Feeding koi too much? Help needed


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I have 3 new koi in a pond I started last week. They eat a few pellets on the surface, but about half sink. If the fish don't eat the rest off the bottom, am I feeding too much? I thought koi were naturally bottom feeders, but they are not eating these. Should I stop feeding until they eat the food from the bottom or just feed every other day or something?
Thanks so much.
 
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They may not eat the stuff on the bottom, or they might. Fish are kind of funny, they seem to have to learn where the food is. Some people have to train fish to eat food on the surface.

I don't know where you are or can guess at your water temp, that can cause fish not to be super hungry.

A new pond can stress fish so they're not super hungry.

Male Koi are more of dart to the surface, grab some food and go back down, then repeat. Females tend to stay on the surface and munch and munch. Possible in a batch of 3 you happen to get all males.
But in general you do only want to feed what they'll eat in front of you. Because food cost money but also because it's added waste, and very nutritious food for bacteria so extra bad. I don't know how big your pond is or how big the fish (feeding pellets sound like bigger fish) or what kind of filters you have so don't have a guess whether it's OK to leave the uneaten food in the pond, probably, but safer to remove it.

Could be a problem with the food. They make floating pellets and sinking pellets, but in general I'm not sure why these floated for awhile and then sank.

I wouldn't wait for them to clean the bottom before feeding. How often you feed is really a personal choice, and your goals. Some people feed a minimum of 3% of the fish's weight everyday spread out over 4,8,12 times a day on an auto feeder. That's a lot of food. At the other extreme some people never feed their fish, they have to eat algae or whatever they can find. That doesn't work out as well for Koi as it does for Goldfish. Most people are somewhere in between.

The amount of food fed is directly related to filters. A handful of food once a week in a 1000 gal pond probably doesn't need filters. 5 lbs of food a week is probably going to need a lot of filtering. So there's that to consider. Uneaten food is very nutritious but so is poo.

Unfortunately without knowing details about your pond there's no way to guess what might be right. But those are the basics.
 
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They may not eat the stuff on the bottom, or they might. Fish are kind of funny, they seem to have to learn where the food is. Some people have to train fish to eat food on the surface.

I don't know where you are or can guess at your water temp, that can cause fish not to be super hungry.

A new pond can stress fish so they're not super hungry.

Male Koi are more of dart to the surface, grab some food and go back down, then repeat. Females tend to stay on the surface and munch and munch. Possible in a batch of 3 you happen to get all males.
But in general you do only want to feed what they'll eat in front of you. Because food cost money but also because it's added waste, and very nutritious food for bacteria so extra bad. I don't know how big your pond is or how big the fish (feeding pellets sound like bigger fish) or what kind of filters you have so don't have a guess whether it's OK to leave the uneaten food in the pond, probably, but safer to remove it.

Could be a problem with the food. They make floating pellets and sinking pellets, but in general I'm not sure why these floated for awhile and then sank.

I wouldn't wait for them to clean the bottom before feeding. How often you feed is really a personal choice, and your goals. Some people feed a minimum of 3% of the fish's weight everyday spread out over 4,8,12 times a day on an auto feeder. That's a lot of food. At the other extreme some people never feed their fish, they have to eat algae or whatever they can find. That doesn't work out as well for Koi as it does for Goldfish. Most people are somewhere in between.

The amount of food fed is directly related to filters. A handful of food once a week in a 1000 gal pond probably doesn't need filters. 5 lbs of food a week is probably going to need a lot of filtering. So there's that to consider. Uneaten food is very nutritious but so is poo.

Unfortunately without knowing details about your pond there's no way to guess what might be right. But those are the basics.
Thanks for the advice. I live in Delaware where the weather has been in the 70s. I need to get a water thermometer to check the temp. My koi are small ... Like 2 inches max. The pond is small, 100 gallons. The guy at the aquatic center where I bought the fish said it was big enough for three small koi. I'm starting to think he was totally wrong. I'll have to rehome the fish when they get too big. I don't have a filter, just a pump to keep the water bubbling.

They do eat the pellets, so I don't think they are too big, but they may eat one or two, then the rest eventually sink. It takes them a few minutes to come to the surface. I sit there while they eat so they'll get used to me.
 
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I live in Delaware where the weather has been in the 70s. I need to get a water thermometer to check the temp.
Sounds like it's been warm enough for them to eat.

The pond is small, 100 gallons. The guy at the aquatic center where I bought the fish said it was big enough for three small koi. I'm starting to think he was totally wrong. I'll have to rehome the fish when they get too big. I don't have a filter, just a pump to keep the water bubbling
Yeah, that was was a pretty huge lie they told you. But on the upside they did sell 3 Koi. That's all that seems to matter. I don't know every pond retailer in the world but I'm pretty sure they're all incompetent, or crooks, but most just seem to be incompetent crooks. This guy screwed you so he could sell 3 Koi and probably (hopefully) lost a customer for life. I think that's pretty much the business model of the entire mass market pond industry, no repeat business. All of their products certainly seem geared to the first time buyer.

There is one small problem with rehomeing that I've run into in the past. Most of the growing happens in the first couple of years. In a small pond they don't grow very well so in 2 years they might only be say 6" because of poor water, not being able to feed a lot, etc. When people would want to give me their Koi I wouldn't want them because at that point they never would get big. They'd have a big head and tiny body, just not a good Koi. We can only put so many Koi into our ponds, we have to be picky.

You might consider rehomeing them now while they're desirable. Then you can get 2 or 3 Goildfish, I just buy feeder Goldfish. They're the same fish that are sold separately for more. They'll be happy and you won't have to give away a pet.

They do eat the pellets, so I don't think they are too big, but they may eat one or two, then the rest eventually sink. It takes them a few minutes to come to the surface. I sit there while they eat so they'll get used to me.
Kind of odd. But maybe that's enough for them.
 
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You should also consider getting a test kit for ammonia and KH. Those are the main 2, most important. Three Koi in 100 gal means you have a large fish load, that makes things more complicated to keep fish alive. The ammonia test will tell you if you need a bio filter (not the mass market crap, you can build your own easy for cheap and way better). If you added dechlorinator last week you may get a false ammonia reading. That gets pretty tricky to deal with. But I wouldn't initially freak out and start adding stuff to fix a problem that doesn't exist. Freaking out is the best way to kill fish.

I'd also consider getting a minnow net for scooping around on the bottom. Do that a couple of times a week and water quality will be hugely improved.
 

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I always use floating food so I know it has been eaten
 
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How much to feed koi well the truth is there is no set rule many koi keepers have different ideas
But basically to put it in a nutshell feed as much as they will eat in five minutes, then anything left over should be removed from the pond ,
Try to work out a feeding routine , we feed ours up to four times daily in the summer months, some even feed more.
However the general rule is a little and often weve been feeding our koi this way for the last 27 years and have two of our original koi with us to this day and they look set to go another 30 years :confused: koi can live up to and above 80 years if well looked after and given the best possible water conditions (Y)

Dave;)
 

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