Feeding Your Koi Fish Friends

Feeding koi fish is unlike most any other pet. It’s a unique experience that only pond owners and koi farmers really get to experience.

While this experience is special, it takes certain knowledge to properly feed your koi fish:

  • What to feed them
  • What you shouldn’t feed them
  • How to feed them
  • When you shouldn’t feed them

Let’s go over how you should feed your koi fish.

Finger in koi fish mouth

What To Feed Koi Fish (And What Not To)

Koi fish will eat just about anything, but that doesn’t mean they should.

The normal diet of a backyard pond koi fish consists of koi food pellets. They have everything a young koi fish needs to grow up healthy and beautiful. Outside of this, koi fish can eat:

  • Insects
  • Cereal
  • Rice
  • Shrimp
  • Fruit (watermelon, oranges, etc)
  • Vegetables (lettuce, broccoli, etc)
  • Some human food

Small koi need flake or small koi food while larger ones prefer pebble food.

Koi fish with a beautiful yellow lotus

But any treats are to be occasional only. Frequently feeding your koi fish non-koi fish food can end up making them sick.

What you should not feed your koi fish are foods high in carbohydrates like:

  • Peas
  • Corn
  • Bread

You should also avoid feeding them anything you caught. It can have parasites or a disease that can infect your koi.

If your pump breaks don’t feed your fish as they won’t have enough oxygen

Golden koi fish with white patches

How To Feed Koi Fish

It’s a sort of spray-and-pray method for about 5 minutes. Well, if you don’t have an ecosystem pond.

If you have an ecosystem pond you don’t ever have to feed your koi fish. The organic matter the pond produces will be great food for your koi. You only feed them when you want to!

If you don’t, then you have about 5 minutes to feed your koi fish.

What this means is that your koi fish will eat as much as they want in about 5 minutes. After that, they tend to get full and you’ll have to fish out any leftovers.

Fun fact: koi fish have no stomachs so they tend to eat smaller meals more frequently.

Of course, this is only in good weather. Feeding them in bad weather can be bad, as you can find out below.

Koi fish feeding time

Feeding koi fish in cold weather can make them sick.

Koi fish go into a hibernating state under around 50 degrees Fahrenheit. If they eat at this temperature the food can get stuck inside them because it won’t digest.

Imagine having indigestion for weeks instead of days.

So that this won’t become a problem for you, here’s a conservative figures chart from Kodama Koi Garden on feeding temperature and frequency:

Kodama koi fish feeding chart

Feed Your Koi Fish Well

Feed your koi fish often enough and they will start recognizing you. They can even start greeting you when you come to the pond! Koi fish are your friends, but also your pet. Care for them well and they can bring you joy for years.

You can learn more answers to koi fish questions >>