Finding the best koi food in the world for growth and color can be a little tricky. There’s a lot to think about.
It’s important to choose a formula that has the perfect balance of protein, minerals, vitamins, and fiber to keep koi healthy.
While providing the right natural ingredients to keep the reds and yellows vibrant and beautiful.
It’s also important to choose the best koi food in the world that’s designed for easy digestion and that will keep the pond water from getting cloudy.
Don’t worry, there are a lot of options available that meet all these qualifications.
Top 10 Best Koi Food for Growth and Color – (2020 Reviews &
If you’re looking for the best koi food in the world to buy, take a closer look at these 10 great products.
They’re some of the best on the market and provide balanced nutrition that supports both health and vibrant color. Plus, they also protect the integrity of the pond water.
1. TetraPond Koi Vibrance Premium Nutrition with Color Enhancers
A highly nutritional diet that brings out vibrant reds and yellows on Koi and ornamental goldfish* Feed in spring, summer and fall, when water temperatures are 50F and above
Koi Vibrance is great food from Tetra Pond that’s specially formulated to provide balanced nutrition to your koi while also enhancing bringing out their vibrant red and yellow colors naturally.
This food is formulated for easy digestion. The soft sticks have hollow centers that are the perfect size and shape for koi and blended with the right amounts of protein, vitamins, and fiber for maximum metabolic efficiency.
Because this food is so thoroughly digested, less waste is passed into the pond water which prevents pollution, algae growth, or cloudy water. It is one of the best Koi food in the world.
2. Kaytee Koi’s Choice Premium Fish Food
This floating food from Kaytee is a great choice for koi and other pond fish. It is one of the best Koi food in the world.
It contains an essential blend of animal and vegetable proteins and provides everything koi need for adequate growth and vibrant color as well as growth and longevity. Because this formula floats, it’s easy for fish to see.
That means there’s less uneaten food that can sink to the bottom and alter the balance of the water. It’s also highly digestible so less waste passes through the fish to cloud or pollute the water.
3. TetraPond Pond Sticks, Healthy Nutrition for Goldfish and Koi
These pond sticks from TetraPond provide balanced nutrition to various sizes of koi and other pond fish. They float so koi can easily spot them and they’re always within reach.
When they hit the water, they soften slightly so both small and large fish can eat them without difficulty. It is one of the best Koi food in the world.
That’s not all, they’re also easy to digest which means less waste gets excreted into the water which keeps it clean and clear.
With a perfect blend of vitamins, protein, fat, and fiber, this formula provides the right nutrition for energy, longevity, growth, metabolism, and overall good health.
4. Wardley Pond Fish Food
Next up in our reviews are these pellets made by HARTZ. They’re lightweight and float on the surface of the water to keep them easily visible for koi. This means less uneaten food left behind to sink to the bottom of the pond and contaminate the water.
This food is highly digestible which means less waste plus it contains no dyes or artificial colors. There’s a good blend of vitamins, minerals, fat, and fiber in this recipe and most of the protein comes from fish meal.
In fact, it has more fish meal in it than most leading brands. The protein to fat ratio is ideal for supporting growth. That’s not all, it also includes stable Vitamin C for immune system protection. It is one of the best Koi food in the world.
5. Hikari Gold Pellets Pond Fish Food
Hikari Gold has scientifically proven nutrition that gives koi exactly what they need to survive in captivity. The perfect blend of protein and nutrients meets all dietary needs and is even formulated to enhance color.
Stabilized Vitamin C helps support immune system health, too, so this food helps koi look and feel their best. It is one of the best Koi food in the world.
These pellets float which makes it easily accessible for the koi and lets you monitor their intake so you can make sure you’re not overfeeding. Plus, it keeps the water clean and clear so there’s less chance of algae growth or pollution.
6. Laguna All Season Goldfish & Koi Floating Food
Next up is this high protein formula from Laguna that’s great for all seasons. It’s a medium-sized floating pellet that softens quickly when it’s in the water for easy eating and digestion.
The balanced nutritional formula is perfect for koi and includes a minimum of 32% protein to provide the rich diet needed at certain times of the year. It is one of the best Koi food in the world.
It also contains the perfect blend of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids to support year-round dietary needs as well as stabilized Vitamin C for immune system support.
7. Dainichi All Season Koi Food
Koi require a different food blend than other fish, which is why you might want to consider this brand. Dainichi All-Season Koi Food offers supplemental nutrition for your fish regardless of the time of year. Fish can grow and develop healthily.
This food is enhanced with a special coating on the pellets. It includes more minerals and vitamins that your fish is likely to need. It is one of the best Koi food in the world.
As such, the food is formulated with proteins and vegetables. The vegetable matter helps to aid digestion and make it work faster throughout the body. Protein, on the other hand, promotes growth; both are necessary and work together.
While this product can be used anytime, it is specifically designed for cold months. Koi tend to eat a little less during the winter chill. This food helps keep them nourished, even if they aren’t dining as often.
You can find three sizes for the pellets, between 3.5 and 7.5mm. It’s also possible to get a variety of bag sizes, from 1.1 to 22 pounds. This allows you to buy in bulk and save money or buy a small amount to make sure your koi like it.
You can use this food alongside other Dainichi food brands. Mix and match, using this one during winter, or use it all year-round.
8. Blue Ridge Koi and Goldfish Food Pellets
For most people, the idea of food sinking to the bottom of the tank isn’t very exciting. You almost want to watch the fish eat because of their unique facial features. As such, the Blue Ridge Koi/Goldfish Fish Food is an excellent choice because it floats.
These pellets are designed using some of the same high-quality ingredients that breeders use. However, you don’t have to pay the higher price!
The floating pellets are designed to soften up fast so that the fish can eat them without challenge. Of course, they dissolve in water with time, which promotes quicker digestion to encourage growth. This food is natural, so if it disintegrates, it will not pollute the water.
Primarily, this food is designed for goldfish and koi that are smaller than five inches long. It’s intended to give a fully balanced nutritional diet to your fish to promote growth. It is one of the best Koi food in the world.
Many people want to feed their pets a healthy diet, and this product doesn’t disappoint. The special blend of minerals and vitamins helps to boost immunity and assists your fish to resist stress.
You’ll find one size of pellets available. However, you can purchase up to 50 pounds of the food at once time.
9. Hikari Wheat-Germ Pellets Pond Fish Food
Hikari Wheat-Germ Fish Food Pellets is a very nutritious blend that is easy to digest. It’s suitable as a daily meal for a variety of pond fish, including goldfish and koi. This product was developed through decades of breeding experience.
As such, this product works well in any weather, but it is primarily designed for cooler climates. Your fish can still grow and develop correctly, even when it’s freezing outside.
The goal for this food is to help your koi get a jump start. They can feed and stay healthy through winter so that they are prepared for the show-off months. Of course, you don’t have to show them off to utilize the health benefits of this food.
It’s important to note that these pellets float in the water. Though it does seem strange at first, it is quite helpful. You’ll get to watch your pets feed but can also make sure everything is eaten.
Primarily, this product uses wheat germ as the first ingredient, which can help bulk up the fish. It also has a lot of stabilized vitamin C to help with immunity issues. Your fish might not get ill as often with this food.
These pellets can also help your fish’s skin. Feeding them can help improve their luster and brilliance. It is one of the best Koi food in the world.
10. Hikari Fish Food
API Pond Fish Food is designed to promote a cleaner and healthier living arrangement for your fish. The pellets have a variety of antioxidants, vitamins, and yeast. This helps with immune system support.
As such, the product also contains a unique and nutritionally-enhanced protein. It will help to ensure nutrient absorption, so your fish produce less waste. Your water is going to be clearer and cleaner without a lot of extra maintenance.
This product comes in a variety of sizes, including ounces and pounds. The 2.68-lb bag is ideal because it means you don’t have to buy it as often. It can also save you money.
The dietary supplement comes in pellet form. You’ll find it much easier to dish out the product as often as needed. It is one of the best Koi food in the world.
Manufacturer guidelines state to feed your fish this product up to three times a day. However, you should only add as many pellets as the fish can eat in about 10 minutes. It can take some trial and error to determine how much food that will be.
You’ll find that regular use of this food helps to enhance your fish’s growth. Feeding them routinely will help them thrive. As such, their color is likely to improve.
What is the Best Koi Good In The World for Growth & Color?
Our pick for the best koi food that supports both growth and color is TetraPond Floating Koi Sticks.
It’s formulated with exactly what koi need for healthy growth and a strong immune system and has natural color enhancers that bring out their vibrant reds and yellows.
The sticks are hollow in the middle for easy digestion and are designed for maximum metabolic efficiency. That means less waste passed from the koi to the water to prevent pollution, algae growth, or cloudiness.
When to Feed Koi Fish?
Feeding koi isn’t quite as simple as feeding aquarium fish. They’re more than just a fish, they’re an important part of the delicate balance of the pond ecosystem. Feeding koi correctly is essential not only to keep them healthy but to keep the pond healthy as a whole.
Not only do you have to make sure you use the right food, but you also have to make sure you feed them the right way. A big part of those concerns when you actually feed them.
With koi, it’s a little more complicated than “just feed them twice a day”. There are a lot of things to consider to determine the right time to feed koi.
Before we get into details, it’s important to understand a little about the biology of koi. Something you might not realize if you’re new to koi is that they don’t have stomachs.
That means that their digestion is very much influenced by outside factors. Another thing to remember about them is they’re cold-blooded which means they also can’t control their own body temperature.
These two characteristics mean that koi are very dependent on having the right environment to thrive.
While they manage on their own in the wild, a backyard pond isn’t really a natural environment which means that you as the pet owner has to be meticulous about controlling the environment and responding to give your koi the best possible chance to thrive.
One of the most important things to monitor is temperature. Because koi are cold-blooded, the water temperature affects their metabolism. Cold temperatures slow it down, hot temperatures speed it up.
Basically, that means that they’re very hungry in the summer because they’re burning so much energy. Conversely, in the winter, they won’t eat much at all because they’re hardly burning anything.
In order to determine when to feed koi, there are a few things to consider. Size is important. Smaller fish need less food than larger fish.
You also have to keep the climate in mind. Koi who live in a climate that’s mild in the winter will continue to get regular feedings in the cooler months while those in the extreme cold will have a drastically different feeding schedule from season to season.
After a long winter, you might be eager to feed your koi at the first sign of spring but it’s best to wait until the water has reached a temperature of 48 degrees F.
As the temperature rises, the koi’s metabolism speeds up and they’ll require more food. As the year goes on and fall approaches, the temperature will drop again and you can cut back on feeding. Keep reading, we’ll get into more specifics.
How Much to Feed Koi Fish?
As we already mentioned, how much koi need to eat will depend on the water temperature because it directly affects their metabolism.
A safe estimate is to give koi only what they will consume in 3 to 5 minutes with each feeding. That varies a lot from season to season in 2 ways.
First, they won’t need feeding as often in the colder months. Second, they might not eat as much in the 3 to 5-minute time span in the cooler days of fall as they do in the peak of summer.
This is one reason why using a food that floats on the surface is important. Not only does it help koi find food and keep waste from settling on the bottom, but it also helps you monitor how much the fish are eating.
If you notice that they’re pace seems to be slowing down and there’s a lot of pellets left at the end of the 3 to 5 minute period, try giving them a little less the next time.
Another thing to keep in mind is that it’s better to overfeed than underfeed. Koi can handle being slightly underfed but overfeeding them is more dangerous because it could actually kill them.
How often Should You Feed Koi Fish?
While temperature is always important when it comes to feeding koi, the thing it affects the most is how often you should actually feed koi. It’s very important that you always have an accurate temperature so you know what is best for the fish.
We’re going to give you some basic guidelines as to how often you should feed koi based on water temperature but remember that there are other factors to consider. Smaller fish may eat less, larger fish may eat more.
In the summer and/or when water temperatures are above 60 but lower than 85, koi can eat up to 4 times a day because their metabolism is up.
Once the water gets about 85 or 90, koi have a hard time metabolizing. When it’s that hot, wait until late at night or early in the morning and check the water temperature and feed when it’s at an appropriate level.
When temperatures are anywhere from 50 to 60 degrees F, feed once or twice a day. Stop feeding when the temperature goes below 50.
Digestion can take 3 or 4 days at the temperature and overfeeding can occur with only a little bit of food every day. If they appear hungry, you can try a little food once or twice a week.
Another thing to think about is that different food are appropriate at different temperatures because koi are digesting at different speeds and using the nutrients differently.
If the temperature is below 60 degrees F, stick to low protein foods, vegetables, squash, and fruit or any food that’s approved for 3 or 4 seasons.
As the water warms, slowly increase the amount of protein they’re getting. When the temperature reaches 80 or 85 degrees, feedings should be composed of about 40% protein to help them keep their energy up and to feed their fast metabolism.
Why is my Koi not Eating? (and How to Fix It)
There are a lot of reasons why koi stop eating. Some are serious, some are not. First of all, it’s not as concerning if a koi isn’t eating at the end of the fall or beginning of spring before the temperature has warmed up.
Remember, if you live in a climate with extremely cold winters, koi will be working themselves into hibernation and will stop eating. This can be concerning but it’s perfectly normal. That said, koi that seem to have no appetite in the middle of the hot summer is a little more concerning.
Remember, koi don’t control their metabolism so it’s likely that whatever is causing the lack of appetite is something you can fix. Here are some common reasons why koi might stop eating and what you can do to fix it.
1. Water quality. If none of your koi are interested in food, there’s a good chance there’s something going on in the environment that’s causing the problem.
The easiest fix is to check the temperature of the water. Remember, koi rely on water temperature for metabolizing food. Even if the outside temperature is hot, the water temperature might not be. Or, it might just be the first time the temperature dropped low enough between summer and fall to have an effect on the fish.
It’s also possible that there’s a bigger problem involving water quality. Testing the water can help figure out exactly what is off so you can take the appropriate actions to fix it.
Koi are very sensitive to sudden spikes and drops of various things. Make sure to check ammonia, nitrites, and pH as these are most likely to be off and lead to problems with appetite.
2. Stress. In addition to being caused by a drop in water quality, other things can cause stress, too. A sudden change in the environment can have the same effect.
This can happen from predators like ducks or other waterfowl invading their space or even something as simple as rearranging the plants and decorations in and around the tank.
Hopefully, minor stressors will sort themselves out in a day or two and everything will return to normal.
Keep in mind that if your fish aren’t eating and you continue to offer them food, waste products will soon build up as the uneaten food sinks to the bottom of the tank and begins to decompose.
Be mindful of how much food isn’t getting eaten and check ammonia, nitrate, and pH levels as needed.
3. Illness. If you notice one of your koi has started to separate from the group and seems to have lost its appetite, it’s a safe bet that koi is sick. It could be from bacteria, parasites, or some kind of injury but isolating themselves from the group is a natural behavior.
During this time, sick koi will attempt to heal and grow stronger. After a few days or weeks, they should return to the rest of the school and begin eating again. If not, they may need additional attention and care, possibly even medication.
If you notice any sluggishness, loss of color, or visible sores or injuries, it might be a good idea to treat the water with wide-ranging parasite treatment.
4. Food. This doesn’t really have anything to do with the quality of the food you’re using, more than the koi might just be getting bored with it. Maybe it doesn’t have the right amount of high-quality ingredients or maybe they just want something else.
You can try changing the food you’re using completely or try adding a few fresh fruits and vegetables to mix it up a little bit.
What Do Koi Fish Eat?
Koi fish are omnivores with a pretty strong digestive system. So, they’ll eat just about any natural foods that you give them as long as they’re small enough to swallow.
In the wild, Koi fish eat algae, insects that land on the water’s surface, leaves and other plant debris, and even animal feces.
In captivity, you can feed Koi a huge variety of foods. They will eat fruits and vegetables, as well as carbohydrate-rich foods like cereal, bits of bread, and rice. They will even eat some types of small protein, such as shrimp or cut-up pieces of chicken.
Ultimately, just like people, Koi need a balanced diet of carbohydrates and proteins with a little fat.
If you’re feeding your Koi multiple times per day, you can mix up which meals are rich in carbohydrates and which are rich in protein. Or, if you get a standardized Koi food, it will have enough of both for your fish.
How Does Food Affect Koi Fish Color?
Food contains many vitamins that affect the pigments in a Koi’s scales – which in turn affects the color of your fish.
In general, red is the color most easily affected by food in Koi because many commercial Koi foods contain varying amounts of carotenoids.
These vitamins add to the orange, yellow, and red colors of your Koi fish, and giving your fish enough carotenoids can even begin to turn white spots to pink.
However, don’t expect new food to change the color of your fish immediately. Managing the color of your koi through food requires multiple feeding over days and weeks.
How To Choose Koi Food To Maximize Health, Growth, And Color?
Choosing the right food for your Koi is an essential part of maximizing their health, growth, and color.
Although there are numerous types of commercial Koi food on the market, many of the cheap foods don’t contain the right mix of carbohydrates, proteins, nutrients, and vitamins to allow your Koi to grow to their best.
There are two common additives in Koi food to keep an eye out for.
Spirulina is a type of algae that can improve the red color of your Koi because it contains a high level of carotenoid vitamins.
Spirulina is rich in protein and is also good for your Koi’s immune system, which is why many Koi owners prefer food with this additive in it.
However, feeding your Koi too much Spirulina can actually cause the color of your fish to become too red and white spots to turn pink.
Wheat germ oil is another common additive, which is rich in fats and oils that give your Koi a shining appearance.
Because wheat germ oil is high in fat, it is often used for growing Koi so that they have plenty of energy to reach their maximum sizes.
Pro Tip: wheat germ oil can be somewhat expensive, since it is also a popular human supplement, so many Koi foods use carbohydrate-rich wheat germ with the oil pressed out instead.
There are a number of other types of food that can be healthy for Koi while promoting their coloration. Krill, for example, also include carotenoids that enhance the color of your fish while serving as a nutritious protein source.
You can also add specific vitamins to your fish’s food, such as certain types of carotenoids or other pigments, to improve their color.
Factors That Affect Koi Feeding
There are a number of factors that affect how and what you should feed your Koi. That’s because these fish are constantly growing and their digestive requirements change with the water and weather conditions.
The size of your Koi affects the size of their mouth and digestive tract. So, smaller fish will need smaller food pellets and larger fish will need larger food pellets.
As a rule of thumb, fish that are three inches or smaller will do best with tiny sinking pellets that are 3/32” in diameter or smaller. Larger fish, such as fish longer than four inches, will have better eating habits with floating pellets that are 3/16” in diameter.
If your Koi are eight to 10 inches or longer, you should opt for fish pellets that are ¼” in diameter or up to 5/16” in diameter.
The levels of carbohydrates versus proteins that your Koi need in their food varies with the temperature of your Koi pond. That’s because Koi tend to be more active in cold water than in warm water due to the change in oxygen content.
In the winter, when the water is cold, Koi will be very active and hungry. In this case, you should feed them food with high levels of carbohydrates and low protein content, such as wheat germ.
Wheat germ in particular is easy for Koi to digest while they are actively swimming around and won’t pollute the water as much as a protein-rich food.
In the summer, when the water is warm, Koi will slow down and will need higher levels of protein to maintain their body and to grow optimally.
In this season, you’ll likely want to switch to a food with higher levels of Spirulina or krill as a protein source, and to stay away from food rich in wheat germ.
In the fall and spring, when temperatures are intermediate or changing, you will want to give your Koi a mix of carbohydrate- and protein-rich foods.
You can either use a food that offers a balanced diet, or feed your Koi two different types of food in the morning and afternoon.
While the seasons are a good guide as to how to balance carbohydrates and protein in your Koi’s food, you can also measure the temperature of your water to determine how to feed your fish.
Carbohydrate-rich diets are appropriate when the water temperature is colder than about 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
Protein-rich diets are better for your Koi when the water is warmer than about 70 degrees Fahrenheit. At intermediate temperatures, you can provide a mix of carbohydrates and proteins.
Weather Influencing Oxygen Content
Oxygen content is a major influence on how your Koi will digest food and what type of food is appropriate to feed them. In turn, weather can play a big role on the oxygen content of your pond’s water.
When it is raining out, the oxygen content of the ambient air actually drops slightly. Unless your pond is very deep, that will also decrease the oxygen content of the water.
In that case, your Koi will be less active than they usually are. You’ll likely want to feed them slightly less than normal, and to switch temporarily to a more protein-rich diet.
Sunny weather can also reduce the oxygen content of the water by heating up your pond. As discussed above, warmer water has less oxygen, so your Koi will be better off with a protein-rich diet.
Water Quality And Pumps Affecting Oxygen Content
Keeping high water quality is also extremely important in maintaining the oxygen content of your pond. Algae can produce oxygen when they’re growing at the surface, but once they die they sink to the bottom.
Microbes feeding on those dead algae can then suck huge amounts of the oxygen out of the water, leaving your Koi in a low-oxygen situation.
On the other hand, if you use pumps, you may artificially increase or decrease the oxygen content of your pond’s water.
Turning on the pumps will prevent algae from growing by circulating the water, while also aerating the pond’s water and adding oxygen. In this case, your Koi will likely be more active and a carbohydrate-rich food will be more appropriate.
Making sure koi eat properly is complicated. It’s definitely not as simple as dropping some flakes into the pond and assuming that they’re getting what they need. In fact, there are two major things to consider: the right food and the right method.
As for the best koi food in the world, we highly recommend all of the products we reviewed but our top pick is TetraPond Floating Koi Sticks.
It’s nutritionally balanced to support healthy growth, a strong immune system, and beautiful colors. We also like that it’s easy to digest and helps maintain water quality.
Once you have decided on the right kind of food, it’s important to understand the koi’s biology.
Because they don’t have stomachs and are cold-blooded and unable to regulate their own metabolism, water temperature is the most important determinant of when and how much to feed.
Remember, colder temperatures require less protein because their metabolism isn’t working as fast. Feed sparingly once the water temperature gets below 50 degrees, only once or twice a week if needed.
As the water gets colder, don’t be shocked when your koi stop eating altogether. In cold climates, they’re preparing for hibernation and don’t need the energy.
If it’s the middle of summer and they seem to have lost their appetite, there may be something else going on. Check for signs of illness and test the water to make sure everything is measuring as it should be.
Koi depend on you to provide them the nutrients they need when they need it. Because a backyard pond isn’t a natural habitat, they’re completely dependent on you to give them what they need to thrive. Making sure you have the right food is an excellent start.
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