How Much Should I Feed My Fish?


A general rule of thumb for summer feeding is to feed your fish as much as they will consume within 5 to 10 minutes. Uneaten food just rots and could cause water quality problems. If possible, split your ration to feed the fish twice a day instead of all at once. Avoid feeding when oxygen levels are low such as on overcast days, cold days, before sunrise or after sunset.

In the spring and fall it is best to feed them very little because the nitrifying bacteria that handles fish waste and excess food is very slow this time of year. Feed them less than you normally would and at most every other day.  

If you are trying to put as much growth on your fish as possible, feed them twice a day every day. If you want to keep your fish happy and healthy feed them 3 to 4 times per week. Don’t forget, commercial fish food is packed with nutrients that provide a food source for algae and plant growth. So if you’re having trouble with green water in your garden pond, try feeding your fish less and/or not as often.

At Willow Pond Aqua Farms, they feed their fish in their Koi production ponds twice a day, every day to get the maximum growth out of their Koi.  When their retail store was open, they would feed fish in display tanks once a day, three times a week to keep the fish healthy and the water quality ideal.

Try not to have your fish food longer than 100 days.  Most nutrients in fish food are not stable for longer than that and have less and less of a nutritional value for your fish the longer you keep it.  Also, never feed your fish any food that is moldy or infested with bugs.  These things can make your fish sick.

Every spring and fall we get asked, “Do you carry cold weather fish food made with wheat germ?”  The answer is NO and here is why.  The industry has taken this particular fish keeper concern and turned it into another product to sell to you.  Most packagers of cold weather fish food will tell you that the food is easier for fish to digest which may be the case but those foods are not giving your fish what they need. 

Fish actually require the amino acids in protein, not the protein per se.  Animal protein sources are generally of higher quality for fish than any plant source (like soy or wheat germ).  Plant proteins alone are deficient in one or more of the essential amino acids needed by fish especially as their bodies are recovering from winter or preparing for winter.  These essential amino acids are used for many bodily functions including hormone production, tissue repair and fat storage.  The best food for your fish is going to have “fish” as part of the first ingredient listed on the label.

If you have more questions about feeding your fish please give us a call or send us a note!