Last Updated on November 11, 2020 by Anne Thynne
Feeding pond fish is fun, and your fishes also love to have food. But, in cold winter seasons, fish don’t take food no matter what you offer. As a result, if you provide food at that time, most of the foods will remain uneaten. These leftover foods will rot and make the pond water dirty.
You might be thinking about when to start feeding pond fish after winter? The ideal time to begin feeding pond fish after winter depends on how warm the water is. Therefore, when it rises above 50ºF, you should give them food once a day. And, as soon as the water temperature reaches 70º F, begin feeding them at full swing.
Want to know more about post-winter fish feeding? If yes, then keep reading…
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Ways To Determining the right feeding time of pond fish
After the fasting of winter, you need to identify whether your pond fishes are ready to have some food. It is important because it helps the fish cover up the health deficiencies they face due to the lack of food. Therefore, when spring arrives, you should inspect the pond closely to check if this is the ideal time or not.
Measuring the water temperature
The water temperature plays the most essential role as fishes’ metabolism and the immune system are greatly affected by the water condition. In winter, when the temperature falls below 30ºF, all the fishes of your pond stop their frequent or natural movement and stay in a certain position until the spring returns. You can call it the hibernation state of a fish.
In the hibernation state, they don’t just stop running and having fun; they also stop taking any kind of food. And you should also act according to their activity. I mean, you must prevent yourself from providing food at that time.
If you continue giving them food at that period, it can negatively impact their health and living environment. Most of the food will end up rotting in the pond, making the fish sick. Moreover, at a lower temperature, fishes’ digestive system can’t metabolize protein. As a result, these high-protein foods can stick in fishes’ gut and cause many troubles for the fishes.
But, when the wintertime is over, you can’t immediately start giving them food. You need to consider the water temperature. Use a thermometer to read the water temperature’s current state. If the water temperature does not rise near or above 50ºF, then you have to wait some days more.
After a week, recheck the temperature. Now, most probably, you will find that the water temperature is clicking 50º F. In that stage, do not give them ample food. Instead, you can offer them a decent amount of fish food once daily. And keep checking the temperature every day.
When the water temperature begins striking 65-70ºF, you should provide food 2-3 times a day. Your fishes will enjoy having food at that time, and their body will also metabolize the food spontaneously.
Another important thing I would like to tell you that some fish can start to take food at 55º F and some will take at 70º F. For instance- Koi fish like to have food when the temperature starts fluctuated between 50-60ºF. Also, you can feel the fishes’ hunger by observing their activity. And the next section is about checking the fishes’ movement.
Noticing the fishes activity
Just like our kids start crying when they are hungry, your pond fish will swim around the topper part and edge of the pond, searching for food. No matter what the temperature is, if you see this kind of behavior from your fish, start feeding them. Because they are ready to eat, and maybe that’s the reason why they have ended their hibernation state.
It also indicates that their body is ready to metabolize food protein. But, it doesn’t mean that you start giving them plenty of food. It can result in wastage of food and thus causing the environmental pollution of water. So, what to do?
Simple! Provide a small amount of food first and carefully watch the waste foodstuffs’ quantity. Gradually increase the quantity if there is less or no wastage of food. But, if pallet or waste food materials keep floating on the pond’s water surface, then decrease the amount of food.
Don’t underestimate the slow movement of big fishes. You can be easily deceived by their sluggish movement and give them less or no food thinking that they are not ready to eat. But this doesn’t seem right. They move lazily because of their heavyweight, size, and age. But, they are hungry, and you need to feed them properly to quench their need.
Checking the weather forecast
Weather can betray you and the instability of the temperature can easily mislead you. I mean, as the air atmosphere rapidly rises and falls in the spring, it turns the water colder or warmer in no time. And, your pond fish may instantaneously respond to the weather condition. As a result, suddenly, plenty of fish food can remain uneaten.
So, it is wise to check the weather forecast for the next 3-4 days before deciding the amount of feed you want to provide. Yes, I know these forecasts or weather predictions won’t give exact or accurate forecasts all the time, but you can have an idea about what’s probably the weather will be like. And it will be enough for you to determine the food quantity.
Will winter or early spring feeding make my fish sick?
No, your fish won’t get sick by eating the food you provide in the early spring or last part of the winter. But, it is true that they will consume less food at that time and water could get dirty if you provide an excessive amount of fish food. Without proper cleaning and maintenance, the dirty water will become worse and affect your fish health.
So, you should not offer a bulk amount of food at the start of spring. However, if you do so, then clean the pond without any delay. You can use a long handle pond cleaning net to clean the floating food elements.
What is the best type of fish food to start after winter?
You can start after-winter feeding of your fish by giving easily digestible and low protein food. So, you should begin with wheat germ and gradually move towards high protein food when water temperature becomes higher than 65º F.
It is essential for your pond’s fishes to have the right food at the right time to stay healthy. And, you need to maintain their proper diet routine considering all the factors that affect their behavior.
Since fish stop taking food throughout the winter season, you need to know exactly when to start feeding the pond fish after the winter. Use the techniques described in this article to determine the right early spring fish feeding time to keep your fish healthy.