A Guide to Choose the Best Koi Food

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Koi have a unique food habit that changes with the season. So, you will have to be extra careful about choosing the best koi food.

Moreover, you will have to consider the habitat too. Are you keeping the fish in the pond or the tank?

There is a lot to consider and a lot of questions to answer.

So, rather going for any koi food in the market, make sure you are getting the right one. I will be giving you all the information you will need in regards to the koi food habit.

So, sit back, relax, and go through each section, one-by-one!

​1. Tetra Pond Koi Vibrance – The Best Koi Food

Tetra Pond Koi Vibrance

Unlike other fish, you will probably keep your koi in the pond. Tetra made a perfect meal for the koi living in the pond – Tetra Pond Koi Vibrance.

The floating soft sticks are rich in protein and fat, making it a great meal for the koi. Tetra is known for keeping the water clean compared to other brands. The added Vitamin C in the formulation will keep your koi away from different diseases.

Other than the koi, you can even feed it to the goldfish in your tank too.

However, you should abstain from feeding the Tetra Koi Vibrance during fall and spring. The food is specially designed to meet the needs in summer.

The Characteristics Table – Amazon Sword

​Type of Food

​Pellet sticks

​Floater or Sinker

​Floating

​Season

​Summer

​Why Should You Consider Buying?

  • ​- ​​​Easier digestion
  • ​- ​​Rich in protein and fat
  • ​- ​​​Keeps the water cleaner

​Immune System Boosting Agent

​Yeast extract, Riboflavin 5, Inositol, Niacin

​Color enhancer

​Yes

​Guaranteed Nutrient Analysis

​Crude Protein

​31%

​Crude Fat

​5%

​Crude Fiber

​2%

​Moisture

​7%

​Phosphorus

​0.9%

​Ascorbic Acid

​100mg/kg

2. Kaytee Koi’s Choice Fish Food – The Budget Option

Kaytee Koi’s Choice Fish Food

Kaytee is one of the special brands that specialize in manufacturing koi food. Their Koi’s Choice is premium grade food that has all the necessary ingredients that you koi would need.

The floating grains are easily digestible, and you can easily scoop up the additional grains after the feeding sessions.

You should be feeding the food about five times a day in warmer water. You might choose this food as the staple food all year round. It's all seasonal food.

The budget-friendly price tag is also another reason for the fish keepers loving this product. This is certainly the best cheap koi food.

There is only one thing missing – it doesn’t contain any color enhancer.

​Kaytee Koi’s Choice – Things to Consider

​Type of Food

​Medium-sized pellets

​Floater or Sinker

​Floating

​Season

​All seasonal

​Why Should You Consider Buying?

  • ​- ​​​Easier digestion
  • ​- ​​​Rich in animal and vegetable-based protein
  • ​- ​​​​Suitable for all seasons

​Immune System Boosting Agent

​Fish oil, wheat germ, and alfalfa meal

​Color enhancer

​No

​Guaranteed Nutrient Analysis

​Crude Protein

​35%

​Crude Fat

​5%

​Crude Fiber

​4%

​Moisture

​12%

​Ash

​10%

​Phosphorus

​0.8%

​3. HIKARI Gold Pellets Pond Fish Food – Best Koi Food for Color

HIKARI Gold Pellets Pond Fish Food

Without a doubt, Hikari is one of the best fish food manufacturers in the world. I mean, who doesn’t know about the Japanese quality?

Hikari Gold Pellets is their premium option for koi. Hikari is well-known for its capability of enhancing the natural color in the fish. They are using both the Spirulina and Krill to enhance the color with this product.

You can use the food all year round, but they tend to serve greatly in the winter.

However, there is a negative side to this product. The high quantity of ash and phosphorus might pollute the water.

Other than this issue, Hikari Gold works like a charm!

Some sources online will tell you to use it in winter only. They are very wrong. Rather you should use it in the summer.

​Hikari Gold Pellets – Things to Consider

​Type of Food

​Pellets (small, medium, and large in size)

​Floater or Sinker

​Floating

​Season

​Summer, can be used in winter too

​Why Should You Consider Buying?

  • ​- ​​​​Enhances color without damaging the natural shiroji
  • ​- ​​​​Easily digestible
  • ​- ​​​​​Rich in nutritional elements

​Immune System Boosting Agent

​Garlic, pyridoxine hydrochloride, niacin, folic acid

​Color enhancer

​Spirulina and Krill

​Guaranteed Nutrient Analysis

​Crude Protein

​35%

​Crude Fat

​​3%

​Crude Fiber

​5%

​Moisture

​10%

​Ash

​1​3%

​Phosphorus

​1%

​Vitamin A

​8,200 IU/kg

​Vitamin D-3

​1,200 IU/kg

​Vitamin E

​1,200 IU/kg

​Ascorbic Acid

​180 mg/kg

​4. Laguna All Season Goldfish & Koi Floating Food – Best Koi Food for Growth

Laguna All Season Goldfish & Koi Floating Food

Laguna might be a new name in the industry, but let me assure you they are offering excellent quality food for your Koi or Goldfish. It is manufactured in the USA.

Although the name suggests that it's all seasonal food, you should be feeding it only in summer. The 32% max protein count is not very suitable in the winter.

So, why did I pick this one?

Two reasons!

Laguna All Season food is soft and easily digestible, and it will not cloud the water. The food is mainly soybean-based with poultry extracts. The low ash formulation makes it a very desirable choice.

​Laguna All Season – Things to Consider

​Type of Food

​Pellets

​Floater or Sinker

​Floating

​Season

​Mainly summer, can be fed in winter too

​Why Should You Consider Buying?

  • ​- ​​Easily digestible
  • ​- ​​​​​Cleaner water
  • ​- ​​​​​​Superior quality that fish love to eat

​Immune System Boosting Agent

​Yeast culture, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic acid, Niacin, Riboflavin

​Color enhancer

​No

​Guaranteed Nutrient Analysis

​Crude Protein

​32%

​Crude Fat

​5%

​Crude Fiber

​4%

​Moisture

​1​2%

​Ash

​​7%

​Phosphorus

​0.9%

​Vitamin A

​9,900 IU/kg

​Vitamin D-3

​2,200 IU/kg

​Vitamin E

​88.5 IU/kg

​Ascorbic Acid

​1​50 mg/kg

​5. Dainichi Fish Food All-Season Koi Food – Premium Koi Food

Dainichi Fish Food All-Season Koi Food

I can’t say enough about Dainichi Koi Premium. It is one of the most nutritious food that you can give you koi.

The protein content is collected from shrimp, fish meal, and soybean. It also contains wheat germ that supplies enough nutrients during winter.

Thus, it is one of the true all seasonal koi food. 

To bolster the immune system, they have added garlic, protease, calcium montmorillonite clay, and brewers’ yeast.

The calcium montmorillonite clay is a special type of Japanese clay that helps with the digestive system and detoxifies the toxins in the body.

The only negative side of the product is pricing. Compared to other koi food, it might seem a bit expensive.

​Dainichi Koi Premium – Things to Consider

​Type of Food

​Large pellets

​Floater or Sinker

​Floating

​Season

​All seasonal

​Why Should You Consider Buying?

  • ​- ​​​Superior quality, rich with nutrients
  • ​- ​​​​​​A true all seasonal food
  • ​- ​​​​​​​Detoxifying formulation

​Immune System Boosting Agent

​Garlic, protease, calcium montmorillonite clay, and brewers’ yeast

​Color enhancer

​Spirulina and Krill

​Guaranteed Nutrient Analysis

​Crude Protein

​39%

​Crude Fat

​4%

​Crude Fiber

​4%

​Moisture

​​9%

​Ash

​9%

​6. API POND FISH FOOD – Best for Immune System

API POND FISH FOOD

Just like Tetra, API has formulated a koi food that ensures cleaner water. They have synthesized a composition that ensures low ammonia extraction.

API Pond Fish Food is rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and yeast making it one of the best koi foods in the market to enhance the immune system.

Also, the color enhancing properties are great to have. 

​API Pond Fish Food – Things to Consider

​Type of Food

​Rounded pellets

​Floater or Sinker

​Floating

​Season

​Summer, the water temperature should be above 60°F

​Why Should You Consider Buying?

  • ​- ​Ensures cleaner water by eliminating ammonia
  • ​- ​​​​​​​Great for bolstering the immune system, rich in antioxidants
  • ​- ​​​​​​​​Color enhancing properties

​Immune System Boosting Agent

​Folic acid, Copper amino acid chelate, Biotin, Calcium iodate, Sodium molybdate, Vitamin B12 supplement

​Color enhancer

​Yes

​Guaranteed Nutrient Analysis

​Crude Protein

​28%

​Crude Fat

​4%

​Crude Fiber

​4%

​Moisture

​​9%

  • 7. Blue Ridge Fish Food Pellets – Great Value

  • Blue Ridge Fish Food Pellets

    Blue Ridge Fish Food Pellets is a premium option that doesn't make your break the bank! You will be getting all the goodness at very reasonable pricing. 

    Blue Ridge has specially designed the pellets for smaller fish, meaning it would be an excellent choice for the young koi. Each of the grain is only 1/8” in diameter.

    The food is also formulated to promote immunity and stress-resistance.

    ​Blue Ridge Fish Food Pellets – Things to Consider

    ​Type of Food

    ​Small-sized pellets

    ​Floater or Sinker

    ​Floating

    ​Season

    ​All-season

    ​Why Should You Consider Buying?

    • ​- ​​Perfect for young koi under 5”
    • ​- ​​​​​​​​Softer grains are easily digestible
    • ​- ​​​​​​​​​Rich in vitamins and minerals

    ​Immune System Boosting Agent

    ​Brewers dried yeast, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, niacin, riboflavin, choline chloride

    ​Color enhancer

    ​No

    ​Guaranteed Nutrient Analysis

    ​Crude Protein

    ​36%

    ​Crude Fat

    ​6%

    ​Crude Fiber

    ​​5%

    ​Phosphorus

    0.8%%

    ​8. TetraPond Variety Blend Fish Food to Enhance Color and Vitality – Best Koi Food for Growth and Color

    TetraPond Variety Blend Fish Food to Enhance Color and Vitality

    Do you remember the Tetra Koi Vibrance in the first spot? Well, this fish food actually a variety blend of all the great food from Tetra. The blend is a combination of –

    1. Tetra Pond Sticks

  • 2. Tetra Koi Vibrance

  • 3. Tetra Fall & Spring Diet

  • The reason for making such a blend is to create a staple food that you can feed you koi all year round.

    The soft sticks of TetraPond Variety Blend Fish Food are easily digestible. Truly, you will be getting the goodness of all the food products that Tetra is most proud of. Moreover, you will get color enhancement and the boosted immune system.

    ​TetraPond Variety Blend Fish Food – Things to Consider

    ​Type of Food

    ​Pellets

    ​Floater or Sinker

    ​Floating

    ​Season

    ​All-season

    ​Why Should You Consider Buying?

    • ​- ​​​A blend of the three most popular products from Tetra
    • ​- ​Softer sticks are easy to digest
    • ​- ​Suitable to feed on 50°F and above

    ​Immune System Boosting Agent

    ​Yeast extract, riboflavin 5, inositol, niacin pyridoxine hydrochloride

    ​Color enhancer

    ​Beta-carotene, annatto extract, canthaxanthin

    ​Guaranteed Nutrient Analysis

    ​Crude Protein

    ​31%

    ​Crude Fat

    ​4.5%

    ​Crude Fiber

    ​2%

    ​Moisture

    ​7%

    ​Phosphorus

    ​​1%

    ​Ascorbic Acid

    ​99 mg/kg​

    ​9. Hikari USA Inc Gold Medium – Great for Growth

    Hikari USA Inc Gold Medium

    Hikari Gold Medium is designed to enhance the color of your koi. Don’t confuse this one from the product that I mentioned in the third spot. There is a distinct difference in the ingredients. 

    First of all, it has a high ash quantity of 17%, but that food had 13% ash. Moreover, this product is suitable for feeding in the fall and winter, unlike the previous one. 

    Still, this is a formidable koi food that you can feed all year round.

    ​Hikari USA Inc Gold Medium– Things to Consider

    ​Type of Food

    ​Medium-sized pellets

    ​Floater or Sinker

    ​Floating

    ​Season

    ​Fall/Winter

    ​Why Should You Consider Buying?

    • ​- ​​​​Rich color booster
    • ​- ​​Superior quality
    • ​- ​​Contains a high quantity of vitamins and minerals

    ​Immune System Boosting Agent

    ​Garlic, pyridoxine hydrochloride, niacin, folic acid

    ​Color enhancer

    ​Spirulina and Krill

    ​Guaranteed Nutrient Analysis

    ​Crude Protein

    ​33%

    ​Crude Fat

    ​4%

    ​Ash

    ​17%

    ​Time to Answer All Your Questions: The Best Koi Food FAQ

    ​What Do Koi Fish Eat?

    Being omnivores, koi can eat anything that meets the taste buds of these fish.

    Did that information help you or made you even more confused?

    The later one, right?!

    So, to find a specific answer, we must look into their natural food habits. What do wild koi eat?

    The wild koi fish typically live on various kinds of algae mostly. They also love to eat different insects floating on the surface of the water. Their natural diet also consists of leaves and plant debris.

    On some rare occasions, they will even eat animal poop!

    Gross!

    I am sure; you are planning to feed them poop in captivity. So, which of the foods the fish keepers generally offer their koi?

    Typically, fish keepers plan a balanced diet consisting of carbohydrates, proteins, and fat. However, you shouldn’t forget about feeding them vitamin and fiber-rich foods also.

    Some of the tropical fish like the guppies and bettas can't process carbohydrates like bread or rice that much. That isn’t the case with koi.

    Koi are known for the strong digestive system.

    There are a wide variety of commercial foods available for the koi. You can rely on these commercial foods as they are specifically designed to meet the needs of koi.

    If you are planning to go for the natural homemade diet plan, you can go for these options –

    • ​- Plenty of fresh vegetables
    • ​- Leafy greens
    • ​- Finely chopped fruits
    • ​- Cereal
    • ​- Rice
    • ​- Bread and bread crumbs
    • ​- Brine shrimp
    • ​- Bloodworms
    • ​- Tiny chunks of chicken
    • Beef heart

    No matter whichever food plan you choose, make sure that you are maintaining a variety. Don’t feed the same food in every meal session.

    What to Feed Koi to Make Them Grow Fast?

    The growth of the koi is largely dependent on the food habit of the koi. But let me clear something upfront – their growth is not entirely dependent on the food habit.

    Rather, the water quality, temperature, and the size of the tank, all play a combinational effort. 

    However, feeding an ample amount of protein will help the growth of the koi tremendously.

    If you prefer feeding your koi the commercial foods, make sure to check the "guaranteed analysis" and select the food that offers more than 40% crude protein.

    When we are on the subject of growth, you should also think about the coloration. If you want to retain the vibrant color of your koi as they grow, you should add some specific food into the diet. 

    The first name that comes to my mind is spirulina. Spirulina is a type of algae that contains a high level of carotenoid agents that help the fish retain the natural color. It is also rich in protein, so it should help your koi to grow.

    Well, there is a drawback of feeding too much spirulina to your fish. Spirulina might enhance the redness in your fish a bit too much. Overfeeding spirulina will turn the white spots on your fish to pink!

    So, a safer choice would be going for Krill.

    It also promotes coloration while supplying a healthy amount of protein.

    Apart from these two options, some commercial foods contain wheat germ or Hikari germ that can boost the growth and proper coloration.

    What Factors Do Affect Koi Feeding?

    You cannot expect a healthy growth of your koi just because of the fact that you have been offering them an abundance of food.

    There are certain factors in play here.

    So, let’s take a look at those factors so that you can offer a healthy environment to your fish –

    The Size and Age of Your Fish

    You already know that koi have a strong digestive system. Still, you should provide food considering the size of the age of your fish.

    Obviously, the smaller young fish will have smaller mouth openings. So, offering big chunks of food will not do any good for them. 

    While buying commercial fish flakes or pellets, check out the granule size of them. The flakes shouldn’t be larger than 3/32” in diameter if you are feeding them to koi equal or smaller than three inches.   

    For the koi fish of four to eight inches in size, the flake diameter should be about 3/16” in diameter.

    The large koi (more than ten inches in size) can handle flakes that are ¼” in diameter.

    So, make sure that you are choosing the food that has the correct size.

    What Season Is It?

    New fish keepers often neglect this issue though it is extremely crucial.

    So, how does the season change affect the feeding habit of koi?

    Koi feel more comfortable in the summer in the warmer water. That’s why koi’s feeding habit change drastically – they will feel hungrier and demand more food in summer.   

    Remember, Koi are cold-blooded fish that don't have a stomach.

    So, they will fatten up before the fall and.

    In winter, koi goes through a hibernation-like situation. They will have minimal to no food in the winter.

    That mean’s you will have to change the diet according to the season and the temperature of the tank water.

    Temperature Is Crucial!

    From the last section, you should have a pretty good idea about the impact of temperature in koi's lives.

    They tend to be more playful in the warmer water. If you plan to keep them in a koi pond, the temperature will play an even more crucial role.

    One the other hand, during winter, in colder water, they can stop eating entirely.

    So, you should be looking at the thermometer before tossing food in the tank.

    How Many Koi Do You Have?

    Koi are messy eaters! The more koi you have in the tank or in the koi-pond, the messier it will get.

    So, the water will become more quickly than you can expect.

    Koi can become very hungry in the summer. Make sure you are offering them enough food during the summer.

    Most of the commercial food brands will suggest the optimum portion for every koi. So, act accordingly and offer them enough food.

    However, you should remove extra food from the tank after the feeding sessions. Otherwise, your fish will overfeed or make the water dirty drastically.

    How Often Should Koi Be Fed?

    It all depends on the season and the temperature of the water. It’s NOT as simple as following a “feed them twice a day” or “feed them thrice a day” rule.

    How so?

    Let me explain!

    In lower temperatures, somewhere below the 50°F (10°C), they don’t show any affinity for food. So, you shouldn’t force them to eat anything.

    If the temperature rises to somewhere between 50-65°F (10-18°C), you can introduce them to fattier food.

    For example, wheat germ will be a great option during this time.

    Still, you should feed them only once a day. 

    As the temperature rises, they will need more food. Between 73-77°F (22-25°C), your koi fish will demand more food. You should be feeding them four times a day. Moreover, you should offer a balanced diet comprising of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.

    On a hotter day, you will have to feed them even more often. For example, in a temperature window between 78°F (25°C) to 90°F (32°C), you should be feeding them five times a day.

    What if the temperature rises above 90°F?

    Yes, they will love to have food, even more frequently!

    However, you should be lowering the amount of food. Try the “more frequent, less amount” strategy in this case.

    So, the basic idea is – you should feed them more often at higher temperatures.

    How Long Can Koi Go Without Food?

    Well, come on, let’s be real, you can’t always be at home taking care of your koi!

    Taking a gigantic tank full of water to a holiday destination is also not a viable option.

    So, what should you do when you are out of town? How long can they survive without food?

    If it’s winter and temperature is quite low (below 50°F), you can leave them for in the tank and an even month-long vacation without worrying.

    They are practically in a hibernation state!

    However, things can be a little tricky in the summer!

    They need food about four to five times a day.

    The good news is you can still leave them in the tank for up to four days without any food. Don't worry; they won't starve.

    Though things will start to go downhill from the fifth day, they will start to become very, very hungry from this point. They won’t die but become malnourished.

    I have two solutions to this problem.

    The first one is installing an automatic fish feeder. If you have this device, you can take a long vacation without any stress. Such devices are cheap and easy to find in any pet store.

    The second solution is completely natural.

    Plant some live plants in the tank so that your koi never feel any shortage of food. In fact, koi, in the wild, live on the algae and other aquatic plants. I would suggest you going for duckweed or water lettuce.

    Can You Overfeed Koi?

    Yes, very easily!

    During summer, koi tend to act like hungry monsters all day long!

    If you don’t limit the amount of food going in the tank thing can go wrong very easily.

    A smart idea is scooping out all extra food after the feeding session of three to five minutes.

    What will happen if you continue to overfeed your koi?

    First of all, it will increase the amount of waste in the water to a great extent. As a result, the water will foul, and the oxygen quantity will decrease dramatically.

    If you still don't stop overfeeding your fish, they will soon fall victim to deadly diseases. Here are some of the diseases that will probably attack your koi –

    ​- Damaged kidney

    - Fin rot

    The worst-case scenario is that you will beloved koi will die.

    What Is the Best Time to Feed Koi Fish?

    To offer a balanced diet without taking the risk of overfeeding, your timing should be extremely precise.

    Depending on the temperature of the day, find out the number of meals that you should provide them.

    Here, follow this chart –

    ​Temperature

    ​Number of Meals Per Day

    ​<50°F

    ​0

    ​51-65°F

    ​1-2

    ​66-72°F

    ​2-3

    ​72-77°F

    ​4

    ​77-90°F

    ​5

    While smaller tropical fish have a small feeding window of about thirty seconds to a minute, koi, being a carp, need more time to finish a meal.  

    The smaller koi should get a feeding session of three to five minutes while the larger ones will need more time to eat. Still, the feeding sessions shouldn't be longer than 10 minutes.

    Depending on the number of meals per day, you should pick out the feeding time. It shouldn’t be too hard, just spread the meals equally throughout the day.

    What Fruit Can Koi Eat? What Can I Feed My Koi Besides Fish Food?

    The thing is even koi don’t know how much they love having fruits!

    You will have to introduce fruits to their diet. Soon you will see them craving for fruits.

    Fruits are a great source of vitamins and minerals. It can bolster their immune system to a great extent. So, if you ask me, I would suggest you feeding them fruits often.

    What kind of fruits do they love?

    Certainly, watermelon will come on top of the list. I have seen a school of koi fish fighting over watermelon during summer.

    Then, some fishkeepers feed fresh oranges to the koi. They seem to love the punchy taste of the oranges too.

    Similarly, you can feed them grapes, banana, strawberries, and grapefruits too.  

    Just remember to remove the seeds and cut them into small pieces before feeding.

    Conclusion

    It’s time for giving away the best koi food awards! The number one spot goes to Tetra Pond Koi Vibrance.

    Dainichi Koi Premium claims the second spot. And, TetraPond Variety Blend sits in the third position.

    What do you think of the winners? Let me know in the comment section!

    IF you have other type of fish here are few food for them

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