When a fish will eat anything what is the best food to feed them?
Can koi fish eat cheerios? Yes, koi fish can eat cheerios, they love them. However, the cereal shouldn’t be a staple of their diet. Due to their fluctuating eating patterns, owners need to be precise when feeding koi cheerios.
Cheerios are a great snack, but they are not nutritionally efficient. Other treats such as fruit and vegetables are better for your koi. Using these nature-based treats provide plenty of vitamins and minerals to make up for the meal they are missing when you are feeding your koi a snack.
Read further to discover other types of human food they like, when to feed your koi these types of food, and the right kind of food to feed your koi.
Looking up what koi fish can eat you might wonder why so many people are talking about cheerios. Why? Back in the day, koi owners would exclusively feed their fish cheerios.
While it wasn’t detrimental to their health we now have better and more widely available food that is specifically for koi fish.
It’s not that cheerios are terrible for koi, they are made of whole grains, low in sugar and have plenty of vitamins and nutrients. But cheerios are not specialized for the koi’s diet and will not provide them with the correct balance of nutrients throughout the year.
Also, processing and manufacturing foods have changed in the past few decades and the cheerios that we eat might not be the same as the ones your grandparents used for their koi fish.
Food like these should be given in moderation if you want something else to give your koi as a treat. Some people don’t feed their koi cheerios at all, while others use them as a treat.
If you feed your koi cheerios is up to you, if you are worried about feeding them something out a cardboard box then don’t worry about feeding it to them. It isn’t an essential part of their diet and what they don’t know they won’t miss.
When purchasing cheerios for your koi fish be careful with the type, koi will eat anything, but that doesn’t mean you can feed them anything. Just get the plain multi-wheat cheerios instead of any of the flavored kinds.
They do love honey but have difficulty processing nuts so avoid the honey nut kind. Check each flavor before you toss it into the pond, or just get the plain.
They will eat several types of cereals such as flakes or rice cereal. Like with cheerios watch out for the flavored kinds and try to stick with whole grains or brown rice if you can find it.
All that you have to do is soak the cereal for about three minutes before throwing it in the pond or hand feeding your fish. The flakes and rice cereal do not need to be soaked first, you can just throw it right in.
Feed cereal to your koi like you would their regular food, as much as they can eat in five minutes.
Other types of human food koi like
Funnily enough, koi have a similar diet to us, they are a carnivore after all. So whatever we eat they love to eat as well. Unfortunately, that also translates to what is bad for us is bad for them as well.
For this very reason, a lot of koi owners use natural foods as a treat for their fish instead of items that can be found in a cardboard box. Foodstuffs such as fruit, vegetables, starches, and even meat are a better treat for your koi than cheerios are.
Simply for the fact that these food sources provide ample vitamins and nutrients naturally instead of being manufactured.
Fruits and vegetables while having carbs don’t have an abundance of them so they will not interfere with your koi’s specific nutritional needs, especially in the summer when they need more protein than carbohydrates.
While fruits and vegetables options are vast you will need to be a bit more discriminating towards meats and grains. But don’t worry about that we will tell you what to look for.
Now there is a lot of talk about koi fish-eating anything they can get their mouth on, but they have to recognize it as food first and every fish is different.
In the chance that your koi don’t eat their snacks when thrown in the pond try hand feeding them. If that doesn’t work, don’t worry about it. They are getting their nutrients from their regular food.
Fruit and Veggies
Koi love all kinds of plants to snack on, they will even eat the plants that are in their pond. Watery plant life is a big hit in the koi world, such as
They will even eat broccoli, apples, and berries. If the food is large break it up in small enough pieces for your koi.
For hard fruits and veggies, it fine to boil their food for a few minutes until it softens. Just let it cool down before feeding it to your fish.
Watermelon or just melons, in general, are soft enough on the inside that all you need to do is cut a thin slice and throw it into the pond. Your koi will swim up to it.
Meat that koi will encounter in the wild such as:
You can use live, dried or frozen meat for your koi for those people like myself who get squeamish feeding live food.
Some even use earthworms they find while gardening, only do that in moderation though, not for your koi fish but your garden. It needs those earthworms too. They will eat any little bugs that happen upon the koi pond anyways.
We also recommend reading our ultimate koi fish feeding guide here!
Grains and starches
Here is the area where the closest attention needs to be paid. During the summer koi need a lot more protein while in the building and waning months of spring and fall they have a more carb-heavy appetite.
Grains have a lot more carbs than fruits and vegetables and can throw off your koi’s diet. These items need to be given with a light hand.
In addition to the carb issue koi have a problem with the white floor and starches. For the same reason we don’t throw rice at weddings anymore, these types of food will make your koi fish swell.
Choose for whole wheat or brown rice if you want to use these as a treat, for potatoes go for sweet potatoes instead of your typical russet. Boil and cold all grains and starches before feeding. You can even add honey to these items to make it easier for your koi to eat.
When treats are ok for your koi to eat
It isn’t healthy to just feed your koi cheerios or any human food.
The conversation needs to include when it’s ok to feed your koi cheerios. They have a complex diet that shifts throughout the year entirely dependent on the weather. Cheerios while a nice treat is not a healthy replacement for their regular pellet food.
Due to their varying diet koi have specific food for the time of year and temperature. During the summer they eat a more protein-heavy diet when their metabolism is highest. Carbs are still a staple in their nutrition, but it takes a back seat.
Your koi will also eat a lot more during the summer. This is why treats like cheerios are best given during hotter periods because there are more meals.
Koi food specifically made for the warmer months has the correct balance of proteins, carbs, fats, and vitamins. All that you need to do is feed them throughout the day.
When the temperature drops so do their appetite. They are slowing down their feeding process for the wintertime, which if it’s cold enough they will go into hibernation.
You need to provide them with the right vitamins and nutrition when sending them off to their long non-eating times. Cheerios are just filler food that isn’t providing them anything but a good taste in their mouth.
Some koi owners use this fiber-rich cereal to get their koi’s stomach adjusted to and from hibernation changes. When their water gets below 55° F koi will stop eating and enter a hibernation cycle until the temperature of their water rises.
Some owners get a box of cheerios before the temperature drops and feed them the entire box to adjust their stomach to hibernation and then do the same in spring to restore the koi’s gut to regular feeding again.
This should only be done directly before and after hibernation, if you are not a seasoned koi owner then just still with the pellets to make it easier.
Anything that you give your koi that isn’t a part of their regular feeding should be given in moderation. Koi will eat anything that you can throw in their pond, but you being the reasonable party need to exhibit caution when providing these treats.
Remember during the summer you can replace one meal with treats, but when your koi start eating less each day they need to be given their intended food only.