Baby koi fish food

What To Feed Koi Fish And More- Premier Ponds

What Koi Fish Can And Can’t Eat And How To Feed Them

Not sure what to feed your koi fish? You’re not alone. Koi fish food can be confusing, but it’s important to get it right. In this blog post, we’ll break down the question of “what do koi fish eat” and give you advice on how to provide them with the best possible diet. This way, they can live as long as they’re supposed to.

So, whether you’re a first-time koi owner or just looking for some clarification, read on for everything you need to know about feeding koi fish.

General Information On Feeding Koi Fish

Here’s almost everything you need to know on how to feed koi fish:

Photo from

Feeding koi fish is different if you have an ecosystem pond. You don’t have to feed them as often because they will eat insects, parts of plants, and everything else they can find.

If you don’t have plants, you can feed koi fish as much as they can eat in 5 minutes once per day. Fish don’t have the ability to tell when they’re full, so they won’t stop eating as long as there’s food to be had.

The best time to feed your fish is when the pond water is between 50 degrees and 85 degrees Fahrenheit because outside of this range, they can’t digest very well. During winter, they hibernate, so please do not feed them.

Also, get food pellets appropriate for the size of your fish. A better-suited size means your fish can digest more efficiently, making for healthier fish that can grow to their proper size.

Koi Fish Food Quality

What you feed your fish will have a big impact on their health and well-being. That’s why it’s so important to choose the best koi food over low-quality options.

High-quality koi fish food is made with fresh ingredients that are rich in nutrients. This type of food is typically more expensive than its low-quality counterpart, but it’s worth the investment because it will help keep your koi healthy and vibrant. High-quality koi food should also be slow-sinking, so your fish have to work a little harder to eat it. This helps ensure they’re getting the exercise they need to stay healthy.

Low-quality koi fish food is made with cheaper ingredients. This type of food can cause health problems for your koi, making it likely that they won’t live as long as fish on a high-quality diet. Low-quality koi food typically sinks more quickly, meaning your fish don’t have to work as hard to eat it. This can lead to obesity, which can shorten their lifespan.

What Do Koi Fish Eat Naturally

In the wild, koi fish eat algae, plants, insects, worms, seeds, and anything they can stir up from the pond’s bottom. They hunt along the pond floor and along the surface. If you have an ecosystem pond, they can continue having their natural diet.

This means feeding time is simply a way to bond and have fun with your fish.

What You Can Feed Koi Fish

You can feed koi almost anything people can eat. This includes shrimp, fruit, vegetables, and anything that isn’t high in carbohydrates. Bread and foods like that are hard on your fish’s stomachs. You can also feed them fish food pellets. Make sure they’re the right size.

The Best Koi Fish Food

The best answer to “what do koi fish eat” is high-quality food. The fewer processed ingredients it has, the better it is for your pond fish.

You’ll also want to make sure your koi have a balanced diet, which can include the following foods:

1. Spirulina Algae

These blue-green algae, also called cyanobacterium, are very small, only growing up to half a millimeter in length. It’s free-floating and can be found in lakes with extremely high pH and very hard water. You can find this koi fish food in pellet form.

Koi fish eat algae for these benefits:

  • Higher growth rate
  • Improved digestion
  • Boosted immune system
  • Prevention of swollen abdomens
  • Enhanced production of special enzymes that break down fats into energy
  • Bring out better coloration due to carotene pigments found in the algae

2. Wheat Germ

Don’t worry; it’s not the bad kind of germ. This is the part of wheat that sprouts and grows into a new plant, the wheat seed, if you will. Experiments have shown that eating this pond fish food can help goldfish and koi grow faster. It’s also a natural source of vitamin E, which improves blood circulation, increases oxygen flow, increases nutrient flow, helps promote balanced growth, and aids in fighting off disease.

Feed your koi this type of koi fish food for these other benefits:

  • Higher growth rate
  • Better overall health
  • Brighter color scales
  • Improved digestion

3. Brine Shrimp

Here’s a fancy science word for you: bio-enrichment. Brine shrimp filter water by eating anything in it they can, which isn’t much due to their small size. The nutrients they eat pass on to the fish they are eaten by, which is the process known as bio-enrichment. Brine shrimp are especially good koi food for recently hatched koi fish.

This type of koi fish food will bring these benefits to your koi:

  • Protein, vitamin A, and vitamin D
  • Higher growth rate


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 koi food. Most have plenty of proteins, a small number of fats, and essential vitamins & nutrients. Some other favorites include worms, larvae, tadpoles, shrimp, and clams.

5. Hi Silk 21

This is one of the best koi foods on the market. It’s developed specifically to help koi fish grow well and stay healthy. Many champion koi eat this food, especially Nishikigoi, because it helps their white scales sparkle brighter.

Here are the benefits of this type of koi fish food:

  • High growth rate
  • Brighter white scales
  • Protein, vitamins, and minerals

6. Manda Fu

Manda Fu is a treat for koi made by fermenting high-quality fruits and plants, and they love it! Not only does it taste good to them, but it’s good for them too.

You can give your koi these benefits by feeding them this type of koi fish food:

  • Higher growth rate
  • Brighter colors
  • Better overall health


Some Human Food

You can feed koi almost anything people can eat. This includes shrimp, fruit, vegetables, and anything that isn’t high in carbohydrates. Like with humans, the quality of food you feed them will affect their health. Healthier foods will lead to healthy koi.

What Not To Feed Koi Fish

Don’t feed koi fish anything high in carbohydrates. You should also avoid feeding them white bread, peas, and corn. Koi fish have a hard time digesting carbs.

Koi fish food shouldn’t include anything you catch in the wild, either. This includes fish, bugs, frogs, and everything else. They could have parasites or diseases they can pass on to your fish.

Grains aren’t the best koi food. They tend to be very fattening, which is good if your fish start losing weight. If you decide to feed them pasta or rice, you’ll need to cook them without salt first. Otherwise, the food could expand inside your koi. These foods should not be the basis for their diet. They have little nutritional value for koi.

Some people feed dog food and cat food to their koi. We’d recommend being very cautious about this as it isn’t formulated for koi or a part of their natural diet.

What Influences A Koi Fish’s Diet

Koi Fish Digestive Systems

Koi fish don’t have stomachs, so unlike people, they need to eat smaller amounts of koi fish food more often. Since they don’t have stomachs, they tend to fill up more quickly, hence why they eat smaller amounts of koi food more frequently.

Factors For How Much And How Often To Feed Koi Fish

  • Size: Smaller koi need less food, while larger koi need more food.
  • Seasonality: In the spring and summer, when water temperatures are warm, koi are more active and need more food to support their growth. In the fall and winter, koi become less active and require less or no food. As a result, koi keepers must adjust their feeding schedules accordingly. You can feed koi cold fish food at certain temperatures.
  • Temperature: Koi are cold-water fish, which means they do best in temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. They can survive in colder temperatures, but their activity and metabolism slow down, so they don’t eat as much. You can switch to cold water koi fish food when temperatures drop below 65. Koi will also stop eating when the temperature drops below 50 degrees and go into hibernation at around 40 degrees.
  • Water Oxygen Levels: Koi fish need dissolved oxygen to properly digest their food. So, when dissolved oxygen levels change due to a storm, koi fish can’t digest their food as well. It’s best not to feed them during or after a storm.
  • Water Quality: The more koi fish eat, the more fish waste they produce, meaning your water quality can decrease. This leads to lower oxygen levels, which strains their digestive tract. Keep your water quality at higher levels to make sure your koi stay healthy.
  • Pond Pumps: If your pond pump isn’t strong enough or fails, this can also lead to lower oxygen levels in your water, which stresses your koi fish.
  • Pond Type: Koi can find more food to eat in ecosystem ponds than in other manmade ponds. This means you’ll need to feed them less koi fish food, so they don’t eat too much and get fat or sick.

How Much Koi Food Should I Feed My Fish?

In ecosystem ponds, you’ll only want to feed your fish a handful of food twice per week. Any more and they can start having health problems.

If you don’t have an ecosystem pond, you can feed koi fish as much as they can eat in 5 minutes once per day. Over and underfeeding them can lead to health issues.

How To Feed Koi Fish

Cut up any larger bits of koi fish food into bite-sized pieces. Toss one handful into the pond. Let the koi eat as much as you can see before the next handful. Any food left in the pond needs to be removed. This way, it doesn’t break down and lower the water quality.

You don’t want to feed them when temperatures drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Their digestive systems slow down, so any food they eat may stay in their system until temperatures rise. This can make them extremely sick. There are more actions you can take to help your koi fish survive winter.

Koi Fish Food Automatic Feeders

Automatic koi fish feeders are devices that dispense koi food at regular intervals. They can be programmed to dispense food multiple times per day, and some models can even be set to dispense different amounts of food at different times of the day.

There are two main types of automatic koi fish feeders: those that use pellets and those that use flakes. Pellet-type feeders are more common, as they tend to be less messy and easier to use. Flake-type feeders are less common, but they do have their benefits; for example, some types of koi prefer flakes over pellets.

Automatic koi fish food dispensers can be an invaluable tool. Koi like being fed at the same times of day, much like people. You can set auto feeders to help ensure a regular feeding schedule.

Pros And Cons Of Koi Food Auto Feeders


Automatic koi fish feeders have several advantages. They make it easy to keep your koi fed on a regular schedule. They can help you keep your fish healthier by preventing over and underfeeding. Also, they can be helpful if you’re going on vacation or otherwise away from home for an extended period of time.


There are also a few disadvantages to using automatic koi food feeders. One is that they can be expensive. Depending on the model, an automatic koi fish feeder can cost anywhere from $50 to $200.

They also require regular maintenance. The dispenser must be refilled with food regularly, and the unit must be cleaned periodically to prevent mold and mildew build-up.

Automatic koi fish food feeders can be unreliable. If the unit malfunctions, your koi could go without food for an extended period of time. You can get solar ones to help prevent this, but cloudy and stormy days can disrupt them.

How Auto Feeders Work

Automatic koi food feeders typically consist of three main parts: a hopper or reservoir, a timer, and a dispensing mechanism. Most automatic feeders will also have some sort of built-in battery backup in case of power outages.

The hopper is where you’ll store the koi fish food pellets. The hopper should be big enough to hold enough food for several days’ worth of feeding, so you don’t have to worry about refilling it too often. Some hoppers also have built-in filters to keep debris and uneaten food from clogging up the dispensing mechanism.

The timer is what controls when the koi food is dispensed. Most automatic koi fish feeders will allow you to set different dispensing schedules for different days of the week, so you can customize the feeding schedule to fit your needs. 

The dispensing mechanism is what actually gets the koi fish food from the hopper into the water. Some automatic koi fish feeders use an auger or screw-like device to move the food from the hopper into a small opening at the bottom of the unit. The food then falls into the water below. Other automatic koi fish feeders use a vibrating plate or disk to move the food from the hopper into a chute that leads directly into the water.

Keep Your Pond At Its Best So Your Koi Fish Can Be Healthy And Happy With Premier Ponds

Premier Ponds is here to help you keep your pond healthy and looking great, so your pond fish can be happy and thrive. We offer a variety of pond cleaning and maintenance services that are designed for koi ponds. We also know how to introduce koi to ponds in a stress-free manner.

If you’re interested in learning more about our services, fill out our contact form today. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

*Quick tip: your koi fish will be better off if you add the right amount of koi for your pond size.

Koi Fish Feeding Tips & Recommendations For Healthy Koi — Koi Story

/koi-feeding-dinners-ready -> /koi-fish-feeding 301

The best part about raising koi fish is feeding them! Seeing them come to the surface and even eating from the palm of your hand is the best bonding experience between growing koi fish and their owners. And while it may be fun to watch your fish friends flop over one another to get a glimpse of you, koi feeding needs to be regulated and monitored to ensure the health and wellbeing of your koi.

What should you feed your koi fish?

It depends on their age, size and the season. And then of course, there’s always how much you’re willing to spend to get the good stuff.

Generally, you can feed koi anything you can feed goldfish. Both fish species are technically carp and will eat just about anything organic–koi food, vegetables, krill and plankton, breakfast cereal, dead leaves. You name it. They’ll eat it.

If you’re buying koi food, things are always cheaper when you buy in bulk. Some formulas boast color enhancing properties while others are fortified with vitamins to promote good immunity in your koi fish. Beyond that, it’s often matter of preference.

It's said that koi have a memory of around three minutes, yet they can learn to recognize their feeders. Talk about selective memory! We've assembled ten great tips to help you become a become your koi's favorite face, even if they forget your name.


  1. Feed your fish up to four times per day. Only feed them as much as they can eat in about a five minute period.

  2. Koi fish eat just about anything, from small bugs and insects, to plants and algae at the bottom of the fish pond, to store-bought koi fish food. 

  3. Koi will even eat people food. They love cereal, lettuce, shrimp, rice, peas, watermelon... pretty much anything we like, koi fish consider food.

  4. Avoid feeding your koi fish before storms. Fish need more oxygen when digesting food. When it rains, oxygen levels in the air dip down, so you can see why it's a bad koi fish feeding time.

  5. Your growing koi will remember you as their feeder after only a short amount of time. Consistently feed them and they will begin to greet you as you approach the pond.

  6. Your smaller koi fish will need to eat flake or small koi food. Larger koi fish prefer pebble food

  7. Your koi fish prefer more carbohydrate-rich foods early in the spring and late in the fall while protein is better in early summer when mating is in the air (er, pond).

  8. Koi fish feeding time is fun. Enjoy your special time with your beloved growing koi!

  9. Koi fish can go all winter without eating because their metabolism slows to a crawl

  10. Koi fish feeding is not recommended if your pump breaks because your koi need oxygen to digest their food.


There are a few different kinds of food you can be feeding your koi: fresh foods, freeze-dried foods, and prepared foods. Prepared pellets are the most convenient because they are created to meet all of the nutritional needs of koi fish, but fresh and freeze-dried foods can be added as a supplement.

When it comes to prepared foods, they vary in shape and size. They also come in floating or sinking varieties. Floating pellets are recommended because they let you see if you’re overfeeding your fish. You also get to watch your koi come to the surface to feed – one of the joys of koi ownership!

As for fresh and freeze-dried foods, they vary from blood worms, brine shrimp, clams, and chopped vegetables. All are acceptable for supplemental feeding.


When feeding your koi, disperse small amounts of food at a time. Watch as your koi come up to eat the food. Only feed your koi as much as they can eat in five minute sessions. Feed your koi three times a day: early morning, early afternoon, and late afternoon. Stick to this schedule to avoid overfeeding.

Overfeeding not only harms the health of your koi, but also pollutes their water. Koi will overeat when overfed, so make sure you stick to the 5-minute feeding schedule. If any extra food remains after twenty minutes, clean it out of the tank.

Your koi fish will gradually become more and more comfortable with you as you feed them everyday. Make sure you stick around when feeding them so they can see you. This will build the trust between fish and owner. Soon, they will be practically leaping out of the water to feed from your hand!


Did you know that your koi have different nutritional needs throughout the year? This is because they are a cold-blooded animal: they’re affected by their water temperatures. A koi’s metabolic rate is much faster in warmer temperatures than in colder ones. In fact, when water temperatures drop below 50˚ F (10˚ C), koi do not need to be fed at all if they are in healthy condition; they live off their own body fat. The temperature that is recommended for best growth is between 73˚ F and 86˚ F.

While there are some specific nutritional needs that should be met when feeding koi, these vary throughout the year. Start feeding your koi again once the water temperatures reach 60˚ F (15.5˚ C). Ease them back into an eating regimen by serving small portions. When koi begin to eat again in the spring, they need foods that are easily digestible, such as wheat germ, rice, or vegetable protein.

As temperatures warm up, koi need food that will support their growth and development. Feed them more protein and lipids during the summer. Come fall, return their feeding to the spring’s regime: more easily digestible foods.

Check Out KOI Story’s FOOD & Nutrition recommendations

These are our favorite koi foods whether you're budget-conscious or looking to spoil your koi. (Note: We get a a small commission for any sales resulting from clicks on the products seen here. Thank you for checking out our product recommendations!)


If you want to buy the same food pellet that America’s leading koi breeders use in bulk at a fraction of the price, then look no further. Blue Ridge fish food pellets feature a balanced diet and color-rich formula.

Danichi All-Season Koi Food

Danichi’s all-season koi fish food is enhanced with a special coating of vitamins and minerals and an easily assimilated protein that keep your fish healthy and happy all year long, but especially in colder months.

Hikari Staple Daily Koi Food

Rarely does a product get all 5-star reviews on Amazon, but Hikari’s Stable blend is an economical daily diet for koi and other pond fishes. It’s especially high in vitamin C to promote stress/disease resistance.

API Koi/Pond Fish Food

API Fish Food for koi and goldfish round our our top four koi fish food recommendations. On the more economical side of the higher-end foods, API is high in protein to help fish produce less ammonia waste.

Tetra Pond Koi Vibrance

The ever-popular Tetra koi fish food line is perhaps the most well-known brand because it’s available in most retail outlets. While it’s a great option, it can often cost more than 2-4x the competing brand listed above.

Tetra Pond Koi Food Sticks

Sometimes you want pellets, but sometimes it’s fun to mix it up and give your koi fish their food in stick format instead. Packed with all of the same nutrition you’d expect in pellets but just in a different shape for funsies.

Tetra Spring & Fall Diet

This special diet is ideal for colder months in the spring and fall when your koi fish’s bodies and digestive systems slow down. These easy-to-digest sticks include wheat germ and taste great (so our fish tell us).

Tetra Pond Color & Vitality

This premium blend of three separate foods: Pond Sticks, Koi Vibrance, and Spring & Fall Diet, which helps enhance color and vitality in your koi and ornamental goldfish. Ideal for all seasons and contains wheat germ.

Koi/Goldfish Color Flakes

Do you have baby koi fish that need to eat but can’t fit their mouths around pellets or sticks? Try Tetra Pond’s flakes instead. This clear-water formula won’t cloud water, is easy to digest, and promotes ideal koi growth.

Fluker’s Freeze-Dried Shrimp

Koi fish eat just about anything they can get into their mouths. That said, freeze-dried shrimp might just be one of their favorites. Fluker’s brand is high in protein and amino acids and make the perfect treat for your koi.

Tetra Pond Jumbo Krill

Tetra’s blend of jumbo krill packs a protein, fat, roughage, and vitamin E-rich punch that your koi fish will love. Plus, shrimp are high in carotenoids, which promote the natural pink and orange colors in your koi fish.

Eco Labs Summer Koi Food

Eco Labs makes a blend of koi fish food that is perfect for summer months. This pescaterian blend of fish, fruits and greens promises to be rich in vitamin C, won’t cloud water, and can be fed up to four times per day.

species, care, maintenance, reproduction, compatibility, food photo-review

Culture maintenance of ornamental ponds in Japan has a very long history. Counts, that pond fish bring happiness, longevity and protection from harm to the house. Most popular pond fish in Japan and around the world are koi, or brocade carps. They will be discussed in our today's article.


General information

Japanese carp koi - a decorative form of domesticated carp - carp, or rather its Amur subspecies (Cyprinus carpio haematopterus). Carps have been valuable since ancient times commercial fish. Due to its unpretentiousness and good taste already in the XV-XVI these fish bred in artificial ponds for food. In some mountain provinces it was the only source of animal protein.

Miscellaneous mutations led to the appearance of individuals with an unusual and bright body color. Such animals were not eaten, but became decorations for garden ponds.

Modern In Japan, no garden is complete without a koi pond – ranging from small private households and ending with large city parks. Also their can often be found near Buddhist temples - such ponds are a great place for contemplation and meditation.

Koi pond near Ginkaku-ji Buddhist temple. Kyoto, Japan

Big love for Koi carpam has greatly influenced the entire culture of Japan. The fish are symbol of friendship and love. No wonder even the very word "koi" is consonant with the Japanese word, meaning "love", "affection". And the composure that carps show in anticipation of their fate in the kitchen, so impressed the Japanese that they became the main symbol of the "boys' holiday", annually celebrated on May 5th. On this day all families with boys hang out in front of the house "koinobori" - paper or fabric images of koi carps, which symbolize sons. Moreover, the older the son, the longer the figure. There are several legends about the emergence of such a tradition. According to one of them, a brave carp overcame everything obstacles during the journey to the source of the sacred river and turned into mighty and wise dragon. Another says that the carp helped the Japanese empress Jingu, showing the right path to the shores of Korea during her conquests.

Koinobori - fabric images of koi during the celebration of "boys' day". Japan

Originally natives of China were engaged in cultivation of decorative carps. The best specimens of fish were delivered to the gardens of the nobility, and the secret of breeding was passed down from generation to generation. Later, the baton was taken over by Japanese breeders, who, thanks to their natural purposefulness, diligence and patience were able to get a huge a variety of koi carp that differ in color, shape and size of fins. The world's first carp show was held at 1914, just then wide the best representatives of the breed were presented to the public.

Koi carps with various body colors

Koi carp are now bred in many countries of the world, but the Land of the Rising Sun is still the trendsetter. It also developed standards for assessing the appearance of koi carp, with the help of which the body structure, color and pattern of the scales and the overall quality of the individual are assessed. Fish with a dense body (usually females) and good proportions of body parts and fins are most valued. Scales should not have flaws. Color spots should be clearly defined and balanced - the larger the individual, the larger the pattern should be. No less important is how the koi behaves in the water - swims, keeps posture, as well as the overall impression of the fish. The size of the fish is also very important, the Japanese do not consider a fish a "real" carp if its size is less than 40-50 cm in length. The largest recorded koi was 120 cm long and weighed about 40 kg. The cost of individual specimens of breeding can reach several thousand dollars.

Professional breeders are very sensitive to their work, so individuals with even slight deviations from the desired characteristics are rejected and not allowed for further breeding. It is worth noting that carp is considered only fish that have passed at least 6 selection selections, after which it assigned to a specific category.

In addition to excellent decorative qualities, koi carps are also very hardy, famous for their good health and hardiness. These are truly long-lived fish. The most famous a Japanese koi named Hanako lived to be 226 (!) years old. This is, of course, very a rare case, but in suitable conditions, fish can live up to 50 without problems years.

It is impossible not to to mention the rather high mental abilities of koi. These social fish very quickly begin to recognize the owner and learn to take food from hands. They don't mind being stroked on the back either - they don't even try to swim away. Some representatives, one can observe the similarity of character - properties inherent only a separate individual. Koi are capable of simple training, they can memorize up to 20 commands.

Koi give their owner a pet

Fans Koi carps can now be found in almost every corner of our planet. Clubs by interests unite millions of aquarists around the world. They are also conducting regular local and international koi shows where you can live to see the most beautiful representatives of the breed, the best of the best. Speaking of huge popularity of koi on all continents, the Japanese often joke that found a new way to take over the world - nishikigoi (translated from Japanese - "colored carp").


Over the years of breeding, the shape and color of the body of koi have changed significantly and now only remotely resembles the ancestral form. Although some distinctive features, such as the characteristic "antennae", have been preserved in brocade fish.

Colored carps - rather large fish, the average size when kept in a pond reaches 50-70 cm with an average weight of about 6 kg.

Koi can grow up to one meter in length

Large head, females are noticeably wider. The body is elongated. Caudal fin single, rather powerful, allows you to easily maneuver in the water. The fins are in proportion to the body, well developed. Body coloration is very diverse and depends on the specific breeds. The color is also influenced by external conditions of detention: water quality, degree illumination, food quality.

Carp species koi

As a result over 80 color variations of koi carp have been obtained through centuries of breeding, which are currently united according to common characteristics into 16 groups.

However, the whole variety of colors is formed by several basic ones: cream, yellow, orange, white, black, red and blue. The development of one type or another color depends on the ratio of three types of scale pigment cells: melanophores (black color), xanthophores (yellow-orange shades) and guanophores (give scales shine). For example, the orange forms are almost completely absent melanophores, xanthophores are poorly developed in blues, none are found in whites melanophores, nor xanthophores.

Kohaku - the "classic" koi breed

Consider main color variations of koi:

  1. Asagi (Asagi) - fully scaly koi, the back of which has light mesh pattern on a dark blue background. Sides, belly and fins are usually colored into red. There is a form without scales called Shusui.
  2. Bekko (Bekko) - the body is white, red or yellow with patterns from black spots. The best representatives have a clean head, without spots.
  3. Gosiki (Goshiki) - usually these are black koi with red stains, white, brown and blue shades.
  4. Deutsu (Doitsu) - a breed obtained by crossing with German scaleless carp. The scales are completely absent, or in several rows, resembling that of a mirror carp. Coloring may be any.
  5. Kawarimono (Kawarimono) - this group includes carp without a metallic sheen that does not fit into any other category.
  6. Kinginrin (Kin-Gin-Rin) - koi co glittering golden (ginrin) or silvery (kinrin) scales.
  7. Koromo (Koromo) - the name of the group can be translated as "veiled", indicating a pattern of dark color superimposed on the main red coloration.
  8. Kohaku (Kohaku) - the "classic" koi breed, the most known. The body is white with bright red or orange-red spots with well-defined border.
  9. Fire (Ogon) - this group is characterized by a monochromatic color without spots. Available variations: red, orange, grey, yellow, light yellow.
  10. Xiuxu (Shusui) - blue back, wide red spots on sides.
  11. Taisho Sanke (Taisho Sanke) - carps of this group are characterized by a white body with red and black spots. Named after Emperor Taishō.
  12. Tancho (Tancho) is a very original breed. White fish with one red spot on the head, which in appearance is very similar to Japanese flag. Named after another symbol of Japan - Tancho crane (with a red "hat" on the head).
  13. Utsurimono (Utsurimono) - black koi with white, red streaks or yellow.
  14. Hikari-moyomono (Hikari-moyomono) - these koi have scales with metallic luster, color - golden-silver.
  15. Showa Sanshoku (Showa sanshoku) - black carp with red and white spots. It was named after Emperor Showa.
  16. Kumonryu (Kumonryu) - translated from Japanese "kumonryu" - "dragon fish". This is a black naked carp with white spots on the body, head and belly.
The color of the Tancho breed (on the right) resembles the national flag of Japan

In the water

Given maximum size of koi (more than 100 cm), it becomes clear that the optimal conditions for life and development are possible only in a pond. Keeping fish in an aquarium of even a significant volume will still not allow the pet to open up in fully and show all its beauty.

Brocade carps very mobile fish, so the larger the volume of the pond, the better. Recommended minimum pond dimensions: 3m x 2.5m x 1.4m. Best locate the reservoir in a quiet corner of the site. You can build a pond as concrete base, and soft waterproofing.

Koi pond

In situ koi carp management must be provided with an effective two-stage filtration: biological and mechanical. The first is to remove suspensions and particles from the water, and the second includes a properly launched nitrogen cycle. Additional aeration is necessary for tight planting of fish, high water temperature and during wintering in the pond. Koi tolerate sinking well water temperature up to +4°С. At the same time, their metabolism slows down. It is for this a depth of about 1.4 m is required. This will not allow the pond to freeze completely. As plants, you can plant various sedges, some types of irises, arrowheads and other moisture-loving species. On the surface you can run egg capsules and jugs. But it is important to remember that koi are diggers, so plants will need to be securely fastened.

In the aquarium

As it was noted above, an aquarium is not the best place to keep koi. Still the color of most varieties of these beautiful fish is focused on the fact that admire them from above. As an alternative, it is recommended to attention to more suitable goldfish. But if the desire to have these pearls of Japan is very strong, then you need to start by choosing a suitable aquarium volume. It is better if it is a capacity of 500 liters or more. When choosing the quantity fish, you can focus on the formula: for 1 cm of the body of a koi carp there should be 5 liters of water.

Koi in the aquarium

The most important thing is that must be done in an aquarium with koi carps - set to the maximum efficient filtration system. Filters should work both for mechanics and to biology. Also, lovers of koi carp should think about the organization of the duct. Otherwise, weekly 30% water changes will be required. Pretty fish hardy and able to live in a relatively wide range of parameters. Comfortable temperature for fish is 15-30°C. Suitable for water soft to medium hardness, with an acidity level of around 7.

The light must be bright enough to make the fish look their best. It won't be redundant installation of an aquarium ultraviolet sterilizer to prevent spread of bacteria and algae.

Aquarium must be with an established nitrogen cycle: ammonia and nitrite should not be detected, nitrate concentration should not exceed 40 mg/l. The soil is best small or medium fraction.


When keeping koi in a pond, the choice of neighbors is very limited. After all, a very small number of fish can feel good in such conditions. In addition, fish that are suitable for neighbors are usually painted much more modestly than brocade carps and will not look at all in a decorative pond. Long-bodied varieties of goldfish (comets, shubunkins), as well as golden orffs, are best suited.

Koi carp in the species pond

When choosing roommates for a common aquarium with koi carp, it is necessary to pay attention, first of all, to the size of the fish. Any individual that can fit in the mouth will sooner or later be eaten. As neighbors, goldfish are suitable (preferably fast-swimming, without veil fins and protruding body parts), large catfish (pterygoplichts, synodontis), shark barbs, and some iris.

Carp feeding koi

Koi are omnivorous fish that enjoy eating both animal and plant foods. The food should meet all the nutritional needs of the fish and be sure to include natural color enhancers, thanks to which the koi will look even brighter. It is desirable that the food float on the surface of the water, so it will be easier for carps to find and swallow it. Many koi owners note that their pets are so accustomed to the owner that they are able to take food directly from the hands.

Feeding koi

Especially for the large army of koi lovers, Tetra launches a line of quality complete foods Tetra Pond Koi. Each food is balanced, contains all the necessary vitamins and nutritional supplements that strengthen the immune system. Due to the use of high quality ingredients, the food is highly digestible, which helps to keep the water in the pond and aquarium clean. Floating granules of different sizes make it easy to find food suitable for any life stage of the fish. For example, for young growing carps up to 15 cm in size, it is best to use Tetra Pond Koi Mini Sticks, for large representatives it is better to stop at Tetra Koi Beauty Medium. The line contains food, additionally enriched with carotenoids - Tetra Pond Koi Color. These natural dyes enhance the natural coloration of koi, especially the reds, yellows and oranges. It will not be superfluous to pamper your pets with a natural and healthy delicacy Tetra Pond Shrimp Mix - a mixture of natural shrimp and gammarus.

Feed carps koi is best several times a day in small portions. Unfortunately the fish it is very difficult to digest a large amount of food at once. Don't overfeed fish, because they do not know the norm in food. The daily diet should make up no more than 2-3% of the total weight of a koi carp.

Propagation and breeding

Reproduction in koi does not differ from that of other carps. Perhaps the biggest difficulty is the selection of suitable producers and subsequent breeding work in order to get the brightest and most viable offspring.

Puberty in carp, koi occurs at the age of 2-5 years. Determine the sex of the fish before reaching them size 23-25 ​​cm is impossible. To accurately determine the gender, look at the row signs. The pectoral fins of males are sharper. During the mating season characteristic epithelial tubercles are formed on the gill covers - tubercles, similar to semolina, rough to the touch. Females are usually larger and have more rounded, massive body. The most striking gender difference is structure of the anus. To correctly determine the sex, koi it is recommended to deposit in a separate container, wait until the fish calms down, then gently take it in your hands and turn it over on your back. The anus at males are elongated in the direction of the tail. Stroking the sides of the body in sexually mature males will certainly lead to the release of reproductive products. Females have anal round hole. Sexual products are not released when pressed.

For spawning it is better to select one female and 2-3 males. This will increase the percentage fertilized eggs. The impetus for koi breeding is a sudden change in water parameters.

Koi spawning in the pond begins in late spring - early summer. At the same time, the air temperature should rise to at least 20°C. With the mass content of koi carps in the pond, mass spawning is often observed, but professional breeders try limit it, since the offspring produced in this way usually have much paler color. The best option would be to deposit producers in separate spawning pond. It makes frequent water changes and feeds heavily. fish with high protein food.

After spawning producers need to be put away, as they will not mind eating with their offspring. The pond with fry should be well aerated. First larvae are born in 6-7 days, they are attached to the walls of the pond and hang like this for 2-3 days, until the yolk sac is exhausted. After that, the juveniles go to free swimming and ready to accept food from a breeder. It is worth noting that breeding koi at home conditions is almost impossible. This will require very large aquariums. volumes.

basic principles - The world of koi

Feeding is one of the most enjoyable parts of keeping a koi. At this time, the fish swim close to the person, they can be clearly seen. Carp are omnivorous fish that eat both plant and animal food.

Feeding is one of the most enjoyable parts of keeping koi. At this time, the fish swim close to the person, they can be clearly seen. Carp are omnivorous fish that eat both plant and animal food. Adult carp in the wild have a wide range of food and prefer benthic organisms: insect larvae, molluscs, worms, plants. The ability of carp to adapt to different foods has helped it to spread throughout the world. Including due to this ability, it is popular in fish farming. The importance of feeding koi cannot be overestimated: it affects the health, growth, color of the fish and water quality at the same time.

In swimming pools and domestic ponds, fish are fed almost exclusively by human feeding. Although natural food is present in small amounts in ornamental ponds, it is not enough for good nutrition.

Digestive features of koi

The mouth protrudes forward and down, making it ideal for feeding from the bottom. But koi can also feed on other levels, including taking food from the surface. The pharyngeal teeth, when repeatedly swallowed and spit out, grind food. Inedible parts of the carp spits out or pushes through the gills. From the pharynx through a short esophagus, food enters a long intestine, exceeding the length of the body by 3.5 times. The carp lacks a stomach and pepsin digestion in an acidic environment. The anterior part of the intestine is able to greatly expand and continuously move food to distant areas due to peristalsis. Bile and digestive juices quickly enter the swallowed food. The pancreas produces digestive juices that break down proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Bile helps absorb fats, stimulates the pancreas, and prevents putrefaction in the anterior intestine.

Intestinal and pancreatic enzymes break down food, and the breakdown products are absorbed by the intestinal mucosa. Digestion occurs when food and the intestinal mucosa come into contact: enzymes are located on the outer surface of the cell membrane. Simultaneously with the splitting, the absorption of substances that are outside the food cell occurs. Digestion is most effective if food enters the intestines constantly and in small portions. The speed of food movement is primarily affected by the temperature of the water. The intensity of feeding and appetite of carps are associated with water temperature.

What to feed koi

Use the best food available to you. High quality food is an investment in koi health and color.

Feed must not spoil the water. Koi, unlike their wild relatives, are found in small amounts of water. Even though the water is carefully filtered and its parameters are controlled, the type and amount of feed affect the quality of the water.

Unlike the wild carp, there are strict requirements for the koi phenotype: color, pattern and body shape. For growing good koi, long-term preservation of uniform and deep colors, the feeding requirements are more stringent than when breeding common carp. Fast growth alone is not enough to grow koi.

Professional koi food balanced according to their needs. Fish can be fed a variety of foods, even using quality, balanced feeds. Worms, insects, lettuce or cabbage leaves can be used as additives to prepared feeds. Color enhancing foods are high in protein and can be used as a staple. The same food throughout the year can get boring for carps, and then they eat it less actively or refuse it altogether. To prevent this, you can use products of several brands and give fruits and other natural foods from time to time.

Feed balance

Fats and carbohydrates are the fuel that provides the necessary energy. The body of a koi is built from proteins; enough protein allows them to grow. Depending on age, carps need 35-55% protein. The younger the fish, the more building material it needs in relation to body weight. For cold water, feed with a low protein content is used. In addition to proteins, carbohydrates and fats, fish need micro and macro elements, as well as vitamins.

Some elements, such as calcium, potassium, sulphur, magnesium, sodium, are obtained by fish through the mouth and through the gills from the water. With food, fish receive elements whose concentration in water is usually not high, these are manganese, phosphorus, zinc, selenium, etc.

Vitamins do not serve as a source of energy, but are important for normal metabolism. Fish do not produce them, they come only with food. Some vitamins such as A, D, C, E can be destroyed by improper storage of feed, exposure to light and air.

Which foods are dangerous for koi

For feeding koi, it is best to use ready-made, high-quality dry food. Their composition is carefully selected, they supply the fish with all the necessary substances.

Spoiled dry food should not be given to fish, also because it may contain poisons released by mold.

Fish can be contaminated with viruses, parasites and dangerous bacteria in the feed. To prevent this from happening, it is best to feed koi with quality dry food. Raw river or sea fish is dangerous even after freezing - the cold can kill protozoan parasites, but does not destroy some viruses and bacteria. For example, the IPN virus persists for years in frozen fish.

Diet-related diseases of koi

Prepared foods cause some adaptation in the body of the fish. The fish grown on ready-made feeds has a lower level of hemoglobin in the blood and a smaller number of red blood cells than an individual grown on natural feeds. At the same time, erythrocytes are created more intensively in fish receiving only artificial feed.

Diseases due to improper feeding should not be confused with the consequences of poor quality or defective food. Diseases from such products are mostly chronic, and their symptoms can be noticed only after a long time. Feeding toxic foods also does not necessarily show up immediately.

Feeding time

You can find advice to feed the fish for no more than 1 minute, 2-5 minutes and even 10 minutes. The advice to feed fish for a certain amount of time probably originally referred to feeding aquarium fish. Once upon a time, aquariums were without filters or with very weak filters. The few minute rule helps maintain water quality, but does nothing for the development of individual fish. In 5 minutes, a 2-year-old fish can eat more than a 9-year-old, although if given time, an adult fish will eventually eat more. Determine the duration of feeding yourself.

Amount of food

Carp have a large intestine, which in nature allows them to digest a lot of low-calorie foods, even raw fiber. Since domesticated carps are fed artificially and with special feeds, the amount of feed must be monitored. There is some debate about how much food to give to koi. Since hobbyists tend to keep a dozen or two instead of thousands as in aquaculture, the approach to feeding koi can vary.

Fish feeding according to weight percentage (1-6%) originates from fish farming and is not necessary for ornamental keeping. In fish farming, this approach allows you to optimize costs to obtain the maximum weight of fish in the shortest possible time. When raising koi, not only the weight of the fish is important. Koi are pets that live with us for decades. It is the development of the individual potential of koi that is important for amateurs, and not a commercial component. The food requirements of fish vary throughout the year and even the time of day. The weather affects the appetite of fish and many other factors.

In the morning the fish eat more than during the day, in autumn they may eat more than in spring. Within a few days, the appetite of the fish may vary. Fish eat different amounts of food in one feeding, especially if you keep young and adults together. Young fish always eat greedily. Adult koi eat more calmly. Females usually eat more than males. Some koi eat large amounts of food and tend to gain fat. Only careful observation of the fish will help to learn how to give the right amount of food.

The characteristics of the pond must also be taken into account when feeding. The normal growth of fish in bad water cannot be even with the best food. If the equipment and water volume does not allow the fish to be given as much food as they want, maintaining quality water becomes a priority. Bad water is much more dangerous for fish than lack of food.

No uneaten food should remain on the surface after feeding. If some of the granules remain intact, collect them with a net.

Feeding and temperature

The water temperature influences the optimal frequency of feeding and the amount of feed. Carefully monitor the water parameters, take into account the peculiarities of the reservoir and the habits of the fish when feeding.

30°C and above. Feed adult fish no more than 2 times a day and no more than 4 times for young fish. At this temperature, fish may lose their appetite or eat less willingly. Only food that is easily digestible can be used. Give it in as little quantity as possible. To cool the water, the pond can be shaded.

20-30°C. In water warmer than 20°C, fish should be fed at least twice a day. Feed the fish in small portions 2 to 5 times. At this time, you can give the main food, to improve growth or color - give any food, depending on what you want to achieve. When the water temperature rises to 26̊C, the metabolic rate of koi increases. This is the optimum temperature for their growth.

15-20°C. Feed your fish 1 to 2 times a day. Keep an eye on fish activity as the water cools. With a decrease in water temperature, the intensity of digestion also decreases.

10-15°C. Feed the fish no more than once a day. If the water temperature is not constant throughout the day, it is best to feed at the sunniest time. Feed your fish easily digestible cold water food. If the fish are reluctant to feed, reduce the amount of food or the frequency of feeding.

5-10°C. Feed your fish no more than 2-3 times a week. At this temperature in the fall, you can already stop giving food until spring. If the fish remain active, you can give a small amount of food.

5°C and below. Do not feed fish. Koi fall into a state close to hibernation until spring.

When the water temperature drops below 15°C, feed should be reduced in protein. Cold water foods are usually made from wheat germ, are low in protein and are highly digestible with a reduced metabolic rate.

Gently feed your fish in the spring before the filtration system is fully operational. It's easy to get dangerous spikes in ammonia and nitrite right after winter. In the spring, when the water temperature is about 10°C, throw in a couple of pellets and see how it reacts. At this time, the fish are carefully fed with easy-to-swallow food with a high fat content. So the digestive system, after a long inactivity, will prepare for the season of work.

If the fish are not healthy, the water temperature or other parameters have changed dramatically, do not feed the fish or reduce the amount of food. In summer, carefully monitor the oxygen content of warm water. Oxygen consumption by fish increases as food is digested.

Should I feed the fish in winter?

The lower the water temperature, the slower the koi's digestive system works. This means that they digest less and less food in a longer amount of time. Remember that the metabolic activity of fish changes according to the temperature, not the season. Autumn can be warm, and then you can feed the fish in the same way as in spring. Constantly check the water temperature in autumn. When in autumn the water remains at 10°C for 7-10 days, you can stop feeding the fish until spring.

There are two points of view as to whether it is worth stopping feeding the fish in winter if they still do not refuse food.

Supporters of winter feeding argue that the fish only slows down the metabolism and digestion along with it. So, she can still digest food. Therefore, you can give a small amount of pellets if the fish take them. As the water temperature drops, the appetite of the fish decreases, and they themselves will stop taking food when necessary.

Opponents of cold water feeding have several arguments in their favor. It is easy to overfeed fish because it is not clear how much food to give. And undigested food greatly pollutes the water, especially since the biological filter in cold water is less effective. During fasting, excess fat is burned, which helps maintain the correct body shape. Females consume eggs during hunger.

If you feed your fish well in late summer and autumn, they will safely go several months without food. It is in autumn that the fish liver accumulates the maximum amount of glycogen - a store of carbohydrates. However, during the winter they can continue to eat algae or other natural food in small quantities. If koi refuse to eat, no food should be given. Even wheat-based products, which contain easily digestible fats and carbohydrates, spoil the water if the fish do not digest them or spit them out.

Sinking and floating food

Even when choosing the main food, it is not only the brand and the size of the pellets that must be taken into account. Koi can be fed on the bottom and on the surface. When feeding on floating and sinking food, the behavior of fish may differ.

Sinking food pellets are formed under high pressure and fall to the bottom due to their high density. Koi that quickly grabbed pellets from the surface and returned to the depths may feel more comfortable when feeding at the bottom and eat more food. In their natural environment, carp feed from the bottom and constantly try and spit out everything they come across. But with a depth of 2 meters and even good transparency, it is difficult to throw a few pellets and notice them at the bottom. If there is a high surface in the pond, you can try to feed the fish in this place so that you can better see the amount of food eaten. It is easy to collect floating pellets left after feeding, while with food that has fallen to the bottom it will require some skill. For feeding at the bottom, you can throw small portions and monitor the saturation of the fish. Sick fish often lie on the bottom, and when treated with drugs in floating pellets, they may not follow them to the surface.

Floating food stays on the surface for a long time without spilling, it is always visible. Floating granules are formed under less pressure and are less dense. Sometimes they have a baked outer shell to slow down the absorption of water. To prevent pellets from entering the skimmer, you can feed the fish through the floating ring. In cold water, the fish are mostly at the bottom. If koi stop coming to the surface to feed, this is a good signal to stop feeding.

Koi food is available in various forms: pellets, balls or flakes. Considering that koi carp have strongly developed pharyngeal teeth, the form of food should not be decisive when choosing it. Any food will very soon turn into a food lump and lose its original shape. What matters is rather the fraction of the feed, which should be easy for the fish to swallow. It is easier for young fish to swallow flakes or small granules. If it is a high quality food, you can try different forms.

Appetite and diseases of koi

It is important to monitor the behavior of the fish during feeding. The most important indicator of a fish's health is its appetite. So, the fish can suddenly refuse food, swallow it and immediately spit it out. While this doesn't necessarily mean health problems, it's worth taking a closer look at this behavior. During feeding, you can also see obvious signs of ill health: swallowing air, bruising, darkening of the skin, bulging eyes, plaque on the fins, etc.

Learn more