How much should I feed my koi?

Feeding the koi is always a concern since you want big, fat koi and in Minnesota the growing time is somewhat limited due to temperature. Over the weekend we talked a lot about feeding and Michael Hernandez of Tomigai koi food recommended to us – 2% of the koi body weight. While we have warm weather and our filtration system can handle the waste load – he thought 2% was the right mark for us. He recommended that I create an excel sheet with my koi, size and calculate the amount of food needed. THAT IS THE BEST SUGGESTION! I dutifully made the list and added up ounces.

I created the list by taking a chart I found on Colorado Koi listing general inches-ounces…putting in cm equivalents (I hate to keep looking it up)…and then adding a column for ounces of food (based on 2% body weight).

a little chart for reference

Then I took out my digital scale and did some weighing for reference. I wanted to “see” what did ___ ounces look like for 4 mm pellets, 7 mm sinking pellets, 7 mm floating pellets.

Weighing out food on a scale for reference

I ended up calculating total weight of food and created sample containers of what I should be feeding the koi every day. Interestingly enough, we have been going on the old feed for a few minutes, 4 -6 times a day … and the amount has been similar to my my new calculated amounts. The point being is that I’m relieved I wasn’t off by much. These four containers show two full containers for the upper pond and almost two containers for the lower pond.

this is what one day of feeding will look like for my ponds right now — in a few weeks I should adjust for growth

We’re switching our upper pond koi food to the sinking variety since it should cut down on the waste. We’ve had a lot of food float into the skimmer. The calculated food amount doesn’t take into account that there will be food waste into the skimmer but it’s a start point. I think there are a lot of other variables such as the food itself, the temperature, how much can the filtration system handle, etc. Does the general statement about feeding a few minutes hold true? Probably. But like everything else in koi world, there’s a lot of experimentation and individualization.

Meanwhile – here are two videos of my koi currently. The short one is about our tosai who learned how to get in and out of the skimmer, even with a barrier. Even the fat ones figured out how to do the sideway wriggle swim. The pond builder changed the barrier and I think playing in the skimmer has stopped. The second video is rather long (5 minutes or so) and our water was still in the clearing up process. In about 90 minutes I have a new koi flying into Minneapolis – next blog post will be about my new Kaede koi (sourced through Genkikoi/Oyama koi farm).

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