What Defines a High-Quality Koi Fish Food?

What Defines a High-Quality Koi Fish Food?

When researching owning koi, you will probably see a lot of recommendations and advice pieces.

Though all are well-meaning, some can be a bit clickbaity or otherwise maybe not the best advice to actually follow and a lot of information can be a little conflicting.

Let’s take a look at the science of things and approach koi feedings with fact-based rhetoric by looking at what defines a high-quality koi fish food and what ingredients you should look for.

So, What Do Wild Koi Eat?

Generally, one of the best ways to ensure your pets are well nourished is to try to closely mimic their naturalistic diet as closely as you can.

This means doing research to figure out exactly what they eat and how you can feasibly ensure they are getting roughly equivalent nutrients in your pond.

While some pets can be a little tricky, koi fish are, as a whole, very easy to feed.

They have a voracious appetite and will eat just about anything they can fit in their mouth.

Additionally, they are omnivorous bottom feeders, meaning they eat everything from insects, larvae, other fish eggs, and leftovers from other creatures, as well as algae, small plants, and even waste from larger animals.

They are not picky and have digestive systems of steel, so you do not have to worry too much!

Just ensure it is not overly rich in carbohydrates and can easily fit into their mouth and you’re all set!

What Defines a High-Quality Koi Fish Food?

Common Koi Food Ingredients

While live feeding is not the best idea for everyone or even potentially feasible, you can still ensure your koi are getting a balanced, well-rounded diet. Let’s look at some of the common ingredients used to achieve this in koi foods and explore what exactly they do to help keep your fish healthy, happy, and vibrant.

Fish Meal

The largest compositional ingredient in most koi foods, fish meal is exactly what it sounds like: ground-up fish. Typically, fish meal may be listed under two alternative names: white fish meal or brown fish meal. These can be defined as made from white meat fish or brown meat fish. White fish meal is thought to be generally better for koi fish and is the one most commonly found in higher tier koi foods.

The color of the fish used does not define the quality alone, though. If you look at the composite breakdown of the ratios of nutrients in the food, you will notice that not all are created equal in regards to protein, especially. Protein is necessary for ensuring your fish can have energy to move and repair their bodies. It also helps them to grow and reach their maximum size. A good quality fish meal will also be low in histamines, which have been shown to support the spread of diseases in koi and decrease their growth rate. If your fish food is meeting these requirements, it likely is made of fresh fish meal, which is vital if you want to raise happy, thriving koi.

Wheat Germ

Another extremely popular and important addition to any koi food, wheat germ or wheat germ meal is used to provide energy to your koi due to it being easily digestible and providing twenty-five percent protein to your fish, on average! It is also very rich in vitamins E and B, even to the point that humans use wheat germ oil regularly to enhance their own health. In fact, the wheat germ used in forming koi food is usually the cast off from the oil extraction process!


As a blue or green algae, spirulina has been popping up in human foods and supplements recently at a very dramatic rate. This has resulted in more and more people discovering the amazing health benefits of this fantastic organism-based supplement! Koi can benefit greatly, too, as it provides a mega-boost of protein, vitamins, and minerals, including carotenoids, which are linked to color vibrancy and development in koi fish!

Wheat Meal

This additive is frequently overlooked but plays a pretty important role. Typically, it is used to keep your koi’s food shaped properly. It acts as a structural supplement to make feedings easier and mess-free. Additionally, though, it also provides a nice little energy boost to promote activity and development in your koi fish!

Bang For Your Buck

It can be tempting to purchase a bulk bag, cheap food to save money.

While your koi will likely still happily eat this, a lot of cheaper foods have additives and use lower-quality or old ingredients, decreasing the nutritional value dramatically.

Some are even outright harmful, especially if they have high levels of carbohydrates or skip on providing an adequate amount of proteins.

This can lead to lethargy, tumor formation, and a host of other very serious health problems while also decreasing your koi’s immune response, which can result in an increased risk of bacterial, viral, or parasitic infection within your koi fish population.

With koi, it is better to invest and ensure you know exactly what is being fed and at what ratio it is being delivered!

This is the best way to ensure your koi are getting everything they need and not being overfed with lower-quality filters that serve to just produce more waste and make your water look murky while not giving any real nutritional impact to your koi.

Investing a little in your koi food can really go a long way, especially since most brands with good, healthy ingredients are still very affordable since you feed less at each meal due to the nutritional concentrations and still have very satisfied koi.

What Defines a High-Quality Koi Fish Food?

High-Quality Food for High-Quality Fish

Koi are digestively very strong but they still need high-quality, healthy foods.

Do your research and search around and you are sure to find the perfect food for your koi population!

With the wide range of options available right now, there are more amazing products available than ever before to ensure your koi are properly cared for and always looking their best!