Water temperature dictates the metabolism of your koi; this means the ability to digest food properly, and should be a key consideration when you are choosing what food to feed your fish depending on the conditions.
Spring temperatures this year have been very good, especially considering that at the same time last year snow had gripped large parts of the country and temperatures were well down into the minus degrees range; in fact, it would be fair to say that the UK didn’t have a Spring during 2013, going straight from Winter to Summer in around mid-April time.
At the time of writing, forecasts for southern England are around fifteen degrees Celsius, and people will now begin to wonder if it is time to break open a tub of koi food and begin a feeding ritual again. The simple answer is absolutely; with any temperature above 8°C you can begin to feed your koi again. However, we would recommend only using Wheatgerm in the Springtime, because this type of food offers easy digestibility to your koi, and also helps to boost the fish’s metabolism after a long hibernation from feeding; the fish may take a little while to get used to eating again.
It is important that you don’t use a high-protein growth food in the Springtime, as protein takes more effort for your koi to digest in colder water, and can cause them to build up an unsightly extra layer of mucus, which can be avoided easily by only using Wheatgerm pellets or sticks. A good rule of thumb in regards to a feeding routine for this time of year is to feed an amount that your koi will eat within a minute or so, and to only feed 2 to 3 times weekly, until the water temperatures sit above 12°C more regularly.
People may worry about a ‘false spring’, when your fish look to be active and the temperatures are warmer, only for them to plummet again, meaning you have begun to feed your koi again and then have to stop again very soon afterwards. The best way to avoid this is to look at the long term weather forecast, which can give you a very good indication of whether the mild Spring temperatures are here to stay or not. Either the BBC Weather website or MET office offer short, medium and long-term weather forecasts and should help you avoid ‘false spring’ incidents.
When temperatures drop the metabolism slows down, and in turn decreases appetite; this means that you cannot overfeed your koi. That is not to say you cannot overfeed a pond, because that is entirely possible, giving you waste food that decays in the wintertime causing excess detritus on the bottom of your pond and in your filter.
Spring is not only when your fish come to life, as bacteria and parasites begin to appear again because of the rise of water temperature. Feeding your koi can help build up their strength and vitality, thus protecting them from catching anything so easily.
An added advantage of utilising Wheatgerm early in the season is that it puts less strain on your filter as it bursts into life after having very little to do in the cooler months.
We hope that has cleared up any questions you may have regarding Springtime koi feeding. Please feel free to comment, ask any further questions you may have and share this post!