Overall, koi fish are relatively easy to care for as long as you provide them with the correct dietary and environmental requirements. When you decide what you will feed your koi, it’s best to remember that you will need to adjust your feeds according to your koi’s seasonal dietary requirements. It is crucial to provide your koi with the correct food during winter, and knowing which foods are best is always a bonus.
When winter sets in, a koi fish’s digestive system slows down. For this reason, the best winter koi foods are low in protein, as it takes longer and is harder to digest, and include easily digestible foods such as wheat germ, a product high in good fats, vitamins, and slow-release carbohydrates.
As winter sets in, you will now need to change up your koi fish’s diet to suit the slowing down of their digestive systems. Knowing which are some of the best winter foods available will enable you to choose the best food for your koi during this time.
15 Of The Best Koi Foods To Feed Your Koi In The Winter
There is a range of different koi foods available in-store and online. Deciding which foods will best benefit your koi fish during winter can be challenging. To help in the decision-making process, we have put together a list of 15 of the best winter koi foods.
Hikari Wheat-Germ is a great winter food for your koi fish. You can safely feed this food to your koi in the colder months as it is highly digestible and packed with added vitamins and minerals. One of the main ingredients in this food is the wheat germ kernel, which is high in good fats and vitamins with slow-releasing carbohydrates, perfect for digestive systems operating at a slower capacity. The high nutrient levels offer your koi extra immune support for winter.
Hikari Wheat-Germ includes stabilized vitamin C, which is immune boosting. It also includes garlic which is excellent for warding off parasites while your koi are in semi-hibernation (torpor). Another great ingredient in this food is the krill meal, a good source of protein and a color enhancer. It has a minimum of 32% crude protein and 4% fats.
The Hikari Wheat-Germ pellet comes in two forms floating and sinking. The floating pellets come in mini, medium, and large pellets, and the sinking pellets only come in the medium size option. The nutrient contents differ slightly depending on which variation you choose. Once temperatures drop to between 41 – 64°F, you should only be feeding your koi twice a day and only enough food for them to consume within five minutes.
2. Saki – Hikari Multi Season
The Saki-Hikari Multi-Season koi food is another excellent food option for the colder months. Its specially designed formula lets you feed your koi in the cooler months as long as you decrease the food amount you give them. With this fantastic option, you can provide your koi with the same food throughout the year.
Saki – Hikari Multi-Season includes a combination of easily digestible ingredients, including wheat-germ, high in amino acids and vitamin E. The formula also comprises Hikari-Germ, a live, naturally occurring probiotic that supports your koi’s intestinal flora. Other ingredients are abundant in this food, including krill meal, soybeans, garlic, fish oil, and vitamins and minerals. It has a minimum of 37% crude protein and 5% fats.
You can get this koi food in medium and large pellet sizes, both of which are in the form of floating pellets. When temperatures are between 41 – 54°F, you should only feed your koi twice a day and preferably during the warmer parts of the day. Once temperatures drop below 41°F, you should stop feeding your koi altogether.
3. NT Labs Medikoi Health
Medikoi Health is another year-round food that you can feed your koi in the warmer and colder months. It is a complete feed for your koi, containing natural, high-quality ingredients which boost the immune system enabling your koi to better fight off diseases.
This food contains Stimmune, a unique formula of beta-glutens designed to support your koi fish’s immune system and help maintain healthy liver function. It also contains propolis, a natural product located in beehives, which helps support a fish’s recovery from infections. Lastly, Meikoi Health includes a unique blend of nutraceutical herbs that help maintain your koi fish’s resistance to infection. It has a minimum of 33% crude protein and 5% fats.
People who go for the Medikoi Health option alternate this food with the Medikoi Wheat Germ and Garlic, alternating with a three-week feed on the Wheat Germ and Garlic followed by a two-week feeding regime on the Medikoi Health. During the colder months, when temperatures are between 41 – 54°F, you should only feed your koi Medikoi Health once a day.
4. NT Labs Medikoi Wheat Germ And Garlic Fish Food
Medikoi Wheat Germ with Garlic is an ideal complete feed perfect for feeding your koi in late autumn, winter, and at the start of spring. It has a specially designed formula perfect for easy digestion, with reduced percentages of protein which is excellent for your koi fish, whose metabolisms slow down during the cooler months.
This complete feed includes beneficial ingredients such as garlic, stimulating a koi fish’s appetite. It also has a super low percentage of protein which sits at around 21 %, and a minimum of 5% fats. The sulfur-rich compounds found within garlic can also permeate through your fish’s skin which will help to repel skin parasites when your fish is in torpor and vulnerable.
Feed your koi Wheat Germ with Garlic twice a day during the winter. You can alternate this feed with Medikoi Health ensuring that your koi get the best nutrition and support during the colder months. Alternate three weeks of Wheat Germ with Garlic twice a day, followed by two weeks of Medikoi Health once a day.
5. Tetra Pond Wheat Germ Sticks
Tetra Pond Wheat Germ Sticks are an ideal food source specially designed for cold water feeding. This food is a perfect option for feeding your koi during late autumn, winter, and early spring. Its premium wheat germ content is easy to digest, promoting improved water quality. It is a complete food, perfect for giving your koi fish a quick energy boost during the colder months.
The specially designed patented Active Formula of the Wheat Germ Sticks includes cereals, vegetable protein extracts, algae, yeasts, oils, minerals, and fats. The extra additives include pro-vitamins and vitamins, including Vit A, D3, Manganese, Iron, and Zinc, to promote increased vitality and energy and a healthy immune system. It has a minimum of 31% crude protein and 5% fats.
Tetra Pond Wheat Germ Sticks are a floating feed that absorbs water, making them easily digestible. You can feed your koi Wheat Germ Sticks 1 – 2 times a day, but only as much as they can consume in 7 minutes.
6. Nishikoi Wheat Germ Fish Food
Nishikoi Wheat Germ Fish Food is an ideal feed for early spring and late autumn. Its low protein percentage and high fiber and wheat germ content enable your koi to metabolize their food with less effort, keeping excreted ammonia levels to a minimum, which benefits ponds, keeping them cleaner and healthier.
Wheat germ Fish Food is a complete and balanced formulated feed that includes vitamins A, C, D, and E, which help to maintain your koi fish’s vital organs and immune systems. It also includes spirulina, a natural color enhancer to help your fish appear at their very best while also being enriched with essential fatty acids. It has a minimum of 19.7% crude protein and 5% fats.
The Wheat Germ Fish Food comes in three different pellet sizes-small, medium, and large, depending on the size of your koi. If your koi are all different sizes, it would be best to stick with the smaller pellets. You can feed your koi this food three times a day during the colder months, but only enough that they can consume in 5 minutes. The best practice would be for you to clean up the uneaten food once your fish have finished eating.
7. Aqua Master Wheat Germ Fish Food
Aqua Master Wheat Germ Fish Food is a perfect feed for your koi once water temperatures drop below 70°F. Its unique formula includes the wheat germ and B-carotenoid, which helps promote healthy colors, skin, and vitality. You might notice that the pellets have a coating around them. This coating is a beneficial bacteria called bacillus subtilize, which is found in a fish’s gut and will further promote digestion and reduce waste from the food, improving your pond’s water quality.
This wheat germ koi feed includes a range of vitamins and minerals and other healthy ingredients. It has a minimum of 36% crude protein and 4% fats. The protein levels are similar to those found in summer feeds, but this food has the added benefit of the wheat germ, making it that much easier to digest.
This food comes in a medium pellet size of the floating variety. An added benefit is that the pellets soften quickly once in the water, making them easy for your fish to consume. Feed your fish twice a day with this food during the colder months.
8. Dainichi All-Season Koi Fish Food
Dainichi All-Season Koi Fish Food is another great option for year-round feeding. With two main ingredients being white fish meal and wheat germ, this food is a great slow-release energy provider and promotes weight gain in your koi. One ingredient not often present in most US-based koi foods is calcium montmorillonite clay. This ingredient is a popular choice for show koi and aids in stimulating the ingestion of natural minerals.
All-Season also includes ingredients such as krill and spirulina, which are great for enhancing your koi fish’s color. Brewer’s yeast is another excellent ingredient as it aids in digestive support. Other components include vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and garlic which is ideal for helping to combat parasites that might attack during the colder months when your koi are more vulnerable. It has a minimum of 39% crude protein and 4% fats.
This food comes in a medium-sized pellet which you can feed to your koi 2 – 4 times a day. Once temperatures drop below 50°F, you should refrain from feeding your koi this food. Only provide your koi with enough food to consume within 5 minutes.
9. Evolution Aqua Wheatgerm
Evolution Aqua Wheatgerm is an excellent food to feed your koi fish year-round, although it is a perfect feed for the cooler months of winter. With its specifically designed formula, which includes a lower percentage of crude protein, this food is ideal for koi fish to eat when their metabolism slows down. The Aqua Wheatgerm can also be fed to your other fish, making it a perfect option for communal ponds.
This food includes BioMass, a derivative of yeast, and maximizes the performance and health of your fish, improving their immune systems and prolonging their lives. It also contains Omega 3 and 6, ideal ingredients for promoting vitality and health and enhancing colorations. It has a minimum of 28% crude protein and 8% fats.
This food comes in a medium pellet form which you can feed your koi two to three times a day, ensuring that you only provide them as much as they can consume in five minutes. Remove the excess food to help maintain good water quality.
10. Kusuri Wheat Germ Pond Food
Kasuri Wheatgerm Pond Food has a unique formula that aids in easy digestibility. With increased amounts of garlic and wheat flour-free, this food is an excellent option for the cooler months of late autumn, winter, and early spring. You have the option of feeding this food to your koi year-round, but it particularly suits times when you need to adopt a reduced feeding regime.
Kusuri Wheatgerm is full of beneficial vitamins and minerals and spirulina, a natural color enhancer and a tremendous fatty acid resource. It has a minimum of 34% crude protein and 8% fats. It also includes a product called Optimum, which has a proven track record of stimulating resistance to diseases and infections while promoting tissue cell growth.
This wheat-germ feed comes in medium and large-sized pellets. You can feed your koi once a day on this feed but only give them enough food to consume in five minutes. If there is any food leftover on the surface, you should remove it from the pond to promote water quality.
11. Sera 1 Piece Koi Professional Winter Food
A staple diet food Sera Professional Winter Food is an excellent option for koi fish and other fish, making it a perfect choice for a mixed pond. The Sera 1 Piece Koi Professional Winter Food offers koi owners a winter food high in protein but has the added benefits of incorporating wheat germ into the formula. This food is designed for colder water conditions, containing reduced carbohydrate levels for easier digestion.
The main protein ingredient in this food is a fish meal, and it also has omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins. The garlic component is excellent for warding off unwanted parasites. The krill meal component and spirulina enable your koi to maintain a beautiful color throughout the cold months. The high-fat content is excellent for younger koi who need to build up extra fatty stores for the winter months. It has a minimum of 54% crude protein and 10.5% fats.
Sera Koi Professional Winter Food comes in medium-sized round pellets that will float to the bottom of the pond where your fish prefer to hang out during the colder months. The manufacturers of this product note that it is an excellent choice of food to feed to your koi once water temperatures drop below 54°F. Feed once a day and ensure that you only give your koi as much as they can consume in a short time.
12. Crystal Clear Wheat Germ Fish Food
The specially designed formula that is Crystal Clear Wheat Germ Fish Food is perfect for transitioning your koi out of winter and through the cold months of early spring and going into winter through late autumn. Ideal for 4 inches and larger fish, this food is a perfect feed for koi and goldfish.
The ingredients added to this food include a range of beneficial minerals, vitamins, and other elements, including wheat germ meal, soybean meal, feather meal, fish meal, yeast extract, and extruded whole soybeans. It has a minimum of 28% crude protein and 4% fats.
Crystal Clear Wheat Germ comes in a 3mm pellet size that will float on the water’s surface and is a perfect meal to feed your koi and goldfish once water temperatures have dropped below 60°F. You can feed your koi up to five times a day. Ensure you do not provide them with excessive food, only enough for them to consume within five minutes. Ensure that you remove all excess or remaining food off the surface of your pond, as this will help you maintain water quality.
13. Ultra Balance Premium Maintenance Wheat Germ
The Ultra Balance Premium Maintenace recommends that you only feed it to koi fish two years old or older. This food has a specially designed formula ideal for feeding your koi once water temperatures have dropped below 64°F, making it a perfect feed for those colder winter months. You can rest assured that Ultra Balance Premium Maintenance is a well-rounded, nutritionally balanced feed that requires no supplemental feeding.
This food uses high-quality whitefish meals, making up the highest protein content. It also includes the highly digestible wheat germ, natural color enhancers in shrimp meal, spirulina, and marigold extract. The inclusion of probiotics helps to improve immune system support and digestibility. It uniquely includes yucca extract, which helps reduce ammonia levels, thus improving the water quality of your pond.
With its minimum of 30% crude protein and 4% fats, this winter feed consists of medium-sized pellets that float on the pond’s surface. In temperatures consistently over 64°F, you can feed your koi 2 – 4 times a day. Once temperatures drop below 64°F, you should start to feed them only once or twice a day, and only enough food for them to consume within five minutes.
14. Tetra Pond Spring And Fall Diet
The Tetra Pond Spring and Fall Diet is a great winter feed as it is specially formulated with wheat germ for improved and easy digestion while your koi fish’s metabolisms are slowing down during the colder months. This diet is a great transitional feed for going into and coming out of winter.
Tetra Pond Spring and Fall Diet have a relatively typical formula incorporating wheat germ as one of the main ingredients, and they also use potato protein. They include a range of beneficial vitamins and minerals to provide your koi with a well-rounded winter feed. It has a minimum of 32% crude protein and 5% fats.
The Tetra Pond Spring and Fall Diet come in floating soft sticks, easy for your koi to eat and digest. You can happily feed your koi once or twice a day once temperatures drop below 64°F, ensuring that you only provide enough for a five-minute feed. Remove any excess food from your pond to maintain water quality.
15. Laguna Spring And Fall Floating Pond Fish Food With Wheat Germ
Laguna Spring and Fall Fish Food is a specially designed floating food perfect for the cooler months when your koi have a slower metabolic rate. This food is ideal for use as the first and last food your fish eat before coming out of or going into torpor. A great benefit of this food is that it does not cloud your pond’s water.
The ingredients in this fish food are relatively typical for winter fish food, and they use fish meal and wheat germ as their proteins and soybean meal and feather meal. It has a minimum of 28% crude protein and 4% fats. They include plenty of minerals and vitamins to keep your fish healthy over the cold months.
The Laguna Spring and Fall Fish Food come in floating pellets. You can feed this food to your koi or goldfish once or twice a day, feeding only enough for them to consume within five minutes.
Do Koi Fish Need Food In The Winter?
When it comes to deciding to feed or not to feed your koi food during the winter, it comes down to your water temperature. If you reside in an area where temperatures do not drop too low, you will need to continue feeding your koi throughout the winter.
On the other hand, if your location is in an area where temperatures drop quite drastically, you will need to monitor your water temperatures, feeding the right foods until the temperatures drop to a certain point where you should stop feeding altogether.
Koi fish will go into a state of semi-hibernation called torpor. During this state, their digestive systems slow down to an almost standstill. If there is food in their digestive tracts during this time, the food can begin to rot, ultimately leading to the demise of your koi.
So what it comes down to is the temperature of your pond water, which will be dictated by the outside temperatures and whether you intend on using a pond heater during the winter months. If your pond water temperature drops below 64°F, you will need to start feeding your koi fewer times a day with a specially designed food low in protein which is hard to digest, and high in good fats. Wheat germ is an excellent food source for this time. Once temperatures drop below 41°F, you should refrain from feeding your koi as this can be detrimental to their health.
How Long Can Koi Go Without Food In The Winter?
Koi can go for extended periods without food. Once temperatures drop below 41°F, a koi fish’s digestive system has slowed down so that it is hardly operational. During this time, you should not be feeding your koi. This period of non-feeding can last up to six months while the coldest months pass.
If your fish are feeling peckish, they will consume some algae or other tidbits from the floor of their pond to tide them over, although this is unnecessary. In preparation for this extended period of not feeding your koi, you can ensure that you have provided them with an excellent pre-winter food source, which will help build up fat stores to tide them over the colder winter months.
Koi fish require a specifically designed food for the colder winter months, including those months of late autumn and early spring, the leading up to and out of winter. These winter foods should have a low percentage of protein which is hard to digest, and a high good fat content. Wheat germ is an excellent food source for winter feeds as it has a lower protein count while, at the same time, it is easily digestible and includes slow-releasing carbohydrates.