Koi Information

Hand Feeding

Hand Feeding Koi

In addition to the peace and tranquility of Pond Keeping, spending time with your Koi can be equally rewarding. Koi are very sociable and love a crowd of friends. They are less apt to be shy when they are in a large group.

Your Koi will eat from your hand, provided you have the patience to earn their trust and friendship. Here are a few helpful hints:

  • Feed them in the same place every time.
  • Drop a small handful of pellets and stay there to observe.
  • The bravest or hungriest will start to eat and the rest will follow.
  • They must see you when they eat.
  • Don’t walk away from the pond before they start to eat.
  • Withhold food for a day if they won’t eat in front of you.

Gradually, the Koi will equate you with food. This usually takes about 3 to 5 days. Tease them closer with small sprinklings of food. Put your hands in the water while they eat. The Koi will learn that food comes from your hand. Start with just a few pellets.

The bravest Koi will soon be nudging your hand. It is only a matter of time and all of your fish will swim, jump and splash toward you every time you walk by the pond.

Koi Feeding Guide

A Koi’s metabolism functions best at temperatures above 70° F. High protein foods are difficult to digest when the waterfalls below 65° F.

However, Koi still need sufficient carbohydrates for energy when water temperatures are low. This is particularly true for Koi less than 1 year old.

Squash, bread, peas, citrus fruits, and watermelon are good sources of carbohydrates. Never overfeed your fish! Koi do not have a stomach. Feed smaller quantities more frequently for better nutritional absorption.

Feed only as much as the fish will eat in about 3-5 minutes. Koi pellets should be fresh and used within three months to prevent the oxidation of the food.

Hand Feeding Koi
Hand Feeding Koi
Feeding Frequency Food Type
Less than 50º F Do not feed Koi. Temperatures at 50° F. of more than one month may require supplemental feedings of low protein and high carbohydrates.
50º – 55º F 2-3 times a week if Koi are hungry. High carbohydrate, low protein, laxative type foods. Wheat germ, Cheerios®, squash, lettuce and brown bread.
55º – 59º F 4-5 times per week if Koi are hungry. Add low protein (25%) pellets along with vegetables. Increase quantities gradually as temperature increases.
59º F Once per day six days per week. Low protein (25%) pellets along with high carbohydrate vegetables and fruit.
60º – 65º F Once per day every day. Gradually increase protein in pellets (35%) and quantity of pellets. Vary diet with vegetables and fruit.
65º – 72º F Once or twice per day. Bulk of diet should be 35% protein pellets. Add fruits, vegetables, and plankton for variety.
72º – 80º F 3 to 4 times per day. High protein pellets (35% to 40%) with color enhancers. Add plankton, vegetables, fruits, and shrimp.