When the temperatures lowered this fall and winter, your fish’s metabolism did as well. You began to lessen the amount that you fed them. You switched over to a wheat germ fish food. Then you stopped feeding them while the temperatures were very low. You did great! For those colder months your fish rested in an almost hibernation type of state. Fasting and living off the fat stores in their body. You knew they did not need food, and you knew feeding them when they’re in this state can make them very sick and hurt your water quality.
But it’s starting to warm up again. You may be wondering, “When can I start feeding my fish again?”
You’ll notice your fish more actively swimming around your pond. Maybe nipping at your newly budding aquatic plants. Or even getting to the surface of your pond more often giving you hungry eyes! These zealous actions are usually a telltale sign that your fish are ready to resume a regular diet again.
Although your fish may look ready to eat, it’s very important to confirm your water’s temperature is above 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
Continue to monitor your pond temperature during this time. Do not feed if there is any chance of the temperatures dropping below 50°F within a few days. Fish 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. When we are not feeding doesn’t mean that there is zero sustenance being taken in. This time of year koi and goldfish will still casually scrape the highly nutritious algae from rock growth below water for a bit of calories and energy.
Additionally, Spring is a time when fish are less hardy from winter and the fluctuating temperatures add to their stress level, making them vulnerable to disease.
When water temperatures are still in the 50’s, feed your fish with a wheat germ formula. These wheat germ foods are easier to digest which helps your fish as they are not back to their normal fully-functioning selves until water temperatures are higher. Once water temperatures steadily stay above 55 degrees F, you can begin feeding with a denser, more protein rich, foods such as Ultra Balance Growth Formula.
Your pond, too, is just coming out of dormancy and is beginning to process all of the winter debris. Adding too much food is just more organic material added to your ponds load making it it more difficult for your pond to clear itself up.
As you begin to feed your fish this season, we recommend feeding 2-3 times a week to start out. Once the temperatures are consistently higher, increase feeding.
Tip: Only feed as much as the fish will eat in 5 minutes.