One of the best and most exciting parts of keeping koi is feeding your colorful pets. Watching your pet’s ornamental fish float to the surface and even feasting on food from the palm of your hand is one of the most rewarding experiences a pet owner can have.
Better yet, it’s an easy bonding experience between you and your finned pet. However, feeding them can be a little tricky, especially if you’re new to koi keeping. After all, the type of food you feed your koi fish has a major impact on their health, scale color, and growth.
In order to keep your koi fish healthy, happy and looking elegant, you have to know what to feed them. And guess what? I’ll help you discover everything you need to know about raising koi fish. Better yet, I’ll review the best koi food options that will help you keep your fish strikingly colorful, elegant, and healthy.
1. Tetra Koi Vibrance Pond
When it comes to koi food, there’s nothing better than this premium Tetra Pak product. After all, it is specially formulated to meet all the nutritional needs of all goldfish and koi.
In fact, it has all the minerals, vitamins, carbohydrates, fiber and proteins that ornamental fish need for a healthy immune system and optimal growth.
In addition, it supports their many biological activities and metabolic changes. And, unlike other fish foods, this product is 95% digestible, so it will not cloud the water in your pond or aquarium.
Best of all, thanks to its unique combination of minerals, it enhances the bright yellow and red color of fish.
2. Hikari Floating Pellets for Koi and Pond Fish
Hikari is a Japanese fish food company known for producing specialty koi foods.
Hikari Koi Gold is a 35% protein that adds color to all types of koi. The floating pellets are formulated for feeding koi in warm water temperatures. These ingredients promote enhanced skin tone, while vitamins and minerals promote a healthy immune system.
Hikari staples contain 34% protein. The balanced composition supports rapid growth, proper morphology and efficient nutrient utilization. This staple contains essential vitamins, including a stable dose of vitamin C to support immune system health.
Saki-Hikari Growth is a specialized growth pellet used to maximize the size of champion koi. Hikari has developed a special blend of lipids and other essential nutrients to reduce the opportunity for internal fat deposits that increase when fish are fueled with a 40% protein feed for rapid growth.
Dai Nippon Koi Foods is made in the USA. The company has minimized the use of starch to provide dense, nutritious mini pellets.
Dainichi Premium (42% protein) contains five protein sources, including spirulina, krill and shrimp, which act as color enhancers. Dainichi Premium contains a variety of vitamins and minerals, especially vitamins C and E, which provide radiance, luminosity and brightness to the skin.
Premium contains calcium montmorillonite to mimic the natural intake of minerals.
All Season Floating Pellets (39% protein content) are used for year-round feeding. Ingredients include fast-growing marine and plant proteins, as well as plant-based ingredients that are easily digestible at all temperatures. Shrimp and spirulina help maintain the vibrant colors of all koi species. Day Day food is available in small, medium and large pellets.
Great Day also offers koi food for growth and color enhancement.
Kaytee is a leading manufacturer of pet food. Koi’s Choice is a floating pellet for all seasons.
The 5 mm pellets contain fishmeal, corn meal, peeled soybean meal, wheat flour, corn gluten meal as well as vitamins and minerals. The 35% protein food contains primarily plant-based ingredients.
5. Aqua Master
Aqua Master Fish Food is produced by the Unified Enterprise Group of China. Aqua Master color enhancer pellets contain fish meal, krill meal and wheat germ.
The 7mm pellets are coated with Bacillus thuringiensis spores. These bacteria help break down organic waste in the pond. The formula also contains spirulina and astaxanthin for colour enhancement.
6. Hikari Gold Koi Food
You’ll love Hikari Gold Koi Food. Like most of the koi foods on the list, this koi has a scientifically proven formula that provides koi with everything they need to survive in a pond or aquarium.
It has the perfect blend of nutrients and proteins and is even designed to enhance the bright colors of the fish.
It also contains vitamin C, which helps support your pet’s immune system.
These koi food pellets float for easy fish access and allow you to monitor your pet’s food intake.
Also, it keeps the pond water clean and clear, so there is less chance of contamination and algae growth.
7. Blue Ridge Goldfish and Koi Food
Is your koi fish less than 5 inches? Then, consider this koi food as one of your top choices.
Believe me, these pellets provide you with the perfect opportunity to view fish for consumption.
This koi food softens quickly, making them easy for koi fish to digest. Also, it is formulated with top quality ingredients that are often used by top goldfish and koi breeders.
With this koi food, your fish will get the best nutrition, which will help them to grow strong in captivity. Also, these food trays do not contaminate the water as they decompose.
And of course, it contains a special blend of minerals and vitamins that will boost immunity and promote overall health.
8. Tetra Growth Formula Koi Food
For over forty years, Tetra has been helping aquarium hobbyists around the world maintain a balanced and healthy diet for their pets. And, whether you’re an experienced or novice, this Tetra product is sure to come in handy.
It’s rich in amino acids that promote growth and a healthy metabolism. And, it’s ideal for ponds or aquariums with water temperatures over 50 degrees.
Plus, there are no unwanted fillers or added by-products. Each pellet is filled with the minerals and vitamins that koi need.
9. Laguna All Season Floating Koi Food
While it’s a bit more expensive than some of the options mentioned here, Laguna Koi Food is totally worth every penny you spend with its quality ingredients.
Not only is it a high protein formula, but it also has the perfect blend of amino acids, minerals, and vitamins (like vitamin C).
My fish seem to love it. When I feed koi with this fish food, I find that my fish are so happy, energetic and active with Lugana.
And, since it is a year-round feed, there is no need to spend extra cash on other foods depending on the season.
10. Saki-Hikari Koi Food
Saki-Hikari Koi Food is a trustworthy product recommended by aquarium hobbyists like me. It has an easy-to-absorb and absorb formula that produces very little fish waste in your pond.
Each pellet of the fish food is perfect for medium to large ponds, allowing you to monitor its consumption. In addition, it helps you keep your pond filter free of excess food.
Best of all, it has all the nutrients needed to help keep your fish happy and healthy.
What do koi eat?
Koi are omnivores. This means they will eat everything, including worms, insect larvae, small fish, eggs, algae, and plant debris.
Like wild carp, koi are constantly feeding on the bottom, searching for food by taste, touch and smell. You will often see them sucking algae and other floating food from the surface of the water. Koi will also scrape algae and bacteria off the surface of plants and rocks.
However, when living in a backyard pond, nature can’t always provide the koi with the food they need. That’s where commercial fish food comes in. Fish food manufacturers develop special diets only for koi in artificial ponds.
Sinking or floating pellets?
The sinking pellet lands right at the bottom of the pond. Koi will feed along the bottom of the pond, easily detecting the smell and flavor of the pellet.
Since koi’s mouths are designed for bottom feeding, it’s natural for them to feed on sinking pellets. But koi are smart and like to rise to the surface to eat.
Floating pellets allow you to see the fish float to the surface. Large fish will rise out of the water looking for floating pellets. They will feed from your hand. You will also find floating stick food.
Koi will grind up the sticks as they chew and swallow. The floating pellets make it easy to see the amount of food being added to the pond. Skilled koi keepers can measure the sinking food. That way, they won’t over eat. You can feed two types of pellets at the same time.
Other Koi feeding tips
Want your koi fish to live a long, happy and healthy life? Then, take note of these tips and suggestions.
- From insects and bugs to algae and plants, Koi can eat almost anything. They even like people food like watermelon, peas, rice, shrimp, lettuce and grains.
- Don’t feed them before a storm hits. Koi need more oxygen to digest their food. Also, when it rains, the oxygen level in the air drops.
- Avoid feeding koi if your aquarium pump is broken. Keep in mind that these fish need some oxygen to digest their food.
- Koi prefer carbohydrate-rich foods in late fall and early spring. Also, foods high in protein are best during the ideal mating season in early summer.
- Larger Koi prefer a pebble diet, while smaller Koi will need to eat small fish or fish fillets.
- Feed them consistently and soon they will recognize you and even greet you as they approach the pond or aquarium.
- Finally, koi feeding is enjoyable, relaxing, and even therapeutic. So, enjoy your precious time with your beloved fish.
How to Choose Koi Food – Buying Guide
Still can’t make a decision? Here are a few things to consider when looking for the best fish food for your koi.
The quality of the koi food
Sadly, there are many local pet stores today that sell junk brand foods that are labeled and identified as koi food. In fact, some of these recipes and mixtures are made for other fish and are simply labeled as koi food.
While most of these options are affordable, they come with many drawbacks. For example, these koi foods contain incorrect proportions of vitamins, are malnourished, and contain fillers that can damage or even kill the fish.
Therefore, stick to trusted brands. Also, don’t forget to read reviews about the best koi foods.
Not every koi food is suitable for all seasons. In winter, when the pond water is cold, koi need low protein and high carbohydrate levels, especially as these fish are very active, which means they are hungry.
Koi food with malt is ideal for winter.
In the summer, when their water temperature is very high, these fish slow down and need higher protein levels for optimal growth and maintenance of their bodies. You should choose koi foods that use krill or spirulina as a protein source.
Mix koi fish with protein and carbohydrate-rich fish foods in the spring and fall, when temperatures change or are moderate.
Koi food content and ingredients
The content and composition of koi food is vital to the growth and health of the fish. When looking for the best koi food, be sure to check these important sources.
- Protein sources and percentages: for optimal growth, look for koi foods with a protein percentage of 30 to 40 percent. Also, look for healthy protein sources such as herring meal, anchovy, shrimp meal, fishmeal, wheat and soy.
- Immune boosters, minerals and vitamins: Fish foods that contain multivitamins will help promote a more vibrant complexion, growth, digestion, vision and healthy skin.
- Color Enhancers: Shrimp or krill oil and spirulina are the most common and popular natural enhancers.
- Fat percentage: If your koi is small and still growing, you should choose a food with a higher fat content.