Koi carp are beautiful, distinctive and long lived fish, with unique feeding requirements that set them apart from other ornamental fish such as goldfish. Feeding appropriate koi food is essential in order to keep your koi in good health and ensure that they live long, happy lives.
If you are not sure where to start, what to feed to your koi, or how often and how to feed them, this article will explain the basics to you. Read on to learn more about koi carp and their feeding requirements…
What do koi carp eat naturally?
Koi carp are omnivorous fish, meaning that in the wild, they eat a wide range of different foods including both plant and animal matter. They are bottom feeders, and will look for food on the floor of lakes, streams and rivers using the twin barbels on their faces to locate food.
They will eat both live and decaying plant matter, and also, both live and dead animal life, including smaller fish, water bugs and other water-dwelling organisms.
Koi food in captivity
Within the domestic environment, it is very hard to provide enough naturally present foraging stock to keep koi well fed and healthy, so you will need to supplementally feed them with an appropriate koi food.
While koi will eat almost anything that you offer to them, including discarded human food and pet food, feeding them junk will not fulfil their nutritional requirements, so it is important to invest in a good quality complete koi food to allow them to thrive.
Pre-prepared koi food is readily available in pet stores or to buy online, and usually comes in pellet form. These pellets provide a complete diet for koi, and will initially float on the surface of your pond so that you can observe your koi feeding, before sinking to the bottom of the pond where they can be picked up by scavenging fish.
Koi food pellets are unique to the needs of koi carp, and you must take pains to ensure that you only choose a food designed for koi, and not a general-purpose pellet food for other types of fish.
One of the most appealing traits of our domestic koi are their beautiful bright colors and designs, and only proper koi pellets will provide all of the essential vitamins and minerals necessary to really bring out the color of your fish and keep them in great condition.
You can also supplement their regular food with nutritious treats, such as worms and other frozen foods.
How often to feed your koi
How much your koi need to eat will depend on a variety of factors, including how many fish you keep, and their size.
However, one of the main factors that dictate how often you should feed your fish is the time of year; koi are naturally more active and enter a growth phase during warmer weather. When the water temperature is cold, they will conserve energy, move around less and require less food.
During the summer, your koi will probably require feeding twice a day to fulfil their needs. In the winter months, you should reduce feeding to just once a day- or even every other day if the weather is particularly cold.