8 tips for healthy koi fish

Watching koi fish swimming around in a beautiful pond creates a tranquil atmosphere. The last thing a koi owner wants to see is that there is something wrong with the fish. Here are eight nutritional guidelines to follow to ensure that the fish remain as healthy as possible.

  1. Koi fish are omnivorous, which means they require good amounts of protein and vegetable matter to keep them healthy.
  2. Koi fish do not have a stomach like humans do, but have a long intestine for digestion. Therefore, they prefer being fed little but often, rather than large meals. They like to forage.
  3.  In order to keep their immune systems healthy, they should get a balanced diet. The preferred diet is koi pellets and it is important that you first study the ingredients in the food to ensure that the fish get a balanced meal.
  4. Feed them a high percentage of protein to start off with. There is also a variety of specialised formulations available on the market, including food for growth, multiple seasons and colour enhancement. Speak to a vet or food merchant for the best choice for your fish.
  5. The important thing is to ensure that the pellets don’t drift for longer than 10 minutes. Your fish should not have to fight for food, so make sure they all get enough to eat.
  6. During the summer, their metabolism is high due to the warmer water temperatures. In addition to koi pellets, feed them lettuce, brown rice, brown bread with peanut butter or honey (no butter), bits of watermelon, bits of oranges or naartjies, and bits of steamed vegetables, such as peas and pumpkin. This will boost their immune systems for winter.
  7.  In winter, their metabolism is lower because of the colder water. Feed them less in winter as they are in a hibernation phase, especially when the water temperature reaches 12°C and below. We normally stop feeding the fish for a few days when the temperature reaches below 10°C, until the temperature rises again. You may also consider a wheat germ mix in their food for easier digestion, but I believe that koi fish digest any food well enough under normal conditions and will eat if they are hungry.
  8. The size of the koi pellets must also be in relation to the size of the fish in the pond. Your food supplier will be happy to assist you in this regard.
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