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How can I tell if my fish are ready for a lighter diet? | Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Q: How can I tell if my fish are ready for a lighter diet?

Q: How can I tell if my fish are ready for a lighter diet?

Steve – Wallingford, PA

A: When feeding your koi and pond fish, a “lighter diet” doesn’t mean that your finned friends need to switch to low-cal, low-fat foods. Instead, it refers to an easy-to-digest wheat germ-based diet that’s formulated for the fishes’ slowed activity and metabolism during the transitional fall and spring months.

Wheat germ-based diets, such as The Pond Guy® Spring & Fall Fish Food, are packed with vegetable protein, amino acids and digestive enzymes. These diets, which help them ease into and out of winter, are gentle on their digestive systems while keeping their constitutions strong to fight off disease.

How do you know when it’s time to switch diets? Here are three clues:

  • Temperature: When your water temperature is 50 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, you should feed your active, hungry fish protein- and carbohydrate-balanced foods, like The Pond Guy® Growth & Vibrance Fish Food. But when water temperatures dip to between 40 to 50 degrees, they require the lighter, wheat germ-based foods. Use your Pond Thermometer to keep an eye on the water temperature as the days and nights get cooler.
  • Fish Mobility: Are your koi and goldfish moving a bit more slowly than they normally do? That’s another clue that it’s time to switch to a lighter food. Fish will naturally begin to slow down their activity in cooler water as their bodies begin to prepare for their annual “hibernation.”
  • Feeding Interest: As the fish slow their activity and require less food to fuel their metabolisms, they won’t be as interested in the tasty morsels as they are in the summer. So if your koi and goldfish seem to have turned into picky eaters, that’s your third clue that it’s time to switch to a lighter diet.

When water temperatures fall to below 40 degrees, that’s when it’s time to stop feeding your fish altogether. Don’t worry: They won’t starve! Their bodies, which need very few nutrients to sustain them during the cold months, have plenty of fat stored—but you can bet they’ll be ready for a nice, big meal when spring arrives.

Pond Talk: What changes do you see in your fishes’ behavior during the fall?

Wheat Germ Formula For Cool Weather - The Pond Guy® Spring & Fall Fish Food


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4 Responses

  1. Hi could some 1 help me
    When do I stop feeding my fish in my pond I have 6 shubunkins…should I stop feeding them now are wait till winter? I am still feeding them
    Flake food when do I start feeding them

    • Hi Paul – Pellet vs flake food doesn’t matter just the content of the food. Once water temperatures are lower than 50°F (10°C) a wheatgerm based food with less protein is a good way to start slowing down their metabolism to prepare for winter. You will want to stop feeding your fish when water temperatures are below 40°F (4°C).

  2. I usually sink a box of dirt in each of my preformed ponds so that the frogs have a place to bury themselves. I really don’t know if they do this or not. Am I wasting my time? Some years the frogs survive, other years they don’t. Our ponds are 18″ deep in most places.

    Also, is it too late to use pond salt? I haven’t seen an article on it and I usually put that in every year in the fall so the fish can develop a slime coat.

    Thanks for your help.

    D. K. – CT

    • Hi Dottie – It’s hard to say if the frogs are taking advantage of the habitat that you are providing. It depends on the type of frog and the other choices of habitat available. You can certainly still put in pond salt. There is no temperature restriction for it’s use and will help protect the fish.

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