What Plants Do Koi Fish Not Eat?

Koi ponds can be some of the most beautiful and striking features of the home environment, enticing compliments from friends and family. The beauty of Koi ponds lies in the fish you use to stock the pond and your selection of aquatic plants. However, keeping the plants from being eaten by the fish can be challenging. This leaves the question, which plants do koi fish not eat?

Some plants are less pleasing to the Koi fish palate. These include floating plants like umbrella plants, water smartweed, eelgrass, and the beautiful, yellow-flowered poppy. Koi fish will not attempt to eat the lotus plant as their stems are covered with rigid spines.

Koi ponds need plants that will include benefits such as providing oxygen to the water and shade to protect your koi fish. In this interesting read, we will not only cover plants that your Koi do not eat, but we will also zoom into splendid ideas of how to protect the more scrumptious plants from those ever-hungry Koi.

Pro Tip: If you’re tired of wasting money and making costly mistakes on the koi-keeping hobby or are thinking about buying koi fish but don’t know where to start, I strongly suggest you check out this ebook. I recently read this ebook, and it contains SO much useful information, such as: 

  • 3 proven steps to identify koi fish diseases
  • WARNING: 3 things you should NEVER do when it comes to caring for koi
  • When to seek professional help when it comes to looking after your koi

Click Here Now To Check It Out

Five Pond Plants Koi Fish Won’t Eat

Plants provide a safe environment for koi fish and form an essential pond biome. Plants act as filters to assist in keeping the water clean, and they help fight algae. Here are the five plants your Koi will not eat and the beneficial reasons they should be included in your koi pond.

  1. Lotus. Lotus is a large plant with broad leaves that provides excellent shade for your koi fish. Lotus plants need lots of space to grow and work best in more extensive ponds. The plants need direct sunlight to flourish. Koi fish will not eat Lotus because of the rigid spine covering the roots.
  2. Water poppy is a delicate-looking plant with beautiful yellow flowers. Water poppies are fantastic for filtering your koi pond. Koi fish do not like the taste of water poppy and will instead favor eating other plants. This floating plant is beneficial in a koi pond as it protects spawning fish from predators and birds.
  3. Umbrella plants. With its large fanning leaves conjuring up images of umbrellas, the aptly named umbrella plant grows well along the shallow edges of the koi pond. Koi fish will not swim in the shallows, so they will not eat the umbrella plant. It is a useful plant to grow in the koi pond environment as it provides fantastic shade for the koi fish.
  4. Water smartweed. Although some koi pond owners consider it a nuisance, the water smartweed has its place in the koi pond environment. Koi fish won’t eat the plant, but small aquatic animals living in the pond (snails, worms, and beetles) eat the plant and are, in turn, eagerly eaten by the koi fish. They grow in thick colonies and are excellent water purifiers.
  5. Eelgrass. These plants are excellent oxygenators for water. Eelgrass is resilient and provides plenty of shade for the pond. Koi fish do not typically eat them.

Will Koi Eat All Plants?

Koi fish are omnivorous, meaning they eat both meat- and plant-based foods. Because koi fish are omnivorous eaters, commercial fish food, such as flakes or pellets, is essential in the koi fish diet. If a varied diet is offered, it will give you healthier, more colorful koi fish that might not need to feed on your koi plants.

Free-floating plants are much easier to get to. A koi loves eating but will not work hard for their food. Thus plants that are easily accessible will be an easy target. Rooted plants such as lilies and lotuses are usually harder to get to and are suitable options to use in koi ponds.

Tips And Ideas On Protecting Your Plant From Your Koi Fish

There are ways to protect your plants from your koi fish, and we will mention some tips and ideas you can use. Following these easy guidelines, such as feeding, planting your plants in pots, using plant protectors, and using gravel and rocks to protect your plants from koi fish, should help you grow almost any plant in your koi pond.

Feed Your Fish Correctly

Koi fish metabolism is tied to the pond water temperature. Have a reliable thermometer in your pond at all times so that you keep an eye on the temperature. The suitable water temperature for a koi pond would be 55 -65 °C (131 – 150°F). Koi will feed best in these temperatures.

The correct feeding method for a koi is a frequently asked question, and there is no direct answer. There is, however, a way to test this by using the 5-minute method. Sprinkle a small amount of food into the pond; when the fish have finished eating the first batch, you can add more food. Continue this every 5 minutes until the fish stops showing interest in the food and does not come to the surface to feed.

For koi ponds situated in direct sunlight, mornings are good to feed koi fish. Feed the koi fish at midday if the pond is not in direct sunlight. If you routinely keep to these feeding times, the fish should not need to feed on the plants in the pond.

Plant Your Pond Plants In Pots

Placing your plants in pots can prevent your koi fish from getting to the lower stem and sensitive roots. Planting the plants in pots can help them grow strong to withstand some nibbling.

Use Koi Plant Protectors

Plant protectors are made of mesh with a bag-like structure. The protector is open on the top to allow the plant to grow and is perfect for protecting floating plants. You can safely place your plants inside the net, and your Koi will not be able to nibble on roots or leaves.

For submerged plants, you can place mesh netting around them. Your koi fish will not be able to get into the netting.


Add Rocks And Gravel To Substrate

To further protect roots, spread gravel or rocks around them. You can add rocks to any plant with roots that koi like to eat. The rocks will keep your Koi from getting to the plant roots. Koi prefer to swim around in the gravel and small rocks, and if you provide enough rocky gravel, they might even focus more on the gravel than the plants in the pond.


It might seem challenging to balance plants and koi fish in your pond, but it’s not complicated. Try to add your Koi to a pond with well-established plants and not the plants to a pond with existing Koi.

If you think about the plants that Koi do not prefer, it should be easy to choose the correct plants. Make sure you have a solid gravel rocky bottom; they will nibble around gravel rather than the plants. Following these ideas should help balance plant and fish life in your pond.

Recent Posts

Verified by MonsterInsights