Learning the proper discipline for Koi feeding is essential in order to ensure that your Koi fish remain healthy and look their best. The first thing to know in this regard is what can be considered food for Koi.
Koi fish are omnivores; as such they will eat both plant and animal matter. They will eat duckweed, algae and soft aquatic plants. Of course, they will also eat bloodworms, shrimp, earthworm, even tadpoles!
Your role is to ensure that they eat what is best for them in a nutritional sense. The items mentioned above are acceptable provided that you balance their diet. Commercial Koi pellets make for a practical means for delivering a well balanced meal for your Koi. Supplementing this with some other treats, such as lettuce, garlic (which they adore) and oranges is fine; so long as you adhere to certain guidelines.
First, never feed koi any food that has a casing or skin. Corn, cooked beans, even grapes, should be avoided as their digestive system is not geared for digesting such roughage. Intestinal blockages can also occur with Koi. If you feed them earthworms, bloodworms, shrimp, etc., chop them up into small pieces to avoid such maladies.
Knowing what is the appropriate food for Koi is the first step. Second comes knowing how much and when to feed them. The same rule of thumb used for aquarium fish can be applied to Koi. A Koi feeding should only last 5 minutes. Any food that was not eaten within that time frame should be removed immediately from the pond to avoid contaminating the water.
In the summer months when the water temperature is 72 degrees Fahrenheit and above, Koi should be fed 3 to 4 times per day. The food for Koi in this circumstance should consist of a high protein diet. This can be covered with 35% protein Koi pellets.
When the water is above 65 degrees Fahrenheit, but below 72F, the feedings should be decreased to only twice per day and the diet should be low in protein. Low protein pellets are also available for this.
Temperatures between 60-65 degrees Fahrenheit call for feeding frequencies to be curtailed to only once per day with the low protein pellets. Once water temperatures drop below 60 degrees Fahrenheit the Koi’s metabolism begins to enter a state of dormancy. During this time period koi feeding should be done once every other day.
Please take note of the following: if the water temperature drops below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, Koi fish must not be fed. At those temperatures they simply will not digest any food that is consumed. If water temperatures remain below 50 degrees Fahrenheit for more than 30 consecutive days, a small feeding, less than a quarter in volume of that of a summer feeding, may be given for one day. This feeding should consist of as little protein as possible. Cheerios are actually perfect food for Koi given this circumstance.
Adhering to the specific types of food for Koi that are permissible and avoiding those which are not, will ensure that your Koi grow large and strong. Ensuring that they are fed according to the seasonal schedule that is best for their own metabolism will make for a koi that not only looks beautiful, but that has a strong immune system.