Last Updated on December 6, 2020 by Anne Thynne
If you want your koi fish to grow healthy and enjoy being your pet, then you need to start looking for the best koi food. The major aspect of keeping koi in your aquarium or pond is that you have to select the very best koi fish food, made from high quality and right ingredients.
The food you’re giving to your koi fish makes all the difference in their growth and scales color. Now, selecting such food for desirable features is not an easy task, especially when you’re a new koi keeper.
I think I can do something about it. I’m going to cover everything you need to know about koi fish, including how to pick the right koi food. I’ll also review 7 of the best foods you can give your koi fish to maximize growth and enhance color.
Let’s take a glance at the 7 foods I am talking about (Read the full article for the details) –
Table of Contents
- What Do Koi Fish Eat?
- The Impact of Food in Koi Fish Color
- What Can You Feed to Enhance KOI Color? – Maximize Growth and Color
- KOI Food Ingredients to Watch Out For
- 7 Best KOI Food Reviewed
What Do Koi Fish Eat?
Koi are bright, elegant, and majestic fish that descend from the carp. In the past, they were only red, white, black, and blue koi. Since then, koi fish have been bred to reflect combinations of all the colors in the rainbow.
Koi fish are inherently omnivorous. They aren’t picky. They will eat just about anything that won’t eat them. Koi fish have surprisingly a very strong digestive system, so they will eat just about anything manageable you give them.
In the wild, koi fish feed on algae, leaves, plant debris, and even animal feces. If you decide to pet koi fish in an indoor aquarium, obviously you can feed koi on a wide variety of plant- and animal-based foods. Everything you eat normally can be used as a diet for your koi fish as well. So, the koi fish diet could include vegetables, carbohydrate-rich foods, fruits, breadcrumbs, rice, etc.
Koi fish will eat small portions of protein as well. You may want to source proteins from an aquaculture, such as herring meal, shrimp meal, fishmeal, or anchovy. If you want to feed your pet koi multiple times a day, mixing up carbohydrate- and protein-rich meals is a good idea.
Additional Read –
The Impact of Food in Koi Fish Color
Since carotenoids are common in many commercial koi foods, koi food affects red koi the most. Sometimes, you will notice white spots on your koi fish turning pink. It could be because you’re giving your fish enough carotenoids. Variety of Vitamins adds to the yellow, red, and orange pigments of your koi fish as well.
Change in koi color takes time. So, don’t expect new food to produce immediate effects. Over the course of weeks and multiple feedings a day, may eventually lead to a change in color.
What Can You Feed to Enhance KOI Color? – Maximize Growth and Color
Just like an adult human being, koi need protein and a little amount of fats to grow well in adult life. On the other hand, various vitamins in koi food will affect the color of your koi’s scales. Choosing the right food for koi makes a huge difference in their growth, color, and health.
There are more than 23 koi fish varieties, most with unique nutritional requirements. Like any other pet, koi fish also need a balanced diet in order to grow and thrive. What many fishkeeping people don’t realize is that koi fish have unique nutritional requirements. You can’t just walk into your local pet store, grab some random can of fish food, and expect it to work for your koi fish.
No, it doesn’t work that way!
Although you’ll come across numerous types of commercial koi food on the market, many don’t contain the right combination of carbohydrates, nutrients, vitamins, and proteins. However, a balanced diet will help your koi fish grow healthy and perfect!
KOI Food Ingredients to Watch Out For
If you’re looking for the best food for your koi fish, the thing you’re likely to look at first is the ingredient label – but what should you be looking for?
The common ingredients that make up koi fish products are plant- and animal-based proteins, Vitamins, minerals, natural and artificial color enhancers, fat percentage, etc. The balanced koi food must have those common ingredients, including a few others. If you want to pick the right koi food, you want to look out for the ingredients below.
Protein & Fats
Similar to humans’ requirements, koi fish also need protein and fats for growth and strength. A lack of these ingredients will keep your koi fish malnourished and week. Regardless of age, koi fish will suffer from a lack of these.
Keep this in mind…
Proteins from aquaculture sources will be much healthier than other lower quality protein sources, such as plant-based proteins. Aquatic protein sources will help your koi fish reach their full potential.
These aquatic protein sources could come from shrimp meal or fishmeal. Additionally, you could buy products that list different aquatic sources for protein supplements. Check out the label on the product whether the first and second ingredient comes from aquatic sources.
Let me tell you more…
The ingredient sources should comprise of the largest proportion of the feeds protein content. There could be minerals, Vitamins coming from secondary sources complementing the primary sources. Animal-based proteins contain essential amino acids, necessary for optimal growth.
What you should remember…
…on the other hand, is plant-based proteins do not offer such essentials. Feeding your koi fish on aquatic protein sources isn’t enough. You have to take note of the percentage of protein content.
Hmm, really vital!
The percentage of protein also contributes to the price of a product and overall growth.
Expert aquarists recommend 30-40% protein content percentage in your koi fish for optimal growth.
Increasing the amount of protein content in koi fish diet doesn’t necessarily contribute to faster growth, rather koi fish will struggle to digest a large amount of protein content, thereby leading to waste. High protein content comes with a price. You don’t want to spend more money on protein content when much of it isn’t even consumed by your koi fish.
Plant Proteins are much cheaper to mix in feeds, compared with animal-based proteins. A feed could contain both plant-, and animal-based proteins. For example, a koi fish feed containing fish meal (1st ingredient) and wheat germ (2nd ingredient) isn’t a low quality combination.
It’s because the fish meal will deliver the bulk of protein to your koi fish. In addition, wheat germ will deliver secondary energy and protein. Containing both the ingredients, the koi feed will be an effective supplement for koi fish.
Vitamins, Minerals, & Immune Boosters
A good koi feed will contain vitamins and minerals in balanced proportions. A koi’s diet containing a wide range of vitamins will improve eyesight, overall growth, skin, digestion, and color.
The vitamin you need to look out for in a koi’s diet is Vitamin C. Vitamin C or Ascorbic Acid combats viral and bacterial infections, so it’s one of the effective ways to boost your koi fish’s immune system naturally. This vitamin further contributes to the development of collagen and cartilage.
In addition to Vitamin C, Vitamin A, B, and K also aid in the development of eyesight, metabolism, healthy scales, blood regulation, and tissue.
Natural & Synthetic Color Enhancers
Many koi owners raise koi because they find colors of koi so vibrant and impressive. Whatever the reason may be, the colors of koi fish are truly amazing to look at.
By the way, you can enhance the colors of your koi fish if you want. Color enhancers can be natural and synthetic, with synthetic enhancers being cheaper and more prominent. Conversely, natural enhancers can be expensive and less potent, compared with synthetic options.
7 Best KOI Food Reviewed
While it’s always difficult to pick the best feed for your koi fish, you can definitely find koi feeds and diets better than others. I’m going to discuss some of the best feeds today that offer balanced nutrition, so vital for your Koi’s health and lively color.
1. TetraPond Floating Koi Sticks
- KOI POND NUTRITION: An ideal maintenance diet for your koi, ornamental goldfish and other outdoor fish species.
- DAILY DIET: Provides nutrition for energy, longevity and overall health.
- SOFT STICKS: Floating sticks are easy for fish to eat and digest.
- CLEAR WATER: Feeding a high-quality, highly digestible food creates less waste for clearer water.
- USAGE: Feed daily when water temperatures are above 50 degrees.
Koi fish thrive when they get a balanced combination of proteins and proper vitamins. To keep koi healthy and lively all the time briskly, Floating Koi Sticks from TetraPond will be an excellent decision. The TetraPond Floating Koi Sticks has the perfectly balanced formula of proteins, Vitamin C, soybean oil, and fibers.
- Proteins for Optimal Growth: Containing a relatively high bulk of protein content (43%), the TetraPond Floating Koi Sticks is designed for medium-sized koi for their optimal health. The primary protein source of this feed is fish meal, with added shrimp meal as a secondary source of protein.
- Abundant Fat Source: In terms of fat, the TetraPond Floating Koi Sticks has fat content percentage of roughly 9.5. This percentage is nearly twice the amount of fat content seen in other koi feeds. Fat content is obtained from rather abundant soybean oil. With high concentrations of fat, you wouldn’t need to feed your koi often.
- Vibrant Colors: In addition to providing balanced nutrition, TetraPond enhances reds and yellows on your koi, thereby increasing their contrast with the water.
- Loved by Koi Fish: Koi fish absolutely love this feed! TetraPond’s unique format of this feed helps koi fish digest and metabolize easily. Since this feed is only suitable for water with temperature 50 degrees and above, so it wouldn’t be wise to use TetraPond throughout the year.
- koi fish love it
- High protein percentage
- Formulated for easy digestion
- Brings out reds and yellows in the scales
- Hollow center formats for fast water absorption
- Doesn’t contain Vitamins A, D, E, and K
- May require additional supplement for immune support
2. Kaytee Koi’s Choice Premium Fish Food
- Floating food
- Provides necessary animal and vegetable proteins
- Great for koi, goldfish and other pond fish
- Floating Food
Maintaining solid reputation in the pet industry, Kaytee produces koi feeds that effectively meet the needs of numerous koi varieties. Although the food mixture of this feed is very basic, it provides a base diet, adequate for medium-sized koi fish. The Kaytee Koi is an all-season fish food, excellent feed for optimal growth and development.
- Perfect Mix of Proteins: The Kaytee Koi contains the right mix of vegetable and animal proteins, thus providing koi fish with everything they need for adequate growth. The essential blend of proteins also encourages vibrant colors in the scales of your koi.
- Premium Quality: Kaytee is a reputable brand that gained prominence for its high quality feed. The Kaytee Koi reflects the brand’s reputation all across the board. It is particularly fish flake feed for everyday consumption. The flake floats on the surface of water, and your fish could spot the flake and consume immediately.
- Reduces Food Wastage: Since the flake keeps on floating until eaten, food is unlikely to sink and gather at the bottom. To that end, the balance of water in your aquarium or pond remains stable. Besides, the feed is extremely digestible, so there will be less waste polluting the water.
- Right mix of proteins
- Premium quality feed
- Comes in a flake for immediate consumption
- Breaks down quickly for quick consumption
- Offers balanced combination of vitamins and proteins
- Low-quality flavor
3. TetraPond Pond Sticks
- HEALTHY POND NUTRITION An ideal maintenance diet for your koi ornamental goldfish and other outdoor fish species
- DAILY DIET Provides nutrition for energy longevity and overall health
- SOFT STICKS Floating sticks are easy for fish to eat and digest
- CLEAR WATER Feeding a high-quality highly digestible food creates less waste for clearer water
- USAGE Feed daily when water temperatures are above 50 degrees
Another quality feed from the reliable brand, TetraPond – the Pond Sticks is highly prominent for providing balanced nutrition to your koi fish. Loved by koi fish of various sizes, the TetraPond Pond Sticks comprises of a unique formula for optimal growth and spectacular colors.
- Ideal Koi Feed: TetraPond built its reputation on producing quality fish feeds across the board. The growth of koi fish depends on a balanced diet, compromising of carbohydrates, proteins, and a little amount of fat. To that end, the Pond Sticks offers a balanced diet and high quality ingredient content. The sticks float, thereby allowing your koi fish to nibble on.
- Spring and Fall Diet: TetraPond Pond Sticks uses a pellet formula, convenient for the months between Spring and Fall. The reason is clear. A formula between the slowest and the fastest metabolic period means that you wouldn’t have to cut back on the feed as the seasons change.
- Quality Ingredients: One of the most important things you need to consider when selecting a koi feed is whether it contains essential ingredients. To ease your tension, the Pond Sticks comes with wheat germs. Health benefits of wheat germ include immune system boost, muscle development. Additionally, this ingredient is a must for Spring and Fall diets.
- Reasonably priced
- Sticks for larger koi fish
- Koi fish tends to digest it easily
- Balanced formula for optimal growth
- Pellet formulated to remain stable as seasons change
- Sticks sometimes end up in the Skimmer basket
4. Wardley Fish Food
- Highly digestible formula specially designed for the energy needs of koi and goldfish
- Includes 10 pounds of floating pond pellets with a scientifically balanced protein-to-fat ratio which supports healthy growth and helps maintain clean water
- Fortified with a stabilized form of vitamin C that promotes a healthy immune system in fish
Highly digestible, high protein, affordable, Wardley Fish Food is an excellent feed choice for goldfish or other fish you want to raise with koi. This feed offers an effective blend of proteins, vitamins, minerals, fibers, and fat.
- Nutritional: Wardley Fish Food may not be the most nutritionally balanced feed, but it comprises of fantastic nutritional values for the price. Its nutritional profile contains a variety of vitamins, proteins, mineral, and other high quality ingredients.
- Floating Pellet: No matter what product you choose for koi food, you should choose the one that floats easily. The Wardley Fish Food contains floating food pellets that don’t break down quickly either.
- Different nutrients offered
- Great for any pond fish
- No artificial colors
- High quality feed
- Food fragments dissolve into mush and clouds the water
5. Hikari Gold Fish Food
- This product is easy to use
- This product adds a great value
- This product is manufactured in Japan
- Hiker Gold 17. 60z Mini
- Hiker Gold is a daily diet, developed through years of koi breeding and showing, to meet the nutritional needs of koi
Hikari Gold is a premium-quality fish food, designed to accentuate color pigmentation on the scales. This fantastic feed from reputable Hikari prolifically aids in the digestion, immune system, and optimal health – you may consider the extra color a bonus here!
- Extraordinary Blend: Not many products have I tested that formulated a blend as perfectly as Hikari Gold did! Protein and nutrient are combined to meet all the nutritional needs of your pet koi fish effectively.
- Spirulina: Spirulina is a natural color enhancer. After testing Hikari Gold feed for a month, the sparkling feature of koi fish was notably visible. Combined with krill protein, the Hikari Gold shines reds on your koi fish.
- Health Benefits: Health benefits of the Hikari Gold are amazing! Included in the formula is Vitamin C, which helps boost the immune system, so koi fish in the pond feels and looks the best.
- Perfect blend of nutrients, proteins
- Pellets float for easy consumption
- Boosts immune system
- Keeps water clean
- Easily digestible
- When dry, the feeding can be dangerous
6. Laguna All Season Koi Floating Food
- Laguna All Seasons Koi & Goldfish Food
- Balanced Diet for Everyday Feeding During Summer Months
- Softens Fast for Easy Digestion Will Not Cloud Water
- Medium Pellet; Great for all Pond Fish
- Storage Conditions: Keep product in a dry place under 100 °F (38°C)
While this koi feed is relatively more expensive than other feeds discussed here, the Laguna All-Season is worth every penny for the quality ingredient it provides. This is an all-season feed, so you wouldn’t need to spend extra money buying feeds according to seasons.
- Suitable for All Seasons: The Laguna Koi Floating Food will cover the dietary needs of your koi fish for all seasons. With daily feedings for the summer, sparse feedings for the winter, Laguna is a fine combination for any goldfish that may want to join your koi.
- Floating Pellet: The size of your koi fish is related to the digestive tract and mouth size. So, food pellets are relevant to the size of fish. The Laguna All Season is designed for medium-size fish, and it floats and softens quickly for easy digestion.
- Koi Love It! The use of Laguna throughout the year noticeably changed koi in terms of behavior, activeness, and appearance. When your koi fish are vibrant, active, and happy, you’ll be happy too!
- All-season feed
- Stabilized Vitamin C
- High protein formula
- Excellent for goldfish as well
- Perfect blend of minerals, vitamins, and amino acids
7. Hikari-Saki Multi-Season Floating Pellets
Introducing a formula with a wide range of minerals, vitamins, and high quality amino acids, the Hikari-Saki is an incredibly well balanced fish feed. Containing natural color enhancer, Spirulina, this fantastic fish feed is effective for both small and large koi.
- Multi-Season Feed: The high protein koi food softens quickly in both colder and warmer waters, making it suitable for various seasons. The floating pallets retain their shape in water for both young and adult koi.
- Nutrition-Packed: Its nutritional profile will amaze you since it comes with a relatively affordable price. The Hikari-Saki is packed with vitamins (Vitamin A, D, E, and C), minerals, fibers, and essential amino acids. With secondary protein source coming from wheat germ, fish meal makes up the primary protein source. Its fat content, however, may not be adequate in some cases.
- Fine pallet size
- Covers all seasons
- Fantastic nutritional blend
- Contains essential vitamins
- High quality protein sources
- Minimum fat content (5%)
- High ash content percentage
Best koi food for max growth and stunning colors is more than simply dropping meager flakes into the pond. Are you sure your beloved koi fish are getting what they require? This article is here to help. To make sense of everything related to koi fish, we have painstakingly created a comprehensive – yes, that kind of comprehensive guide to koi feeding for adequate growth and impressive color.
As for the best quality koi food, we highly recommend all of the products reviewed above. But, TetraPond Floating Koi Sticks is our top pick. Needlessly to say, the product is balanced nutritionally and it floats, maintains water quality, and allows easy digestion. It gives your koi fish more than enough nutrition for healthy growth and strong immune system.
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