I’ll be brutally honest with you. Koi are omnivorous scavengers that will not only eat anything, they even eat some things twice! Sure unlike rats and cockroaches, koi carp are beautiful aesthetically pleasing sea creatures that give me constant joy and delight to watch and feed by hand.
Koi cannot eat a large amount of food at one time because they do not have stomachs. Since Koi can’t eat too much at one time, they spend a lot of time looking for more food to eat. Koi will actually eat anything that is small enough for them to actually swallow whole.
Carp are incredibly adaptable creatures. They consume their carbs and proteins from available sources and will even subsist on decaying plant and animal life. The carp natural diet tends to be worms, crustacea and vegetation. In the wild, they will feed at the bottom of the water and root through decaying vegetation. As the decaying plant mass moves through their system, they will excrete the fecal matter which will mix into the mud. They will actually gather nutrients from the previous passing of plant poop!
So how does this information relate to your average pet koi that lives in your pond? Well, it would be nice to understand why koi sometimes are over fed by their owners. Koi food is divided into five categories, proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals.
Here are five tips for feeding your koi properly.
1. Feed at least 2 to 4 times daily when the water temperature is between 15 º-30 º C (60º- 86º F). Do not exceed the amount the fish will eat within 10 minutes. Remove the remaining food after 1 hour.
2. Feed 2 to 3 times weekly when the water temperature is lower than 15º C (60ºF ). The amount should also be reduced to half of the regular quantity.
3. Stop feeding if the water temperature is lower than 12º C (53ºF) or the water temperature suddenly drops more than 5ºC (9ºF). Give your fish 2 to 3 days to adjust to the water temperature than restart feeding.
4. When any sudden drop of fish’s appetite is observed, check to make sure your fish is not sick because of improper water temperature or water pollution.
5. If more than half of the tank water has been changed, do not feed your fish for 24 hours.
Most koi feed are made to supply the following balance of nutrients: Crude Protein, Crude Fat, Crude Fiber, and Ash. Their ingredients usually include Wheat Germ Meal, White Fish Meal, Shrimp Meal, Spirulina, Soybean Meal, Dried Sour Whey, Dehydrated Alfalfa, Brewers, Dried Yeast, and multivitamins sources.
Stick with feed that you can afford and on occasion, feed them a little lettuce, peas and even watermelons. There are a multitude of koi food specialty outlets as well as most established pet stores carry koi food by the bag or by the bucket. Remember to pay attention to the feeding guide for important information on seasonal and temperature changes.