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     Feeding The Right Way...
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Feeding The Right Way

When deciding to feed your fish it is important to realize they are not human, nor do they have stomachs, like we do.  Their food will be processed in one long intestine that extends from their esophagus (throat) all the way to the vent (anus).  In somewhat the same way a UV light works, contact time inside the fish’s gut is important in the extraction of nutrients.  And nutrients are very important in fish growth, cell production, fin cartilage, bone, blood, and every other bodily function.  So, the first consideration is nutritional content and freshness.  The second would be your feeding habits.  It is said that a “hungry fish is a healthy fish”. 

A “hungry fish” would be one that is constantly seeking food, rather than being satisfied with every feeding.  Koi, in particular, are foragers and bottom feeders.  This is why they always seem hungry (foraging) and why they will turn over your potted plants.  They are looking for insects in the water.  In nature, they will never find a large consumable source of food in one spot, as they do in your pond.  Indeed, a fish that does not come up, seeking a handout, is not a healthy fish.

If you have the correct stocking (not too many fish for the size pond) and the correctly configured filtration for your fish load, and continue to have water quality problems, take a look at your feeding habits.  Due to their physical make-up, it takes approximately four days for the food you feed today to be expelled from the fish’s vent.  During that time the enzymes will break it down and make it usable for cell structure, egg production, or growth and energy.  In spring, all the nutrients will go toward reproduction.  After the spawn, nutrients will be used for immune systems, growth and energy reserves.  The time your fish will have its growth spurt will probably be just before going into winter dormancy.

On the other hand, if you are feeding all summer, trying to fatten up the fish and make it grow larger, the food simply gets “pushed” through the system and no more nutrients will be absorbed than if they were fed every other day.  More is not always better when it comes to feeding fish.  The little fish in the corner will manage to get a meal at least every four days, I assure you, if it is healthy.  And if it is healthy, that is all it will require.  I, on the other hand, with a stomach and complicated digestive system, will be very hungry if I miss one meal and probably become quite cranky.   Let’s try not to think of these fish as humans.  They are built differently and have different requirements.  Once you understand this, you can have the nice, clean pond your fish deserve.




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