Pond Owners Handbook
Fall Pond Fish Feeding – Koi & Goldfish
We’ll begin with a few reasons why temperature effects feeding your fish so heavily.
Winter is approaching and bringing with it cold weather. As the water in our ponds cools towards freezing, fish begin their transition into semi-dormancy. Many biological processes slow, including a fish’s immune system, and the digestion of food. Due to this natural slowing, fish cannot process the same amounts or varieties of food they often encounter in Summer and Spring months. While immune-suppressed fish can be susceptible to a varied set of infections and disease.
Many popular pond fish have no true stomach, this includes our beloved Koi and Goldfish. Without a stomach to properly digest food prior to passing it to the intestines, whole food will stay latent in the gut of a fish and begin to rot. Potentially harmful bacteria will capitalize on the ideal conditions found inside of a fish, colonizing and passing into the bloodstream of the host fish. From that point forward, there is little a pond owner can do to help the inflicted fish. Sepsis can set in and kill the weakened fish, otherwise stressing and possibly leading to secondary infection of the fish.
Pond owners would do well to taper off fish feeding when temperature nears the 60*f mark. Feeding below 60*f should be done in small amounts with a low protein cold water food such as Aquascape’s Cold Water Fish Food. Monitoring water temperature is essential to feeding properly at this time of the year, with floating pond thermometers being under 10$. Don’t worry if you miss feedings or don’t see your fish eating food left to them, as fish will naturally forage on algae and plant matter that is easier to digest. At Cole’s we’re particularly fond of Hornwort as an over-winter perennial feed plant. Feeding should stop altogether when temperature drops below 50*f.
When temperatures are lowered, not only are your fishes biological processes slowed, but so are the bacteria we rely on to filter the pond. Bacteria that normally convert ammonia from fish waste and not performing at optimal levels, and this can lead to toxic levels of ammonia, and in rare cases nitrites. It is a good idea to monitor ammonia levels if continuing regular feedings – always bring water to room temperature before testing to ensure accurate results. High ammonia can be remedied with Cold Water Bacteria or AmmoniaFix.
Read more on fish food with this article: http://www.colespondstore.com/food-nutrients-and-your-pond/
Stay tuned for our article on Spring feeding and common Spring-time mistakes.