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Thread: Protein feeds - constant or variable?

  1. #11
    Tategoi mtsklar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pondlife View Post
    I have a heated pond, so after a month off in January I started my low protein feed. As I increase temperature I increase to a higher protein feed. I'm quite happy with that but was interested to see that some high level Koi keepers alternate between high protein and wheatgerm feeds even at higher temperatures. Some Japanese growers even recommend low protein for all year except for sept/oct.

    I can understand that this will reduce the load on filters and improve water quality. Is that the rationale behind it? How long on and off do they use and what advantage is this for optimal (ie healthy) growth?
    thanks in advance.
    Pondlife,

    In a feed formula there is: protein, carbohydrate, and fat. All three in any combination add up to 100%. (We will assume ash and moisture are equal in all cases, and leave it out of the equation for simplicity).

    So a typical wheatgerm feed or “winter food” is low protein. Which means that it is high in carbohydrates. Fat is relatively low most both cases for typical koi feed.

    With respect to alternating high protein and wheatgerm feeds here is some insight into why one might try that feeding strategy.

    The “hope” with this strategy is to produce growth (with the high protein feed) and girth (with the low protein, high carb feed) on a koi. High carbohydrates over the long term will put more visceral fat on a fish. The downside is that it can increase the fat content of the koi’s liver by eleven fold. This effect of high carbohydrates can be see in carp in public parks that are getting bread from park visitors. Three summers with bread in the diet of a carp can result in four times as much visceral fat in the muscle of the carp and eleven times as much fat on the liver.

    The other challenge with this strategy is that carp can tolerate about 25% carbohydrate in the diet. Above that and the feed starts to get pushed out more rapidly hence more waste in the water.
    Matt Sklar

  2. #12
    Sansai
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    Matt, thanks for attempting to explain.
    Not sure why protein is supposed to grow koi but carbohydrate make them fat when both are identically calorie dense. High fat at over twice the calories, certainly would make them fat.

    What about satiety. In humans, protein produces a feeling of fullness compared to carbohydrate for the same calories. So do they eat more calories in the form of low protein/high carbs than they would in high protein/low carbs?

    Also, as to building koi up, like body builders, they can only absorb so many amino acids to build protein and then after that it is simply calories which goes into liver glycogen and hence fat storage.

    So still not really sure of the thinking behind this. Now if it is all about maximum calorie intake commensurate with keeping water quality within bounds, that I could understand....

  3. #13
    Tategoi mtsklar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pondlife View Post
    Matt, thanks for attempting to explain.
    Not sure why protein is supposed to grow koi but carbohydrate make them fat when both are identically calorie dense. High fat at over twice the calories, certainly would make them fat.

    What about satiety. In humans, protein produces a feeling of fullness compared to carbohydrate for the same calories. So do they eat more calories in the form of low protein/high carbs than they would in high protein/low carbs?

    Also, as to building koi up, like body builders, they can only absorb so many amino acids to build protein and then after that it is simply calories which goes into liver glycogen and hence fat storage.

    So still not really sure of the thinking behind this. Now if it is all about maximum calorie intake commensurate with keeping water quality within bounds, that I could understand....
    Pondlife,

    Protein, carbohydrate, and fats are all very different actors. Protein does not generate fat storage in the liver. Carbohydrates can not build muscle, bone, skin, and scale.

    Protein builds protein, the body composition of a carp on dry weight analysis is 75% protein.

    Carp will use fat and carbohydrate to satisfy energy demands which spares the protein from that purpose and hence protein can contribute to growth.

    Protein is composed of amino acids. 10 of which are essential - meaning the koi can not synthesize them. If one of the 10 is low in the formula growth rates are depressed.

  4. #14
    Daihonmei
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    Quote Originally Posted by pondlife View Post
    Thanks Eugeneg, but you didn't really answer my question.
    I know that younger fish benefit from higher protein levels when growing rapidly. I was asking why I had seen reports of high level Koi keepers not feeding say 40% protein feed throughout the month of July (Northern hemisphere summer). But instead feeding some lower protein feeds despite the temperatures justifying user higher protein content. What pattern of feeding do they use and what do they aim to achieve ?

    Jaspr hasn't answered my question yet either, but I know he just takes longer to get around to it.....

    hahaha! You know me so well! But this had to be set up properly because unfortunately most written and repeated information from hobbyist to hobbyist comes from the manufacturer and/or the aquaculture literature and that all comes from studies on trout and carp that go to market at 14 inches or so. Or in some cases from forced growth settings.

    So koi are not a fixed 'digester' like a dog or a cat. Because their body shifts both in its efficiency ( based on the things I mentioned in my other posts) and needs, it is hard to make a hard fast statement about diet. Koi are most metabolically efficient at lower temperatures than most hobbyists think ( 688-72 F). To a hobbyist, the warmer the water the more a koi will eat and the more it will grow. In that setting protein is the fuel for muscle and flesh formation so how can it be wrong? Well in water above 72F the koi's absorption of digested material tends to progressively decline. In addition, if a koi's body knows that every meal includes more protein than they can possibly absorb, the koi becomes resistant to absorbing any more and dumps the excess in the water column. The only remedy as you hinted to is protein sparing-- so a few days of high protein followed by a day of fasting and then a few days of low protein and then back to high protein is very smart for both growth and the health of the koi.
    A koi's body can actually pick what it wants to use for energy and how it wants to 'grow'. It is based on digestion rates and easiest access to energy.
    A female, for instance, might know to direct the fat and protein to its egg mass- one ligitimate form of 'growth' that we tend not to think of as growth- yet is growth in the true sense of the word. And in this case, slightly more fat has a place as well as large amounts of protein. but this kind of diet can also ruin a fish's bodyline if used to the extreme.
    Carbs are a cheap form of energy and a koi will use it first as a very efficient break down for quick energy. It will also store glycogen ( a reduction/oxidaion of either sugars from carbs or animal flesh). But it only needs to store so much. The rest? Dumped into the water column.

    So to bring this all home-- you can feed a high protein food in high growth season. It is well tolerated and does what it is supposed to do-- allow for the building of cells. But if the water is too cool or too warm, the feeding of high protein will be counter productive in the sense that a percentage will be dumped into the water column of a CLOSED SYSTEM. and the water quality will suffer. JR

  5. #15
    Honmei ricshaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtsklar View Post
    Pondlife,
    In a feed formula there is: protein, carbohydrate, and fat. All three in any combination add up to 100%. (We will assume ash and moisture are equal in all cases, and leave it out of the equation for simplicity).
    So a typical wheatgerm feed or “winter food” is low protein. Which means that it is high in carbohydrates. Fat is relatively low most both cases for typical koi feed.
    With respect to alternating high protein and wheatgerm feeds here is some insight into why one might try that feeding strategy.
    The “hope” with this strategy is to produce growth (with the high protein feed) and girth (with the low protein, high carb feed) on a koi. High carbohydrates over the long term will put more visceral fat on a fish. The downside is that it can increase the fat content of the koi’s liver by eleven fold. This effect of high carbohydrates can be see in carp in public parks that are getting bread from park visitors. Three summers with bread in the diet of a carp can result in four times as much visceral fat in the muscle of the carp and eleven times as much fat on the liver.
    The other challenge with this strategy is that carp can tolerate about 25% carbohydrate in the diet. Above that and the feed starts to get pushed out more rapidly hence more waste in the water.
    Lets take a look at one Koi food brand manufactured by a big feed company, Star Milling Co.

    Star Milling makes Ultra Balance Premium All Season Koi food and Ultra Balance Premium Wheat Germ Koi food.

    The manufacture says the Ultra Balance Premium Wheat Germ Koi food is made for water temperatures below 64° F (18°C).

    Both have 4% Fat. One has 35% Protein, the other 30% Protein.

    You can check out other Koi food ingredients online, like Hikari Wheat-Germ, Protein 32%, Fat 4%, and Hikari Hi-Growth, which interesting contains TWO kinds of pellets, green pellets that are 42% Protein, and yellow pellets that are 25% protein.

  6. #16
    Tategoi mtsklar's Avatar
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    Protein sparing works in the context of a specific gross nutritional profile held constant over a period of time. Alternating between feeds with high and low protein would disrupt the protein sparing effect.

    Concerns over body confirmation and forcing growth have a deep history that goes back to the breeders in Japan. Over the years, experimentation with diets and feeding protocols has varied widely. If you have ever heard someone mention “a protein belly” and it is not a full egg sack they are talking about, but a more abnormal body line with a prominent belly then you know what I am talking about.

    Protein is a blend of amino acids that can help or possible harm a fish. If the amino acid pool that results in the blood stream after eating is out of balance then the liver must filter out the specific amino acid or acids that are to high in the mix. This puts a burden on the liver of the koi and it can become enlarged over time.

    Now if the amino acids are correctly balanced for the percent of protein in the diet, then the feed can have interesting benefits for the koi. The feed ingredients would need to be compatible with cold water of course, but if they are, then the koi will acclimate to the cold in the same way that wild cypinus carpio will.

  7. #17
    Honmei ricshaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtsklar View Post
    Protein sparing works in the context of a specific gross nutritional profile held constant over a period of time. Alternating between feeds with high and low protein would disrupt the protein sparing effect.
    Concerns over body confirmation and forcing growth have a deep history that goes back to the breeders in Japan. Over the years, experimentation with diets and feeding protocols has varied widely. If you have ever heard someone mention “a protein belly” and it is not a full egg sack they are talking about, but a more abnormal body line with a prominent belly then you know what I am talking about.
    Protein is a blend of amino acids that can help or possible harm a fish. If the amino acid pool that results in the blood stream after eating is out of balance then the liver must filter out the specific amino acid or acids that are to high in the mix. This puts a burden on the liver of the koi and it can become enlarged over time.
    Now if the amino acids are correctly balanced for the percent of protein in the diet, then the feed can have interesting benefits for the koi. The feed ingredients would need to be compatible with cold water of course, but if they are, then the koi will acclimate to the cold in the same way that wild cypinus carpio will.
    I live in Southern California where the pond temperature rarely gets below 55°F. This winter was a warm winter and the pond temperature has stayed above 55°F (today it was 57°). I have already gradually started feeding for Spring. I feed very light feedings and feed less food than most Koi people to preserve water quality. Since I don't feed a lot, even in the warm months, I am thinking the higher protein Koi foods would be best.

  8. #18
    Sansai
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    Mtsklar, thanks for reply.
    "Protein, carbohydrate, and fats are all very different actors. Protein does not generate fat storage in the liver"
    Protein is absorbed and broken into amino acids, then these can be deaminated (the nitrogen split off) and the carbon chain used for building muscle or by gluconeogensis become glucose and hence if in surfeit, fat in the liver.

    In reality we over feed our Koi so they satisfy their energy demands from the carbs and fats. This is simpler and they probably only use protein as energy when in starvation situations eg winter.

    But 40% protein is far more than they need to build a body. The fact that they are made up of 75% protein is irrelevant, they aren't built in a day!

    So apart from polluting your water with huge amounts of ammonia and hence nitrate, I'm not sure what we achieve by feeding constant high protein feed over more moderate levels.

  9. #19
    Tategoi mtsklar's Avatar
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    Perhaps you are not familiar with the protein levels found in natural food items like midge larvae.

    When you feed a proper protein, you don't need very much of it to grow a koi. Lower quality proteins pollute the water because as much as half of it will pass through the koi.

    If proper proteins are used, they become part of the fish and never leave the body. There is no pollution of the water.

  10. #20
    Sansai
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    Not sure what a proper protein is. So no I'm not familiar with it.
    As said previously proteins are made up of amino acids. Some cannot be synthesised by Koi so are essential.

    The idea that proper proteins are absorbed by the fish and improper proteins are not seems bizarre.

    Basically if you feed your koi huge amounts of food then some of it will pass through without being digested and foul the water. If you feed your koi sensible amounts that it can absorb but cram it with very high percentage of protein, then as you say, Koi only need a small amount of protein each day to replace damaged tissues and to grow, so the rest is simply polluting the water. Don't see how this varies for proper proteins or improper proteins.

    As to midge larvae, these are presumably eaten as part of a mixed diet including some insects and some plants. If insects dried eg silk worms larvae are about 65% protein, then alive they must be about 30% at most. Not sure what that proves though.

    Jaspr is the only one so far who has attempted to answer my question.

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