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When should I switch my fish food and what should I use? – Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A


When should I switch my fish food and what should I use?

When should I switch my fish food and what should I use? Millie – Mayday, GA

Better Pack a Cold Lunch

As the temperatures begin to cool down at the end of the year you will notice a change in the behavior of your Koi and Goldfish. Your fish will start to slow down and become less active as the water gets colder as they prepare for a winter of dormancy. You will still want to feed your fish in these cooler fall temperatures. A change in diet will help maintain happy and healthy fish and prevent potential fish kills going into the winter.

A decrease in activity means that your fish are slowing down and this is not just in regards to the energy level but to their bodily functions as well. Your fish will still be hungry and want to eat but because their digestive system slows down they will require less food and will take longer to digest what you’re feeding them. This can be problematic if you continue feeding your fish heavy high-protein foods in the cooler seasons. Excess food that has not been digested can begin to rot inside the fish before they can excrete it as waste causing illness and even death.

Fish food containing wheat germ like Pond Logic® Spring & Fall Fish Food are designed for colder weather feeding. Your fish have an easier time digesting these types of food at low temperatures which will keep them full and happy without putting them at risk. Knowing what types of food to use in colder temperatures is important but when do you make the switch? When your water temperatures fall between 40-50 degrees Fahrenheit you will want to start feeding with your Spring & Fall food. The best way to monitor the temperature of your pond is to use a Floating Thermometer and watch your fish for decreased activity. If they tend to just stay at the bottom of the pond and are not interested in eating before the water temps dip below 40 degrees then you can stop feeding early. Food that is left to sink to the bottom of the pond will turn into muck and aid in algae blooms come early Spring. If your fish are still active and eating you can feed them Spring & Fall food until the water temps fall below 40 degrees. During the winter your fish will just relax at the bottom of the pond in a state of dormancy until the water temperatures warm back up in the Spring.

POND TALK: What signs do your fish give that tell you they are getting ready for winter?

Get your fish ready for winter!

2 Responses

  1. I have a small pond maintence business on eastern Long Island and have encountered customers with the same problem. Your fish may be eating enough natural food (alge, plants, insects) depending on the size of your pond. Does anyone else have access to the food (one customer’s father lived with her and he would feed the fish constantly all day long, without her knowing)? Is the food old? People often buy large containes of food and use the same opened container for more then one season, similar to eating stale bread. Although the season is coming to an end I suggest you do not feed them for a day or two and see if their eating habits remain the same. If the fish do not surface within a few minutes to eat, that would suggest a predator problem, regardless leaving uneaten food on the pond for 6-7 hours is something you want to avoid. It is not good for the water quality and invites birds and or rodents.

  2. Don’t know what comment you want from me.i did send a question that was not answered.
    question —
    have always heard that you feed Koi and Gold fish only what they can eat in 5 Min.Mine won’t even look at their food in that length of time.Fed them this morning and still some floating at 5P. Have had fish in my pond for 7 years, they all act alike.

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