What Do Koi Fish Eat?

Do Koi Fish Eat Pond Slime?

Poor Water Quality

So What Is In A Koi's Diet

This is a question most marine beginners ask on their entry to fish health care, especially when they see the rich, colorful fins of these particularly domesticated vertebrates.

Watching these lively fishes swim in the water is a scene kids and adults alike find fascinating.

People generally can’t completely cut their ties with the Earth, and they put little pockets of nature even in the comforts of their own city home.

One such example to make humans feel as if they are a part of Mother Nature’s ecosystem is by building a pond in a corner of their homes.

These dew ponds can have a variety of fishes living in them, but the most popular choice that tops the list of marine preferences is the Koi fish – also known as Nishikigoi.

Koi fish have long been a symbol of a lot of positive aspects, from peace, prosperity, success, great luck, and courage.

Aside from bringing fortune to a household, they are also known to put a splash of color in any space they are designated in.

House owners who prefer a minimalistic approach can liven up their space just by taking care of these Japanese fishes at home.

However, what should a Koi’s diet look like in order to maintain such attractive shades that can brighten any environment?

Koi Fish Food

Koi Fish Food In Their Natural Environment

In their natural habitat, Koi fish eat naturally a wide variety of food sources.

Most Koi Fish consume pretty much anything they find underwater, including the things that can be disturbed from the bottom.

Do Koi Fish Have a Proper Diet?

This includes green algae, worms, seeds, insects, and other varieties of smaller fishes.

At home in a man-made pond, koi fishes can basically be fed anything that can be found in human provisions, including krills, shrimps, vegetables and fruits.

However, take note that anything that is high in carbohydrates can be too much for their stomachs, such as pasta and bread.

So if you are feeding koi fish some of your food it is probably best that you stop feeding them your pasta and white bread.

How to Go About Feeding Baby Koi

Koi Food in a domesticated habitat imitating a Koi Fish's Natural Diet!

The Following Foods give a little guide on what Koi Fish should eat for a balanced diet.

Koi Eat

Koi Fish Pellets and Flakes

Commercial Koi fish food contains a combination of proteins, fats, and vitamins essential for Koi fish survival.

While some small koi including baby koi eat mini pellets or even flakes, bigger koi fish tend to prefer Koi Fish pellets.

Koi Food’s food formula also includes worms, tadpoles, and larvae.

Wheat Germ - Packed With Protein

Wheat germ can contribute to a koi’s explosive growth, and are the part of the wheat that has the potential to become another plant.

Aside from growth, wheat germ also has a lot of vitamin E which is vital for Nishikigoi to have a healthier system.

It improves blood flow, nutrient circulations, and improves the koi’s immune system against a huge variety of diseases.

Brine shrimps - The Perfect Koi Food

Mostly sold at pet stores, brine shrimps are interesting and also good not only for your koi’s health but also for the ecosystem they live in.

Brine shrimps are mainly beneficial for bio-enrichment, they eat micronutrients in the water and then pass on the good things to the koi.

These are highly recommended for baby koi fish.

Spirulina Algae - Pond Scrum Koi Food

Known as cyanobacteria, these algae are known to be self-sufficient.

They grow only up to half a millimeter and usually thrive in bodies of hard water with severely high pH levels.

They improve koi’s digestion, prevent bloating, bring out better fish colors, and help the koi produce a special enzyme that processes energy from fats. 

Pond Water

Koi Fish Nutritional Requirements

What is in Koi Food that provides them with the right nutrition to grow healthy and strong?

Here is the list of necessary nutrients that can help your koi reach their peak:

Koi Fish Protein

Koi fish diet should include thirty-two to thirty-six percent of protein as they are typically omnivores.

These help the koi fish grow faster and exhibit more brilliant fish patterns.

Lipids For Koi Fish

The best Koi food should also have three to nine percent of oil and fat in their daily food intake.

Fat helps growing koi reach growth milestones faster, and can also help them store food when in a fasting phase.

Calcium and Vitamins

Vitamins A, C, D, E, and K as well as calcium helps your koi fish have a better immune system, and can help ward off bacteria that may be detrimental in the long run.

Other considerations for Keeping Koi Fish in their Prime

Carbohydrates and Fiber

Just like you and I, Koi fish also need their daily fibre intake along with Carbohydrates to digest their food properly.

Too little of either will cause constipation and a host of other health problems in Koi fish. So, always be sure to feed koi with a good quality diet that has both fibre and carbs.

Above all else, following along with a couple of the brief notes above will also support you in ensuring that not only are your Koi Fish nice and healthy but their environment (Water Quality) will also be on point!

Do Koi Eat Other Fish?

Koi fish food, not just plants, and pellets?

Because of the size that Larger Koi Fish grow to they are considered to be gentle giants with predominantly omnivorous diets, but koi eat other smaller fish species.

What’s more?

They also consume their own eggs and other young fish.

Koi females are even notorious for eating their own fry especially if the pond is too small and crowded.

Hatched Koi Fry also consume each other for nutritional purposes. It is believed that this is to minimize competition.

So yes Koi Fish eat other fish!

Koi Fish

Koi Fish Feeding Tips

Now that we have clarified a couple of points Koi fish eat, here are some of the few tricks to keep your aquatic friends healthy and brimming with happiness:

Fish Food from the wild no-go?

We generally suggest that you avoid feeding food that you have collected and produced from the wild! 

This is because the risk of them carrying parasites is high, which is very harmful to your koi fish.

Feed Koi

How often should you feed koi?

We suggest that you Feed Koi fish a maximum of four times a day, this may be much but take note that only provide them feed that they can finish in a five-minute duration. 

Some other things to consider to ensure that your koi live a healthy life and they aren’t swimming around in poor water quality.

  • Feed them protein-rich treats bought from the store or homemade once or twice a week. These include silkworm pupae, tubifex worms, tadpoles, mosquito larvae, and bloodworms to ensure that they reach the necessary protein consumption for their optimal growth and development. When you feed your Koi these treats not only are your koi going to love you even more but they are going to be getting some of their much needed amino acids.
  • Regularly feed your Koi by hand. They are intelligent fishes and will know that you’re their benefactor in a small amount of time. Once you have established a connection, they will constantly chase you around the pond and will often greet you when you approach. 
  • If you have an ecosystem pond, then feeding your Koi is an option that will give you enjoyment. Watching them forage and hunt their own food in this environment can promote exercise and install foraging habits. Just ensure that they have enough room to occasionally forage on their own. 
  • Give your Koi foods rich in carbohydrates in spring and late fall, while protein-rich food should be provided in the summer. 
  • Koi have a long fasting period capacity because they can slow down their metabolism especially in winter. Thus, you can feed them in a much smaller amount than usual, to prevent water contamination and overfeeding.

Other Koi Fish FAQ's

Koi Fish

How to make your koi grow faster?

To ensure that your Koi’s growing to their utmost capabilities, a high-quality diet is a first and foremost priority. 

Do not overfeed your fish, an ideal four small meals a day can suffice. 

Cold temperatures can also lower their metabolism, so feeding them below forty degrees Celsius can be a cause of problems. 

The best thing to consider is digestion when providing a Koi diet.

What diet factors contribute to Koi's growth?

Proteins and amino acids should be included in their daily intake. 

They help the Koi build healthy tissues, develop reproductive abilities, and grow to their maximum size. 

Lipids are also necessary as they provide the koi energy to move around. 

Metabolic reactions can also be improved with a few vitamins and minerals.

What factors contribute to koi color?

The most decided factor when it comes to Koi color and vibrancy is the inclusion of Spirulina in their diet. 

Due to its beta-Carotene content, Spirulina is known to enhance Koi’s vibrant shades of reds and oranges. 

Other nutrients that enhance these colors are carotenoids and canthaxanthin. 

Some Koi have yellow on their patterns, and you can enhance them by including marigold extract in your fishes’ diets.

Koi Fish Eat Naturally

Koi fish treats

Take note that these treats are of little nutritional value but a source of enjoyment for the Koi. 

They can typically consume these foods only twice or thrice per week in small, chopped amounts. 

Garlic, squashes, cauliflowers, melons, grapes, and strawberries, are the fruits and vegetables typically given as treats for Nishikigoi. 

Hard-boiled eggs, cheerios, rice, and oatmeal are also included in the list of Koi fish treats.

What do Koi fish eat naturally in the wild?

Koi are omnivores and scavengers in the wild. They consume a variety of items, including detritus, insects, crustaceans, and other fishes. 

In order to maintain their health and color, it is best to provide them with a balanced diet that includes

Do I Need to Maintain a Varied Diet for Koi Fish?

Yes, it is very important to have a varied diet for your Koi fish. 

This will ensure that they are getting all of the nutrients they need to grow properly and remain healthy. 

It is also important to maintain a balanced diet so that you don’t overfeed.

Do I need to Worry about polluting the Koi Pond With The Fish Food?

Koi can eat anything that’s smaller than their mouth. So the answer is no, you don’t need to be concerned about polluting your pond with fish food.

The bigger problem would be too much uneaten food creating an environment ripe for disease.

1-2 small pinches of food each day are recommended.

If you stick to maintaining an appropriate amount of Koi food and avoid feeding your koi fish too much food your Koi Pond water quality should not be impacted.

This means that your fishes’ health should remain fantastic and you should see your koi live for a long time to come.

Pond Water

Should ​I feed koi Sinking or Floating food?

Sinking Versus floating food

Generally speaking Koi foods are either floating or sinking.

Generally speaking Koi food is either Sinking or floating…

Simple I know…

Sinking koi food does exactly that, it sinks and just like the titanic it drops straight to the bottom.

This makes it an excellent choice for bottom feeders (What are bottom feeders – they are fish that swim along the bottom of a pond, lake or stream, gobbling up mouthfuls of whatever is down there then spitting out whatever doesn’t taste like food).

But when you feed your koi it is an entirely different matter.

Because we are talking about display-quality koi fish that can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars, you most likely want to see these living jewels.

I am guessing that you don’t want them lurking in the deep dark sections of your pond gorging themselves!

After All that is not why you bought them!

So, when you feed your koi floating food that simply increases your opportunity to enjoy your treasure trove of colors that make up your school of Koi Fish.

On the Other hand though When you feed Koi this way it is also practical for three reasons:

It’s a great way for keeping track of how much food your koi eat and just how much food you put into your koi pond.

Secondly when you feed koi this way the food spreads out over the surface of your pond, which in turn gives your koi fish a chance to feed.

There is nothing better than interacting with your fish pond jewels as you feed koi. It genuinely gives you a chance to interact with your koi fish, while also seeing who’s feeding and who isn’t, and to check the health of your school to see who may have scale or other health issues.