What Do Koi Fish Eat (Koi Feeding Guideline)

Just like humans, food is an essential factor for fish’s health and growth. Good nutrition can make them grow nice and big. On the other hand, bad food can cause health deterioration and serious health issues in some cases. And Koi fish’s growth and development highly dependent on their diet. A good diet can make them healthier and more beautiful than ever.

If you’re a Koi owner and have some experience, you should know- just how important food is for them. So, you should be aware of what is best for them

So, what do Koi/ Coy fish eat?

Koi have a vast range of food habit. They are omnivorous, starting from small bugs, plants, algae, insects, and almost everything found at depths of the water, to fish food from the store. Even Koi can have people food like- shrimp, lettuce, peas, rice, cereal, and many more.

Also, their species and living environment can affect their eating habit. And food and nutrition play one of the major roles in how fast your Koi will grow. We also provided some in-depth research links below to understand the importance of the right and best food for Koi.

If you want the detailed food habits and what you should feed and what you shouldn’t, please read to the end. Hope, you will find the answers you need.

Koi Fish Feeding Guide

For better understanding and easily identifying what you’re looking for, we divided the Koi fish’s food habit into different parts.

So, we will be discussing what fruits, vegetables, meats, and other commercial foods Koi fish can eat.

What Vegetables Can/Do Koi Eat

Koi loves the greens and other common vegetables. Starting from lettuce, broccoli, garlic, grated carrots, leek/leaks, endive, cauliflower, squash, marrow, and more are just fine to feed them as a treat. Spinach and romaine also make excellent nutrients to your Koi Fish.

However, there are some vegetables you should avoid feeding them, which are rich in carbohydrates and sugar. We will talk about them later in this article.

Yes, I know; I have mentioned carrots in this section that’s a high sugar vegetable. That’s why I have mentioned them as a treat; vegetables and foods other than their daily diet should be given more than two-three times a week, not regularly.

How do you feed vegetables to Koi fish?

Koi fish loves spinach, lettuce, romaine lettuce, and other vegetables raw and blanched both. So, you can feed the raw vegetables without cooking or boil them. But if you don’t want to feed raw vegetables, make them smaller pieces and boil them to soften before feeding.    

What Fruits Do/Can Koi Eat

Fruits are a great source of fiber, carbohydrate, vitamins, and antioxidants for your Koi fish. Starting from apple, banana, berries, watermelon, kiwi, grapes, orange, strawberries, mandarins, banana (without peel), and many more.

It’s always best to feed fruits that are less rich in carbohydrates. Fruits like Apple, Banana, Raisins, Dates, Mango, etc., are high in carbohydrates. So, provide them as treats, and avoid feeding in a large amount.

How do you feed fruits to Koi fish

Like vegetables, Koi fish loves raw fruits too. But remove the skin first, and slice them into smaller pieces before serving them. However, you can also give blanched fruits to your Koi fish. In that case, remove the skin, cut into smaller pieces, and then boil them in water.

What Meat Food Do/Can Koi Eat

Omnivore Koi do love some meat food occasionally. You can feed them different bugs, insects, shrimp, worms, crayfish, small fish, etc. Avoid giving them something with hard-shell.

What Store-Bought Food Can Koi Eat

The commercial Koi food from the local store, don’t go for the cheaper ones. Other than those-Koi can eat Silkworm pupae, Bloodworms, Tubifex worms, Earthworms, Black mosquito larvae, Wax moth larvae, Tadpoles, Shrimp, Clams, Duckweed, Hyacinths all these store-bought food besides Koi food.

Remember, all the things other than Koi food should be given as a treat.

Homemade foods Koi can Eat

There are some homemade foods you can offer your water jewels. Foods like – Hard-boiled egg, Whole wheat bread, Oatmeal flakes, Cooked rice, Cooked pasta, Cheerios can be served to a Koi fish.

Koi fish homemade food are easy to make if you are willing to do it; take two cups of cooked rice, 10-15 canned sardines, around two pounds of shrimp, a cup of orange juice, and some garlic cloves- put them in a blender and pulse to chop them into small pieces. Then, mix in gelatin and pulse to form a paste. Your homemade Koi fish food is ready to serve.

You can just release the paste into the water; Koi will happily eat it from the bottom; as the Koi are usually bottom feeder. Or, you can hand-feed them.

What do Koi eat in the Wild/Naturally/or a Pond

Koi are omnivorous fish; so, they eat anything from plants to small fishes. In the wild, Koi eat anything they can have like- aquatic plants, dead leaves, algae, worms, insects, bugs, fallen fruits and vegetables, larvae, seeds, crustaceans, vegetation, and other small fishes; which means anything available to them, they eat it.

Do koi fish eat other fish

As you know, Koi are omnivorous fish and eat both plants and meat items. Koi are opportunistic feeders. Although they are gentle and friendly fish, they won’t hesitate to eat other smaller fish. Sometimes they eat their own fry too!

What can I feed My Koi Fish

The best thing about Koi is that they will eat almost anything edible you throw at them if they are hungry. They aren’t picky about their foods. So, starting from commercial Koi or fish food, vegetables, fruits, insects, worms, small fishes to almost everything you can feed them.

However, other than their usual Koi or fish food, other things should be given as a treat. For what vegetables, fruits, meats, and other store-bought you can feed them, please read the previous parts of this article.

What to feed baby koi

For the first week, feed liquid fry food to your baby Koi. You can also offer stained hard-boiled egg yolk to help their growth and stomach size for the first few days. Koi fry needs to be fed around 4-6 times a day as they need proteins and nutrition for their development.

After a week, provide newly hatched brine shrimp larvae.

What can I feed my Koi besides fish food

Feeding Koi will never be a boring task; we can guarantee that. You can feed a Koi fish anything a goldfish eat. Besides Koi food or fish food, vegetables, fruits, krill and plankton, dead leaves, cereal, cooked rice, and pasta, etc. and many other things, you can feed your Koi.

What foods not to give to a Koi fish/ Foods to avoid feeding to Koi Fish

There’s almost nothing a Koi fish can eat which are edible. But there are some foods which you shouldn’t be feeding them, including- Fish and Bugs you caught, Peas, Corn, White bread, and Frogs.  

So, why are these foods bad for Koi?

You may be wondering why these foods are bad for your Koi, while some of them also mentioned in the previous parts of this article saying they can eat them. Peas, corn, and white bread are high carbohydrate food, causing digestive problems for Koi.

Fish and bugs you caught, and the ones are selling in the pet shop have a huge difference; store-bought is processed, and there is less possibility of those fish or bugs to carry any disease harmful to your fish. But which you caught firsthand has a higher chance of carrying diseases or parasites. That’s why we don’t recommend feeding them to your Koi.

How Often To Feed Koi Fish

Koi fish can survive on their own in the wild. But in captivity, they aren’t having access to a lot of foods. So, you need to feed them around 2-4 times a day to keep them healthy and active. Also, Koi fish doesn’t have stomach; so, they can’t survive a long time without feeding.

Outdoor ponds may have some usual aquatic plants, worms, or other insects that can temporarily help Koi feast on. But indoor aquarium Koi fish don’t have that option; that’s why you need to be careful about going out for a long vacation without making any necessary arrangements.

How long can koi fish go without food

Depending on the weather and living environment, a Koi can go about 2 weeks during the summer without being fed. Obviously, there have to be alternatives like algae, bugs, and insects available to them for eating.

However, during winter, Koi fish can go the whole winter without feeding, and the temperature lower than 50 degrees pond Koi doesn’t need to feed at all.

Do koi fish need to be fed every day

Usual feeding for captive Koi should be around 2-4 times a day. But during the winter, temperatures lower than 50 °F don’t need feeding to remain healthy.  Temperature about 55-70 °F, feed them only once a day.

But during the summer, you mustn’t skip feeding regularly.


Can koi fish eat bread

Bread is very high in carbohydrates. Anything that contains high carbohydrates should be avoided; because they are hard for a Koi to digest. So, it causes a health issue for your precious fish. So, can Koi eat bread-

Yes, they can eat bread. However, since the bread has high carbohydrates, you should avoid giving them as much as possible.

Can koi fish eat dog food

Dog foods are an acceptable treat for your Koi. Feeding your Koi dog’s food isn’t necessarily will cause any problem to your fish. However, a dog’s food is suitable for a treat, not as a staple diet for Koi.


What human food can koi fish eat

There is a large number of foods Koi can eat from human foods. Starting from lettuce, different vegetables, shrimp, rice, various fruits, cereal, pasta, and many more. Koi like almost everything a human eats, but of course, which are edible for them.


Can Koi eat boiled eggs/ Do Koi eat chicken eggs

Koi enjoy eating almost all day long. They have a large appetite. Koi eat fish spawn, eggs, including their own eggs, and they do eat hard-boiled eggs or chicken eggs if available to them while they are hungry.


Can Koi eat cheerios

Cheerios contain low-sugar, high nutrition, and high carbohydrates. They float nicely on the water, and Koi loves to eat them. Since cheerios have higher carbs, you shouldn’t give them more than once in a day. The best practice is to switch into honey for the next day.


Can Koi fish eat cat food

Just like dog foods, Koi eat cat foods too. And they are safe to give them. Cut the food into smaller chunks, so it will easily float on the water, and the Koi can eat them as a whole. And, give them as a treat, don’t feed them as a staple diet.


Can Koi Eat Banana

Banana is a good source of carbohydrates, but Koi can eat a banana as a treat. Before giving them to your Koi, you need to peel them first. You can provide banana by slicing them into smaller pieces or put them as a whole, as the banana is soft and won’t be a problem for Koi to eat.

However, the best practice is to slice the bananas into smaller pieces, which will be easy to consume for your Koi fish.


Can Koi eat tomatoes

Any food with hard outer casing should be avoided to feed your Koi, as they are hard to digest. Tomato has a comparative hard outer skin; so, it’s better not to give them. However, if you want to feed tomatoes to your Koi, remove the hard outer skin and slice them into smaller pieces before serving.

Here’s a Study on Comparison of food selection and growth performance of koi carp, Cyprinus carpio L., and goldfish, Carassius auratus (L.) in mono‐ and polyculture rearing in tropical ponds


Final Say

Koi is one of the most beautiful fish. They need different types of food for their growth and development. Among the top koi growth factors, food and nutrition stood on the top. So, proper feeding is important for Koi fish.

The good thing is, they eat almost anything you can offer if they are edible to them. They will eat anything available when they are hungry. They love to eat. But you have to be careful which foods are right for them, and which aren’t.

Vegetables, fruits, and other foods, which are not their actual diet, shouldn’t give them too often. Provide treat as a treat; don’t make them a staple diet.

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