Article - KOI Feeding Tips
When is the best time to start feeding my fish?
There have been many thoughts on water temperature and feeding, so this year I tried giving more food, at lower temperatures to see if it would harm the fish. One small fish died but I can't really say that the food caused it. The rest of the flock look as healthy as all get out. And although the water temperature is no higher than 48-50F, I am feeding themMICROBE-LIFT/Legacy Cold Weather Food (wheat germ). Well, that's MY fish. As for yours, I think the jury may still be out on feeding at temperatures below 50F.
Hold off on any food, even if they are hanging around the edge of the pond looking at you with "hungry eyes", begging, until the water temperature itself is stable and above 50-degrees Fahrenheit. Then when the temperature is staying above 50 for a week or so, you can give a small amount of low-protein food, such as honey-wheat cheerios. The cheerios don't cause ammonia spikes before the filter bacteria are established and able to remove the ammonia. Watch the weather for coming storms that might plunge the temperatures again. We have had snow storms in April and May. Still, there is no regular feeding until 55-degrees.
The good-guy bacteria in your pond and filter do not colonize until the water in the pond is warmer. The fish immune system doesn't become activated until the water temperature is between 55- and 60-degrees. Deeper ponds will have more stable water temperatures. Shallow ponds can fluctuate radically in spring. Know your system and hold off until you KNOW it's safe to feed. If you have the chance, join a koi club to get the collective knowledge of the group.