Can Koi Eat Rice? (Let’s Find Out)

As Koi fish are growing in popularity, more and more questions are popping up about what you can and can’t feed these beautiful fish. Although Koi fish need a varied and well-balanced diet, they can still consume some foods we enjoy. So, can Koi fish eat rice?

Koi fish can safely eat rice. However, you should only ever feed them whole-grain rice that is cooked. White rice has a large amount of carbohydrates that are difficult for the Koi to digest properly. This can lead to digestive issues or severe conditions like liver degeneration.

How much rice can you safely feed to Koi fish? Can Koi fish eat cereals and fruits? If so, which fruits and cereals are safe to feed Koi fish? What does a healthy and well-balanced Koi fish diet consist of? Let’s find out!

Can Koi Fish Eat Rice?

Koi fish are stunning creatures that are being kept as pets more and more across the country as they are fairly easy to care for, and they are thought to bring good luck and prosperity to their owners.

These fish are brightly colored and are calming to watch, so most people include them in their Zen gardens. However, when you first buy your Koi fish, you might be wondering if you can feed them some human food as a treat or if you run out of their pellets.

One food you might consider feeding your Koi is rice, but is this safe to do? Koi fish can eat rice, but you need to be careful with what rice you feed them and the quantity of rice you give them.

Koi fish have difficulty digesting carbohydrates, especially those made with white flour and grains. So, if you want to feed your Koi fish rice, you must feed them whole grain rice. You should also cook the rice before feeding it to your Koi fish.

If you have pets such as cats or dogs, you may have leftover cat or dog food and may wonder if you can feed your fish the excess food. If so, you can read my blog posts here: can koi fish eat cat food, and can koi fish eat dog food?

How Much Rice Can You Feed Koi Fish Safely?

So, you can feed your Koi fish rice, as long as it’s whole grain and cooked, but how much rice can you feed your Koi fish?

Starchy foods like rice should only be given to your Koi fish in moderation as starchy foods should make up 10% of their diets, or they can start causing some health problems for your Koi.

Rice should be used more as a treat for your Koi fish than as an actual meal. Rice should not be fed to Koi fish as their daily food as this can lead to health complications for your Koi fish that will require treatment.

One cup of cooked, whole-grain rice can be fed to your Koi fish. This will allow all your Koi fish to eat this tasty treat, but it will help you keep their carbohydrate intake down.  

You may wonder what other carbohydrates koi fish can eat, such as bread. If so, you can read my blog post here: can koi fish eat bread?

What Cereal Can Koi Fish Eat?

Bowl with cheerios whole grain cereals on a table

Cereal is another food that many people think about when trying to find something to feed their Koi fish for whatever reason, but are cereals fine to feed to Koi fish?

Koi fish can eat cereals, but you need to be careful of the carbohydrates in the cereals and the sugar content in the cereals you want to feed your Koi. As mentioned earlier, Koi fish cannot digest Carbs well, so you should only give cereals to Koi fish as a treat.

Sugar is another ingredient in cereals that Koi fish should not be eating. So, if you want to feed your Koi fish cereals, you must choose whole wheat options low in sugar.

Some safe cereals to feed Koi fish include wheat flakes, bran flakes, puffed rice, oat flakes, and cheerios. It would be best if you only feed your Koi fish a handful or so of cereal at a time and only as a treat. Do not feed Koi cereal as part of their regular diets.

Before feeding these cereals to your Koi, you need to soak them in water for about 2 to 3 minutes as they can expand a bit. This will stop them from expanding in the Koi’s digestion system and causing a blockage.

What Fruit Can Koi Fish Eat?

Fresh fruits: banana orange apple grape peach lemon lime strawberry, kiwi

Rice and cereals are perfectly fine to feed your Koi fish, but only as a treat about once or twice a week. However, what if you are looking for something that you can feed to your Koi fish regularly that won’t put the health of your Koi fish on the line.

Well, this is where fruits come in. Certain fruits are a great way to treat your Koi to variety in their diet while increasing the nutrients and minerals they receive from their foods.

Fruits should still not be fed to Koi fish daily, but you can feed some fruits to the fish about four or five times a week. Let’s go through the best fruits to feed your Koi, so you can ensure they have a varied diet filled with vitamins and minerals.

Some Juicy Watermelon

Like most people, Koi fish are a sucker for a nice, sweet, juicy watermelon. Watermelon has a fair amount of carbohydrates, so you need to be slightly light-handed when feeding this summer treat to your fish.

Before you feed watermelon to your Koi, you should try and remove as many of the black watermelon seeds as you can from the fruit. These seeds are what contain the most carbohydrates in the fruit, so limiting these are recommended.

You should cut the watermelon into small chunks and let your Koi fish eat the watermelon straight from your hand. Alternatively, you can cut the watermelon into very thin slices, remove the seeds, and then let the watermelon float on the water’s surface for your Koi to nibble on.

Grapefruit And Other Citrus Fruits

Piece of pink grapefruit in a tea-spoon, healthy citrus dessert

Koi fish seem to love Grapefruits in particular, but they will also eat other types of citrus fruits. They will eat lemons, oranges, mandarins, and limes. These fruits are particularly healthy for Koi fish as they contain a good amount of vitamin C, which can help boost the immune systems of your Koi fish.

To feed these fruits to your Koi, you can cut them into slices and let them float on the water’s surface for your Koi to nibble at. You will need to remove the rinds, as the Koi will not eat these.

You should avoid feeding citrus fruits to your Koi more than three times a week as the fruits can scorch the lips of the fish, turning them light pink. If this happens, all you need to do is feed your Koi less citrus, and they will return to normal.

Berries, Apples, Bananas, And More!

A collection of Summer berries, strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries.

Feeding various fruits to your Koi fish, in general, is a good idea as they are filled with fiber, vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals that are good for your fish. Bananas are a great fruit option for Koi fish as they are soft and easy for the fish to digest.

However, you should remove the peel and cut the banana into small chunks before feeding it to your Koi. You can then leave the banana to float on the water for your Koi fish to nibble at as they please, and there is nothing to clean up as you have already removed the peel.

With apples, you need to peel the apple and remove the core, then cut the apple into chunks before you feed it to your Koi. The apple peel and the seeds are difficult for the Koi to digest properly.

Blueberries and strawberries are great fruit options to feed your Koi fish. You can throw a handful of blueberries into the water, but with strawberries, be sure to cut them in half to make it easier for the Koi to eat.

Some other fruits like honeydew melons and cantaloupes are good fruit options to feed your Koi fish. Be sure to remove the rinds from them first and cut them into small chunks before feeding them to your Koi.

What Is Considered A Balanced Diet For Koi Fish?

Koi fish have diverse appetites and are adventurous eaters, meaning they will probably try to eat anything you give them. However, this can cause digestive problems for them, so you need to keep an eye on what they eat and how much of each food they eat to avoid problems.

Koi fish have some particular dietary requirements that you need to ensure are met to keep your Koi fish healthy and strong. With Koi fish, the main part of their diets should be proteins, with protein consisting of 35 to 40% of their regular diet.

You can supplement their protein with some fruits and vegetables to ensure the fish receive their required mineral and vitamin intake. Fats should only make up between 5 to 10% of a Koi fish’s diet but should be increased to 15% in fall and winter to survive cold conditions.

Carbohydrates should only make up about 10% of your Koi fish’s diet, as they can have difficulty digesting them. The carbs you feed your Koi should only be whole grain and nothing else. If you overfeed carbs to your Koi fish, this can lead the liver degeneration in your fish.

A good way to ensure that your Koi fish are receiving a balanced diet is to feed them good quality, high-protein Koi fish pellets and then supplement this with some fruit and vegetables about four to five times a week and grain about once or twice a week.

If you stick to this balanced diet, your Koi fish should be healthy and not suffer any health complications.

What Other Human Food Can Koi Fish Eat?

Koi fish are adventurous eaters and require a varied diet to keep them healthy, but there is more food than rice, fruits, and cereals that you can feed to your Koi fish and enjoy yourself.

There are many other “human” foods that you can feed to your Koi fish as a lovely, tasty little treat, and your Koi fish will love them.

These other foods will also help ensure your Koi have a good balance of different foods and nutrition in their diets, but you should only feed these foods to them as a treat. Let’s go through the other foods you can safely feed your Koi.

Leafy Greens And Lettuce

Lettuce is a great snack for Koi fish; let’s face it, we all tend to have leftover lettuce that wasn’t eaten during the week. So, please don’t throw it away; give it to your Koi!

Lettuce doesn’t have much nutritional value, so be sure not to fill your Koi up with lettuce to the point where they don’t eat their actual nutritious food. Other leafy greens like spinach make for a healthier food option for your Koi.

No matter which leafy greens you choose to feed your Koi fish, you need to ensure they are free of salad dressings and spices, as these are not good for Koi fish.

Sardines And Shrimp

Freshly grilled sardines on silver plate, Portugal
Freshly grilled sardines

As Koi fish are omnivores, they will eat other smaller fish in the pond and bugs. If you want to avoid your other pond fish becoming a snack for your Koi, you can feed your Koi some sardines or small shrimp to keep them satisfied.

You can feed these to your Koi fish as live food or use the already frozen varieties. If you choose the frozen ones, ensure they are fully thawed before feeding them to your Koi. 

Hard-Boiled Eggs

Hard-boiled eggs are another great and healthy treat for your Koi fish. Eggs are protein-packed, making them good food to feed your Koi. You can even feed Hard-boiled eggs to your Koi regularly for this reason.

You need to ensure that the eggs are completely cooked and not runny, and you need to remove the shell from the eggs. Then you can thinly slice the eggs and feed them to your Koi fish. This is a snack that Koi fish seem to love.


Koi fish need a varied diet to ensure they receive all the nutrition to stay healthy. There are many foods outside of the regular Koi pellets that you can safely feed your Koi fish, with whole grain rice being one of them.

You need to ensure you get the quantities correct to avoid any negative side effects from the foods, but your Koi fish will really enjoy a well-balanced diet that includes some fruits, vegetables, and grains. Good luck with your Koi fish!


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