What Can You Feed Koi Fish And How Often Should You?

Keep Your Koi Fish Happy And Healthy By Feeding Them The Right Amount Of Good Food
Feeding koi fish from out of your hand

You can feed koi fish almost anything humans can eat along with their fish food, insects, algae, and plants. Don’t feed them anything with a lot of carbs like bread or anything you caught yourself. As for how often to feed koi fish it’s best to do a 5-minute session once per day.

There’s more you will want to know about feeding them below.

“It’ll Be Fin-tastic!”

Sandy sighs and rubs her temples after hearing that truly un-fin-tastic joke.

She loves Gary, but his jokes can be…yeah, well, anyway, back to the main issue: caring for the koi fish they’re about to buy.

Close up of large koi pond and koi fish

“We have everything we need physically and we know how soon to put the fish into the pond. The only part we’re missing is knowing about their feeding. What can you feed koi fish anyway?” Sandy wonders.

“I don’t know, let’s look it up!” Gary booms loudly.

They each get out their phones with Sandy looking up the what while Gary searches for the how.

Here are the answers they find.

What Can You Feed Koi Fish?

You can feed koi fish their fish food and almost anything you can eat. Shrimp, fruit, vegetables, anything that isn’t high in carbohydrates. Bread and foods like that are hard on your fish’s stomachs. Koi fish also eat insects, algae, and plants.

Looks like this koi fish is trying turtle this afternoon

“Well this will make snack time easier and a lot more fun,” Gary half-jokes (the other half of him is serious). 

“It also says here not to feed them anything we catch. It could have a disease or something that could hurt our fish,” Sandy continues.

Don't feed koi fish anything you catch outside of the pond

Some popular choices for what people feed koi fish include:

  • Spirulina Algae
  • Wheat Germ
  • Brine Shrimp

“Algae? Germs?! Brine?! What kind of weird food are these people feeding their fish?” Gary asks in concern.

Spirulina Algae can help your fish by boosting their immune system, improving their digestion, bring out better coloration, and more.

Spirulina Algae tablets are good to feed koi fish

Wheat germ can help your fish grow faster and is a natural source of vitamin E. Vitamin E improves blood circulation, increases oxygen and nutrient flow, helps promote balanced growth, and aids in fighting off disease.

Wheat germ is great for feeding koi fish

Brine shrimp not only feed your fish but they help filter your pond water too. As they are eaten by your fish the nutrients they ate pass on to the fish.

Brine shrimp filter water and feed fish

“See, these are what we can feed koi fish that’s good for them,” Sandy assures Gary.

If you buy fish pellets please get food pellets that are the right size for your fish. 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.

A better-suited size means your fish can digest it better, making for healthier fish that can grow to their proper size.

Koi fish swimming around

Other foods you can feed them include:

  • Worms
  • Larvae
  • Tadpoles
  • Shrimp
  • Clams

“Wow, they’re basically like small, underwater goats,” Gary observes. “They’ll eat just about anything!”

Sharon can’t help but chuckles at his comparison. “Now, what did you find out about how often you feed koi fish and how to feed koi fish?

How Often Do You Feed Koi Fish?

If you know what an ecosystem pond is then you’ll want to know you shouldn’t feed your fish more than a handful of food twice per week. They’ll eat the plants, insects, and other naturally occurring food in the pond. If you don’t have this then you can feed your fish as much as they can eat in 5 minutes once per day.

Koi fish nibbling on this mans finger

“That’s a big difference,” Gary points out. “It’s because, apparently, fish can’t tell when they’re full so they won’t stop eating as long as there’s food,” Sandy reads over Gary’s shoulder.

You also don’t want to feed your fish when the temperatures are outside of 50° – 85°F. Their digestive systems slow down outside of this range so feeding them can hurt them.

“So how do we care for fish during winter? We don’t feed them?” Sandy asks Gary. “No, we don’t because they basically hibernate. They don’t need food,” he responds.

When you do feed them you can just toss the food in or you can hold it in your hand and let them eat out of it. Don’t worry it won’t hurt, it’ll just feel kind of weird in a tickly way.

Scoop out any leftover food so the water quality doesn’t take a dive.

Koi fish ready to eat

But the couple isn’t quite sure how to feed them. They know they can’t just toss in whole pieces of food, but should they just dump a bag of food in there?

They scroll down to find out.

How To Give Koi Fish Food

You can give koi fish food by tossing pellets into the water by the handful. Wait until most of the food you threw in is gone before adding in more. Don’t forget about the 5-minute session rule!

As for feeding them human food you’ll need to cut it up to the same size as the pellets your fish would eat. Fruits such as grapes, strawberries, and oranges are a bit softer so you can cut them a little bigger.

“Remember we need the right amount of fish per gallon so our fish can actually enjoy their feeding time,” Sandy reminds Gary.

Playing with koi fish while feeding them

Time To Go Fish!

“Now let’s go get us some fish!” Gary shouts excitedly. “The fish store’s closed, dear,” Sandra gently reminds him. “Until then, let’s check and make sure everything is good to go so we can prevent them from catching one of the 3 most common koi fish diseases.”