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video transcript of Feeding your koi in cool weather

Howdy, Bruce with Pond Supply.  Hey, I want to talk to you today about feeding your koi in cool weather.  The second the sun comes out in the spring, we’re always ready to just run right out and start feeding our fish.  They seem to be so excited about eating and it’s just something everybody does.  The problem is we should be feeding not based on the external temps around us but by the water temps.  Especially when we get kind of a small spring where it warms up for a few days and then goes back to being colder, and goes back to winter again.

So we want to make sure that it’s around 50 degrees before we even start thinking about feeding our fish. And even then, we want to be feeding a cool weather fish food.  There really is no such thing as a cold weather fish food since when it’s cold; you shouldn’t be feeding your fish at all no matter what. Kind of the guideline is a hungry fish is a healthy fish.  Over feeding your fish is the number one way to destroy your pond and kill your fish.  You over feed them, you have a lot of extra fish waste, and things just start to spiral out of control until you’ve got an unhealthy pond and sick fish.

The other problem with fish and especially with koi, they don’t have a stomach.  So if you’re feeding them food that they can’t digest, it’s too cold for them to digest the food, it just sits in their intestines and the longer it sits you’re going to have a lot of health issues with your koi, you can just imagine. When it is warm enough to start feeding, we want to go with low protein fish foods, normally a wheat germ.  Those are easier to digest, you get a lot less fish waste which saves us a lot of problems on the back end, you know it’s much easier to fix a problem before it starts than after we’ve already created it.

So let’s prevent these problems from occurring.  Don’t over feed your fish. Feed just enough that they can eat it in a few minutes. In fact, you want to keep them hungry. Don’t even feed them enough, make them fight over it. And then anything that’s left, scoop it out.  Don’t leave that food in the pond.  Especially early in the season, if you have a smaller pond where you don’t have a lot of water volume, you want to feed during the warmer parts of the day so that the fish can eat and then digest the food before the colder temperatures at night bring that pond water temperature down. Now of course if you’re in a very large pond your water temperatures really aren’t going to vary that much.

So just keep in mind that 50 degrees, probably mid-April, and start with a wheat germ, low protein, the old Cheerio diet.  But don’t over feed your fish and don’t start feeding them too soon.

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