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Why should I feed my pond fish Wheat Germ-based food in the fall and spring? – Water Garden & Features Q & A


Fall is here! Time to switch to wheat germ-based foods.

Water Garden & Features Q & A

Q: Why should I feed my pond fish Wheat Germ-based food in the fall and spring? – Jessica in Oregon

A: As the weather changes, pond and water garden centers remind their customers to feed a different diet to their fish – a wheat germ based diet. Why? What’s the difference? Do fish experience changes in taste when the weather changes? Well, believe it or not, there’s a reason for switching your fish from a protein-based to a wheat germ-based diet. It all centers on your finned friends’ metabolism.

Cooler Temps, Slowing Systems

Fish, including the koi or goldfish in your pond, are poikilothermic, which is a fancy term for “cold-blooded.” Their internal temperature varies with the ambient external temperature. So in the wintertime when your pond’s water cools, the body temperatures of your fish cool, too. And with that dip in body temperature comes a reduced need for nutrients.

A wheat germ-based diet is designed to transition your pond fish from eating a high-protein, high-energy diet, like Pond Logic® Growth and Color Fish Food – which they enjoy throughout the summer to fuel their active underwater lifestyles – to their annual wintertime fast, when they enter into a torpor state, or period of metabolic inactivity.

Wheat germ diets, like Pond Logic® Spring and Fall Fish Food, are high in carbohydrate-based nutrients, packed with natural vegetable proteins and designed to provide your pond fish with the immune-system boosting vitamins and minerals to get them through the winter. They require less energy to digest, so they’re perfect to ease the fish into or out of the colder months.

Time to Switch!

So, when do you start transitioning your pond fish to the wheat germ-based diet? In the fall, when the water temperature falls to 70 degrees Fahrenheit or so, feed your fish a mixture of the wheat germ and protein-based food, gradually increasing the wheat germ and decreasing the protein-based food until you’re feeding 100 percent of the wheat germ-based food. As soon as the water temperature reaches 55 degrees F, stop feeding your fish altogether.

In the spring, after the ice thaws and the water reaches 55 degrees F, start feeding the wheat germ-based diet once again. As the temperatures warm, begin adding small amounts of the protein-based food. By the time the water temperature reaches 70 degrees F, switch completely over to the protein diet.

When you help your pond fish through the temperature transitions and provide them with the right types of nutrients to support their health, you’ll be rewarded with active, colorful fish with strong immune systems that can fight parasites and viruses that show up in the spring.

POND TALK: In your geographical area, when do you generally switch from a protein-based food to a wheat germ-based food?

2 Responses

  1. There is nothing to add to this post. I think it is the perfect tutorial for feeding your fish through the seasons…well done!

  2. At a pond seminar at a local garden shop the pond specialist recommended stopping feeding the goldfish when the water dropped to 55 degrees (usually in mid October in CT.) and not to resume feeding them until the water reaches 55 degrees in the spring (usually mid-March to April). We’re talking 5+ months without food! We were advised to apply the proper amount of pond salt, if needed, so that the fish developed a healthy ‘slime coat’ which helps them fight off illnesses during the cold weather. I must admit that we were very apprehensive the first winter we did this but, since the 15-cent fish all survived…yes, those same 15-cent fish that we paid $65 for a pond defroster for…., we have done this for 4 or 5 winters and we still have those same fish so I would say that this process certainly works! Our first winter with the ponds I had gone to a local thrift store and purchased a bunch of containers…vases, coffee caraffes, etc. to put the fish in and bring them in for the winter. The pond specialist recommended the above procedures and assured all at the seminar that the fish would fair much better by going through this dormant stage than if we brought them into a warm house.

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