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Alternate Foods for Koi and goldfish

We have been researching this for a while now and have finally updated our alternate food for koi and goldfish thread. We've added vitamins, proteins etc. to the list to help you when feeding.

Your fish know just what goodness these alternate food contain plus added one or more food sources .....

Imagine yourself as a koi living in your owners pond although you are getting good food it must get pretty boring. After a while you remember back to your ancestors distant past and the many wonderful things you used to eat, feel, taste, smell. I mean real food you can't beat, it can's better than those pellets things our owner drops in your pond.

During our koi keeping career, Val and I have tried to put ourselves into the koi's shoes so to speak look to their wild ancestors and modern day cousins, so we started to look at feeding them differently adding interest.

The food we eat has differing tastes, some sweet, some bitter. The food has differing textures: fibrous, mushy, crunchy and soft. This got us to thinking about those hard pellets we feed our koi each and everyday,day in day out. We thought hey this must get pretty boring so we set about correcting that.

We remembered from our library of books that koi in the old days in Japan used to get leftovers fed to them by their owners. We thought why not experiment and compile a list of alternate foodstuffs that our koi can "feel, taste, smell and enjoy".

We broke the food into three categories Frozen foods, Live foods and Household/Garden foods.....

Then we looked into texture, taste, coloration, vitamin's, proteins and carbohydrates etc.

We set about scouring our extensive library of fish books (not just koi) and after a while we had a list of things that we could potentially feed our koi. This food would give our koi texture, taste smell and feel.

Next we decided to experiment with these foods, it turned out our koi had an educated palate, some foods were ignored, some eaten with relish. We found that after a while we were able to par down the list we had compiled until we are left with the one we have today.

Now we are in no way suggesting that koi should be fed these foods 24/7. That would be wrong. What we do suggest is you feed them to your koi as a treat. Alternate between pellet to live, pellet to frozen, pellet to house hold/garden, so your koi can enjoy a well balanced enjoyable diet.

Move away from that hard pellet diet we all feed them, in doing so we found our koi responded in kind. Their color, luster and body shape responded the diet had become more of a well balanced diet, more natural so to speak.

Please feel free to use the list compiled bellow as part of your koi's diet. We've listed where we can vitamin's proteins and carbohydrates. You may wish to use this list as a template for your own koi's feed regime, even add your own foods to the list

  • Cockles,(Proteins)
  • Mussels. (cheaper to buy mussels fit for Human consumption rather than from fish shops).Farmers Market food outlets in UK, (proteins).
  • Prawn (raw) absolutely brilliant with the Hi (red) in koi Farmers Market food outlets UK, (proteins).
  • Mixed seafood as above Farmers Market Food outlets UK (Proteins).
  • Fish Row (buy in Super market), (Proteins).
  • Whitebait. (Buy in fishing tackle/bait shop), (Proteins).
  • Sea fish chopped into small bits (never feed freshwater fish to fresh water fish),(buy in fish mongers/Super market), (Proteins)..
  • Slivers of beef, heart, Liver (proteins). (Pyridoxine B6). Vitamin B12, Riboflavin B2. Nicotinic Acid)
  • Slivers of chicken, liver (proteins), (Pyridoxine B6). Vitamin B12, Riboflavin B2, Nicotinic Acid)
  • Bloodworm. (Tropical fish outlet), (Proteins)

Live foods:

  • Worms (purge first) can be dug up from a compost heap crop once every two months, (organic only) or bought at fishing tackle/bait shop. (natural proteins and trace elements)
  • Woodlice/Pillbugs,place half rotted wood in damp areas of garden crop every few months.these are in effect little balls natural proteins and trace elements , good for scales and coloration, (Proteins and Trace elements).
  • Crickets.Keeps you fit catching them (proteins and trace elements ).
  • Mysis Shrimps for those who live near the coast you can trawl for these with a fine mesh net freeze in freezer break chunks off to feed good for coloration.
  • River shrimp tropical outlets (they really cause your koi to work for their food these do)...... scales and coloration.
  • Flying ants (place jam jar over nest exit when they swarm) Mid summer, natural protein.
  • Wax Worm.
  • Mealy Worm both sizes. scales and coloration.
  • Maggots.(pond only) as the fish pass the skins and can block uptakes in tank.(Proteins and trace elements)
  • Daphnia.
  • Brine Shrimp cultivate eggs in bottle with air stone salty water.
  • Water Flea.
  • Glass Worm (adult fish only may attack fry).
  • Caterpillars Smooth Skinned, the green answer to stopping them eating your garden cabbages and lettuce (Proteins and trace elements) .
  • Note:- do not feed hairy caterpillars or highly colourful smooth ones to fish as they are poisonous.
  • Mosquito and Gnat larvae leave, a bucket out with water in it they well soon lay in there.
  • Cyclops (adult fish only).
  • Tubifex (make sure they are rinsed well under running water).Note we are seeing less of this in fish outlets because of its sewerage origins.
  • Any freeze dried fish food Krill, shrimp, bloodworm, etc.good for scales and coloration.(proteins).
  • Dried Silk Worm Pupae (really good at bringing the whites out in koi/ goldfish) buy from koi dealership or order via fish outlet.( Rich in Proteins).

Household foods/Garden (organic only):

  • Brown Bread/Wheat germ (not white as it contains too much starch)., (Carbohydrates), (Thiamin B1).
  • Carrot heads (the green leaves Organic only) pond only (Vitamin A).
  • Lettuce heads (Organic only) pond only. (Vitamin K and Folic Acids)
  • Pearl Barley (cooked into porridge form, add Montmarillionite clay, leave to cool then break bits off and feed).(Pond fish only). Note:- after adding the clay open the kitchen window as it well and truely stinks and you don't want to go upsetting mum/dad/husband or wife or better still cook in a thermos flask over night, doing it the latter got me banned from the kitchen, (Carbohydrates) trace elements .
  • Orange (cut in half) or slice float on water.(Vitamin C).
  • Lemon. Slice (Vitamin C).
  • Grape fruit ( Vitamin C).
  • Banana (Phosphates, Vitamin C)
  • Young dandelion leaves (poor mans lettuce). Rich in Iron.(A good source of Vitamin K and Folic Acid)
  • Cucumber.(Vitamin A)
  • Propolis (add to pellets it is really good for fish and has anti bacterial properties) buy it from health food store as its cheaper than at koi dealer's price, it comes in either spray form, is good on open wounds such as ulcers on your fish.."Truly a multi use natural product is this".
  • Water Melon (sliced or scooped into bite size balls) (vitamin C).
  • Frozen garden peas (shell first).(Vitamin A).
  • Garlic is Something we discovered koi go completely nuts over (like cats to catnip). It is also very good when mixed with pellets at kick starting a koi who have been refusing to eat back to eating again. It has been used long before they started putting it in pelleted foods. It also has that anti parasite property (vitamin K).
  • After the winter its a good idea to feed your koi Wheatgerm and Garlic to help your koi through their weakest period as it makes the koi unpalatable to parasites.........
  • Peanut many years ago people used to feed there koi peanuts, I read somewhere, sometime ago that Peanuts can cause cancer in koi so Peanuts are out please. If you're new to koi keeping don't feed these to your koi
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