SF Bay Area Koi Club

Organization of Pond and Koi Keepers

Feeding too little?

12/20/2017 6:57 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

We are constantly reminded not to feed our Koi too much - both for the sake of Water Quality, and for the health of the Koi.  And this time of year, some of us are not feeding at all because the water temperature is blow 50 degrees.  But is it possible to feed the Koi too little?

First, we know that Koi food should be high protein year-round.  It was previously thought that Koi benefit from feeding a lower protein level in the cooler waters of spring and fall, but now it is agreed that we should feed a single, high-protein feed year-round, and vary the quantity based on water temperature.  Another thing we know is that Koi growth rates increased by 60% when they were fed 3 times a day verses once a day.  Remember that Koi are grazers, and benefit from more frequent and smaller meals.  So take the quantity you are planning to feed for the day, and split it up between the feedings.

For other fish, it is recommended to feed them 0.5-2.0% of their body weight.  For Koi, it is suggested to feed between 1-3% of their body weight. 

But does that work?  The weights of Koi vary drastically even if they are the same length, and most of us do not weigh our Koi regularly.  And it is not possible to limit the amount eaten by any single Koi when they are fed in a group.  If a group of Koi appear to be "thin," they might benefit from increasing the amount fed at each feeding.  If a single Koi appears thin, it could be genetics, or a health problem, or simply a less aggressive Koi that doesn't enjoy the melee that occurs during feeding.  Most hermaphrodite Koi remain very thin, and sometimes sickly, throughout their lives.

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