If you have a nice little pond out back of your home filled to the brim with beautiful koi carp fish, you know how much these guys can eat. Or if you don’t have the koi in the pond yet, but would like some, you need to beware that they are pretty big eaters and they need the right foods. Yes, there are tons of different fish food options out there, many of which are for koi, but not all of them have the same level of quality.
We want to help you find the best food for koi carp, specifically the best food for growth and color. In all reality, there are plenty of bad and good options out there. Luckily for you, we know which ones are the better ones and we are here to tell you all about them.
If you have questions about the diet of the koi carp or about specific foods, chances are that those questions will be answered right here.
Table of contents
- Koi Fish Diet
- 10 Best Food For Koi Carps – Reviews & Top Picks
- 1. TetraPond Koi Vibrance Premium Nutrition
- 2. Kaytee Koi’s Choice Premium Fish Food
- 3. Hartz Wardley Pond Floating Fish Food
- 4. Hikari Gold Pellets Pond Fish Food
- 5. Encore Summer Koi Goldfish Food
- 6. Laguna All Season Koi Floating Food
- 7. Mini Pellet Growth Formula Koi
- 8. Tetra Koi Vibrance Sticks
- 9. Dainichi Koi Premium
- 10. CrystalClear Staple Fish Food
- When Should I Feed My Koi Fish?
- What Can I Feed My Koi Besides Fish Food
- How Long Can Koi Fish Go Without Food
- Commonly Asked Questions About Koi Carp Fish
Koi Fish Diet
When it comes to koi fish in the wild, they are omnivores and will eat pretty much anything that they can fit in their mouths. As long as it doesn’t eat them, and they can manage to fit it into their gullets, chances are that they will eat it. In the wild, koi fish will eat things like insects, insect larvae, little fish, algae, dead animal matter, plants of all sorts, and any kinds of veggies and fruits that they can get their mouths on.
Strictly speaking, koi fish do need a fairly balanced diet to meet their nutritional needs. Yes, they need to consume a fair amount of protein, but they also need vitamins, minerals, and carbohydrates as well. In other words, they can’t eat just one type of food to be healthy and happy. They need a balanced diet that includes all of those proteins and other essential nutrients.
There are lots of different food choices to go with, but the best is a balance between various options. Of course, the selection of food in the wild where koi live is going to be a little different from what you can feed them at home, but nonetheless, you still have the ability to provide them with a balanced diet if you pick the right foods.
10 Best Food For Koi Carps – Reviews & Top Picks
Let’s take a quick look at what we think is the best Koi food option. When it comes to growth, color, a healthy appetite, and a strong immune system, the following food options are our top koi food picks.
1. TetraPond Koi Vibrance Premium Nutrition
This food is specially crafted just for koi carp, something that not too many fish have the luxury of getting. One of the things that make this TetraPond Koi Vibrance Premium Nutrition such a good choice is that each piece of food is made soft and hollow.
This helps koi digest it much easier, as they are sometimes known to have digestion issues. At the same time, this helps keep the metabolism of your koi at maximum efficiency, thus allowing them to absorbs as many nutrients as possible.
At the same time, this food is designed to stop the water from getting cloudy, a problem which many fish foods suffer from, a problem that makes water dirty and makes the whole pond really hard to clean. On a side note, this stuff will float, which is good because koi like to eat their food from the surface of the water.
Besides that, this food is designed to fully meet the nutritional demands of all koi and goldfish. It has all of the proteins, carbs, vitamins, and minerals that your koi needs for strong and fast growth, a healthy immune system, and much more.
This stuff is actually specially designed to provide your koi with everything needed to really bring out those vibrant reds and yellows. When it comes to good growth and coloration, this is in our opinion one of the best koi food for growth and color.
2. Kaytee Koi’s Choice Premium Fish Food
This is another fish food that is specially designed for koi carp. Just like our first choice, Kaytee Koi’s Choice Premium Fish Food is designed to be easily digested for maximum metabolic efficiency and nutrient absorption.
This also helps stop digestive issues from arising. Also, this stuff is designed to be non-cloudy, so it shouldn’t dirty up the water too much either. It is a food that can be fed to your koi during all seasons of the year.
Moreover, this food is designed to meet all of the nutritional requirements of your koi. It is loaded to the brim with both animal and plant proteins to ensure a well-balanced diet. It doesn’t have too many carbs, but you can easily supplement those.
Just so you know, this is floating fish food, which is exactly what koi like to have. Bringing out the vibrant colors of your koi is another thing which this particular food is well known for.
3. Hartz Wardley Pond Floating Fish Food
Now, most people would recommend to stay away from pellets for feeding koi, instead going with flakes, but this Hartz Wardley Pond Floating Fish Food is actually a high quality pellet option, so we don’t mind recommending it. They are floating pellets, so at least they won’t sink down to the bottom of the pond.
This stuff is made for all pond fish and is definitely suited to meet the nutritional requirements of your koi carp.
Hartz Wardley Pond Floating Fish Food contains a good mix of carbs, minerals, vitamins, and both animal and plant based proteins. It is indeed one of the better options out there.
Just like the other options we have looked at, this koi food is designed to be easily digestible, to provide your koi with maximum metabolic efficiency, and to really bring out those vibrant colors too. This stuff is a balanced and all around good food option for koi carp fish.
4. Hikari Gold Pellets Pond Fish Food
One of the things which Hikari Gold Pellets Pond Fish Food is well known for is providing your fish with the nutrients needed to bring out vibrant colors. In terms of bringing those bright reds and yellows to life, this stuff is probably one of the best options out there.
It is absolutely loaded to the brim with natural and healthy color enhancing substances. Hikari Gold Pellets Pond Fish Food has been developed through years and years of koi breeding to create the best possible diet for them.
Just like with the other options we have looked at so far, this food is made to stop water from being cloudy, which is always convenient. These are floating pellets, some of the few floating pellets for koi that we would actually recommend.
They do provide you koi carp with an excellent diet that contains everything they need for healthy growth, a strong immune system, and so much more. It may not be at the very top of the list, but it is a great option none the less.
5. Encore Summer Koi Goldfish Food
Just to be perfectly clear, this particular food is a summer feeding formula. This means that it is best used when the weather is warm and your koi needs a lot of food to eat.
It is specially designed to be easy to digest and easy to absorb a lot of nutrients when the temperature is fairly warm. Encore Summer Koi Goldfish Food is specially designed to provide you koi with all of the nutrients they need to survive and thrive.
Only healthiest and best of ingredients have been used in the making of this food. It has many benefits that come with it. For one, it is designed to help bring the vibrant colors of your koi to the forefront.
Next, Encore Summer Koi Goldfish Food is also designed to help reduce stress levels in your koi, plus to increase the efficiency of their immune system too. This particular vitamin fortified formula is excellent for meeting pretty much every dietary need that your koi carp has.
6. Laguna All Season Koi Floating Food
One of the big benefits that comes along with Laguna All Season Koi Floating Food is that it is designed to be fed to koi fish year round. This is convenient because it means not having to change foods when the seasons change.
This stuff is made for maximum metabolic efficiency in all seasons, or in other words, it is made to be very easy to digest and to absorb the nutrients from it. At the same time, this particular food is also made to stop the water from becoming cloudy.
We do like that very healthy, natural, and only the best of ingredients have been used in the formulation of this particular food. This stuff contains around 32% animal protein, with a good mix of other plant proteins, minerals, and vitamins too.
It does a good job at enhancing the natural colors of your koi. It also does a good job at helping to reduce stress, plus to enhance the function of your koi carp’s immune system too.
7. Mini Pellet Growth Formula Koi
One of the really impressive parts of this fish food is that it is of the same quality and style as used by professional koi carp breeders. One of the things that you need to be aware of here is that Mini Pellet Growth Formula Koi is specially designed for koi 5 inches in length or smaller.
While it has more than enough nutrition for smaller koi, the pellets are too small and nutritionally deficient for larger varieties of koi. That being said, for smaller ones, it is perfectly fine.
This stuff is designed to enhance and speed up the growth of your koi, which not only makes it good for smaller fish, but also as a good transitional food while your koi grows. This particular food does all of the things that any other good koi food does.
It is made to be easy to digest, to not cloud the water, to reduce stress levels, and to improve immune system function as well. As long as your koi are small, this is one of the better choices around right now in our opinion.
8. Tetra Koi Vibrance Sticks
These Tetra Koi Vibrance Sticks are the next good koi fish food option we would like to look at. Just like many of the other options we have checked out so far, this stuff contains all of the nutrition that your koi fish need to be happy and healthy.
It features a good mix of carbs, proteins, and vitamins which bring many benefits to the health of your fish. For one, this stuff is known for being great for the healthy function of the immune system.
We do like how these Tetra Sticks are fairly soft. This helps with proper digestions and ensures that as many nutrients as possible are absorbed. This particular fish food is also made to help bring out the natural colors of your koi.
Something else that is beneficial here is that these things will not make your water cloudy, a problem which many other fish foods tend to suffer from. These things are vitamin enriched and exactly what koi fish need to eat on the daily.
9. Dainichi Koi Premium
While pellets usually are not the very best thing to feed koi fish, these Dainichi Koi Premium are actually a really nice option to consider. They are floating pellets, so at least they won’t sink down to the bottom of the tank, which is not what koi fish need.
What is really cool about Dainichi Koi Premium is that it is actually made to absorb toxins within the fish as it is digested, therefore expelling them when your fish has digested the food.
Either way, this stuff is made to be easily digestible. We do have to say that based on the ingredient list, Dainichi Koi Premium is some of the most nutritionally rich and protein packed food for koi out there. It will definitely help your koi fish grow fast and it is great in terms of immune system functionality too.
At the same time, this food is also well known for enhancing the vibrant colors which your koi should be displaying. Indeed, this is one of our favorite koi foods on the market right now.
10. CrystalClear Staple Fish Food
As the name of this particular koi food implies, it is specially formulated to stop your pond water from becoming cloudy because of it. Besides that, it also comes with quite a few other benefits too. For one, the pellets are made to soften fast, an aspect that helps make them easy to digest.
They are known as being one of the best koi pellet foods to aid in proper digestion and nutrient absorption. These pellets do a great job at supporting a healthy immune system.
Another benefit that these pellets bring to the table is that they are natural color enhancers. Koi are supposed to have bright red and yellow coloration, something which this food can help bring to the forefront. CrystalClear Staple Fish Food is fairly well balanced in terms of nutritional ingredients.
It is made with healthy ingredients that fully meet the nutritional needs of koi fish. Keep in mind, this particular formula is best used in the summer months, but is not so good for the colder times of the year.
When Should I Feed My Koi Fish?
Now, we probably all know that overfeeding a fish of any kind is not good at all. Overfeeding a fish can and does result in numerous health issues that should be avoided at all costs. You can’t go feeding these fish as much as you want and expect them to be fine.
Now, what is interesting to note is that feeding koi fish, especially those in outdoor ponds, is a little different than feeding indoor aquarium fish, at least in terms of the amount and schedule.
First, you need to make sure that you don’t feed the koi carp more than they can eat in about 7.5 minutes. This does depend on the size of the specific fish in question. A smaller koi should be fed for about 6 minutes, while larger ones may be handle anything up to 10 minutes.
Moreover, when and how often you feed your koi will depend on the temperature of the water. The warmer the water is, the faster the koi’s metabolism is, the more you need to feed it.
Let’s take a quick look at this koi feeding chart that illustrates how often a koi needs to be fed based on the temperature of the water which they are living in. Just so there is no confusion, we have used Fahrenheit as the temperature reading.
|Water Temp||Feedings Per Day|
|50 to 55||Once per week|
|55 to 61||Once per day|
|61 to 65||Twice per day|
|65 to 73||Three times per day|
|73 to 77||Four times per day|
|77+||Five times per day|
What Can I Feed My Koi Besides Fish Food
One of the things that we want to get out of the way right away has to do with feeding koi fish Cheerios. People have been asking us whether it is Ok to feed these guys Cheerios.
Ok, so technically speaking, yes, a few cheerios here and there won’t hurt your koi. However, Cheerios are not as nutritionally complete as real fish food, so you can’t use them as a meal supplement.
They can only be used as occasional snacks and only a few at a time. This is like asking whether or not it is OK for humans to eat chocolate. The answer is no, not really, but a little bit now and again won’t kill you.
That being said, there are plenty of things besides fish food that you can feed to your koi. What are some of the best things to feed your koi besides fish food?
- Bread – with or without honey
- Shelled crab
- Feeder fish – such as small goldfish
- Worms of all sorts
- Sweet corn
- Other leafy greens
How Long Can Koi Fish Go Without Food
You might not always be home, you might forget an occasional feeding, or you might be out of town for a couple of days. Don’t worry though, because koi carp can go for a good few days without being fed. While they might be hungry after 3 or 4 days without you feeding them, they won’t starve.
However, by day 5, make sure to give them a good meal. Of course, they will probably be hungry by this time, but they won’t die.
They might even be able to survive for longer depending on the biological diversity in the pond in which they live. If there is tons of algae, some small fish, and other plant matter, plus insects in the pond, they can forage for food.
While they can’t necessarily survive for more than 4 or 5 days without food of any sort, they can look for it themselves in the pond. In other words, if you miss a feeding here and there, it is no big deal, but still, try not to do this very often.
- We have also reviewed 10 Pond Dyes!
Commonly Asked Questions About Koi Carp Fish
What are the best koi food brands?
If you are looking for high-quality koi fish food, stuff that will provide your koi with all of the nutrients they require to meet their dietary needs, to help enhance their color, and to keep them healthy, some trusted brand names you can purchase are:
- Kaytee Koi’s
How can I make my koi grow faster?
One of the best ways to ensure that your koi fish’s growth rate is as fast as can be is to maintain the ideal water temperature in the tank or pond.
Now, it is not like koi fish cannot handle cool water, but it is not best for fast growth. If you want to ensure a fast growth rate, you should keep the water in the koi pond between 77 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Moreover, ensuring that you provide your koi fish with the proper diet and more than enough food will also help increase growth rates.
How can I enhance my koi fish color?
You can naturally enhance the color of your koi fish by providing it with the proper nutrients. There are various specialized color-enhancing koi fish foods out there.
What you want to look for are two main ingredients that are well known for helping with this. These ingredients are Spirulina and carotene.
Yes, here we are talking about carotene, that stuff found in carrots which give them their orange color. This will give your koi fish their orange color too.
Now, if you want to make your koi look more colorful, also try to make it so that the colors in the pond, the water, and plants, contrast with the koi, to make the fish stand out.
How much should I feed koi?
Koi fish should be fed just once per day, and they should be fed as much as they can eat in about 5 minutes.
Keep in mind that the amount of food that a koi needs will depend on the time of year and temperature, but once per day and 5 minutes is the general rule of thumb here.
Why are my koi fish always hungry?
This is likely a result of feeding your koi fish too little. If feeding them once per day for 5 minutes is not enough, try increasing this to 6 minutes.
You can also try spreading out their feedings to twice a day, to 2.5 or 3 minutes apiece. The other reason why koi fish are always hungry is that they don’t have stomachs, so they cannot store food for digestion.
Whatever they eat passes right through them, more or less, so they always feel hungry. However, this does not mean that you should constantly feed your koi, as whatever you do give them will still provide them with the required nutrients.
Can koi die from overfeeding?
Yes, overfeeding your koi fish can be quite dangerous and in some cases may lead to death. So, what can happen if you overfeed your koi fish?
- Increased biological waste in the pond
- Decline in water quality
- Lowered oxygen content
- Damage to kidney and internal organs
- Increased chance for disease onset
- Fin rot
As you can see, there are many options to go with which in your mind might qualify as the best food for koi carp. We would of course recommend the number one choice that we picked, but any of the others are just fine too.
Remember to feed your koi carp a good and well-balanced diet and make sure to monitor water temperature so you know when and how often to feed them.
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Feature Image Credit: Vital Safo, Shutterstock