You love your precious pond fish, so you’ve probably considered what their diet should be carefully. After all, how do you decide on the best koi food for your scaled friends? There are many things to consider all the way from nutrition and digestibility when choosing the best food for koi fish.
While it isn’t easy to pick the best thing for them, there are certainly better foods and diets than others, and we’re going to discuss a few of the better ones here today.
Table of Contents
- 1 Best Koi Food
- 1.1 Hikari USA Gold
- 1.2 Kaytee Koi’s Choice Premium Fish Food
- 1.3 TetraPond Koi Vibrance Premium Nutrition with Color Enhancers
- 1.4 Hartz Wardley Pond Floating Food Pellets
- 1.5 Laguna All-Season Goldfish and Koi Floating Food
- 1.6 TetraPond Spring & Fall Diet Floating Pond Sticks
- 1.7 Blackwater Color Enhancing Premium Koi & Fish Food
- 1.8 IKU KOI KICHI Color Enhancer Koi Fish Food
- 1.9 Dainichi Fish Food ALL-SEASON Koi Food
- 1.10 TetraPond Pond Sticks, Healthy Nutrition for Goldfish and Koi
- 2 Things to Consider When Buying Food for Koi Fish
Best Koi Food
Unlike Kaytee products, Hikari products only focus on one area: fish. Even better, they specialize in pond fish and koi. Because they’re so specialized, they do tend to cost the fish owner more money upfront, and this Gold blend is no exception.
However, Hikari has developed their foods after years of testing with their own show fish. This blend is excellent for a daily diet, and contains color enhancing additives that make your fish sparkle. Through careful cultivation of the product, Hikari has made this an all-season food (with adjustments to amounts given in the winter).
The instructions are easy to understand and will keep the white parts of your koi fish white instead of turning them yellow like some brands do. This is a pellet food that floats and then sinks for later consumption.
Overall while expensive, it is well worth the healthy coloring the fish get from eating it. In addition, the majority of fish who are treated with this Hikari food love it from the very first nibble.
Kaytee is a long-standing brand in the pet industry. They meet a great number of needs of an even greater number of species. While they aren’t the biggest name in cats and dogs, it’s likely you’ll see Kaytee-branded bird, fish, rodent, and exotic pet items just by walking into the pet store.
Kaytee makes good quality products across the board, and while this premium fish food isn’t the best there is on the market, it’s definitely an adequate base diet for your koi friends. It’s an all-season food that’s easily digestible and breaks down quickly for quick consumption (koi don’t have stomachs, so this is super important).
This particular food comes in a flake that floats on the surface for immediate consumption, and while it’s targeted at koi, it’s balanced well enough for other pond fish too that might be friends with your koi, such as goldfish.
One thing to note with this fish food is that it should not be fed to pond fish if the temperature is below 50 degrees outside. Other than that, Kaytee is a solid choice across the board, especially for the price.
TetraPond is another big pet store brands that you’ll spot a lot in the fish section. While a lot of their products are for “indoor” fish, their koi vibrance line is perfect for a hungry koi. This TetraPond blend brings out reds and yellows on koi to increase their contrast with the water.
It is well loved among koi fish. TetraPond formats all of their koi foods in the same way: they are made with a hollow center so that they begin to absorb water faster than competitors. The hallow center also aids in digestion and metabolic efficiency.
However, this is not an all-season fish food; it is only meant for when the water is 50 degrees and above. This stick food is great for all size koi and goldfish, making it ideal for ponds that have new fish or are just getting established.
If you prefer – or your fish do – there is also a flake version of the koi vibrance that hovers around the same reasonable price point.
This particular mix comes in a 16 pound box, and purchasers warn that this is meant for a lot of koi. For ponds of under 10 fish, this koi food can last upwards of 2 years. However, no matter how many fish you have, it’s likely they’ll all love this from the beginning.
Hartz has long been known for their reasonably priced solutions for all pets in the animal kingdom, so it makes sense that they would venture into the fish world eventually with a low-priced, incredibly obtainable product. These floating food pellets are very no-nonsense; even the branding is sparse.
However, this does mean there aren’t any artificial colors to worry about as koi are especially sensitive to dyes, and this is a fine mixture for any goldfish or other fish that might join your koi in the pond.
Because this Hartz food doesn’t fall apart easily, it also doesn’t choke your filters with dust and food waste. These pellets are small, so they’re great for any size pond dweller.
While this food is completely adequate in all definitions of the word, and the price is simply unmatchable, the quality of the food reflects that. It’s not the most balanced nutritionally and while it will feed your fish well for months to come, there are better diets out there.
In addition, this is one of those foods that fish must be convinced to eat, but they’ll often thrive once they are used to it.
Laguna doesn’t hang out with the big boys in mainstream markets as much as our reviews above, but they make a quality food with their fish friends in mind. This Laguna package is an all-season fish food and is entirely appropriate for sparse feedings in the winter and daily feedings in the summer.
While this is priced at a much higher point that big brands like Kaytee and Hartz, it’s because the quality brings out the best in your fish, especially during the summer months. Pond enthusiasts report that their fish were active, vibrant, and happy on this fish food, and that it follows through with its promise not to cloud the water. This is especially important in ponds that have simple filters during the summer months.
This medium pellet is great for fish over six or eight inches, and reports say that fish are perfectly happy to eat this from first sight, making feeding time a joy for both owners and aquatic friends alike.
This is the first food on our list that is specifically targeted at a season. Because koi have metabolisms that are based on the temperature of the water, and they have no stomachs to process food over time, it is incredibly important to vary the amount of food you feed them on a season to season basis.
Many foods simply balance their diets out to be more summer-oriented and instruct purchasers to cut back as the seasons change. This TetraPond blend takes a different approach, and has specially formulated a pellet that’s meant for the months between the slowest and the fastest metabolic period.
The TetraPond Spring & Fall diet containers wheat germ, which is one of the best fall & spring foods for koi, especially if you’re looking for bright koi. In addition, the sticks float and are easy to nibble on, and are perfectly safe for any pond fish you might have (or auxiliary buddies, like turtles).
This food is supposed to be easier to digest and can sometimes fatten koi for the long winter where nibbles are few and far between, so do not feed this to fish during the summer. Otherwise, this is a great and decently-priced food for beloved koi.
Blackwater is an established brand in the koi fish industry because of the careful way they have formulated their fish food. Blackwater comes straight from Japan and is used to raise koi over there before they are imported to the US. While this means it isn’t specially formulated for show fish like Hikari blends are, it’s still a great quality that will keep your regularly enjoyed koi fish thriving.
Blackwater is also one of the best foods for owners who don’t like clouded water, making it ideal for very large ponds with many koi. This particular bag contains floating pellets, but the pellets do sink over time to become foraged food later.
This high protein food, while more expensive than brands like Hartz, still holds a reasonable price point for a premium product.
If you’re looking for the quality of Blackwater without the price, and you’re not planning on showing your pond fish anytime soon, Blackwater will do the trick and give you gorgeous, vibrantly colored fish, too.
IKU KOI KICHI is a great example of why a koi enthusiast should always check out the reputation of a brand and not assume that “premium” means “best on the market”. While IKU KOI KICHI is not a bad food by any stretch of the imagination, and any koi would be lucky to have it, it’s not the best premium food in its league.
While the price is very reasonable for a premium brand, this fish food was designed as a balanced nutritional diet for fish that were being raised for sale, and not so much for fish that are going to live in beautiful ponds for the next few decades. The most popular size of this IKU KOI KICHI is 40 pounds, which is enough to feed a pond of 12 for over three years.
However, it comes in smaller two pound canisters that are easy, convenient, and sealed tight until they’re opened for use. If your fish are tired of the same old thing, or you’re looking to mix premium brands for new flavors and richness of nutrition, IKU KOI KICHI is a great addition to any summer blend.
If you’re looking for something for fall or spring, something that encourages colors to stand out on your fish, or something that’s all-inclusive nutritionally, it might be better to choose a different koi food.
Dainichi is another koi food that originated in Japan to feed show fish, so the price definitely reflects the quality. This fish food blend comes in small, medium, or large pellets, depending on the size and age of your fish. This is an all-season food is one of the best koi food for growth and development without encouraging overweight fish, and the proteins used to construct the pellets are high-quality and thoughtfully considered for the most native diet possible.
The result is a well-balanced pellet food that floats, never clouds the water, and gives your fish more than enough nutrition to thrive and shine. Because the crude protein is a little lower in this blend, it makes an excellent spring and fall feed if you have a favorite summer feed already.
Reviews about this food are positive across the board. From color to smell to nutrition to flavor (for the fish), this all season koi food will make you and your fish very content customers, despite the higher price tag.
As discussed in a previous review, TetraPond is a classic in the fish world. They’re dependable, generally affordable, and have an excellent brand reputation for making quality food that sustains our fishy friends. These pond sticks for healthy nutrition for goldfish and koi are no exception to TetraPond’s quality reputation, but the product is a bit pricier than some of their other products.
This is because these sticks have an extra vitamin enrichment that fish love, in addition to the other features TetraPond foods often have, like easy digestion, low pollution of water, and a general nutrition palette that is suitable for most, if not all, fish in your pond.
This particular koi food from TetraPond is of excellent quality and is great for all seasons. These pellets are of the floating variety, so they’re fun for kids to feed koi as the koi will come to the surface to munch them. Purchasers also applaud how much goldfish like this food, as goldfish can be very picky eaters later in life.
In addition, the food – all eleven pounds of it – comes packaged neatly in two bags and lasts well over a season for small ponds.
Things to Consider When Buying Food for Koi Fish
While your koi are fish and most of the time thrive off of simple fish food that is blended specifically for koi, sometimes there are factors you must consider before you buy a food for koi.
While you can switch at almost any time to a different blend, it’s easier to get it right – or close to being right – the first time. Here are just a few things you should consider before purchasing a food for your koi.
Is the Food You Are Purchasing Known for Quality?
Unfortunately, there are many pet stores out there that sell off-brand, junky food labeled as koi food. Some of these blends are meant for other fish and have simply been restickered with a label that says its for koi.
While these options are almost always more affordable than brands that hold a significant share of the fish food market, they come with a price: poor nutrition, incorrect vitamin ratios, and fillers than can damage or even kill your fish. Try to stick to brands you’ve heard of or, at least, that you can find solid reviews for online.
What Season are You Feeding Your Fish?
Some foods are for all seasons and are marketed as such. This usually means that it’s simply recommended that you reduce the amount of food you are feeding your fish during the colder months. Since koi fish do not have stomachs and are cold-blooded, it’s important to follow these instructions carefully or invest in a fall and spring blend.
These blends are often a little more robust when it comes to carbohydrates so that the koi can be “fattened up” for an entire season of not eating at all during the cold winter months. Summer blends are usually much higher in protein because fish metabolisms are so fast during that time.
How Many Fish Do You Have?
While many koi foods do a great job of cutting down on food pollution by engineering quality, floating pellets and giving clear instructions on how many cups to feed how many times per day, water pollution can still happen if you have too many fish for a space or if you simply have a lot of fish.
Make sure you are following the instructions of the koi food you purchased, and that your koi are eating what you are giving them.
Some koi can become picky as they age and their tastes change, so make sure you are intriguing your fish properly with the food you are giving them. Poor water conditions from too much food will stress and often kill your koi fish.
Will You Be Feeding Your Fish Other Foods?
Lots of koi enthusiasts do tons of research on their pond fish so that both the fish and owner enjoy the time they spend together. After all, koi fish can easily live for decades. Since koi are considered omnivores and are considered the vacuums of the fish world, they are known for having a curious palette.
Most koi love eating shrimp, Cheerios, lettuce, and snails, just to name a few of the favorites. Some people just feed their koi pellet food because it’s well-balanced and has been formulated for koi specifically.
In addition, teaching koi that you are the bearer of tasty treats will be the best way to teach them to come to you when they see you, to eat out of your hand, etc. Depending on whether you want to do this or not will affect which type of staple food you give them.
Size and Age of Koi?
Some of the highest quality foods made for koi are aimed at larger fish, meaning that the pellets just don’t fit into tiny koi mouths. While most foods do take this into consideration and deteriorate over the span of just a few minutes and sink to the bottom, this can add considerable pollution to your water and stress to your filter.
Instead, ensure that you are getting the right sized food for tiny (or large) mouths to ensure they eat it when you drop it in the pond. This will also help you understand just how much they’re eating in a five minute time period so that you can adjust their food accordingly day to day.
What is the best koi food brand
There are alot of brands that manufacture koi food and so choosing one particular brand as the best differs from one indicidual to another. That being said the manufacturers listed in this review are among the top koi food brands on the market.