The 7 Best Koi Foods That Will Help Your Fish Thrive

Alison Page

Alison Page


Best Koi Food

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Koi are a hugely popular pond fish that can add style and interest to your garden. You need to feed your Koi a high-quality diet for them to thrive, grow, and breed, and that’s where we can help.

In this guide, we’ve checked out seven of the best commercially produced Koi foods on the market. Read on for our product reviews and tips on feeding your Koi for optimum growth, color, and condition.

Shinju White Pearl Enhancer

Shinju White Pearl Enhancer Wheat Germ
  • Shinju Koi Food White Pearl will promote beautiful and healthy growth for your carp. Fresh wheat germ in White Pearl will not only keep your Koi’s skin lustrous but also very white.
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Shinju White Pearl wheat germ-based Koi pellet food is formulated to preserve your Koi’s white scale coloration while giving your fish a well-balanced mix of proteins and carbs.

The food contains 30% protein, most of it from fish meal, and the 3% fat content is provided by wheat germ oils. That high protein content makes this food ideal for spring and fall feeding, depending on your climate. If the temperature remains above 50oF in your region, you can offer this food to your Koi throughout the year.

There are plenty of essential minerals and vitamins to keep your Koi healthy. This food doesn’t contain any added color enhancers.

What we like:

  • High protein content
  • Well-balanced formula
  • Excellent source of protein

 Room for improvement:

  • Doesn’t contain color enhancers

Blue Ridge Koi and Goldfish Pellets

Blue Ridge Fish Food
  • MADE IN THE USA - koi and goldfish fish food, premium all-season floating pellets and the same high-quality diet used by leading American Koi breeders at a fraction of the price
  • PROVEN COLOR ENHANCER Spirulina and Canthaxanthin for superior color enhancement, providing a completely balanced nutritional diet
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Blue Ridge Koi and Goldfish floating pellets are US-made, premium, all-season pellets that leading Koi breeders use.

The formula is designed to bring your fish into prime show condition and contains a balance of carbohydrates, protein, and amino acids. The pellets are designed to soften quickly for palatability and won’t pollute your water.

Spirulina and Canthaxanthin are included in the food to promote excellent color and provide a nutritionally balanced diet for your Koi. This food also contains Primilac probiotic immune stimulant and additional minerals and vitamins to protect your fish from diseases. 

What we like:

  • High protein content
  • The formula contains probiotics and color enhancers
  • Excellent source of protein

 Room for improvement:

  • Expensive compared with other similar fish food products

Kaytee Koi’s Choice

Kaytee Koi's Choice Koi Floating Fish Food
  • Floating food
  • Provides necessary animal and vegetable proteins
  • Great for koi, goldfish and other pond fish
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Kaytee Koi’s Choice is a highly digestible, floating food that you can use to provide Koi, goldfish, and other pond-dwelling fish with all the nutrition they need for all seasons.

The nutritionally complete food contains lots of vegetable and animal proteins and all the essential nutrients your fish need for healthy growth, superior color, excellent health, and longevity. The food is formulated to be highly digestible, so you’ll enjoy less waste and better water clarity in your pond.

What we like:

  • High protein content
  • Balanced diet
  • Suitable for Koi, goldfish, and other pond fish species
  • Comes in three different size containers

 Room for improvement:

  • Doesn’t contain color enhancing ingredients

TetraPond Koi Growth Sticks

Tetra Pond Koi Vibrance Color
  • TetraPond Koi Vibrance is a complete summer koi diet combined with red and yellow color enhancers
  • Complete digestibility reduces water pollution when fed as directed
  • Vitamin enriched koi food with natural color enhancers keep your koi as colorful as nature intended; great for summer feedings
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Tetra is a world-renowned fish food producer and associated products that have been around for many years. This trusted brand is trusted by many hobbyists to provide high-quality, reliable fish foods.

TetraPond Koi Vibrance is intended to be used as a summer diet for Koi and contains color enhancers to bring out the yellow and reds of your fish. The food mixture is formulated to be easily digestible to reduce water pollution.

These lightweight floating sticks dissolve quickly for easy digestibility and can be fed to Koi, goldfish, and other species of pond fish. The food contains fish meal to provide your fish with the protein they need for optimum growth and development.

What we like:

  • High protein content from fish meal
  • Contains natural color enhancers
  • Suitable for Koi, goldfish, and other pond fish

Room for improvement:

  • Only suitable for summer use

TetraPond Spring & Fall Diet

TetraPond Spring & Fall Diet Floating Pond Sticks
  • Contains wheat germ for excellent digestibility
  • Ideal for feeding in colder months
  • Easy-to-digest floating sticks great for koi and all pond fish
  • Ideal food for spring and fall when pond water temperatures are cool
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Tetra Pond Spring & Fall Diet is a transitional fish food for fall and springtime use.

The food contains all the nutrition your fish will need in spring and fall when the water temperatures are cooler and the fish’s metabolism is slower. It’s a highly digestible food that suits your fish when their systems slow down at these times of the year. 

The formula contains wheat germ to help transition your fish in and out of the winter. The food is highly digestible, even when the water temperature is cold, creating less waste and keeping your water cleaner for longer.

What we like:

  • Balanced transitional food specifically for use in spring and fall
  • Easily digestible
  • Suitable for Koi, goldfish, and other pond fish

Room for improvement:

  • Expensive

Thrive Koi Flourish Growth Formula

ANJON MANUFACTURING Thrive Koi Flourish Growth Formula
  • Includes vitamin E, wheat, vitamins, and minerals for maximum growth.
  • Low levels of phosphorus and a 40% protein formulation.
  • Formulated to help disease resistance and longevity.
  • Can be fed one to three times daily.
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Koi are specialist fish that need a balanced diet to promote healthy growth and excellent color. Thrive Koi Flourish is formulated to encourage Koi growth and development.

The food is carefully balanced to give your Koi everything they need for excellent health and a long lifespan. The formula includes wheat, 40% protein, a blend of vitamins, minerals, and very low phosphorus levels.

What we like:

  • Available in several different pack sizes
  • Easily digestible and growth-enhancing
  • Suitable for Koi

Room for improvement:

  • Very expensive but excellent quality

Blackwater Premium Koi & Goldfish Food

Blackwater Premium Koi and Goldfish Food Max Growth Diet
  • The fishmeal-based recipe features protein-rich components like fish oil, vitamin C, plants and other key minerals.
  • Designed to enhance your goldfish or koi’s overall shape and growth in a quick amount of time.
  • Improves color vibrancy so your finned friend truly stands out in any pond or aquarium.
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Blackwater Premium Koi and Goldfish food is made using top-quality ingredients to give your Koi and pond fish a well-balanced diet that provides them with everything they need during warmer days.

The recipe is based on fish meal for a protein-rich diet and includes fish oils, plant matter, essential vitamins, and minerals that your fish need for optimum health, growth, and longevity.

Color enhancers are included to promote vibrant colors so that your fish stand out in your pond or aquarium. The tiny size of these floating pellets makes them ideal for juvenile fish.

What we like:

  • High in protein derived from fish meal
  • Improves color, growth rate, and longevity
  • Suitable for Koi and other pond and coldwater aquarium fish

Room for improvement:

  • Some larger fish can miss the tiny pellets

What Do Koi Fish Eat?

Koi are omnivores that have a pretty robust digestive system. The fish will eat almost anything you offer them, so long as the food is not too large and they can swallow it easily.

In the wild environment of your garden pond, Koi eat insect larvae, small worms, algae, water-bound insects, algae, and general detritus that they find in their habitat.

You can offer your Koi veggies and fruits to add variety to their diet, and they will also eat carb-loaded items, such as cooked rice, cereal, and small pieces of bread. Some Koi will eat chicken and chopped-up shrimp if you want to add more protein to their diet.

Koi Fish Food and Color

The food your Koi eat affects the pigment in their scales, which affects your pets’ beautiful colors.

Many commercially prepared Koi foods contain carotenoids and other color enhancement ingredients. Carotenoids influence the degree of red coloration in the fish. Certain vitamins in the food act on the yellow, orange, and red colors of the Koi. If you feed your Koi enough carotenoids, their white parts will start to turn pink.

That said, the fish food you give to your Koi won’t make them change color overnight. Color changes typically happen gradually over many days and weeks.

How To Choose Food For Optimum Koi Color, Health, and Growth

Feeding your Koi the right type of food is key to maximizing their growth, colors, and overall health. When choosing fish food, the old maxim, “You get what you pay for,” certainly applies! Cheap foods are usually stuffed with padding to bulk out the food.

Although that makes it appear that you’re getting a lot for your money, the food is often poor quality. These foods typically don’t contain the correct blend of proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, and other essential nutrients that your fish need.


Look for food for Koi that contains Spirulina. Spirulina is a species of algae that’s high in carotenoid, and feeding it to your Koi improves the red color of your fish. Spirulina also contains protein and helps boost the Koi’s immune system, keeping diseases at bay.

However, be careful that you don’t feed your fish too much Spirulina, as that can cause the color or your fish to turn too red and make their white spots go pink. 

Wheat Germ Oil

Wheat germ oil is another ingredient commonly seen in fish foods. Wheat germ is rich in oils and fats that make your fish super-shiny and glowing.

Since wheat germ oil is very high in fats, it’s often used to grow Koi as it provides the fish with lots of energy to attain their maximum size.


Krill meal is also used in fish foods to enhance color in Koi and goldfish. Krill also contains carotenoids and are a highly nutritious source of protein. 

What Factors Can Affect Koi Feeding?

As well as the quality of the food you offer your fish, there are several other important factors to consider when feeding your Koi.

Fish Size

The size of the fish you have affects the type of pellet food you offer them. For example, small juvenile Koi have small mouths, so they need smaller pellets. If the food is too big for the fish to eat, the pellets will sit in the water, gradually softening until they sink to the bottom of the pond. The fish will eat some of the food, but most will rot, polluting the water.

Generally, Koi three inches long or less do better with pellet sizes 3/32″ in diameter or smaller. Larger Koi greater than four inches in length can cope with larger pellets of 3/16″ in diameter. Adult Koi 8 to 10 inches long or bigger can be fed large pellets up to 5/16″ in diameter.

Seasonal Feeding

Water temperature governs Koi feeding habits and nutritional requirements. The fish are more active in cooler weather since the available dissolved oxygen levels in the water are higher.

So, during the colder months of the year, when the fish are most active, you need to offer the fish foods that contain higher carbohydrate levels and lower protein content. Foods containing wheat germ meal tend not to pollute the water as they are easy for the Koi to digest.

When the pond water temperature is higher during the warmer months, the Koi slow down and become less active. During that time, they will need more protein in their food to help maintain their body condition and enable optimal growth. During that time, you’ll need to feed the fish food that contains more krill or Spirulina and steer away from wheat germ-rich foods.

Some types of koi foods are specially formulated for feeding during the spring and fall when the temperatures are changing or intermediate. Those foods usually contain a balanced mixture of protein-rich ingredients and carbohydrates.

You can feed your Koi two different types of food in the morning and afternoon or use a nutritionally well-balanced food.

Water Temperature

Although you can use the seasons to decide which balance of proteins and carbohydrates your fish need, the water temperature is also a good guide.

General rules of thumb:

  • When the water temperature is below 50oF, you should feed your fish a carbohydrate-rich diet.
  • A protein-rich diet is best for your fish in warmer temperatures over 70oF.
  • A mixture of proteins and carbohydrates is acceptable for your Koi fish at intermediate temperatures.

To ensure that you feed your fish appropriately, use a pond thermometer to monitor water temperatures throughout the year.

Dissolved Oxygen Levels

The water’s dissolved oxygen levels can also influence how efficiently your Koi digest their food and determines what kind of food you should feed them. The weather significantly affects how much available oxygen is in the pond water.

During wet, rainy weather, the air contains less oxygen. So, unless you have a very deep pond, periods of heavy rain will decrease the oxygen content of the water. The Koi will be less active at these times, so you need to feed them less than you usually would. It’s also a good idea to switch to a diet that contains more protein.

On sunny days, the water warms up, and the oxygen levels drop. Again, at these times, your Koi will benefit from a more protein-rich diet.

Water Quality

Good water quality is also critical for maintaining satisfactory oxygen levels in your pond.

So, although goldfish and Koi will graze on certain species of algae, too much algae in your pond can cause problems. Algae produce oxygen when growing at the water surface. However, dead algae sink to the bottom of the pond. Microbes feed on the dead algae, sucking up massive amounts of oxygen from the water.

You can combat that problem by using a pump to circulate the water through the pond, disrupting the algae and controlling its growth and spread. A pump also aerates the water and adds oxygen to it. 

When the water is well-oxygenated, the Koi will become more active, and carbohydrate-rich food is their best choice.

Final Thoughts

Koi need a wide range of foods for color enhancement and optimum growth rates. Feed your fish high-quality fish food pellets that aren’t stuffed with nutrient-poor padding ingredients. Use a variety of foods for your Koi, depending on the season and water temperature.

What kind of food works best for your Koi? Tell us what brand of Koi fish food pellets you prefer to use in the comments box below.

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