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Thread: Fats in Koi Food

  1. #11
    Oyagoi yerrag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Appliance Guy View Post
    My favorite part. I agree! Well I differ in that I KNOW that phytic acid IS counterproductive to digestion...not a question of 'may be'.
    Thanks a lot. Now to start sprouting flax. KNOWING phytic acid goes away with sprouting. Not practical yet, but I'm wearing the hat of a mad scientist.

  2. #12
    Tategoi mtsklar's Avatar
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    Greetings Mike,

    You are correct in thinking that koi benefit from higher fat levels. I will answer your questions in bold :

    (Mike) First off, let me rattle off a few numbers and premises. I hope I am not way off:
    -Fats in pellets are usually at 4%, the reason being that the pellets would have a hard time staying intact if the percentage goes higher.

    (Matt)The true upper limit for fat in a manufactured pellet is 12%. Above 12% an extruder produces mush. Going above 12% requires spraying oil on the outside of the pellet and koi keepers would not like that type of product.

    (Mike)-The fats in pellets consist of omega-3 fats in the form of fish oil.
    -Koi in nature eat live worm, larvae, and insects, the fat content of which is about equal to its weight in protein. Koi, also eat plants.

    (Matt) Midge larvae are 49% protein, 22% carbohydrate, 14% fat. Although these numbers are not absolute they are a good guide.

    (Mike) Question 1: Is 4% fat enough for the koi to eat? Would koi benefit from eating food with higher fat contents? If so, how in terms of appearance and health?

    (Matt) When there is not enough energy in a diet (fat) a koi will use protein for energy. When a koi uses protein for energy the by-product is ammonia released from the gill.

    When fat is included at higher levels the koi uses the fat to satisfy energy demands. This spares the protein from that burden allowing the protein to contribute to growth. Assuming an intact high quality protein such as fishmeal is used. Fishmeal lacks the anti-nutrient factors that are associated with plant based proteins.


    (Mike)Question 2: If the pellet fat is omega-3 polyunsaturated fat such as fish oil, how can the fat not be stale or even rancid? I take fish oil and flaxseed oil myself, and they always come in dark plastic bottles that are sealed to prevent the oil from being oxidized and rancid. Once opened, they have to be refrigerated. If during pellet manufacture the pellets are subject to heat, wouldn't the oil be oxidized and thus be pretty much useless?

    (Matt)Certain antioxidants are used in the manufacture of pellets. Extruders have access to both synthetic and natural antioxidants. Some feeds can declare “all natural” and if so this means that they do not use synthetic antioxidants like Ethoxyquin.

    (MIke) Question 3: If you have to supplement koi pellets with healthy fats, what would you use?

    (Matt)The best solution is to find a pellet that has higher fat 7-10%. Storage should be at 75F/ 24C or lower if possible for best results. Or improve your biofilter and turnover, because when koi eat low fat foods they produce more ammonia.

    Note that probiotics are a very time sensitive ingredient and exposure to oxygen is a liability.
    Matt Sklar

  3. #13
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    Tomigai has a minimum of 6% fat. Saki-Hikari growth has minimum 9% fat. I think a perfect diet for koi would have fat levels above 10%, but that would be too high for a durable, practical shelf life.

    EDIT: Matt posted while I was on the phone and had not posted the above reply. Thanks, Matt. Good stuff.
    Last edited by MikeM; 07-23-2013 at 09:11 AM.

  4. #14
    Honmei ricshaw's Avatar
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    The two Koi pellet foods I am using this year have 8% and 10% crude fat.

  5. #15
    Oyagoi yerrag's Avatar
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    Matt, thanks for your very helpful and knowledgeable insight on matters relating to feeding koi. I still had to ask though, what you would add in addition to koi food, to boost fat intake. The reason is that I can't leave it to hope that the fats in the koi food are still fresh when I feed to my kois, given that our warm climate makes for more rapid spoilage rate. I mentioned some food candidates in an earlier post, and I am honing in on the choice of avocado and coconut meat to provide fresh fats. My thinking here is that since it's just as unnatural to not have enough fats, it wouldn't hurt if we add some fats even if these fats are not the ideal type of fat or oil. The ideal would be fish oil with EPA/DHA, and what I propose isn't, but as a convenient and handy substitute (at least in my locale) I am adding largely monounsaturated fats in avocado and mostly saturated fats in coconut meat. I could supplement 10% of pellet food weight with the fat content of avocado and coconut meat. But with the coconut oil portion providing only 20% of the total supplemented fats. The primary danger with saturated fats is the fear of it clogging the arteries as it freezes, but our tropical climate renders that issue moot. At a small amount, if there are to be side effects, it would be minimized. Besides, the medium chain triglycerides in coconut- IF koi fat metabolism can be likened to humans, are easily metabolized to provide instant energy - are a big plus. Would very much appreciate your thoughts. Mike, Rick, please poke holes as well. The rest, please chime in - especially Southeast Asian bros, where coconut meat and avocados don't cost a fortune.

  6. #16
    Tategoi mtsklar's Avatar
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    Yerrag,

    A little bit of what you are saying sounds more like a feeling or theory.

    What temperature are you storing your pellets at now. ?

    Several vitamins are "fat soluble" vitamins, meaning that fat must be present in the diet in order to deliver the vitamins.

    The best fat source you can add to the diet is soybean oil. This has omega 3 and omega 6 and it is highly digestible.

    Spread the pellets out on a covered table and lightly spray the pellets with the oil. Or tumble the pellets in a bucket and spray the oil in while mixing the pellets.

    You will need to dry the pellets well before feeding or there will be a oil sheen on the water.

    The avocado may have good fats, however, it also has a lot of color in it that will make the whites yellow on the koi. The coconut also has fats but not really the right type for fish, and the fiber is too high and will impede digesting.

    Lastly silkworm has a lot of fat contend and people will feed it because they have seen this done in Japan. However the fat content is really very high so it is only practical as a treat now and then.

    The koi system is very different than a human for many reasons so try to avoid using an understanding of human nutrition to understand koi nutrition.

  7. #17
    Oyagoi yerrag's Avatar
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    Matt, the fiber in the coconut meat is indeed a concern as far as waste and digestibility goes. And yes, coconut oil being unsuitable primarily due to its being saturated is a legitimate concern, and is, as you said, a lot of feel and theory. Still, a glance at the fat content of anchovies reveal that 22% of its fat is saturated, 41% is monounsaturated, and 26% is polyunsaturated (nutitiondata.self.com) - but sorry I couldn't figure out why it doesn't add up to 100%. That can at least make a case for saturated fats- it isn't unnatural for fish in general, and koi specifically, as we always would take for granted.

    And yes, it's good you point out the effect of avocado of coloration of koi. If it should have a significant effect, midori koi owners may have cause to rejoice But at the very least we agree that its suitability is less questionable than the use of coconut oil.

    Adding oil to the pellets and letting it dry though, I'm afraid it would cause the soybean oil to oxidize - if it's still in its natural state of being polyunsaturated. Oftentimes though, the soybean oil we get has already been partially hydrogenated, and thus unsuitable as far as being unnatural to the koi's. If I were to add oil though, would it help to emulsify it with say, lecithin? Are there downsides to the use of lecithin?

  8. #18
    Oyagoi yerrag's Avatar
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    Matt,to your storage temperature question: as far as ambient temperature goes it would range from 22 to 34 centigrade, or about 72 to 94 f.

  9. #19
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yerrag View Post
    Matt,to your storage temperature question: as far as ambient temperature goes it would range from 22 to 34 centigrade, or about 72 to 94 f.
    Matt can give more detailed information. My experience is that food kept indoors where it is air conditioned to under 26C (around 78F) lasts a year with no problems. Food kept in the garage where temperatures exceed 95F (35C) most days for 6 months of the year will suffer.

  10. #20
    Tategoi mtsklar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yerrag View Post
    Are there downsides to the use of lecithin?
    Lecithin is composed of choline and inositol, and if the koi food you use is a quality food it will already have these ingredients on the label. Choline and inositol, like many other micro ingredients are available to the feed mill in many forms. The staff nutritionists decides which ones are to be used. Some compounds are more bio-available than others. So by supplementing Lecithin you may be double dosing (or more) and essentially putting a burden on the main filter of the koi which is the liver.

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