A look at alternate foods for your koi and goldfish


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Imagine yourself as a koi or goldfish in your owners pond although your onto a good thing, food though good 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 you better than those pellets things our owner drops in Well for all our koi keeping career Val and I have tried to put ourselves into the koi's shoes so to speak.
We started to look at feeding them differently, interestingly. We all eat our food has differing tastes some sweet some bitter , it has differing textures fibrous mushy crunchy soft , well this got us to thinking about those hard pellets we feed our koi each and everyday, day in day out and ought this must get pretty boring so we set about correcting that. We remembered that koi in the old days in Japan used to get left over's fed to them, so we though why not experiment and compile a list of alternate foodstuffs that our koi can "feel, taste, smell and enjoy".
This we broke into three categories Frozen foods, Live foods and Household/Garden foods , then we looked into texture and taste colouration vitamin value etc.
We scoured our extensive library of fish books (not just koi) and after a while we had a list of things we could feed our koi to give them taste and feel.
Then we set about testing out these foods, some were ignored by our koi, some eaten with relish and 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 not suggesting that koi should be fed these foods 24/7 as that would be wrong but what we do suggest is you feed them to your koi as a treat alternating between pellet to live, pellet to frozen , pellet to house hold/garden so that your koi can enjoy a well balanced enjoyable diet and move away from that hard pellet diet , become more natural so to speak.

Please feel free to use the list compiled bellow to feed not only your koi and goldfish with
but can also be used by people who keep tropical fish as well........ .

Frozen:


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

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.
Woodlice/Pillbugs,place half rotted wood in damp areas of garden crop every few months.these are in effect little balls of natural protein , good for scales and colouration.
Crickets.Keeps you fit catching them.
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 colouration.
River shrimp tropical outlets (they really cause your koi to work for their food these do)...... scales and colouration.
Flying ants (place jam jar over nest exit when they swarm) Mid summer, natural protein.
Wax Worm.
Mealy Worm both sizes. scales and colouration.
Maggots.(pond only)as the fish pass the skins and can block uptakes in tank.
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.
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 colouration.
Dried Silk Worm Pupae (really good at bringing the whites out in koi/ goldfish) buy from koi dealership or order via fish outlet.

Household foods/ Garden (organic only):

Brown Bread (not white as it contains too much starch).
Carrot heads (the green leaves Organic only) pond only.
Lettuce heads (Organic only) pond only.
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 dont want to go upsetting mum/dad/husband or wife or better still cook in a thermos flask over night doing it the latter git me banned from the kitchen.
Orange (cut in half) float on water.Vitamin C.
Young dandelion leaves (poor mans lettuce). Rich in Iron.
Cucumber.
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.."Truely a multi use natural product is this".
Water Melon (sliced or scooped into bite size balls).
Frozen garden peas (shell first).
Garlic Something we discovered koi go completely nuts over (like cats to catnip) it is also very good when mixed with pellets at kick starting fish who have been refusing to eat back to eating again long before they started putting it in pelleted foods it also has that anti parasite property.
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 but I read somewhere some time ago now that Peanuts cabn cause cancer in koi so Peanuts are right out




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Dave
 
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I'll add Cheerios (plain), to this list. Can be used as a fall/spring food. I know purists will probably have a fit with this but for back yard ponders it's waaayy cheaper than spring/fall koi food. In spring just feed small amounts of the cheerios, as water warms, feed more and start mixing in small amounts of summer food. Increase summer food as water continues to go up until at 100% summer food. in fall, reverse the procedure as temps drop.

Ours also love Japanese beetles too which we are only too happy to provide.

Craig
 
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j.w

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Thanks for that great list and I assume it would be good for goldfish also.Should the garlic be grated or cooked?
 

sissy

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I always mix garlic with the spring and fall food to help them eat better
 

sissy

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I just pull it out and let some reseed and grind it up and put some of it in there spring food in a zip lock bag and shake it up and then go out and feed them it .They go nuts over the garlic .I use my food grinder or sometimes just hand grind it .
 
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My goldfish really seem to enjoy fresh sliced oranges and sliced par boiled zucchini. They only downside to feeding oranges is they can make a mess of your tank. I try and feed them only on water change day.

I know we are talking about "natural" type food for our fish but I wanted mention a good gel food that I sometimes feed. The goldfish love it and I even will feed it dry to my smaller fish and fry.

http://www.mazuri.com/mazuriaquaticgeldiets-1.aspx
 
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My goldfish love cucumber, but not the skins! I haven’t tried them on oranges. They ignored the dandelion mostly, ate most of the lettuce.
 
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I used to make my own fish food when I was breeding chiclids.
I used whatever fresh and frozen veggies were on hand rough chopped in the blender mixed with chopped up prawns (head and tail included), fresh fish from the supermarket and fish pellets. All mixed up and pressed into IceCube trays and frozen. Then just pop a cube into each tank. Yummo!
 
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Would tomato caterpillars work?
As to your question about tomato caterpillars, I'm not sure what they look like but the rule of thumb is this (hairy caterpillars are a no no because they are poisonous )....
You can feed any caterpillar that is hairless to your fish as they are non poisonous

Dave 54
 
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I used to make my own fish food when I was breeding chiclids.
I used whatever fresh and frozen veggies were on hand rough chopped in the blender mixed with chopped up prawns (head and tail included), fresh fish from the supermarket and fish pellets. All mixed up and pressed into IceCube trays and frozen. Then just pop a cube into each tank. Yummo!
@bentaz Same here my friend, same here which chiclids did you keep ?

Dave 54
 
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My goldfish love cucumber, but not the skins! I haven’t tried them on oranges. They ignored the dandelion mostly, ate most of the lettuce.
+1 for cucumber. We used to have a bunch growing outside and the fish loved them. No idea why.
 
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As to your question about tomato caterpillars, I'm not sure what they look like but the rule of thumb is this (hairy caterpillars are a no no because they are poisonous )....
You can feed any caterpillar that is hairless to your fish as they are non poisonous

Dave 54
Gday mate
We kept and bred at various times; frontosia's, green terrors, red devils, Texas, red jewels, zebras, afra's, buttifokuri and probably some others I've forgotten.
Sure do miss living in the tropics, I kept and bred a few Aussie natives too, rainbowfish n stuff.
 

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