Last Updated:

What Do Koi Fish Eat & What You Shouldn’t Feed Koi

Helping You Take The Best Care Of Your Koi Fish Friends In Maryland, DC, And Northern Virginia

“What do koi fish eat?” is a common question fish owners ask. You can find out what your koi fish can and cannot (or should not) eat by reading this post. It can help you to keep your koi happier and healthier for longer.

What do koi fish eat besides almost anything organic? Koi fish will eat insects, plants and algae, cereal, fruit, and anything else you would eat. They will also eat koi food bought from a pet store. Like with people, what koi fish eat is what they are. Feeding koi fish healthy foods will keep them healthy while unhealthy foods can make them sick.

This infographic covers almost everything you may need to know about feeding koi fish:

What do koi fish eat infographic

Michael stares at the infographic on the screen.

He is almost ready to have koi fish of his own, just like he dreams about. He remembers how his family home had a koi pond before the big move. It was arguably the best part about coming home.

It’s been 20-some years since he’s had an experience like that.

But that’s about to change. Michael finally has a pond of his own and now he is looking up what koi fish eat. He is preparing himself fully for owning another living being. For example, he now knows how many koi fish he can put in his pond.

This is after days of research. Here are the answers Michael finds for “what do koi fish eat?”.

You, too, can have a pond of your own >>

Koi Fish Food In The Wild vs Captivity

Michael has the best pond for supporting koi fish: an ecosystem pond.

This means it is basically a natural pond. Koi fish should be able to survive here with minimal maintenance because it produces food for them. It also cleans the water they live in.

Close up of a koi fish

If they were living in the wild (and his pond) his koi would eat vegetation, insects, worms, seeds, and anything they could stir up from the pond’s bottom. They glide along the pond floor, sifting through the mud for food. Some also hunt along the surface.

In captivity, Michael can feed them anything he can eat (but he shouldn’t). One food he knows he can feed them is koi fish food.

Koi Fish Food From Pet Stores

Michael can feed his koi fish fish food.

Small and baby koi prefer flake fish food, the smallest form. Pellets are good for the average-size koi while larger koi prefer bars of fish food. Most have plenty of proteins, a small number of fats, and the essential vitamins & nutrients.

What do koi fish eat but fish food out of their owners hand

Michael can also buy his koi fish:

  • Worms
  • Larvae
  • Tadpoles
  • Shrimp
  • Clams

And other tasty fish treats. He can also feed them from his home pantry.

What Do Koi Fish Eat That Humans Eat?

Michael can give his koi fish plenty of human treats.

This includes vegetables like broccoli, lettuce, and squash. Michael will need to cut them up fairly small so his koi can eat them. They should be the same size as the pellets he feeds them.

Koi fish also like fruits such as grapes, strawberries, and oranges. Since they are a bit softer he can slice instead of dice.

What do koi fish eat doesn't include turtles, though this koi is going to try

Grains aren’t the best food for koi. They tend to be very fattening, which is good if he ends up with any underweight fish. If he decides to feed them pasta or rice he needs to cook them without salt first. Don’t want food expanding inside his koi.

Of course, these foods should not be the basis for their diet. There is little nutritional value for koi in them.

As with everything, moderation is key.

Make sure to feed your koi the correct way >>

What You Shouldn’t Feed Koi Fish

Michael needs to avoid feeding his koi any food that he catches.

This includes fish, bugs, frogs, and everything else. They could have parasites or diseases. He should also avoid feeding them white bread, peas, and corn. He should avoid giving them anything high in carbohydrates. Koi fish have a hard time digesting carbs.

He also shouldn’t feed him his fingers:

What do koi fish eat (it's not their owners fingers)

Enjoy Feeding Your Koi Fish

Now Michael doesn’t have to worry about what to feed his koi fish. He can keep them happy and healthy for a long time. This also means he can enjoy them for longer. It’s a good thing he found that learning guide to pond fish.