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Rail City Garden Center

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Fish Nutrition


  • Essential to Koi and Goldfish
  • Do not use a one-sided protein source as certain essential amino acids may be lacking.
  • Choose 2 good quality foods and mix them (along with some treats!).
  • Some foods become rancid at room temperature.
    • Do not freeze food unless specified to do so.
    • Refrigerate foods that might get rancid.
  • Choose foods that have fish or other water creatures as top ingredients.


  • Koi and Goldfish are functional diabetics since they don’t produce insulin.
  • They do seem to enjoy foods with high carbohydrate content.
  • Carbohydrates help improve their body shape.


  • Koi and Goldfish seem to like the following foods as treats:
    • Cheerios (especially Honey Nut Cheerios!)
    • Krill
    • Dark green vegetables
    • Silkworm Pupae
    • Earthworms (if fresh from soil the soil won’t hurt them)
    • Watermelon
    • Cantaloupe
    • Grapefruit – Good source of Vitamin C, they love it, and it floats nicely when cut into pieces.
    • There are others – be creative!


  • One of the biggest mistakes people make with their ponds is to overfeed their fish!  Overfeeding can result in a big increase of ammonia and/or nitrites and nitrates, thereby affecting water quality.  Water quality is the most important factor in fish health.
  • Feeding your fish can be fun so don’t deprive yourself (and them) of the activity!
  • Feed only what your fish can eat in 5 minutes once or twice a day.  Do this by tossing a few pellets at fish who are “begging” at the surface.  When they take the food then toss a few more pellets.  Don’t just toss handfuls in and hope that all the pellets get eaten.
  • In the Spring, don’t start feeding fish until the water temp reaches the mid-fifties (F).
  • In the Fall, when the water temp drops into the mid-fifties, stop feeding your fish food that contains protein. You can continue tossing Cheerios to your fish for awhile (for perhaps a few weeks because the breakdown products do not include ammonia and they are easily digested by the fish).
  • If fish had a health problem going into winter, you might feed medicated food in the spring, as that is a stressful time for them.


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