Fish are a rewarding addition to any water garden. They add color, excitement, and if you are lucky a few fry. Feeding your fish is a great way to interact with them. Koi, goldfish, comets, and most other pond fish are omnivores meaning they will eat plant and protein food sources. Because they are cold-blooded, environmental triggers can change their metabolism meaning that some foods are easier to digest than others. To help you decide which food to use and when, check out our tips below.
Begin slowly, adding only one or two pellets to the pond until your fish show interest. The ripple action will help get your fish's attention. Ponds with large amounts of fish will have more aggressive eaters due to increased competition and lack of natural resources. Ponds with fewer fish tend to eat less aggressively as they can slowly munch on natural foods such as algae and bugs. New fish or fish going into or out of hibernation will eat less too. Only feed your fish what they can consume in 5 minutes; if they cannot eat it all, skim it out so it does not become muck.
The Pond Guy Fish Food and most CrystalClear brand foods are available in 3 mm pellets that are ideal for fish 4" or larger. If your fish are 8" or bigger, opt for the CrystalClear Platinum Large Pellet Fish Food as it is 5 mm in size. For fish smaller than 4" you can crush up pellets into smaller pieces.
When selecting a food, make sure to double check the temperature recommendations on the package. You will also want to use a thermometer so you know the water's temperature. Never feed your fish when the water is less than 40°F. At this point they will be in hibernation and they will not be able to digest it.
- Seasonal Shifts: For cooler water, wheat germ based diets, like Spring & Fall Fish Food, are the best bet. It's packed with easily digestible plant matter and lower protein level. Feed when water temperatures are between 40-50°F to transition them in and out of cold weather. When water temperatures are over 50°F, you can begin feeding your regular summer food.
- Promote Size and Color: Growth & Vibrance and other color-enhancing foods are high in nutrients to make reds more vibrant, blacks deeper, and oranges richer. These foods are also protein-packed to help your fish grow quickly.
- Summer Staple: Staple food is great for mature fish, giving them a diet that is full of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. Foods like Staple will help your fish maintain their size without adding bulk as they become more active during the summer months.
- Vacation: Make sure your fish get fed while you are away. TetraPond Vacation Food will continually release fish meal and shrimp algae from a gel-based block over a 7 day period.
Play with their Food
Did you know that you can train your fish? Fish naturally are wary of large shadows over the pond, since they perceive them as predators. You can teach them that you are a friend – and not a foe – by feeding them at the same time and place each day. This will get them accustomed to your visits and soon they will be greeting you the pond's edge, ready to grab a tasty morsel. Feel free to sneak in some treats too, like fresh watermelon or lettuce. It will round out their diet and help to build your relationship.