Pellets come in all shapes and sizes. Some float and some sink. However, floating pellets are recommended for a few reasons. For one, they allow you to watch your koi enjoy their meal! They also let you see if you are overfeeding your koi. 

Spirullina, a dietary supplement, will enhance the coloring of your koi.

Spirullina, a dietary supplement, will enhance the coloring of your koi.

COLOR ENHANCEMENT

Not all koi foods are created equal. When shopping, make sure to inspect the ingredients label. And make sure the food is specified for koi fish! If you’d like to enhance the natural coloring of your koi fish, looks for foods that contain shrimp meal, chlorella, plankton, marigold petals, and especially spirulina.

 Spirulina in particular will make red shades redder, orange shades more orange, and turn yellow into a beautiful golden hue. Keep in mind that not all koi are prone to color enhancement. It is based off genetics and diet. Young koi typically have better coloring than older koi too.

 

So there you have it! Making sure your koi fish eat right is essential to their health and happiness, and can even enhance their natural coloring. What tips do you have for feeding your koi? Write us a comment or contact us via the contact form.

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