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Before you think about hand-feeding your koi, it is critical that you make sure first what you are feeding them are of the best quality and suitable to their needs. Generally speaking, any feed with a well-known brand would do. But it would also be a good idea to add a little variety to their diet. When possible, feed them live food such as earthworms. It will also help you tame and befriend them.
Secondly, make sure that you are following the correct feeding schedule. How often you should feed koi and how much of it will depend on the temperature of the water as well. Koi fish do not have stomachs, which mean there is no way for them to store food for future use. As such, it is better to feed them often but with smaller amounts.
Tips for Hand Feeding Koi
Now that you know what to feed your koi and how many times you should do it in a day, it is time to learn how to hand-feed your koi.
Know your fish’s temperament. Some types of koi fish are easier to befriend. Knowing what type your koi fish is would help you have more reasonable expectations. Think of this as knowing the difference between wooing someone who already likes you and someone who is used to having other people fall for them in an instant.
Make sure you are the only one feeding them. This will make it easier for your koi fish to get to
know you and understand that you will be a regular part of their lives.
Stay long enough until they finish their meal. Think of this as another part of the getting-to-know-you process. How can you expect your koi fish to trust you enough to hand-feed them when they only catch a glimpse of your face and your hands during feeding time? While you do not have to swim with them, you could sit next to the pond and maybe have your feet dangle in the water even while you slowly release food from your hands.
Be sure that you keep your hands in the water as you release their food. When you do this frequently enough, your koi fish will figure out where the food is coming from and head towards your location during feeding time.
Be patient. Do not expect to win them over in a day or even in a week. It could happen in a few days, if you spend enough time with them, but it is just best to take things one day at a time. You will get to hand-feed and tame them eventually.
Do not make any sudden noise or movement when they get closer. Koi fish are wonderful pets because they seem to have this soothing effect on their owner. Consider it your obligation to do the same for them. If you want to earn their trust, you must also make them feel absolutely calm and relaxed in your presence. Do not make unnecessary splashes in the water or make any sudden hand movements. Such actions can easily undo all your hard work and force you to begin all over again.
Try to move your hand closer to them bit by bit. Stop moving your hand, however, if they appear to be nervous and try to swim away.
Stay still if one takes the bait. All it takes is just one fish to take the bait, really, and the entire school will follow suit. Sooner or later, one brave koi will get near enough to eat from your hand. When it does, others will follow almost immediately, urged by their basic instinct for survival. If they are not the first to eat from your hand, there could be no more food left by the time they get close to you.
Reminder: Filtration Systems
You already know that the water’s temperature has an impact on how much a koi feeds. Keep in mind as well that the water’s quality or how well-filtered it is can also affect your fish’s appetite. Inefficiently filtered water, which is characterized by having too much waste in the pond, will cause your koi fish to lose its appetite and even suffer from ill health.