How often should you feed baby koi fish

How Often Should I Feed My Koi? (Koi Feeding Chart)

Pond Informer is supported by its readers. We may earn commission at no extra cost to you if you buy through a link on this page. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.
Koi cannot regulate their own internal body temperatures, as they are cold-blooded organisms. Image by JACKSON FK from Pixabay

Koi are poikilothermic (cold-blooded) organisms, which means they are unable to regulate their own internal body temperatures. As water temperatures fluctuate throughout the year, so do the rates of many of their bodily functions. Their metabolic rates are particularly sensitive and will hasten or slow down depending on ambient conditions.

The warmer the water, the more active koi become. Their metabolic functions are optimized at temperatures above 70˚F (21˚C). As they expend more energy, they will require more frequent feeding times and higher-quality protein-rich food. Conversely, as temperatures drop in the winter, they enter a conservative state that will diminish their metabolic rates significantly. This dependence on temperature for metabolic functions is a typical feature of many fish species native to temperate zones. It allows them to effectively allocate energy stores through the seasons.

To ensure that the frequency with which you feed your koi is appropriate, carefully monitor your pond’s water temperature. It is also important to observe your koi’s activity levels, as this will help you determine the feeding range that is best for your pond. Keep in mind that overfeeding can compromise the quality of your pond water and reduce the efficiency of your filtration system, aside from potentially causing digestive issues. Thus, it is always better to underfeed than to overfeed. Refer to the table below for recommendations on feeding frequency and feed types for koi.  


Water TemperatureFeeding FrequencyFeed Type
Below 40˚F (4.5˚C)Do not feedNone
41 – 50˚F (5 – 10˚C)Feed no more than 1 – 2 times/weekWheat Germ-based food
50 – 55˚F (10.5 – 13˚C)Feed 2 – 3 times/week
56 – 60˚F (13.5 – 15.5˚C)Feed 3 – 4 times/week
61 – 65 ˚F (16 – 18.5˚C)Feed 4 – 5 times/weekWheat Germ + Protein-based food
66 – 70 ˚F (19 – 21˚C)Feed 1 – 2 times/dayAquatic Protein-based food + Wheat Germ
71 – 75 ˚F (22 – 24˚C)Feed 2 – 4 times/dayAquatic Protein-based food (Growth Diets) with optional color enhancers
76 – 80 ˚F (24. 5 – 27˚C)Feed 2 – 3 times/day
81 – 85 ˚F (27 – 29.5˚C)Feed 1x every other dayAquatic Protein-based food
Above 85 ˚F (30˚C)Reduce feedingWheat-germ/None

How Much Should I Feed My Koi?It pays to be more conservative rather than excessive when feeding koi. Photo from PxHere

When deciding how much food to give your koi, remember that a good target amount is 1 – 4% of their body weight. Mature koi will generally eat less relative to their body weight than juvenile koi, which are also less sensitive to water temperatures and can tolerate more frequent feedings.

As a rule of thumb, try to feed just enough for your koi to consume within 3 – 5 minutes at any given time. If a considerable amount of fish feed remains after the 5-minute mark, you will have to reduce how much food you provide in the next feeding session. Make sure to remove uneaten food after 20 minutes or before they sink to the bottom, as this can affect your pond’s water quality.

There’s a lot of trial and error involved in getting the feeding frequency and feed amounts right. With a little bit of patience and observation, you’ll surely find a balance between both! Simply remember that it pays to be more conservative rather than excessive when it comes to feeding koi.

Won’t Koi Go Hungry in the Winter?In the winter your koi will naturally enter a state of energy conservation called torpor, allowing them to survive with little or no food. Image by hannie w from Pixabay

As temperatures drop to below 5˚C (40˚F) in winter, your koi will naturally enter a state of energy conservation, called torpor. This is essentially a minor form of hibernation in which their bodily functions are slowed down drastically – enough to allow them to survive with little or no food. Their bodies’ biochemical reactions, particularly those involved in metabolism, are greatly reduced as a pond freezes over. This occurs as digestive enzymes and bacteria become absent or grow dormant, preventing any available food from being properly digested.

Although you may see your koi swimming along the pond bottom at this time, it would be best to withhold feeding completely. Any feed consumed at this time may be more harmful than beneficial, as the uneaten food would simply contribute to excess waste in the pond and could lead to rising ammonia and nitrate levels come spring. 

Before feeding your koi again in the spring, ensure that your pond filtration system and pump are functional so that fish waste accumulated over the winter can be broken down. / CC BY 2.0

When the final frosts thaw in early spring and water temperatures begin to rise once more, you will understandably grow eager to feed your fish! Prior to the first feeding session of the year, make sure to check your pond’s water parameters. Ideally, water temperatures should rise to at least 9 – 10˚C, restarting your fish’s metabolic functions. Before feeding, make sure the pond’s filtration system and pump are functional so that fish waste that accumulated over winter can be broken down.

Once your pond is fully functional, you may begin to feed your koi. Start by providing easily digestible food (a wheat germ-based feed is a popular choice) 1 – 2 times a week. You will need to carefully monitor your koi’s activity levels and behavior to determine when they would best benefit from having food. Do try to feed them during the warmest part of the day, between 10 am to 2 pm, or when the temperature is most stable. If you find that your koi do not readily eat, avoid excessive feeding and remove unconsumed fish feed.

You can gradually increase the feeding frequency to up to 2x a day while paying close attention to rising water temperatures. To boost your koi’s immune system, you can supplement their diets with vitamin-rich treats, such as orange halves, grapefruit slices, romaine lettuce, and squash. Keep in mind that temperatures below 18˚C (64˚F) may still prevent them from effectively digesting proteins. Carbohydrates may be a more important source of energy for them at this time.

Feeding Koi in SummerKoi may be eager to consume large amounts of food in a feeding session, but it’s better to feed them smaller portions at a higher frequency. Bernard Spragg. NZ / CC0 1.0

Your koi will increasingly grow active as temperatures rise. Their energy needs peak during the summer months, during which temperatures above 21˚C (70˚F) boost their metabolism considerably. At this time, they should be fed protein-rich food (growth diets) 2 – 4 times a day, depending on their activity level. Though they may be eager to consume large amounts of food per feeding session, it would be best to feed smaller portions at a higher frequency. This prevents overeating and ensures that no food goes to waste.

During the hottest summer weeks, try to restrict feeding times to when water temperatures are cooler. Ideally, you should provide them with food earlier in the morning and later in the afternoon. When temperatures are too high (i.e. above 30˚C/85˚F), koi can completely lose their appetite. If this occurs, reduce the feeding frequency and stick to easily digestible fish feeds. You may also try to lower water temperatures by providing shade or shelter in the form of aquatic plants.

Feeding Koi in FallAs temperatures dip to below 18˚C (65˚F), you will need to increase the ratio of wheat germ in your koi fish’s diet. Marco Verch Professional Photographer / CC BY 2.0

As temperatures begin to drop once more, the activity levels of your koi community will increasingly decrease. You might observe that your fish swim more slowly or closer to the bottom of your pond. They may also lose interest in food, indicating that their metabolism has slowed down. As temperatures dip to below 18˚C (65˚F), gradually reduce the feeding frequency to 4 – 5 times/week. You can also increase the ratio of wheat germ in your fish’s diet, as the reduced metabolism will prevent them from making the most of more expensive higher-protein based feeds.

Fall is an important time to pay close attention to decreasing water temperatures. As winter nears and temperatures drop to less than 12˚C (54˚F), feed your koi no more than 1 – 2 times a week. Make sure the feeding sessions take place when the water is warmest, perhaps mid to late afternoon. At this point, your koi should only be consuming wheat-germ-based diets. Stop feeding them altogether when pond water temperatures are less than 10˚C (50˚F).

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.

Koi carps (care, feeding, breeding, types, compatibility)

Koi carps are a "work" of Japanese ichthyologists-breeders. On the basis of ordinary carp, dozens of species of koi carp were bred, striking everyone with their unusual and bright coloring.
Such fish (koi) can be conditionally classified as aquarium fish, as their size can make them difficult to keep, at least in a home aquarium. Let's say more, such fish can be an ornament in any institution. For example, they can be seen in the pool of the hall, or in the artificial river of the zoo. nine0005 In any case, koi carps will please you with their appearance and bring positive emotions into your life. Learn more about these fish below.

The history of the appearance of koi

The time of the appearance of koi in Japan is not known for certain. Some sources say that already 2500 years ago carps lived in the rivers and lakes of the Japanese islands, other sources claim that they were brought to Japan by Chinese conquerors in the 14th-15th centuries AD. One thing is clear, that carp often served as the only food of the peasants. Then they began to grow them artificially in rice paddies. Sometimes individuals with an unusual coloration grew up among carps. They were not eaten, but left for further reproduction. By crossing fish with different colors, even more interesting color combinations were obtained. The first colored koi show was held at 1914 year.

Koi varieties

There are a total of 80 koi carp species, divided into sixteen groups with certain similar characteristics. They are:
1. Utsurimono,
2. Showa Sanshoku,
3. Taisho Sanshoku,
4. Kohaku,
5. Tantyo,
6. Asagi,
7. Bekko,
8.90 Kawari Ogon, 90 10. Hikari-moyomono,
11. Koromo,
12. Kinginrin,
13. Shusui,
14. Goshiki,
15. Doitsu-goi,
16. Kumonryu.

According to Japanese canons, a fish that has passed 6 breeding selections can become a koi carp. As you can see, everything is very strict. In order for an ordinary fish to become a koi carp, the shape of the body, fins, their relationship to each other, the pattern and color of the spots, and such a speculative concept as the posture of the fish are evaluated. Carp live up to 30 years, reaching a length of 50 cm to 90 cm.

Keeping koi

Since koi fish are quite large, they are kept either in large aquariums, but more often in garden ponds. Moreover, it can be kept all year round, protecting the pond from snow and frost. Water parameters for keeping koi:
- water temperature from 15 to 30 degrees. Although they can tolerate temperatures from 2 to 35 degrees Celsius;
- acidity of water pH = 7 - 7.5;
- oxygen content 4-5 mg/l;
- water hardness 4-10 units.

Koi feeding

What rules should be followed when feeding carp:
- food should be eaten in 10-15 minutes;
- feed must not contaminate water;
- the portion of food should be small, it is better to underfeed than to overfeed;
- feed 2-3 times a day. nine0003

Carp fry are fed with infusoria, daphnia, wheat yeast, spirulina. Then they begin to include dry food in small fractions in the diet, the size of which increases with the growth of the fish.
Adult carps are omnivorous, so the diet can be varied - dry pellets, soaked bread, fruits, vegetables, boiled shrimp, live food without pathogens.
Very often natural and artificial foods contain dyes. It is necessary to ensure that there are not too many of them, otherwise it can lead to liver disease. nine0003

Koi breeding

A spawning pond is used for breeding, where two or three males and one female are planted. After spawning, spawners can be returned to the main pond, since carp can eat not only eggs, but also fry.
After a few days, fry appear from the eggs. They have a special adhesive pad with which they stick to any surface and hang there. At this time, they do not need to be fed. As soon as the fry begin to swim, they begin to feed them. nine0003

Compatibility of koi with other fish

Since koi are very large fish, they are most often kept in aquariums or ponds alone, as they can eat small fish.

Koi varieties

Asagi. Scaled carp with a net pattern on a dark blue background.

Fins and belly usually red.
Bekko. White, red, yellow, with a black spotted pattern, which in no case should go over the head, otherwise it will be a different kind of koi. nine0003

Deutsu. Scaleless carp crossed with German carp, hence the name.

Kawarimono. This species includes all non-metallic koi.

Kinginrin. This word means "golden silver scales". The scales of these carps have a shimmering effect of gold or silver.

Koromo. The peculiarity of these carps is that a pattern of a different color is superimposed on a red pattern.

Kohaku. White koi with red pattern. One of the most famous koi breeds. nine0003

Fire. Single color carp. Often there are red, yellow, orange colors.

Tancho. This type of koi is named after Japan's national bird, the tancho crane. Like a bird, a carp has a red crown on its head.

Hikarimuji. Monochromatic koi with a metallic effect.

Seam. Carps with a red and white pattern on a black background.

I think the presented photos of koi carp will not let you doubt that such fish will decorate any place. It doesn't matter if it's a decent-sized aquarium or some other body of water. nine0003

broodstock and fry photo, roe care koi fry feeding lighting treatment of diseases, parasitic infections costiasis spherosporosis diphyllobothriasis, koi breeding

What we often do not pay attention to is the beginning of spawning. At this time it is essential to make sure that the fish are healthy and free of parasites. Also, don't forget to check the belly of the fish, as damage to the anal fin and belly can be easily missed.

Koi during this period need a proper diet , namely more protein in order for the reproductive function to work properly. Fats are no less important, they are deposited in the liver. Fats are needed by females for caviar production and by males, as they spend a lot of energy. Therefore, you need to provide your fish with a balanced diet of 8% fat (minimum) and 35-40% protein. If all of the above is not provided, which may not spawn well, the amount of caviar will be much smaller and of lower quality. nine0003

Caring for eggs and fry

After the eggs are swept, they should be fertilized within 30-60 seconds (the sperm remains viable for about 2 minutes). Often up to 40% of the eggs may not be fertilized, to reduce this figure try to plant at least 2 males with each female.

Further in the process of maturation, the eggs absorb water and inflate, this process is called hardening. This is provided by osmosis - water penetrating a relatively concentrated egg from a dilute environment. nine0003

In very hard water, with a high level of dissolved salts (some spring waters), the difference between the amount of minerals dissolved in the water and the substances in the eggs may cause the osmosis process to not start and the eggs not to harden.

Related article Koi ulcers

Other causes of high egg mortality and poor hatchability may be lack of oxygen and incorrect water temperature (deadly low 16°C, over 25°C stimulates hatching, but fry may not develop fully or develop with defects , over 30°C - deadly high temperature; sudden changes in temperature can cause death in the fetal stage). Bacterial and fungal infections can also cause high fetal mortality. nine0003

Treatment: Fungal infections of roe - malachite green, as in baths 5 mg/l per hour or constant concentration in water 0.2 mg/l.
Bacterial calf infections - various antibiotics required. Erythromycin at a concentration of 50 mg/l is absorbed by eggs.

After two to six days (depending on the temperature of the water in the reservoir), the larvae hatch. At this stage, the larvae avoid light, hiding in dark places, where they absorb their yolk sac. nine0003

After two or three days, the development of koi fry reaches the stage where they can swim freely. With a quick jerk to the surface, the fry capture atmospheric air into the swim bladder and look for illuminated places, obeying their instinct in search of food.

Too much light or too much shade in the first days of fry life can cause them deep stress, opening the way to secondary infections along the way. Too high or too low water temperatures can also kill koi fry. The same applies to sudden changes in temperature. Further development of fry at elevated temperatures can lead to loss of color. nine0003

Both after hatching and at the next stages of development, fry require a lot of oxygen. Factors that can affect the oxygen requirements of fry are: overfeeding, overcrowding and high temperatures.

Poor water quality can also lead to the death of fry. Water with a high content of ammonia and nitrites is especially dangerous. In some cases, with poor water quality, a protein film forms on the surface, preventing the filling of the swim bladders of fry. nine0003

Excessive overpopulation of the reservoir with fry will lead to a slow growth of the latter. Koi are similar to ordinary wild carps and therefore are able to grow amazingly fast, often depriving their brothers and sisters of food, some individuals become stronger and larger than others, and it should be noted that cases of cannibalism are no exception.

Let's pay attention to the feeding of fry. Improper diet and lack of amino acids such as arginine and valine can also slow down the growth of fry. nine0003

Young koi are still developing their immune system, and this, together with their not yet fully formed structure, makes them very susceptible to various kinds of fungi and infections.

Some types of parasitic infections

Bone blight (Ichthyobodo necator) - affects eggs and hatched larvae. An overcrowded reservoir and high temperatures can cause an outbreak of a disease that usually ends in high mortality among fry. nine0003

Spherosporosis caused by the parasite Sphaerospora renicola causes inflammation of the swim bladder.

Learn more