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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.

3 Responses

  1. hello pond guy,
    glad to have this info. i was feeding my fish because they looked and seemed “ready” but i’m backing off a bit now till it’s warmer. mine are comets, not koi.

  2. Barbara Feldt,

    If the water temperature is above 40 degrees then more than likely the fish will begin to eat. I would just make sure that it is a wheatgerm food when feeding them to be easy on their digestive systems.

    Usually when the air temperatures are around 50-55 degrees Fahrenheit, then the water temperatures are around 40-42.

    Hope that helps!

  3. I have heard to wait until the air temp at night is over 50.
    We just put the filter back in the pond since the fish are active. The nine Cheerios I tossed disappeared the other day, but where they eaten or did they just sink? The water thermometer reads 48 degrees… well? Air now mid 50’s.

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