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    Thread: Proper feeding regiment for growth?

    1. #1
      NaturalK is online now Senior Member
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      Proper feeding regiment for growth?

      Hi,

      So now that growth season is among us, and this will be my first one, I'd like to pick the brain of experts for knowledge about it. I know that you can feed koi every hour if you wanted to, but according to Texas Fancy Goldfish and Koi club that did an interview with Maruyama, they say to feed 2% of total weight every 2 - 2.5hrs.
      I try feeding 2%, then 3% to my koi and they just keep begging for more food. I feel like I am not feeding enough or something.
      Some questions I'd like to ask specifically are:
      - Can I feed more than 3% without hurting colors of young koi? (Less than 2 years old).
      - how about for older koi?
      - I'm in Texas and my pond will reach 90+ eventually even under full shades, is it still safe to feed 2%?
      - How early can I feed my koi? I'm planning to do feeding from 7am to 10pm and let them rest in between, wanting to push to 6am even but unsure if it's too much.
      - Is it safe to keep pushing food super often? Owners of 1 p7000 that does frequent feedings pretty much many times an hour in order to reach over 1 lb of food so is that really good for the koi?

      Feel free to give any other advices/knowledges!

      Thanks

    2. #2
      ChagoiLover is online now Member
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      I wouldn't call myself an expert at all, but I can let you know what I do and what works for me. I feed 3% of my total pond's body weight from 6 am to 7 pm. This goes for the tosai to yonsai in my pond. I did read on the hikari website that above a certain temperature (86 F), you shouldn't feed your koi more than 4 times daily for small koi and 2 times for the rest because of a loss of appetite. I use the fishmate p7000 set at 14 feeds. Last growth season I was able to get my tosai kohaku from yamasan from 6 inches to 18 inches in the span of 4 months. I think there are some people who can do better, but this is what works for me

    3. #3
      NaturalK is online now Senior Member
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      Quote Originally Posted by ChagoiLover View Post
      I wouldn't call myself an expert at all, but I can let you know what I do and what works for me. I feed 3% of my total pond's body weight from 6 am to 7 pm. This goes for the tosai to yonsai in my pond. I did read on the hikari website that above a certain temperature (86 F), you shouldn't feed your koi more than 4 times daily for small koi and 2 times for the rest because of a loss of appetite. I use the fishmate p7000 set at 14 feeds. Last growth season I was able to get my tosai kohaku from yamasan from 6 inches to 18 inches in the span of 4 months. I think there are some people who can do better, but this is what works for me
      Wonderful, thank you!
      Seems like you're feeding every hour. I hope to see more confirmations in this. I know they dont have a stomach but I don't want to be pushing food through them just for fun.
      Do you hand feed or anything after 7pm?
      That's great growth for a kohaku!
      Thanks!

    4. #4
      EmeraldDragon's Avatar
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      I don't know, I am definitely a noob on this probably.

      But the way I have been feeding mine depends on my availability. It can starts from 4 or 5 am when I get up until I go to bed. (usually about 9 pm) I have fed them through out the day about five to seven times per day. I grab a fist full and throw it in there, but not too big that it overflows my hand. My Beni Kiko doubled in size in one year, and three of my Ogon have more than triple their size. Now my Beni is bigger than my Long Fin, not sure why. LOL! But it works for me
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    5. #5
      NaturalK is online now Senior Member
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      Quote Originally Posted by EmeraldDragon View Post
      I don't know, I am definitely a noob on this probably.

      But the way I have been feeding mine depends on my availability. It can starts from 4 or 5 am when I get up until I go to bed. (usually about 9 pm) I have fed them through out the day about five to seven times per day. I grab a fist full and throw it in there, but not too big that it overflows my hand. My Beni Kiko doubled in size in one year, and three of my Ogon have more than triple their size. Now my Beni is bigger than my Long Fin, not sure why. LOL! But it works for me
      Same for me, haha. I'm just waiting on an expert to fill in the gaps.

    6. #6
      ChagoiLover is online now Member
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      Quote Originally Posted by NaturalK View Post
      Wonderful, thank you!
      Seems like you're feeding every hour. I hope to see more confirmations in this. I know they dont have a stomach but I don't want to be pushing food through them just for fun.
      Do you hand feed or anything after 7pm?
      That's great growth for a kohaku!
      Thanks!
      I like to do a small feeding around 7:30 pm to know how the fish are doing in terms of body conformation (making sure they don't get drop bellies) and checking for any physical damage from anything. Other then that, like you said I feed every hour from the machine.

    7. #7
      NaturalK is online now Senior Member
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      Quote Originally Posted by ChagoiLover View Post
      I like to do a small feeding around 7:30 pm to know how the fish are doing in terms of body conformation (making sure they don't get drop bellies) and checking for any physical damage from anything. Other then that, like you said I feed every hour from the machine.
      I feel like I've miscalculated or my karashi are eating all of the food. The only one that's really getting super fat is my baby corn, and even then it's still eating a lot every feeding.

    8. #8
      EmeraldDragon's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by NaturalK View Post
      I feel like I've miscalculated or my karashi are eating all of the food. The only one that's really getting super fat is my baby corn, and even then it's still eating a lot every feeding.
      Sounds like my Beni Kiko...
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    9. #9
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      The usual recommendation for maximizing growth of young koi is to feed 2-3% of body weight over the course of a day, divided into multiple feedings..... not 2-3% every feeding multiple times per day. That would be a waste of food, although I doubt even greedy tosai could eat 30% of their body weight every day. If the multiple feedings are hourly, that's great.... but it means small amounts at each feeding.

      During periods when the water temperature is above 82F (some would say 80F), it is said that koi are not efficient in digesting food. I am uncertain if any decline in digestive efficiency is so substantial as to be material when the goal is to maximize growth. However, my experience has been that as the period of very warm water becomes longer, the koi lose their appetite. They become ravenous when the water cools back into the upper 70s. If the koi are not eagerly eating the food they are given, cut back. It has been observed by some breeders that total weekly consumption increases if the koi are fed only 6 days per week.

      Maximizing growth is not necessarily the best goal. There is reason to believe that such 'forced growth' results in shorter life spans. It will also reveal and accentuate negative genetic tendencies, such as fat bellies, thin tail tubes, shoulder humps, etc. Koi with the genes for growing large with good conformation really show what they have, but koikeepers acquiring tosai are getting the breeder's rejects. For the vast majority of males, such 'forced growth' accomplishes nothing.

      Also, if the goal is rapid growth, keep in mind that high protein and high fat content should be the focus in selecting foods. Such growth formula foods tend to be more expensive, but have what is needed for quick growth. Feeding more of a lesser food will not accomplish the same thing, but may end up costing as much.

    10. #10
      NaturalK is online now Senior Member
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      Quote Originally Posted by MikeM View Post
      The usual recommendation for maximizing growth of young koi is to feed 2-3% of body weight over the course of a day, divided into multiple feedings..... not 2-3% every feeding multiple times per day. That would be a waste of food, although I doubt even greedy tosai could eat 30% of their body weight every day. If the multiple feedings are hourly, that's great.... but it means small amounts at each feeding.

      During periods when the water temperature is above 82F (some would say 80F), it is said that koi are not efficient in digesting food. I am uncertain if any decline in digestive efficiency is so substantial as to be material when the goal is to maximize growth. However, my experience has been that as the period of very warm water becomes longer, the koi lose their appetite. They become ravenous when the water cools back into the upper 70s. If the koi are not eagerly eating the food they are given, cut back. It has been observed by some breeders that total weekly consumption increases if the koi are fed only 6 days per week.

      Maximizing growth is not necessarily the best goal. There is reason to believe that such 'forced growth' results in shorter life spans. It will also reveal and accentuate negative genetic tendencies, such as fat bellies, thin tail tubes, shoulder humps, etc. Koi with the genes for growing large with good conformation really show what they have, but koikeepers acquiring tosai are getting the breeder's rejects. For the vast majority of males, such 'forced growth' accomplishes nothing.

      Also, if the goal is rapid growth, keep in mind that high protein and high fat content should be the focus in selecting foods. Such growth formula foods tend to be more expensive, but have what is needed for quick growth. Feeding more of a lesser food will not accomplish the same thing, but may end up costing as much.
      Thanks, Mike!

      What is your feeding schedule?
      Of course I'm not feeding 3% each feeding, lol. Learned something interesting about feeding only 6 times. I might put that into play once the temp gets too high.
      My schedule right now is feeding 6 times from 7 to 7, 1.5hour in between feeding, and then some hand feeding until 10 the latest.

    11. #11
      EmeraldDragon's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by MikeM View Post
      The usual recommendation for maximizing growth of young koi is to feed 2-3% of body weight over the course of a day, divided into multiple feedings..... not 2-3% every feeding multiple times per day. That would be a waste of food, although I doubt even greedy tosai could eat 30% of their body weight every day. If the multiple feedings are hourly, that's great.... but it means small amounts at each feeding.

      During periods when the water temperature is above 82F (some would say 80F), it is said that koi are not efficient in digesting food. I am uncertain if any decline in digestive efficiency is so substantial as to be material when the goal is to maximize growth. However, my experience has been that as the period of very warm water becomes longer, the koi lose their appetite. They become ravenous when the water cools back into the upper 70s. If the koi are not eagerly eating the food they are given, cut back. It has been observed by some breeders that total weekly consumption increases if the koi are fed only 6 days per week.

      Maximizing growth is not necessarily the best goal. There is reason to believe that such 'forced growth' results in shorter life spans. It will also reveal and accentuate negative genetic tendencies, such as fat bellies, thin tail tubes, shoulder humps, etc. Koi with the genes for growing large with good conformation really show what they have, but koikeepers acquiring tosai are getting the breeder's rejects. For the vast majority of males, such 'forced growth' accomplishes nothing.

      Also, if the goal is rapid growth, keep in mind that high protein and high fat content should be the focus in selecting foods. Such growth formula foods tend to be more expensive, but have what is needed for quick growth. Feeding more of a lesser food will not accomplish the same thing, but may end up costing as much.
      Quote Originally Posted by NaturalK View Post
      Thanks, Mike!

      What is your feeding schedule?
      Of course I'm not feeding 3% each feeding, lol. Learned something interesting about feeding only 6 times. I might put that into play once the temp gets too high.
      My schedule right now is feeding 6 times from 7 to 7, 1.5hour in between feeding, and then some hand feeding until 10 the latest.
      Hmm, interesting. I am actually not interested in trying to rush in growth of my Koi, but rather have them naturally grow out on their own. I rather see their color developed more than size. But of course, it doesn't means that I don't want them to get big. Definitely, I do want them to get as big as possible. But I am in no rush to push them to grow.

      I loved watching how their colors changes and developed as they grow in size, as they get darker or lighter due to different circumstances.
      -=[Sunny]=-

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      Zen's Pond and Garden - The Zen Zone that keeps our sanity alive every day!


    12. #12
      Wook262000 is offline Junior Member
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      Me and my wife hand feed ours multiple times, probably about 5-6 times, throughout the day. She works from home and gets to feed them a little more often than I do. But basically we just throw a small handfull in the pond and make sure they eat it all within a couple minutes. They usually eat it pretty quick and seem like they are always ready for more whenever we feed them. I am always wondering if we are over or under feeding them though. I read you guys say that you should be feeding about 3% of the total ponds body weight for growth results. My question is how do you estimate the total pond body weight of the koi? And if 3% is the recommended for maximum growth, what would the standard or minimum be? Thanks, guys.

    13. #13
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      Oops, I guess I found my own answer on the weight. I found the Koi Weights based on Length calculator in the calculator section of the forum.

    14. #14
      NaturalK is online now Senior Member
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      Quote Originally Posted by Wook262000 View Post
      Oops, I guess I found my own answer on the weight. I found the Koi Weights based on Length calculator in the calculator section of the forum.
      I wouldn't do 3% if your bio filter isnt really bulky. It's a lot if you've never really looked into it. Plus, after 3 years it doesnt grow as much.

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      Yeah my ammonia and nitrite levels are always zero in my current 1000g pond. I kind of go by that saying that you feed your filtration system not the fish, lol and have never worried about recommended feeding %'s before. If I notice any algae building up in the pond or any ammonia, then we slow their feeding down and let them trim the algae back. I was more kind of curious about body weights and feeding %'s because I'm in the process of building a larger pond, about 12k gallons, with an rdf and trickle shower filter system and I wanted to try and grow the koi out more in the large pond figuring the filter system would have no trouble handling it.

    16. #16
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      Quote Originally Posted by Wook262000 View Post
      Yeah my ammonia and nitrite levels are always zero in my current 1000g pond. I kind of go by that saying that you feed your filtration system not the fish, lol and have never worried about recommended feeding %'s before. If I notice any algae building up in the pond or any ammonia, then we slow their feeding down and let them trim the algae back. I was more kind of curious about body weights and feeding %'s because I'm in the process of building a larger pond, about 12k gallons, with an rdf and trickle shower filter system and I wanted to try and grow the koi out more in the large pond figuring the filter system would have no trouble handling it.

      Oooo, Nice! 12K gallons Pond. That definitely will grow your Koi alright.
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    17. #17
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      Quote Originally Posted by NaturalK View Post
      Thanks, Mike!

      What is your feeding schedule?
      Of course I'm not feeding 3% each feeding, lol. Learned something interesting about feeding only 6 times. I might put that into play once the temp gets too high.
      My schedule right now is feeding 6 times from 7 to 7, 1.5hour in between feeding, and then some hand feeding until 10 the latest.
      Most of my 14 koi are over 7 years old and over 32 inches, so fast growth is not a current goal. There are 4 nisai (becoming sansai) that I got as tosai in March 2020 when around 7 inches. Those are now in the 22-26 inch range. ....Florida has a long growing season. There are only a few days when the water is below 70F. I believe that has a greater impact than feeding frequency/amount. I feed two times per day, with the daily total being approximately 1.25 pounds of Saki Hikari growth formula. I do not know what that amounts to as a percentage of weight. The koi are fairly plump & I do not think the calculators are all that accurate for plump koi over 32 inches. Since the big gals take their time eating, there is always enough for hungry small ones to gorge. If the koi are quick to eat everything in the morning, they get a bit extra in the afternoon. If they are off their feed, I may skip a feeding or reduce the amount. Due to racoons & such, I cannot have an auto feeder. If I could use an auto feeder, I would feed more frequently. (I know, there are feeders that are supposedly raccoon-proof. Our raccoons seem to enjoy the game of besting the challenge.) I use a sinking pellet, which the koi seem to prefer over floating.

    18. #18
      NaturalK is online now Senior Member
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      Quote Originally Posted by MikeM View Post
      Most of my 14 koi are over 7 years old and over 32 inches, so fast growth is not a current goal. There are 4 nisai (becoming sansai) that I got as tosai in March 2020 when around 7 inches. Those are now in the 22-26 inch range. ....Florida has a long growing season. There are only a few days when the water is below 70F. I believe that has a greater impact than feeding frequency/amount. I feed two times per day, with the daily total being approximately 1.25 pounds of Saki Hikari growth formula. I do not know what that amounts to as a percentage of weight. The koi are fairly plump & I do not think the calculators are all that accurate for plump koi over 32 inches. Since the big gals take their time eating, there is always enough for hungry small ones to gorge. If the koi are quick to eat everything in the morning, they get a bit extra in the afternoon. If they are off their feed, I may skip a feeding or reduce the amount. Due to racoons & such, I cannot have an auto feeder. If I could use an auto feeder, I would feed more frequently. (I know, there are feeders that are supposedly raccoon-proof. Our raccoons seem to enjoy the game of besting the challenge.) I use a sinking pellet, which the koi seem to prefer over floating.
      Thanks! Wow, only 2x a day and that's the growth you get? How long do you fast them for?

    19. #19
      MikeM is offline Super Member
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      I used to fast the koi from Christmas Day to Valentine's Day. Over the past several years, however, the winters have been so warm that I stopped fasting. The koi are actually eating more during what was once their fasting period. They consume less in the July-September period of water temperatures over 80F. Things have gotten turned around from what I learned and practiced 20+ years ago. .....koikeeping in warm climates is different from the hobby in a true four season climate. The koi are the same fish, but fasting for 6 weeks when the water is 74F is not what the koi want.

    20. #20
      NaturalK is online now Senior Member
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      Quote Originally Posted by MikeM View Post
      I used to fast the koi from Christmas Day to Valentine's Day. Over the past several years, however, the winters have been so warm that I stopped fasting. The koi are actually eating more during what was once their fasting period. They consume less in the July-September period of water temperatures over 80F. Things have gotten turned around from what I learned and practiced 20+ years ago. .....koikeeping in warm climates is different from the hobby in a true four season climate. The koi are the same fish, but fasting for 6 weeks when the water is 74F is not what the koi want.
      Oh I see. You are right. I have 5 koi that is from Indonesia so they are different too. I fed them throughout the last winter for grow out, wonder how well they'll do in the fasting of the next winter.

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