For pond and lake owners who stock their outdoor space with fish, it's important to know how to care for them and help them grow. But what do fish eat in a pond, and do you need to actively feed them? Algae, weeds, insects, leeches, and worms are great naturally occurring lake and pond fish food. However, fish also need supplemental nourishment, particularly if you're growing them for sport. Keep reading to learn more about what, when, and how much to feed your fish.
What to Feed Pond Fish
To maintain a natural balance in your pond, we recommend stocking a good ratio of prey to predator fish and adding minnows from time to time. If you need help, read our pond stocking guide for tips on how to properly stock your fish. It's also important to create a proper fish habitat in your pond to enable smaller prey fish and minnows to reproduce and naturally maintain the food supply.
If you're trying to help them grow quickly so you can use your pond for fishing, supplemental nutrition is key. Our Game Fish Grower pellets make great pond fish food for bluegill, bass, and more. Packed with high amounts of protein and vitamins, they encourage growth and provide balanced nutrition to increase resistance to common diseases.
Also remember to look for high-quality foods that contain better ingredients for your fish. Lower-quality foods will be harder to digest and pass through fish, adding unnecessary nutrients to the water, which can cause water clarity issues. Look for fish food with at least 40% protein for fast growth and vitamins to keep them strong. Use EcoBoost PRx in your pond every 2-4 weeks to improve water clarity and add over 80 trace minerals, good for fish and fast growth.
For small fish or growing fry, we recommend crushing pellets into tiny pieces to make them more manageable.
How Much to Feed Pond Fish
The size of your pond, number of fish, and whether or not you use a pond aerator are all factors that affect how much your fish need to be fed. Aeration in the pond will allow your fish to be more active, requiring you to feed them more. To start, we recommend feeding one-half to one pound of pellets per surface acre of water two to three times per day. This should equate to roughly the amount of food fish will eat in a ten minute period.
When to Feed Pond Fish
Water temperature will have an effect on how much your fish will eat. As the water temperatures start dropping in the fall, fish will eat less and will eventually stop feeding until spring when the water warms up. Only feed your game fish when the water temperature is above 50°F (10°C). When temperatures become colder, fish are almost in a state of hibernation and will live off their stored body fat until spring. Once water temperatures are above 50°F, start your feedings again.
What Else Can You Feed Fish in a Pond?
Along with the commercial food and natural food found in the pond itself, you can also offer your fish human treats like torn-up chunks of stale bread or chopped fruits and vegetables. They will add a much-welcomed variety to their diets and help you clean out your refrigerator!
Now that you're an expert on feeding pond fish, it's time to put your knowledge to the test. Pick up some Game Fish Grower or your pond fish food of choice and help provide your fish with the supplemental nutrition they need. If you have any questions, our customer service team will be happy to help.