Did you know that one of the leading causes of fish disease and illness is actually humans over feeding their fish? Yes! Feeding pond fish is important!
How often to feed your fish?
We sometimes forget that fish do not need to have 3 meals a day like people. In an ecosystem pond, fish will eat algae, nibble on plants and even grab a bug now and then. Feeding them once a week is fine! If your pond has no plants and not even a hint of algae, you may want to feed them every few days.
How much to feed your fish?
Regardless of how often you feed them, make sure not to feed them more than they can eat in about 5 minutes. Food left floating or sinking to the bottom leads to algae blooms. Sometime times fish can be quite the pigs! Remember that koi may keep eating even if they shouldn't. about a size of a quarter is enough for a couple fish. If you fish seem overly round, they may be getting too much food. Over eating, just like with people, can lead to health problems.
The bigger the fish, the more they can safely eat. Fish food even comes in smaller pellets for smaller fish. If your fish are over a foot long they may need a little more food. (a little means 50% more, not a cup more!) If they are 2 feet long then will need a little more than that!
Treats for your fish
Did you know you can offer your fish vegetables and fruits now and then? Yes, they can eat blueberries, peas, watermelon and other soft fruits. Of course, take care that they are free of pesticides and rinsed off well before offering them to your fish. At first they may not be used to eating them and may leave them floating for a while. Make sure to remove any excess fruit (or fish food) after a couple hours.
Good quality fish food
Feeding them good quality food is important too. High protein content will enhance the fishes natural color. Aquascape’s Premium Staple Fish Food Pellets is a favorite or ours.
When to stop feeding them
When pond water temperatures reach 50°, fish metabolisms slow down. When this happens, they are unable to digest food well. In the fall when outside air temperatures fluctuate here in Colorado from 76° in the day to 25° at night, it's hard to know when that is. Purchasing a floating water thermometer that gives you temperature in the house is very helpful. Another way to be sure you know when to stop feeding your fish is to sing up for Colorado Pond Pros Pond Tips. We send out reminders when pond temperatures get down to 50° and when they go above it in the spring.
Don't be fooled by fish that beg for food during the transition times in the fall. They are accustomed to eating and when they see you walk up they think its dinner time! While its tempting to go ahead and feed them, remember that if they can't digest it - they may seem fine now but you may lose them in the winter as the food sits and rots in their bellies!
Want to read more about fish care basics? Click HERE.