11 Things To Feed Koi Fish Apart From Fish Food

What can I feed my koi fish besides fish food? Koi fish can eat just about anything and they do have a pretty large appetite too. Feeding time for koi fish often means fun time hence you need to make sure they are eating what gives them enough nutrients. Knowing what to feed your koi fish is just as vital as knowing how much to feed them as well.

The first feeding is regarded as the bonding stage for a koi fish and you need to avoid feeding it anything hard on the stomach.

Koi fish are quite an expensive kind of fish and just like goldfish, they can be great pet fish too. It is fairly easy to care for and its constant display of color is another reason to love it.

Surprisingly, koi fish can eat anything organic, but moderation is key when it comes to feeding koi fish. They need something nutritious just like humans and if they are on a poor diet or they don’t get enough food, it can lead to sickness in spring.

Koi fish will eat anything including people’s food. Just like every other kind of pet, koi fish will enjoy some treats as well. Feeding is essential for koi fish especially during summer so also is knowing what to feed them. So, read on to discover other things to feed koi fish apart from fish food.

11 Things To Feed Koi Fish Apart From Fish Food

Having a list of what to feed koi fish apart from fish will come in handy. Koi fish happens to be one of the most beautiful and interesting fish to keep and with proper feeding methods, it can grow really big.

To make sure your Koi fish stays alive and healthy, we have rounded up 11 things that are just as nutritious as fish food.

1. Brine Shrimp

Brine shrimp is an excellent choice for koi fish and other species of fish as well. Brine shrimp is considered more nutritious than frozen fish food and also ideal for fueling the growth of freshly hatched koi.

This can provide all the nutrients your koi needs at any growing stage and it fuels their metabolism faster during summer too.

Since koi are omnivores then you need to ensure they get enough protein and brine shrimp is one of the best foods for that. Brine shrimps are also one of the most popular food options for aquarium fish. They are a great source of vitamin A and vitamin D. Feed brine shrimps to koi fish during periods of great activity and it encourages fast growth too.

Reasons to feed brine shrimps to koi fish:

  • Brine shrimp provides nutrients through all stages of growth for koi fish
  • It finds brine shrimp easy to digest
  • Brine shrimp are ideal for supplemental feeding
  • You won’t have to worry about overfeeding koi with brine shrimp

2. Wheat Germ

How Long Can Koi Fish Go Without Eating?
Image: Envato Elements

Koi is not the only fish that can benefit from eating wheat germ, it is a nutritious food for all pond fish as well.

Koi carp particularly enjoys wheat germ and it provides a healthy amount of vitamin E and most importantly, it is easy to digest. This fish diet needs to consist of the six building blocks which include fats, protein, carbs, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Wheat germ contains some of these building blocks.

Wheat germ is an easy replacement for fish food and not only is this a delicious option for koi fish, but it can also help improve digestion and keep ammonia to a minimum. Wheat germ is a great food for koi fish in low temperatures.

Reasons to feed wheat germ to koi fish:

  • Improves the brilliance and luster of your fish skin
  • Fuels koi fish growth
  • Enhances blood circulation
  • Helps fight off diseases that affect koi fish
  • Boost nutrient flow

3. Krill

One of the best sources of protein for koi fish is krill. Krill meal comes as a suitable alternative if you can’t find fish food and it is used in the production of fish food, fish oil, and supplements.

This is an excellent source of omega fatty acids. The protein in krill is an incomplete one which is perfect for koi fish since anything over 40% of protein is not healthy for them.

Feeding krill to koi fish can help enhance its colors and maximize growth as well. Your koi fish needs as many nutrients as it can get so if you are looking to improve its nutrient intake and appearance as well, krill is a good option.

Reasons to feed krill to koi fish:

  • It improves digestive health
  • It’s budget-friendly
  • Supplies minerals such as iron, phosphorus, and calcium
  • Brings out the rich vibrant color of koi fish

4. Watermelon

Watermelon is one of the surprising but highly beneficial fruits you can replace fish food with for koi.

Fresh watermelon fruit is a good choice for koi fish, it is rich in antioxidants hence can help prevent some diseases. It relatively has a high protein content as well. Watermelon is regarded as a summer treat for koi fish but you need to feed them in moderation.

Picnic Watermelon
Source: Superfood

The seedless variety is the ideal one you should go for, this is because seeds are difficult for koi fish to digest. For the large koi fish, they can just nibble on the melons from your hand or you can simply have it cut into digestible slices and make sure to remove any form of seeds before flowing it on the surface of the pond.

They won’t eat the rind either, just the flesh.

Reasons to feed watermelon to koi fish:

  • Provides koi fish with all its needed nutrients
  • Help improve their immune system and reduce stress
  • It’s a healthy fun snack during summer

5. Garlic

Garlic is another great replacement for fish food and they can feed on this raw without having to mix it with any other foods. Garlic is a delightful culinary ingredient in many households, it is a much-enjoyed food for koi fish and you can either soak koi pellets in garlic to encourage them to eat. Koi fish tend to enjoy garlic and you can mix it with fish flakes to spice up their diet.

There are several ways you can include garlic into the koi’s diet. Processed or blended garlic is the fastest way to provide them with some nutrients. Garlic can also be used to accumulate new koi fish in your pond.

Reasons to feed garlic to koi fish:

  • It may help prevent some health problems
  • It is an easy treat for koi fish to munch on
  • Garlic kills parasites in their fish tank
  • It is a good source of nutrition

6. Spirulina Algae

Spirulina algae contain some essential nutrients and are one of the most recommended things to feed koi fish.

This is simply bluish-green algae that grow in hard water and surprisingly it contains nutrients that can be good for koi fish. It comes from a plant that can explain some of its benefits but it offers full protein as well. This type of algae is small which makes it easy for your koi fish to fetch.

There are lots of benefits to feeding this to your koi fish. Spirulina algae can also be used to boost your fish immune system and it enhances an easy digestion process as well. If you are looking for something healthy and budget-friendly as well for your aquarium and koi fish, consider feeding it spirulina algae.

Reasons to feed spirulina algae to koi fish:

  • Helps to prevent swollen abdomen
  • The carotenoids in it help improve coloration
  • Encourages growth
  • Enhances the function of the immune system
  • Promotes circulation and oxygenation.

7. Bananas

Fruits generally are great for feeding your koi fish. Bananas specifically can provide your koi fish with all the nutrients it needs to grow.

Research has shown feeding bananas to koi fish can provide them with the right amount of nutrients and vitamins. Fruits specifically are a great source of fiber antioxidants and vitamins. Cut bananas without the skin into chunky slices and float them on the surfaces of your pond.

Koi fish enjoys bananas as a treat but ensure to cut into digestible slices and without the rind as well. Bananas are soft and easy to eat and the nutrients they will gain from eating are enough reason to feed them to your koi fish.

Reasons to feed banana to koi fish:

  • Bananas are an excellent source of vitamins, carbohydrates, fiber, and antioxidants
  • It enhances growth
  • It is affordable and effective
  • It is easy to digest
Koi fish in the pond

8. Romaine Lettuce

Lettuce and any leafy greens are also found to be nutritious for koi fish. Romain’s lettuce is considered a much-preferred vegetable as it is easier to digest and clean from the pond as well.

Although koi fish will enjoy any kind of leafy greens however you need to have it shredded and keep it clean too. Romaine lettuce contains more benefits than other types of lettuce.

While koi fish will enjoy the remaining lettuce, feed them in moderation. It is known for its high nutritional value hence they will feel full faster so don’t stuff them with it. They tend to enjoy broccoli and spinach just as much too. 9.

Reasons to feed romaine lettuce to koi fish:

  • Enhances blood circulation
  • Prevents bloating
  • Encourages and promotes balanced growth

9. Worms

Earthworms and mealworms are both easy things for koi fish to digest hence they are a great substitute for fish food.\

The nutritional value of worms is not exactly specified, but studies prove them to be filling for koi fish. However, worms are highly nutritious for fish and there are no downsides to feeding this to your fish all year round.

This is an ideal option to go for if you need to feed your koi fish on a summer evening. Don’t feed worms to your fish if the water is not clean and go for fresh active worms too. Your koi will easily catch on after taking its first bite. Your koi will enjoy and benefit from the earthworm, pinks, nightcrawlers, Georgia reds, and others.

Reasons to feed romaine lettuce to koi fish:

  • Earthworms are easy for koi to digest
  • They are packed full of vitamins and protein
  • It is a great source of energy

10. Orange Segments

Koi is a really special fish hence it needs an orange treat to keep it healthy. Koi fish are adventurous when it comes to what they eat so they will surely enjoy the zest flavor from orange.

Oranges provide koi with vitamin C and some carbohydrates. It is easy to digest as well but it is best consumed in small slices. You will need to place it on the surface of the ponds, the skin will need to be removed from the pond water.

Big koi fishes will enjoy mandarin orange segments right out of your hand. They are also fond of grapefruits, berries, and lemons. Cut these fruits into sections or slices and place them on the surface of the pond for them to feed on. However, they shouldn’t consume too many oranges.

Reasons to feed orange to koi fish:

  • Enhances the function of the immune system
  • Provides koi car with vitamin C and some carbohydrates
  • It provides energy for koi fish to swim actively all-day
  • It is considered safe for your koi fish.

11. Peas

Koi fish loves to eat peas too but you will have to remove the shell to make it digestible. You might have to train your koi fish to expect peas before throwing them in as they can easily sink.

However, green peas are highly recommended for koi fish provided you go through the process of pealing and boiling it. You only need to feed the soft portion of it to your koi.

Frozen organic peas with no additives are highly recommended but you have to microwave them or place them in boiling water for a few minutes and also remove the outer shell before putting them in the pond. Koi fish love peas and it does have some benefits too.

Reasons to feed peas to koi fish:

  • It acts as a laxative and has some nutritional values
  • Koi fish are happy to feed on them
  • It keeps them full
  • It is easy on the stomach.

Koi Fish Feeding Tips For Beginners

Koi fishes are really lovely and easy to care for but while they are easy to feed, you should also take note of what they consume.

Regardless of what you plan to feed your koi fish, do your research and ensure it contains enough vitamins but not too many carbohydrates. Koi fish are omnivores and will gladly feed on anything organic. But here is a guide on how to feed them and keep them healthy.

  • If they are new to the pond, give them a day to rest before feeding them
  • The feeding time of koi fish should revolve around its temperature. It is recommended that you commence feeding at 55 degrees F.
  • Feed them as often as 4 times a day and let them eat within a 5 minutes time frame each time
  • Skim any remaining food from the pond so it doesn’t affect the quality of the water
  • Feed possibly with a lower protein food except in the summer, feed in high protein food since its start of mating season
  • Feed consistently so it can recognize your face and greet you
  • Reduce their food intake in winter since their metabolism slows down
  • Avoid overfeeding them.

How long can koi fish go without food?

Koi fish have quite a huge appetite but can go two weeks without food during summer. They can go two weeks without food in summer but are sure to take a small amount of nutrition from things they can find in the water like bugs and algae. Koi tend to hibernate during winter so they can spend the whole winter season without food. Ensure they store enough nutrition during summer.

How do you make koi fish food?

This fish can easily feed on blended paste foods that sink to the bottom of the pond. They love any kinds of food so nay mixture will work. But to make a healthier fish food for them, combine 12 canned sardines, two pounds of shrimps, 6 garlic cloves, 2 cups of cooked rice, and a cup of orange juice then blend them all.

What to feed koi to make them grow?

There are lots of things you can feed to koi fish however to make them grow faster and healthier, feed them a high-quality diet. Foods that are great for the growth of koi include vegetables, shrimps, fruits, worms, flakes, and fish pellets.

Wrapping Up

The dietary requirement for koi fish is not as complex as it sounds. However, it needs to be fed a balanced diet composed of 35% or 40% protein for it to grow up to a size of 20 inches.

This is a really lovely fish and under the right condition, it can grow up to 8 inches in the first year. Koi fish is a low-maintenance fish and in winter, you don’t have to worry about what to feed it.