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Thread: Fasting or Reduced Feeding?

  1. #1
    Oyagoi yerrag's Avatar
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    Fasting or Reduced Feeding?

    If I'm not getting my koi ready for a koi show, where fasting is a must, I have been wondering for some time now about the rationale behind fasting koi. There are many reasons I recall from past threads. One is that after fasting, koi appetite is improved. Another is that the skin becomes cleaner and the shiroji looks more clear. Although I've not heard it said, I assume that an occasional fast is healthy for the koi. Maybe it is for the same reason that humans fast, in that fasting strengthens immunity.

    But if the reason for fasting is to improve the skin and shiroji, I would like to dwelve on that further. I think many would agree that skin improves because during a fast, koi are not excreting much ammonia and the water column becomes almost free of ammonia. Without ammonia in the water column, skin improves and the shiroji becomes clearer and pops out visually.

    But if reducing the water column of ammonia is the reason, I wonder if it would hurt to feed just enough food such that the ammonia produced would not impact ammonia readings significantly to affect the shiroji. Or what if the food is free from protein, but is full of fats and/or sugar, such that the food that is metabolized for basal metabolism does not produce nitrogenous by-products such as ammonia?

    I still see good reasons for fasting, but I wanted to get your opinions on this matter only when the reason for fasting is to improve the shiroji. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Oyagoi HEADACHE6's Avatar
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    It is my understanding that more Ammonia is from Respiration and not waste.
    ricshaw likes this.

  3. #3
    Jumbo Appliance Guy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HEADACHE6 View Post
    It is my understanding that more Ammonia is from Respiration and not waste.
    Correct, 70% of the ammonia produced by koi is through respiration.
    ricshaw likes this.

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    Jumbo Appliance Guy's Avatar
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    Mike, good topic. And like you I would like to know the pysiology of the matter. Unfortunately, I haven't found a conclusive answer that satisfies me. My own take on the matter: I think it's a combination of sorts- where fasting not only improves water quality (or at least typically it does) in that a 30% decrease in ammonia has less burden on the filtration; water clarity is typically improved so the koi "look better"; and mainly that the koi's skin undergoes change. I think of short term fasting akin to cleansing and purging of compounds which stain the shiroji. Shiroji is a component of the dermis and is made up of tissue cells, strands and fibers, fat cells and specialized cells. The skin is surprisingly reactive and I'm always quite amazed to see how quickly koi skin responds to change in diet or conditions. It makes sense to me that the skin will purge compounds, including staining compounds, as a natural function of sorts. How or why this works, I don't know. I suspect that digestive enzymes and the continuous shedding of digestive cells within the gut have something to do with it. Secondarily, I think the skin itself changes, and the breakdown of fat cells tighten the skin, which would appear as improvement in the shiro.
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    Tim

  5. #5
    Sansai
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    DOC or scum accumulation when fish feeding is drastically reduced.

    Good day all,

    Could somebody explain why an accumulation or abundance of islands of bubbles occur on the surface of my pond when I reduce the feeding to a minimal amount during the course of a day.
    It is very noticeable around the area and entrance around the skimmer/weir.
    This is due to the skimmer weir surface being blanketed by DOC? or scum? for the want of a better word.
    The blanket of scum bars more accumulated scum and bubbles from entering the skimmer until the floating mass is removed.
    The bubble masses are a result of my 9 up flow filter returns, and the rolling over of 80 litres of air and water through 4 x 200mm air-stones mounted on my bottom drain lids.

    The picture would look very similar to the one video of Ricshaw last pond safari
    Movement of the bubble masses is slow or stagnant, like waiting for it's turn to enter the skimmer

    Cheers

    Garfield

    PS I ran out of Koi pellets and turned to a couple of boiled Barley feeds a day in the interim for a day or 4.

    I am not into starving my fish.

    I used to stop feeding when I showed fish as requested by the committee.

  6. #6
    Honmei ricshaw's Avatar
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    Fasting or Reduced Feeding?

    It is not all or nothing. Where I live, long periods of fasting stresses the fish AND the biological filtration system. IMO it is better to reducing feeding in the Winter. It also does not hurt to do short fasts.
    yerrag likes this.

  7. #7
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Appliance Guy View Post
    Mike, good topic. And like you I would like to know the pysiology of the matter. Unfortunately, I haven't found a conclusive answer that satisfies me. My own take on the matter: I think it's a combination of sorts- where fasting not only improves water quality (or at least typically it does) in that a 30% decrease in ammonia has less burden on the filtration; water clarity is typically improved so the koi "look better"; and mainly that the koi's skin undergoes change. I think of short term fasting akin to cleansing and purging of compounds which stain the shiroji. Shiroji is a component of the dermis and is made up of tissue cells, strands and fibers, fat cells and specialized cells. The skin is surprisingly reactive and I'm always quite amazed to see how quickly koi skin responds to change in diet or conditions. It makes sense to me that the skin will purge compounds, including staining compounds, as a natural function of sorts. How or why this works, I don't know. I suspect that digestive enzymes and the continuous shedding of digestive cells within the gut have something to do with it. Secondarily, I think the skin itself changes, and the breakdown of fat cells tighten the skin, which would appear as improvement in the shiro.
    The improved clarity of the shiroji is particularly noticeable, but all pigment colors brighten when a koi is fasted. This occurs even if the water was pristine prior to the fast. Tim touches on the idea I recall JR espousing, that the metabolic wastes produced by all cells as a natural function decline when the koi is not fed. These are more thoroughly cleansed from the body during a fast. Similar to Tim's thought that the skin changes as the koi utilizes stored fat, I believe there is a reduced production of slime coat. So, as the mucus coat sloughs off, there is less replacing it. The result is having pigments more clearly revealed. Of course, to the extent there is improved water quality, the reduced 'irritation' would result in a thinner slime coat. A combination of all these things is likely at work.

    I am not aware of any study indicating a positive immunity response due to fasting. The studies I have read show a reduced immune response when a fast lasts more than 10 days or so.
    yerrag likes this.

  8. #8
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by coolwon View Post
    Good day all,

    Could somebody explain why an accumulation or abundance of islands of bubbles occur on the surface of my pond when I reduce the feeding to a minimal amount during the course of a day.
    It is very noticeable around the area and entrance around the skimmer/weir.
    This is due to the skimmer weir surface being blanketed by DOC? or scum? for the want of a better word.
    The blanket of scum bars more accumulated scum and bubbles from entering the skimmer until the floating mass is removed.
    The bubble masses are a result of my 9 up flow filter returns, and the rolling over of 80 litres of air and water through 4 x 200mm air-stones mounted on my bottom drain lids.

    The picture would look very similar to the one video of Ricshaw last pond safari
    Movement of the bubble masses is slow or stagnant, like waiting for it's turn to enter the skimmer

    Cheers

    Garfield

    PS I ran out of Koi pellets and turned to a couple of boiled Barley feeds a day in the interim for a day or 4.

    I am not into starving my fish.

    I used to stop feeding when I showed fish as requested by the committee.
    I have not experienced this. I find that DOC increases or decreases in relation to amounts fed.

    I have not used boiled barley to feed koi. But, I have seen barley boiled. If the pot was not watched, it would boil over due to the starches released into the water. Same can occur with pasta and rice. If you see an increase in bubbles when feeding barley, I suspect it is the starch released by the barley that is causing it. Oils can do likewise, resulting in bubbles when an oily feed is used. (That is one of the reasons I do not like pellets whose fat content is primarily from oils sprayed on the pellets toward the end of the production process.)

  9. #9
    Oyagoi yerrag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HEADACHE6 View Post
    It is my understanding that more Ammonia is from Respiration and not waste.
    So even on a fast, koi would still be producing ammonia from respiration then? But there would still be less ammonia being produced as in a fast, waste is reduced, right?

    But what if respiration involves the use of fats and sugars instead of protein? Wouldn't ammonia production be lessened?

    I've noticed lower nitrate values when I supplement my koi pellets with coconut meat. A significant difference.

  10. #10
    Oyagoi yerrag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by coolwon View Post
    Good day all,

    Could somebody explain why an accumulation or abundance of islands of bubbles occur on the surface of my pond when I reduce the feeding to a minimal amount during the course of a day.
    It is very noticeable around the area and entrance around the skimmer/weir.
    This is due to the skimmer weir surface being blanketed by DOC? or scum? for the want of a better word.
    The blanket of scum bars more accumulated scum and bubbles from entering the skimmer until the floating mass is removed.
    The bubble masses are a result of my 9 up flow filter returns, and the rolling over of 80 litres of air and water through 4 x 200mm air-stones mounted on my bottom drain lids.

    The picture would look very similar to the one video of Ricshaw last pond safari
    Movement of the bubble masses is slow or stagnant, like waiting for it's turn to enter the skimmer

    Cheers

    Garfield

    PS I ran out of Koi pellets and turned to a couple of boiled Barley feeds a day in the interim for a day or 4.

    I am not into starving my fish.

    I used to stop feeding when I showed fish as requested by the committee.
    I don't know why reduced feeding would cause so much DOC. Maybe your koi have few fat stores that they end up metabolizing their muscle tissues for energy? But whatever the reason, the DOCs don't really block the flow of water in thru the skimmer, but the bubbles accumulate and give the appearance of blockage. They just stay afloat on water surface and are not sucked in the skimmer. I would replace the skimmer with a sanitary wye such that the forked end would suck in water, and the bubbles that get sucked in would come out on the other end. The bubbles would accumulate off this end and you can scoop them out. I had a post on this with photos before on a thread about diy foam fractionators, and here it is:

    The VERY new and improved Phoam Phraxionator
    Last edited by yerrag; 01-21-2016 at 07:53 AM. Reason: added a link of past post

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