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Switching to High-Protein Fish Food – Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A


Switching to Higher Protein Fish Food

I’ve been feeding my fish a wheat-germ based fish food, when can I switch them to a higher-protein fish food? Jena – Tulsa, OK

At this time of year, as the cold wind of winter gradually begins to soften into the warmer days of early spring, and we anxiously wait for the long, hot, blissful days of summer sunshine, your fish will start to stir and wake from their sullen winter respite at the bottom of your pond, slowly ascending their way up from its murky depths, basking at its gently sun-kissed surface, all the while poking and searching with their little mouths agape, longing for their much anticipated and greatly missed, daily feedings…

Like most active “Ponders” I know, you’ve been cooped up indoors all winter long, spending your time reading every water garden article that you can get your hands on! And when you’re not busy reading, you’re spending your time talking with all of your other pond friends, either locally or online. Many of you have been asking the same question: when is the correct time to begin gradually switching over from a wheat germ-based Spring and Fall Fish Food, to one with a greater protein concentration?

Here is the answer to that question, and a few more important things to keep in mind…

Water Temperature is less than 39 degrees Fahrenheit: DO NOT feed them. When temperatures are this cold, a fish’s digestive system is shut down and anything they eat would not get properly digested. Since fish get their “body heat” from their outside environment, metabolic reactions (like digestion) take more time in colder water, which is why feeding can be dangerous to fish in lower water temperatures.

Water Temperature is between 40 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit: It is important to feed your fish a low-protein, wheat germ-based fish food at this time. As fish begin to wake up from dormancy, you may begin to feed them a whet germ-based fish food, such as Pond Logic® Spring and Fall Fish Food. This type of food is more easily digestible by fish than their regular protein based fish food diet and will gently help reintroduce solid food into your fish’s diet.

Water Temperature is above 55 degrees Fahrenheit: At this point, the fish are readily active and their digestive systems are fully up and running. You can choose between an assortment of balanced diet, protein-based fish foods, such as Pond Logic® Floating Ponstix or higher-protein diets such as Pond Logic® Growth and Color Fish Food.

Hopefully this helpful information should keep things simple for everyone; that way we can all get back to more important things… like spring cleaning the pond!

Pond Talk: What time of year do you normally switch from wheat germ-based fish food to a high-protein fish food?

Pond Logic® Growth & Color Fish Food

3 Responses

  1. I have never used a wheat germ based food in the spring and fall. I was told that if the water stayed above 45 degrees it was okay to resume feeding the fish in the spring. In the fall, once it dropped to below 45 degrees I cease feeding them. Most years it is about 6 months that they go without food. I was leery about doing this the first year and then just amazed that it has worked for more than 6 years and the same 15 cent fish are still thriving! Perhaps Koi need food sooner? I will look into the wheat-germ based food though. I’m sure the fish would rather not go 6 months without ANY food!

  2. One of my koi has a couple of raised growths like spots is this contagious to other fish and what do I do for it

    • Hi Bill,

      This all depends on the type of spots, red pimples, white bumps… if you have pictures or detailed descriptions please send them to us at contactus@thepondguy.com and we can take a look. The best thing to do until you are able to identify the sickness is use to do a partial water change, use pond and fish conditioner to reduce stress and build up you fish’s defense, and add pond salt. Many times just simply adding salt to the pond (1% concentration if you have plants) or doing a salt bath by isolating the sick fish can usually take care of the problem. Remember to go back and evaluate your pond to make sure it is not over populated and that you have adequate filtration.

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