Koi or Japanese carp is a fish of amazing beauty, bright color, medium size, and high resistance to external influences. In the Far East, these fish were launched into backyard fish ponds and watched their variegated movements. Today koi are very popular on fish farms and household ponds. Koi carp food is of particular importance. Therefore, it is important to know what to feed them, since it is the balance of nutrients that allows the inhabitants of the lakes to have a bright and rich color of the scales.
Types of feed
Multicolored carps are omnivores, in their natural pond habitat they can perfectly eat both food of natural origin and dry food intended for a particular species of fish. More often, the owners of Japanese carp prefer to save time and energy by choosing industrial feed for the inhabitants of ponds. Commercially available food comes in many varieties in terms of composition and nutritional value to achieve different feed goals for both fry and adults.
During the cold season, it is required to select special formulations for cold water – their basis is vegetable protein. It is believed that the digestive system of fish copes better with plant-based amino acids. Feed amino acids are obtained from wheat germ, as the most nutritious part of cereals. Japanese carp feed also contains some animal proteins.
These formulations are 40% protein – this is the most important component that ensures all the vital functions and health of the fish. Winter food for koi carp is rich in vitamin E, which forms a variegated reddish color of the scales. A complex of minerals and unsaturated fatty acids increases the digestibility of granules. Probiotics allow maintaining the normal microflora of the digestive tract and maintaining a high level of immune defense of the Japanese carp.
After wintering, the koi carp is weakened, its immunity is reduced, the fish is susceptible to various diseases that affect not only the scales but also the internal organs. Therefore, when the water temperature rises, colored fish can be fed with special mixtures and floating granules with high probiotic content. These component foods are high in polysaccharides, nutrients necessary for the growth of intestinal bacteria.
The specific type of nutrition helps to increase the barrier properties of the fish organism. This koi food has a low protein content (less than 30%), which allows it to be fed to fish together with a formula suitable for feeding in cold water. It is necessary to mix such types of feed into the diet of lake residents only after the environment has warmed up to 10 degrees.
After the water temperature in the reservoir reaches 12 degrees, the strengthened koi carp can be transferred to one of the basic feeds. These are universal products, in their composition, the percentage of protein content is increased and the amount of fat is reduced (no more than 3%). The use of feed for koi carps with a low lipid content is recommended until the water temperature rises to 15-20 degrees.
After the water has warmed up enough and the koi carp have adapted to the changed conditions, it is necessary to introduce premium food into the fish diet for active growth. This product is characterized by a high content of amino acids and fats, allowing the inhabitants of the underwater world to actively grow and gain weight. It is possible to combine the basic feed with special fortified formulations rich in tocopherol, which will help maintain the natural bright colors of the pets.
As for specific products, the market is filled with different types of feeds that allow you to achieve the desired results, each manufacturer offers to buy dry feed for all fish species. Consider the most popular companies that produce a quality product:
- Coppens Koi. The manufacturer offers a whole series of products for this type of fish. The line includes positions for feeding at low temperatures, with spirulina (to enhance the color), to improve health, basic nutrition, for the growth of young individuals, etc. A complete standard diet (for ambient temperatures from 15 degrees) provides fast growth, beautiful color, helps to avoid obesity, which is especially important for show pets. In addition to protein, fats, fiber, ash, phosphorus, and vitamins, the composition includes the prebiotic inulin, which ensures healthy digestion of fish, as well as the carotenoid astaxanthin, which enhances the bright pigment of carp;
- Yamato. The manufacturer offers food options for the autumn-winter period, for low temperatures, for the main food, for the rapid growth of young individuals. Belongs to the category of premium class, the standard mixture for carp includes proteins, fats, fiber, phosphates, calcium, vitamins A, D3, E, ascorbic acid;
- TetraPond – food in the form of sticks, flakes, and pellets for different sizes of koi. In addition to the content of all useful components important for the inhabitants of the pond, the composition stimulates the strengthening of the immune system and is easily absorbed in the digestive system, minimally polluting the water;
- Tetra. The food is sold in packaging depending on the age of the fish: 150 grams each for fry, 1 kg each – for pets up to 10 cm, 2.5 kg – the main food for adult fish from 10 cm and from 20 cm in the form of floating granules.
How to prepare food yourself?
As noted, koi carp is an omnivorous fish that tolerates both animal and plant foods well. For this reason, you can save money, and instead of purchasing expensive industrial feed, prepare an equally high-quality mixture with your own hands. This way of feeding will be more environmentally friendly than a commercially available formulation.
Almost everything that can be found in nature can become components for the preparation of complete homemade food. Koi carps are not big fussy and eat the following organisms well:
Earthworms are a good complementary food option for every day. It must be remembered that before sending them to the “table”, the worms need to be kept in clean water for some time in order to cleanse their intestines.
Japanese carp eat well cereals, which need to be brewed in boiling water without adding salt. It can be buckwheat, millet, or semolina. Boiled porridge should be well rinsed underwater so that it becomes crumbly and excess gluten is gone. The paste does not come out of the koi’s intestines and clogs it, which can lead to the death of the fish.
Homemade foods can include soft aquatic plants such as:
- hornwort, etc.
For the preparation of feed, you can use almost any greens and vegetables that need to be scalded with boiling water and then cut into small strips. Lettuce, parsley, dill, dandelions, plantain can be used as raw materials. In a similar way, you can use zucchini, carrots, cucumbers, and pumpkin – these products are rubbed on a fine grater, and then sent to feed the inhabitants of decorative ponds.
How to feed your pond fish properly?
Koi carp, despite its high resistance to external conditions, requires special attention. This is especially true of the feeding process, in which it is necessary to take into account both the physiological features of a particular breed and the general principles of feeding lake fish.
When feeding fish with dry food, it is important to take into account that granules, like flakes, swell in water. For this reason, the portions dispensed must be small. Carps willingly eat whatever they are given, and then the food in their stomach increases significantly. This can lead to increased gas production, constipation, inflammation of the digestive system, and even death of pets.
Before feeding, you need to place food in water so that it swells a little. For flakes, 10-15 seconds are enough, and for granules – 30 seconds. Only after that, dry food is lowered into the pond. Feeding frequency depends on a number of factors, such as water temperature and the age of the koi carp. There is a rule: the colder the water in the pond, the less food the fish need.
Young fish are fed hourly, and the amount of food can be up to 10% of the bodyweight of each individual. More adult carp are fed 2-3 times a day, sending food to the reservoir in the amount of 3% of the weight of the fish in it. Otherwise, the feeding process and food volumes are adjusted to suit the individual needs of the pets. If, after feeding, the carps in the pond still ask for food, then they can be supplemented, and if the pellets remain on the surface, then the feeding procedure should be completed.
There is an important rule: it is better to leave Japanese carp a little hungry than to overfeed them. Over-saturation with food leads not only to a deterioration in the well-being of pets but also to a disruption in the performance of the purification systems. Most filters cannot cope with cleaning ponds, which often leave large amounts of feed on the surface.