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Spring Into Summer: Pond Fish Nutrition


Drs. Foster & Smith Educational Staff
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Pond Fish Nutrition
If your fish overwintered in your pond, you gradually reduced the amount you fed, added wheat germ foods, and then, as the temperature dipped below 40°F, stopped feeding your fish.
Other warmer weather considerations for pond fish

Spring and warmer weather is a critical time for pond life. The fluctuating temperatures will make it hard on all the organisms (fish, plants, and nitrifying bacteria) to remain healthy. Fish are susceptible to bacterial and parasitic problems from the stress of changing temperatures. It is usually a good idea to use a general parasite treatment (like PraziPro), but best not to use a bacterial treatment unless you actually see problems. Even then, it is best to use a feed-based antibiotic, such as Blackwater Medicated Food, to avoid damaging the newly developing nitrifying bacteria of the biological filtration system that continues your pond’s healthy nitrogen cycle in the active spring and summer months.

While the biological filtration system is getting up to speed, you may need to add an ammonia stabilizing compound, like our Instant Ammonia Remover, to the water to help reduce any ammonia toxicity. If needed, you should do a partial water change, making sure to treat the water for any chlorine/chloramines found in the tap water. A good test kit, like API’s Master Liquid Test Kit, for ammonia and nitrite will be invaluable in monitoring the development of the nitrifying bacteria in the biological filtration system and to help gauge the need for a water change.

Remember that changes occur during these months. More activity, predators, and rapid growth, for instance, can be a particularly stressful time for fish, so handle them gently and avoid overstressing them. A few ways to help keep spawning fish feeling protected is by providing plant life, dark pond dyes, or a physical shelter like the Koi Kastle.

As weather warms, and the fish come out of their hibernation mode, their level of activity will greatly increase. This does not mean you need to immediately start feeding them as you would during the summer months. Gradually start feeding your fish a wheat-germ-based diet again (like our Spring & Fall Diet), once the temperature reaches 40°F. Wheat-germ-based foods appear to be easier to digest in fish with slower metabolisms. At this time, restrict any feeding to a small amount early in the day. This will give the fish adequate time to digest the food before the temperature drops at night.

As the water temperature increases, you may start gradually replacing portions of the wheat germ diet with what you will be feeding in the very active summer months (see below).

Warm Weather Feeding

  • As the water temperature reaches 70°F, stop including the wheat germ and exclusively feed a diet specifically made for warmer temperatures; one made for certain fish conditions, such as color enhancement or life stage.
  • Staple formulas include our Staple Diet. These all-purpose foods offer high-quality protein, vitamins,and minerals suitable for all fish. They provide a good maintenance diet throughout the summer months.
  • If you are raising championship koi, or simply want your fish to look their absolute best, color foods can make a visible difference. Color foods, are usually used at intervals to help raise the concentration of pigment in the skin of your fish to optimize natural potential.
  • Young, rapidly growing, or spawning fish need a growth food. The higher levels of protein, vitamins,and minerals in these formulas provide the extra energy your fish need as they become more active.
  • For top nutrition that includes both growth and color enhancing components, feed our Super Food.

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