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Mackerel to feed koi

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  • Mackerel to feed koi

    I have always fed my koi quality koi pellets and adhered to temperature feeding rules that we all follow. I do a lot of salt water winter fishing for sea bass, cod, pollock, porgies, and sometimes mackerel. I have questions regarding feeding my koi salt water fish. Can I feed my koi fresh or frozen salt water fish like mackerel? Can it be raw or should it be cooked? If cooked, then best method for koi food? Can I feed below 55 degrees since it is all natural? Other advice? I appreciate responses. Thanks
  • #2

    I don't think we all follow the same "rules". I feed pretty much all "winter" (here in Florida). As long as the koi accept the food, I'm tossing pellets.

    I know that the food I use, Kenzen Primary Diet uses herring meal as the number one ingredient. However the complete profile of the product must be regarded. I personally would be reluctant on feeding marine foodstuffs. I think there is little reward for the potential risk.

    At any rate- welcome to Koi Bito.
    Tim

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    • #3

      FYI-anytime you feed a salt water meal to a fresh water system, living organisms do not survive the cross over from salt to fresh. so Raw is ok and no nutritional value is lost in cooking.
      Dick Benbow

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      • #4

        I also stick with Kenzen in the winter and simply drop the frequency and volume of the feedings. Personally I would not put a raw meat into my pond.
        Koi keeping is not a belief system; it is applied science with a touch of artistry.

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        • #5

          I feed Blackwater Gold-N in the winter and simply drop the frequency and volume of the feedings.

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          • #6

            considering this is your first post.
            I see no information about your pond,filtration,stocking rate,age of fish,size of pond,depth,Type of pond(true koi pond or AS pond) if you cover pond or even heat the water or any IMPORTANT information.

            So while others wanna do a commercial I would rather learn more about your pond. before even suggesting that you should be feeding
            Paul Korf

            member of:
            Midwest Pond and Koi Society
            Louisville Koi club
            IKONA

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            • #7

              My pond is about 2200 gallons. Filtration is 3 chamber system. I run the pump all winter long and when it gets very cold, the small heater activates to keep a hole in the pond. That only occurs 3 times a year for about 10 days total. I probably have 18 koi, 5 big older ones in the 22" range, a few medium koi, and many smaller ones. I am raising 7 for my brother for 2 years since herons eat all of his small ones. I'll give them to him when they are 3 years old. Dimensions are 16' x 8' x3' with a small water lily area to the side that is walled off. I usually stop feeding on halloween and start feeding again on April 1st. While the koi have never had a disease, they did have anchor worm once, about 10 years ago. They are very healthy. My only problem is a heron that frequents the pond. Once in a while he gets a small koi but it is rare. Pond sides are very steep so the heron cannot wade into it. I designed it right.

              I see many folks use that Kenzen food and I may do that. I was thinking of some raw mackerel in January, February and March, but it appears folks think that may not be wise. I do not want to introduce any problems since I have been problem free for many years.

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              • #8

                kenzen is an outstanding american made food that I have used almost since it's introduction. I have gravitated to it's sinking variety over the years of use. Especially during the colder months when Koi tend to be less willing to surface. It's also an aid against predation, as the fish stay low when fed instead of scourering the surface where they are more vulnerable.

                Like switching any food with Koi, should you try something new in the winter. Mix it in with what they're used to and see how they respond to it, instead of getting all enthused about something which may be rejected by them.

                I have an aquarium background, and used many raw and live foods to good effect in my learning curve. As I aged and went into ponds, having too many irons in the fire made me search for a reliable commercially made product (kenzen) to save me time. Time that I never seemed to have enough of....
                Dick Benbow

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                • #9

                  All I would add is that any type of fish meat being fed may be fine as a treat or supplement, but not as a well-balanced, complete diet. In Nature, a large fish eating a small fish is consuming the whole fish, organs, muscle, bones, scales and all. If you slop a bunch of fish guts into the pond, you'll have a mess. Consider using the mackerel as an ingredient in a homemade food that uses gelatin as a binder. If you use the forum search function, you'll find some recipes. (And, don't feed the bones! ... Bones are OK when pulverized into a powder and used as an ingredient in a pellet. Fishbones are just as dangerous to koi as to people.)

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                  • #10

                    Originally posted by misterpond View Post
                    I see many folks use that Kenzen food and I may do that.
                    Kenzen is the main food I feed. (I've not yet gotten to the point of using a single food exclusively.) If you try it, you may find that your koi do not like it at first. The texture and aroma are unique, and it does not have the sweeteners many koi foods use. The koi get adjusted in time. At times it becomes a source of controversy because those who use it can be very strong in voicing its virtues, while those not caring for it become just as vocal that it is expensive and their koi would not eat it. At one time it had a high garlic content that chased away a lot of folks, but no longer.
                    Last edited by MikeM; 11-19-2014, 11:15 AM. Reason: typo

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                    • #11

                      Originally posted by MikeM View Post
                      All I would add is that any type of fish meat being fed may be fine as a treat or supplement, but not as a well-balanced, complete diet. In Nature, a large fish eating a small fish is consuming the whole fish, organs, muscle, bones, scales and all. If you slop a bunch of fish guts into the pond, you'll have a mess. Consider using the mackerel as an ingredient in a homemade food that uses gelatin as a binder. If you use the forum search function, you'll find some recipes. (And, don't feed the bones! ... Bones are OK when pulverized into a powder and used as an ingredient in a pellet. Fishbones are just as dangerous to koi as to people.)
                      Very good points Mike. I supplement with whole anchovies (small ones as there are large anchovies also). The reason I do is because the koi food I use uses plenty of soy meal, which I personally dislike but have to live with as my choices are limited given my budget. Also, live food from the sea, which as mentioned by Dick is safer to use for freshwater fish such as koi, balances out the blended, rendered, and manufactured nature of koi pellets. Generally, pellets give us the advantage of convenience but lose out on their wholeness. They lack fats and are heavy on carbs, and the protein has gone thru heat and possibly chemical processing that makes it suitable for animals but not humans. Which is why we prefer fast foods over pellets, if convenience is what we look for. Furthermore, raw food comes complete with enzymes and probiotics, which can't be said of pellets. Better assimilation of nutrients contribute greatly to the koi's development. Better digestion means less waste production. Pellets are loaded with carbohydrates, which are not easily digested and form a large part of solid wastes.

                      Mackerel is an even better than anchovies, in that the higher fat content provides koi with more energy for use in basal metabolism. Less protein used for basal metabolism means less ammonia production, which can only be good for water quality since less biofiltration is needed. More protein is used for growth and for other functions such as to strengthen immunity and to develop koi coloration.

                      I would get smaller sized fish of the same family as mackerel and tuna. Scad, which we know as galunggong in the Philippines, would be ideally sized. Although I've only toyed with the idea, I would chop off the head along with the innards, and use the remainder of the scad to feed koi. To make it easy to chop, I would chill the scad in the freezer where it is just firm enough to be sliced into steaks (as opposed to filleting it). Since scads are small, you're looking at mini-steaks for koi. It's much much smaller than halibut steaks, just in case you're thinking "Oh my, the koi is eating my dinner." As for the head and innards, the cat will readily warm up to you.

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