Allotment Articles 2.
Feeding Your Fish
All life needs food to live and fish are no exception. However they are different to most animals in that they can live off body reserves for considerable periods of time so regular feeding of fish in a pond is not essential. Fish in a well-established pond will forage for themselves finding insects, algae and some plant life to their taste. Oxygenating plants are a great favorite and large goldfish, or Koi will rapidly devour any in the pond.
In spring and early summer the pond temperature will rise above 55F and the fish will become more active. This is when it is a good idea to start feeding your fish. Although not essential it will boost growth, strength and resistance to disease. When feeding them donít put in a lot of food all at once, but give the fish a little so that it is all gone in 5 minutes. When it is very warm in mid summer fish can be fed 2, or 3 times a day but always scoop off any uneaten food as this will go moldy and pollute the pond.
There are many foods on the market, but basically there are 3 types;- 1)Flakes, 2)Pellets and 3)Sticks.
Flakes are concentrated goodness and produce little mess. For this reason they are usually fed to aquarium fish, but they can equally well be used to feed small pond fish. They are expensive however and so as the fish grow a cheaper alternative should be sought.
Stick foods are also very nutritious and usually of high quality. They are an extruded food that makes them float far longer than flakes and so are useful when judging the amount to feed.
Pellets are generally the cheapest type of food weight for weight although some Japanese brands are extremely expensive. They come in a variety of sizes from tiny pellets that look like sand to pellets the size of marbles for very big fish. Some foods have colour enhancers in them that bring out the reds and oranges in fish.
Live foods are often given to aquarium fish and this practice is to be encouraged in the pond. The most suitable live foods are maggots and earthworms, but the worms must be washed first to remove the dirt. These are very good for bringing the fish into peak condition for breeding. Lettuce leaves will also eagerly be taken by Koi carp and brown bread is a firm favorite.
As the autumn comes and the temperature drops below 55F then feeding should be lessened and stopped altogether as it gets colder. Below 55F the food should be changed from the normal ground fish based foods to wheat-germ based foods. This is because at low temperatures fish based foods take longer to digest whereas the wheat-germ can still be safely digested. Wheat-germ is available as Pellets, Sticks or Flakes, but it is a little more expensive. Brown bread is a safe alternative. All good aquatic retailers will have a wide range of all types of food and will be happy to advise on their usage.