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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

How do I know when I can feed my koi again? – Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Koi FeedingQ: How do I know when I can feed my koi again? – Jim in Michigan

A: Now that we’re at winter’s peak, many of us begin to think about the coming spring.  As we start the spring to-do list, we remember those poor little koi that are out in the water garden.  Since you’ve kept a hole open in the ice all winter, you really have nothing to worry about, right? But your koi seem to be a little more active lately with the approaching spring and look like they have a mighty appetite since they haven’t eaten all winter. Should you start feeding now, or later? This all comes down to water temperature. Let me explain.

During the winter months koi go into a state of near-hibernation where their bodily systems are doing just enough to keep them alive.  Much like the frogs and turtles, koi typically do not eat during this time.  This is because their digestive tracts have slowed down so much that food cannot be fully digested by their stomachs. It is for this reason that we recommend that you stop feeding your koi altogether once water temperatures dip down below 40ºF.  As water temperatures being to climb between 40ºF & 55ºF the optimum food to feed your koi is a wheat germ based fish food like Spring & Fall Fish Food.  Wheat germ is specifically designed to be easy on the digestive tract for koi as they transition in and out of winter.

Fish FoodSo in summary, during the spring thaw watch your water temperatures. As they approach 40ºF, you will notice the koi becoming more active. At this point, throw in a very small amount of Spring & Fall Fish Food to see if they are interested. Once they start eating the pellets, you can begin ramping up the spring feeding. As the koi eat, continue to increase their rations (never more than they can clean up in a few minutes) until the water temperatures reach their normal levels for the summer. At this point, switch them over to a higher protein fish food like Growth & Color or Professional Fish Food.

POND TALK: When do you start feeding your fish?

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?

What Kind of Fish Food Should I Be Feeding My Koi? – Water Garden & Feature Q & A

A Family of Koi Posing for a Picture.

Water Gardens & Features Q & A

Q: What kind of food should I be feeding my pond fish? – Jamie of Florida

A: One of the greatest joys of keeping koi or goldfish in a decorative pond is mealtime. When it’s time for the fish’s daily dose of food, they’ll swim right to shore and seem to beg for those tasty morsels!

Of course you want to provide your finned friends with a diet that’s healthful, but choosing one can be a challenge. Food makers have formulated all sorts of blends for difference purposes. They’ve designed special fish foods for summer and spring/fall. Some are enriched with vitamins to enhance color. Some even come up with organic meals for fish owners who want to go eco-friendly with their ponds.

As omnivores, most pond fish, whether they’re koi, goldfish, comets or even mosquito-eating minnow, will eat both plant and protein matter. However, depending on the time of year, certain types of food are more easily digested than others. To help you decide which type of fish food to feed when, here’s a quick rundown of the different types available on the market today:

Wheat Germ-Based Foods: These wheat germ-based diets, such as Pond Logic Spring & Fall Fish Food, are packed with easy-to-digest plant matter and should be fed to fish during the fall and spring months when their metabolisms have slowed. As water temperatures cool, pond fish enter into a hibernation state and gradually stop eating for the
winter. Helping them ease them into and out of winter, these diets are gentle on their digestive systems while keeping their constitutions strong to fight off disease. Feed these spring and fall fish foods when the water temperature is between 40 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

Well-Balanced and Maintenance Foods: When water temperatures warm to 55 degrees or higher, you’ll want to change your fish’s diet to one that’s formulated for growth and maintenance. Some great well-balanced fish foods are Pond Logic Floating Ponstix if your feeling green you can choose Pond Logic Nature’s Blend Organic. These fish foods contain protein, minerals and vitamins to help the fish develop muscle as it becomes more active during the summer months. These foods are especially important if you have young or growing fish.

Color-Enhancing & Growth Foods: Color-enhancing foods bring out the color in your fish, making the reds more vibrant, the blacks deeper and the oranges richer. These unique protein and nutrient-filled diets can be fed throughout the summer months. Vitamins like Beta Glucan, Vitamin E and Ascorbic Acid, along with chelated minerals and natural color intensifiers, make your fish’s color pop in the pond. These foods also include extra protein. This extra protein will help allow koi to grow at a faster rate. For Color-enhancing and Growth fish foods use Pond Logic Growth & Color or for the best of the best use Pond Logic Professional Growth, Health, & Color.

Besides feeding your fish a healthful, balanced diet, you may wish to supplement it with some treats, like fresh watermelon or lettuce. Not only will your fish gobble them down, but you’ll also be developing a closer relationship with them, and ensure they’ll follow you around the pond at mealtime!

POND TALK: What do you feed your fish?

Is it Too Early to Feed My Koi? – Water Feature Q & A

Picture of a Group of Koi

Water Feature Q & A

Q: My fish are no longer dormant and they look hungry. Is it too early to feed them? – Joan of Virginia

A: This is a very popular question I get during this time of the year. As the temperatures slowly start to warm up, your once dormant fish become lively again and they look hungry. The best way to determine whether or not to feed your fish is by measuring the temperature of the water:

Water Temperature is under 39 degrees Fahrenheit: DO NOT feed them. When temperatures are this cold, a fish’s digestive system is shut down and anything they do eat would not get properly digested.

Water Temperature is between 40 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit: Feed them Spring & Fall Wheatgerm Fish Food. As fish begin to wake up from dormancy, you may begin to feed them a Spring & Fall Wheatgerm Fish Food. This type of food is more easily digestable by fish than their regular 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 as assortment of balanced diets fish foods such as Floating Ponstix or higher protein diets such as Growth & Color & Professional Fish Foods. You can also go with an High Protein, Organic Formula as well.

Changing to a Wheatgerm Fish Food As the Temperatures Get Cooler – Water Garden Q & A

Picture of Koi Eating Fish Food

Q: I heard as the temperature gets cooler outside that you have to change to a different type of fish food when feed my koi. Is that true? If it is, when would I do that? – Linda of Kentucky

A: Yes, it is true. As the temperatures get cooler you will want to switch from feeding your fish a high growth, high protein fish food to a wheat germ fish food that is much easier for the fish to digest in cooler temperatures.

Why wheat germ fish food?: As the temperature continues the drop, your fish’s digestive system begins to slow down. Feeding your fish a wheat germ food will ensure that the fish can digest the food easily. Wheat germ fish food is specifically designed to be fed to your fish in early Spring or late Fall when the water temperatures are cooler.

When to switch to wheat germ: The best time to switch is when the temperature of your water drops below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

No feeding under 40 degrees Fahrenheit: It is also very important to remember to not feed your fish once the temperature of your water drops below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. At this point, a fish’s digestive system has shut down and will remain in a dormant until the temperatures come back up in the early Spring.

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