What should you feed your koi fish?

What should you feed your koi fish? It depends on their age, size and the season. And then of course, there’s always how much you’re willing to spend to get the good stuff.

Generally, you can feed koi anything you can feed goldfish. Both fish species are technically carp and will eat just about anything organic–koi food, vegetables, krill and plankton, breakfast cereal, dead leaves. You name it. They’ll eat it.

If you’re buying koi food, things are always cheaper when you buy in bulk. Some formulas boast color enhancing properties while others are fortified with vitamins to promote good immunity in your koi fish. Beyond that, it’s often matter of preference.

Read on for a quick list of more koi feeding tips…



The best part about raising koi fish is feeding them! Seeing them come to the surface and even eating from the palm of your hand is the best bonding experience between growing koi fish and their owners.

It's said that koi have a memory of around three minutes, yet they can learn to recognize their feeders. Talk about selective memory! We've assembled ten great tips to help you become a become your koi's favorite face, even if they forget your name.

  1. Feed your fish up to four times per day. Only feed them as much as they can eat in about a five minute period.

  2. Koi fish eat just about anything, from small bugs and insects, to plants and algae at the bottom of the fish pond, to store-bought koi fish food. 

  3. Koi will even eat people food. They love cereal, lettuce, shrimp, rice, peas, watermelon... pretty much anything we like, koi fish consider food.

  4. Avoid feeding your koi fish before storms. Fish need more oxygen when digesting food. When it rains, oxygen levels in the air dip down, so you can see why it's a bad koi fish feeding time.

  5. Your growing koi will remember you as their feeder after only a short amount of time. Consistently feed them and they will begin to greet you as you approach the pond.

  6. Your smaller koi fish will need to eat flake or small koi food. Larger koi fish prefer pebble food

  7. Your koi fish prefer more carbohydrate-rich foods early in the spring and late in the fall while protein is better in early summer when mating is in the air (er, pond).

  8. Koi fish feeding time is fun. Enjoy your special time with your beloved growing koi!

  9. Koi fish can go all winter without eating because their metabolism slows to a crawl

  10. Koi fish feeding is not recommended if your pump breaks because your koi need oxygen to digest their food.

If you liked these tips, keep reading to learn about some of our favorite things to feed our koi fish in order to keep them healthy and strong.


Check Out KOI Story’s FOOD & Nutrition recommendations

These are our favorite koi foods whether you're budget-conscious or looking to spoil your koi. (Note: We get a a small commission for any sales resulting from clicks on the products seen here. Thank you for checking out our product recommendations!)

Big Al's Aquarium Services, Ltd.


If you’re looking to buy koi food in large quantities to save money, check out this 11-lb bag of your run-of-the-mill, all-season, tropical-colored pond pellet koi fish food. Made with mostly plant and some fish-based proteins.


High in stabilized vitamin C, Hikari Staple helps provide your fish with resistance to stress and immunity to infectious disease. If you're looking for the best diet for your koi fish and pocketbook, this is likely it!

koi fish Pond Flakes Food

Even smaller still, these Tropical Pond Flakes don’t cloud your pond water, and their grain-based formula is perfect for small species of pond fish and young fish like goldfish, koi, golden orfe, or golden tench.

Premium KOI FISH Flakes

This flake food is ideal for all pond fish. It keeps pond water clear and clean. This food features a high-quality protein and a stabilized multivitamin, which is part of what makes it a premium product.


Baby Koi/Goldfish Pellets

These baby food pellets are good for fish over 1.2’’ (3cm) and claim to offer up both rapid growth for young koi and goldfish and superior taste. Personally, we’ve never seen either type of fish be picky eaters at all.

Medium Koi Pond Pellet Mix

This is a 1.5lb bucket of your good old-fashioned koi fish food. This brand promises to make the red and gold coloration of fish stand out. Also, its low phosphorus formula helps keep algae from forming in your pond.

Medium Koi Food Pellets

Hikari is an affordable daily food for koi and other pond fish. It’s high in stabilized vitamin C which supports healthy immune systems both in humans and in fish (who knew!?). A great koi food for any budget.

Freeze-Dried Krill

Krill are like tiny little shrimp, and koi seem to love them just as much as humans like shrimp. They’re fortified with vitamins and make a wonderful treat for any koi. They’re especially good for hand-feeding to your fish.


Koi/Goldfish Color Flakes

This 3.53 oz. container of koi and goldfish flakes is the perfect companion to a larger bag or bin of food because you can reuse the container instead of having to always mess with the larger container.

KOI Pond Food Mix

Similar to the smaller sized pond flakes, this is a little version of the same everyday pond pellets featured above. Store one directly in the pond area so you don’t have to go back and forth to your garage every feeding.

Coldwater Koi Food

When water is colder or anytime you want your koi food to be more easily digestible, this wheat-germ formula from Hikari is the way to go. This formula is also especially high in Vitamin E and stabilized Vitamin C.

Small Koi Pond Pellet Mix

At 1.27 oz, this is what we call the emergency food supply at our house. Perfect for when you put off ordering more koi food because life is super busy but then you still feel like you should go out and feed the koi fish.