Fish add a beautiful aesthetic to any pond but keeping them healthy and alive can be tricky. Knowing how and what to feed your fish throughout the seasons will help your entire pond thrive. Here is a guide to feeding your fish winter, spring, summer, and fall.
After the long cold winter when temperatures start to rise the fish become more active which means time to eat! You can start feeding your fish when the water temperature reaches a constant 50 degrees. Feed a cold-weather food until the water temperature reaches 60 degrees. When it reaches this point, you can start to feed your fish more protein up to a couple of times per day. During this time, it’s almost breeding season for Goldfish, which means they will need higher levels of protein to support the production of milt and eggs.
This is the most active time for fish so feed your fish well but do not over-feed. A general rule of thumb is to feed no more than the fish will eat in 5 minutes. Fish can eat 1-3 times per day but Koi can eat up to 6 times a day. During this time, Goldfish will appear striking in color and brightness with an impressive level of activity. However, breeding season will be over by the time the warmest weather hits, so use more dry food instead of live food. The heat will also cause a drop in oxygen so it is important to use products to aerate like a pond aerator, spitters, and fountains.
As the temperature starts to cool you will want to prepare your fish for the winter ahead. Having a thermometer is important so you can determine the water temperature, which is the only way to know how to feed your fish correctly. The lower temperature means reduced activity for fish and the slowing of their metabolism. The higher protein diet from summer will allow them to build up a reserve of fat to assist them during the cold winter months. Reduce feeding to once a day when the water temperature drops to the sixties. Wheat germ based food is easy to digest so adding this into their diet at this time would be beneficial. Once the temperature drops below 60 degrees, feed your fish only two to three times per week as it can take your fish a few days to digest food at this temperature.
Depending on the temperature, feeding your fish during the winter can vary but what is known is that fish need very little to no food during this season. If the temperature drops below 50 degrees, experts state you should stop feeding altogether until the temperature raises to above 50 degrees in spring. A way to determine if you should still feed your fish is to see if your fish are eating. If not, then do not give them food. If temperatures are not below 50 degrees, the wheat germ diet can continue to be fed all winter. If there is a chance the temperature will drop below 50 degrees within a few days, do not feed the fish. They are not capable of proper digestion in cold water and the food can decay in their system, sending bacteria into the bloodstream and killing the fish.
Following these guidelines will help with a feeding program aimed at supporting healthy fish. We suggest also feeding your fish insects such as spiders, grubs, and worms on a regular basis to reap the health benefits. Just make sure they don’t bite the fish. You can even feed dried insects but make sure to soak the bugs first so the fish can swallow them easily. Flakes should also be soaked before a feeding to aid in digestion. These floating foods can be a great way to add vitamins to their diet. Some great supplements to add to their diet are Vitamins B and C, spirulina, and wheat germ oil. Also, fish oils can be a great source of energy for your fish. Variety is key in a fish diet so they can get all the nutrients they need. Adding in fruits and greens is a great way to provide these nutrients besides just giving supplements. If giving dry food, then be sure that the pellet is a size your fish can swallow and that it is of high quality. It is costly to manufacture a high quality food so unfortunately it is expensive to invest in. However, if you are buying a lower quality food to save a few dollars then you may be putting your fish at risk as well as your entire pond. Inexpensive foods can contribute to water quality and clarity issues. When giving your fish a quality brand, you are keeping your fish healthy which means less waste in your filters to pollute your pond ecosystem.