When breeding koi for the first time, hopefully, all things go smoothly. If they do, you’ll soon have several thousand fry to look after (assuming you do not cull any, which is common since overpopulation can cause stunted growth and health issues). Let’s look at how to care for those new babies and what they need to eat!
First 24 Hours For Koi Fry
For the first twenty-four hours, your koi fry are pretty new to the world. During this time, they actually do not need to be fed, as they are still attached to the yolk that will sustain them for about a day. During this time, your new fry should be left alone and given a chance to acclimate to their new world.
As Koi Babies Grow
After the first day, you will need to feed your koi fry. Their diet needs to be nutritionally sound and small enough to not pose a choking hazard. You also need to feed them enough to sustain them but not too much, as it will pollute the tank and make your fry sick. You cannot yet use the filter since it will suck up the tiny fry and injure them, so you must find a balance in feeding times and amounts.
The Best Koi Fry Foods
Here are some of our picks for the best koi foods available online. While live feeding is more popular now than ever before, we are sticking to commercial products for the sake of ease for beginners and those who need a little help getting started.
Suitable for koi carp smaller than six inches in size, Mazuri Koi Platinum Bits are a great choice from a trusted brand that has been a mainstay in the industry for years.
This food is small in diameter, making it good for the smaller mouths of fry and can be crushed to an even smaller size easily to make it suitable for even the babies’s earliest days. This food is also meant to optimize color and growth thanks to the addition of spirulina other nutrient matter. There is high protein content and additional vitamin C to support muscle formation and immune system health, as well.
This product also floats, which encourages the fish to swim to the top to feed, at which point you can get a good look at them and view their overall health more easily.
As one of the most popular foods for koi carp fry, baby brine shrimp makes for a protein-packed, high nutrient meal that supports rapid growth and overall health. The Ocean Nutrition Instant Baby Brine Shrimp is significantly easier than hatching and raising your own brine shrimp and provides a constant supply of food free of potential issues like sudden dieoffs and brine shrimp illnesses.
The brand claims their shrimp are as natural as the fresh hatched version that contains only newborn shrimp stored in a water solution. These shrimp are free of preservatives, dyes, colors, and other additives and provide a nutritionally sound, easily maintained source of food for your koi carp. Plus, it is perfect for the youngest of koi fry.
Tetra is perhaps one of the most well-known names in fish keeping. They pop up everywhere and seem to provide something for every aquatic species, making them major players in the modern market.
The Tetra Pond Koi Growth High Protein Koi and Goldfish Food is a great budget choice since it includes tons of protein for growth and a lot of antioxidants and nutrients to support immune health and coloration. The food is highly digestible and claims to be suitable for all fish koi sizes, though some people do report having to break up the pieces for especially small fry.
Another good low-cost option that is surprisingly overlooked, the Wardley Pond Pellets Koi & Pond Fish Food is as easily found as the Tetra pellets but softens faster and is somewhat easier to digest for smaller koi.
The tiny pellets are nutritionally balanced and contain vitamin C for immune health support, along with other nutrient boosters. The food also contains spirulina and other extracts including brewer’s yeast to support digestive health and create a good coloration and size within your population.
This is a solid food for beginners or those looking for something a little less costly to add to their routine.
Designed specifically as a koi starter food, the Hikari First Bites line is designed to help a wide variety of fish species, including koi carp, successfully grow and develop. The brand uses nutritional loading to support organ development, coloration, breeding ability, and a host of other concerns that play into the viability of a specific fish.
As a solid product, this is a great starter for most fish and could be a valuable asset to those breeding koi for the first time! This is especially true since the tiny bites are perfect for even the smallest mouths!
A bit harder to find that some more mass-produced options, the Beni Koi Food line is a fantastically well-rounded brand that creates foods based on the natural diet of the koi carp. Specifically, their fry care kit includes three levels of food to suit the development of your koi.
The first is a fine powder that is easily eaten by even the tiniest mouths. Next, the fish move up to a sinking compound that is quick digesting and promotes comfort with more solid foods. Lastly, your fish move to a floating, nutrient-dense pellet when they are large enough.
This system is proven to help create healthy, well-adapted fish and is great for more serious owners or those who are hoping to raise selective groups by hand.
Best Food For Fry
Regardless of what you choose to feed your koi fry, as long as you take your breeding seriously and do proper research, you have a good chance at success. Good luck!