What Can You Feed Koi Fish That Won’t Hurt Them?

Keep Your Koi Fish Happy And Healthy In Maryland, DC, And Northern Virginia

Koi fish are like any pet- they need taking care of. This means feeding them too. But how to feed koi fish, how often, what kind of food, does the type of food change, and other questions may be going through your mind. You don’t want to feed them something seemingly fine, like bread, only to have your koi fish get sick.

Feeding them anything you caught yourself could be dangerous too. It might have parasites or a new disease, either of which can damage your backyard pond’s ecosystem. But you may not have to feed them at all, keep reading to learn why!

Here are common pond fish diseases >>

Hand feeding koi fish

Ecosystem Ponds Make Feeding Koi Fish Unnecessary

A proper design job with a well-balanced ecosystem can mean you won’t have to feed them at all! Fish mainly feed on the nutrients in the water like plankton, plants, and insects. This means feeding your koi fish will be for fun instead of being a chore. Interacting with your fish is the main reason pond owners have them, watching them come up to the surface and dart around is highly entertaining. Keep reading to learn about what you feed koi fish.

No time to read the full article? Download your personal PDF copy of our Guide to Keeping Your Pond Fish Safe, Healthy, and Happy here.

Koi fish with mouths wide open as if gasping for air

General Information On Feeding Koi Fish

Let’s go over some basic information on how to feed koi fish. With an ecosystem pond (meaning you have plants and other components), you’ll only want to feed your fish a hand full of food twice per week. If you don’t have plants you can feed koi fish once per day. Fish don’t have the ability to tell when they’re full so they won’t stop eating as long as there’s food to be had. The best time to feed your fish is when the pond water is between 50° – 85°F because outside of this range they can’t digest very well. During winter they hibernate, so please do not feed them.

Also, get food pellets appropriate for the size of your fish. A better-suited size means your fish can digest more efficiently, making for healthier fish that can grow to their proper size. Find out some popular fish food below.

Spirulina Algae

This blue-green alga, also called cyanobacterium, live in water and make their own food. More commonly known as blue-green algae, it’s very small, only growing up to half a millimeter in length. It’s free floating and can be found in lakes with an extremely high pH and very hard water. Feed koi fish spirulina algae for these benefits:

  • Higher growth rate.
  • Improving digestion.
  • Boosting the immune system.
  • Helping prevent swollen abdomens.
  • Enhancing production of special enzymes that break down fats into energy.
  • Bringing out better coloration due to carotene pigments found in the algae.
Algae and leaf floating on pond perfect for feeding koi fish

Wheat Germ

Don’t worry it’s not the bad kind of germ. This is the part of wheat that sprouts and grows into a new plant, the wheat seed if you will. Experiments have shown wheat germ can help goldfish and koi grow faster. It’s also a natural source of vitamin E which improves blood circulation, increases oxygen and nutrient flow, helps promote balanced growth, and aids in fighting off disease.

What to feed koi fish- wheat germ

Brine Shrimp

Here’s a fancy science word for you: bio-enrichment. Brine shrimp filter water by eating anything in it they can, which isn’t much due to their small size. The nutrients they eat will pass on to the fish they are eaten by, which is the process known as bio-enrichment. Brine shrimp are especially good for feeding recently hatched koi fish.

What you can feed koi fish doesn't inlcude turtles, though this koi is going to try

Have Fun Feeding Koi Fish

Believe it or not, feeding koi fish can help them bond with you! Like with any pet, you can form a relationship with and even name them. But there’s more to know about what you can feed koi fish, such as how often you should. Feeding them during the day and at night may not be the best for them, even if your pond has lights so you can see them. Taking proper care of your koi fish can help them live happy, healthy lives.

Learn about how often you should feed koi fish >>