Need info on feeding koi and goldfish in winter, please.

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We live in Logan Lake, BC - up in the hills from Kamloops. We can get very cold winters (sometimes as cold as the minus 30's Celcius) but our rainbow trout have always fared well in our pond which is roughly 20 x 15 feet and 5 feet in depth at the deepest spot. Everyone said it couldn't be done, including the Ministry of Environment, and they said that if the fish made it through winter, they would never make it through the hot summers. 9 years later and it's still a success, as a matter of fact, we are told that if they live another year or so, they will break the record for the oldest rainbow trout in captivity.

We have incorporated koi into the pond in recent months and suddenly acquired a stock trough with 4 goldfish. The goldfish will remain in the trough and it will be winterized. Today, we brought in one of the koi and put it with the goldfish and the other 2 stay at the bottom of the pond so we will have to drain it down to get at them soon so that we can put them with the rest. Reason being ... we have learned that, unlike trout, these fish cannot feed when the water approaches 50 F, which it has been the last few days. We stopped feeding the goldfish but I think the koi was still feeding - he hangs out in the rocks at the bottom of the waterfall and gorges on scuds and other aquatic insects. This is the sole diet of the trout and it has become the koi's preferred food too as that is all he has eaten for 3 months. We removed him so that he could not feed anymore.

My question is, both the goldfish and the koi are still very active and appear to be foraging for food. I would have thought that the colder water would start to make them dormant and that is why they wouldn't need food. But i know they cannot eat because they don't have stomachs and are unable to digest their food which can lead to bacterial infections which can cause illness or death. But it just seems that fish that are so active would still need to eat. So, before i starve them to death, could somebody please confirm to me that i am doing the right thing?
 

Ruben Miranda

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Hello
Water temp below 50 d do not feed.
Kik do not have stomachs and the digestive system does not work well in water under 50 d that is why we do not feed in winters.

Ruben
 

Meyer Jordan

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This is another one of those subjects that will be discussed 'ad infinitum'.
The truth is exactly what you have observed...that Koi (and Goldfish) will continue to eat at temperatures below 10C/50F.
Several scientific research projects have confirmed this fact. One research project in particular documented Carp feeding a 33.5F. Granted it was limited and sporadic feeding, but it was feeding nonetheless
Temperature controls the metabolic rate in fish. The metabolic rate controls the feeding response and frequency of feeding. The metabolic rate at low temperatures is very low but still functioning otherwise the fish would perish. As long as the metabolic rate is active, fuel (food) is required. In the absence of food, the fish physiology will turn to feeding on stored fat first. When this is depleted, muscle mass is next. This results, if the fish survive, in severely weakened fish come Spring. Fish that may be physiologically unable to stave off attacks from active pathogenic organisms because of a severely weakened immune system.
My answer to you, therefore, is to continue feeding your fish utilizing the 5 minute rule, reducing the amount and frequency of feeding as temperatures decrease.
 
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Yes, I know that Ruben, as I posted. I was looking for a little more information but thank you. :)

That's very interesting information, Meyer, and it makes perfect sense to me. Trout have been second nature to me for many years, but I'm on a learning curve with koi and goldfish.

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my question.
 

Meyer Jordan

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Trout can not really be fairly compared to either Koi or Goldfish. Trout are cold-water salmonids and Koi and Goldfish are cool to warm water cyprinids.
Trout, because they are a cold water specie, will actively feed at fairly low temperatures, Koi and Goldfish not so much.
My original answer stands. If an animal is breathing it needs to take in nourishment, unless, of course, it hibernates like a bear or brumates like a turtle. Fish do neither.
 
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Hi, welcome , u should give them wheat based food in very little calculated quantity ... ie whole wheat bread , wheat germ , oat wheat , its easy to digest for fish and less harmful for the pond even as waste compared to protein based diet

when winter is about to begin , start it so they get used to it in transition period , then in mid winter observe if they dont eat then dont feed them bcz it wil rott , if they do ,then feed them little like twice a week , make sure nothing is wasted because in winter bacterias are not that active to cycle the pond and consume bad stuff , also the fishes dont consume much in there bodies remaining food is passed, partially digested through the digestive system to place an unwanted loading on the biofilter, there metabolism is slowed down and more wastage is left in the pond .
 
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Yes, and this is why I question everything I was told about koi and goldfish these past few weeks, re winter and feeding. Every now and then you hear about koi and goldfish being released into our BC Interior lakes (you hear of more instances in the coastal regions) and how they multiply and take over trout populations. Trout are near and dear to the hearts of people in BC and the Ministry will kill off an entire lake of fish, both trout and the invasive species to rid the lake of them. We panic up here if the lake contains a tributary in which the invasive fish can travel to other bodies of water.

What is ridiculous though, is that when we built our trout pond, we not only had to apply for a license to posses them, but we also had to jump through many hoops to be approved for that license. Once of which is that we had to take pictures of our property, showing that there were no ditches or streams of any type for the trout to escape and travel into nearby lakes and rivers. This is all fine and good because we don’t want any disease carrying trout getting into the system and affecting the wild trout stock, but why the heck wouldn’t the same license rules apply to coarse fish, especially when we worry so much about them raising havoc with our wild populations?

The point is, people seem to take too much care in raising them in private ponds while the ones that are released to live in all kinds of ‘un natural to koi’ conditions - and survive long harsh winters in lakes that experience early ice up in up to -40 Celcius weather, and where no human is around to withhold their diet of aquatic insects, snails, trout fry, algae etc. - fare extremely well. It seems that they are perfectly capable of monitoring their own diet.

As for the bio waste ... there are a couple of cattails in pots in the trough and the pots contain some scuds that are excellent at cleaning up any waste while also providing food for the fish. They don't breed as heavily in winter as they do in the warmer months but they would supply a limited supply of food (as well as the algae).

Here is a short article on the invasion of koi in one of our interior lakes ...
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/quesnel-dragon-lake-trout-endangered-by-koi-infestation-1.2945523
 

sissy

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I feed mine because the cool weather food I buy has garlic in it and it helps them all winter .Of course on that we don't really get a long winter here .Usually just around 2 months or so .But I would not want to go hungry even that long and fish by then have eaten all the good stuff in the pond
 

Meyer Jordan

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Yes, and this is why I question everything I was told about koi and goldfish these past few weeks, re winter and feeding. Every now and then you hear about koi and goldfish being released into our BC Interior lakes (you hear of more instances in the coastal regions) and how they multiply and take over trout populations. Trout are near and dear to the hearts of people in BC and the Ministry will kill off an entire lake of fish, both trout and the invasive species to rid the lake of them. We panic up here if the lake contains a tributary in which the invasive fish can travel to other bodies of water.

What is ridiculous though, is that when we built our trout pond, we not only had to apply for a license to posses them, but we also had to jump through many hoops to be approved for that license. Once of which is that we had to take pictures of our property, showing that there were no ditches or streams of any type for the trout to escape and travel into nearby lakes and rivers. This is all fine and good because we don’t want any disease carrying trout getting into the system and affecting the wild trout stock, but why the heck wouldn’t the same license rules apply to coarse fish, especially when we worry so much about them raising havoc with our wild populations?

The point is, people seem to take too much care in raising them in private ponds while the ones that are released to live in all kinds of ‘un natural to koi’ conditions - and survive long harsh winters in lakes that experience early ice up in up to -40 Celcius weather, and where no human is around to withhold their diet of aquatic insects, snails, trout fry, algae etc. - fare extremely well. It seems that they are perfectly capable of monitoring their own diet.

As for the bio waste ... there are a couple of cattails in pots in the trough and the pots contain some scuds that are excellent at cleaning up any waste while also providing food for the fish. They don't breed as heavily in winter as they do in the warmer months but they would supply a limited supply of food (as well as the algae).

Here is a short article on the invasion of koi in one of our interior lakes ...
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/quesnel-dragon-lake-trout-endangered-by-koi-infestation-1.2945523

So true. It has always amused me that the pond industry would have one believe (and has convinced many) that Koi are fragile, when, in fact, they are, along with Tilapia, some of the toughest and most durable fish on the planet. This is exactly what makes them invasive...their ability to adapt to the harshest of conditions and thrive.
 
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Our winters are quite long, Sissy. The pond will ice up sometime in November and won't ice off until mid to late April. But, even in September we get nights that are below freezing, as well as in the spring, in May and June.

Our regular pond, which contains the trout, never gets depleted of food. We have left it as natural as possible with rocks on the bottom for scuds and other insects to hide while they take care of the sludge. There are always foraging opportunities for the fish. Our pond contains, dragonfly and damsel nymphs, bloodworms and chironomid larva and pupa, mayfly nymphs, scuds (freshwater shrimp), boatmen, leeches, caddis pupa and larva, etc. When we clean the filter alone, we find thousands of insects that are released back to the pond.

We seldom do a thing to the pond other than clean the filter and drain the pond down to about 1/2 way and add some fresh water once or twice a year. Logan Lake only puts chlorine in our water once a year and we are notified when that will happen. We leave the algae alone for the most part, especially the string algae, because it keeps the water cooler, protects the fish from the sun when it's very hot, and provides more habitat for insects. However, we will use something to dissolve it once or twice a year if it threatens to choke off everything but usually I will just stand on the bridge with a stick and wrap it like cotton candy and then put it in the composter as it makes excellent compost.

In winter, we take a couple of boards off the little bridge and my husband, Neil, attaches a covered, insulated box there with the bottom of it sitting in the water, and a light bulb to keep it warm enough inside to keep a hole open it the ice at all times. We also run a bubbler.

From the information that I have gleaned from Meyer, I will not hesitate to put the goldfish and koi in the main pond, all year round. The koi are used to it (only had them for the summer though) but the goldfish are new so I will wait until spring and then put them all in there. On the other hand, I really like having the small pond as it's nice to see them up close whereas the fish in the big pond tend to spend a lot of their time going deep or foraging in the reeds.
 
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This will give you an idea of our pond. I just took the shots today and the shadows from the sun don't do it justice. As I mentioned before, it is about 20 x 15 feet and the large area under the bridge is 5 feet deep while the shallows to the right are a gradual slope into the deeper water. There is a waterfall at the top right hand side of the pond but you can't really see it because of the foliage around and on top of it.
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