View Full Version : Koi Not Eating
12-13-2010, 12:42 PM
In my koi pond, the temperatures had dropped 2-3 weeks ago to about 42-44. In the past two weeks though, it is back to California weather and the pond has been >50. THe past few days its been 56-58.
DUring the cold time, the fish were at the pond floor but in the past week they have been moving and swimming around but they don't want to eat. The temperatures are expected to be in the early to mid 60s for another few weeks so I suspect the water will be in the mid 50s as well. Soould they not be eating?
Is this normal?
12-13-2010, 12:52 PM
That's right NTK. Your fish are done eating for the winter. You go by water temps, not air temps. Once water dips below 55, the fish are no longer interested in eating. Even though you are in California, the water temps are cool enough to trigger this normal reaction.
Don't ply them with food, let them rest. This is how the fish get ready for spring growth and spawning.
12-13-2010, 12:57 PM
Got it koikeepr. I'm referring to the water temperature in my post above. The water temperature has been 58 the past few days so was wondering if they should be eating.
12-13-2010, 01:25 PM
It's interesting that some fish are not interested in eating at all during the winter months, others will beg down into the 40's. Our local koi dealer has seven or eight outside ponds. In the large front pond, the koi will approach people, mouths wide open, all the way down to the mid 40's, while their cousins in a neighboring pond totally ignore visitors up into the mid-50's. If your fish are not interested in food, I'd leave them alone. Sometimes, though, if you have prolonged periods of warm weather and the water temperatures warm up for a good length of time, they may become interested again. Whether or not to feed during this time is debated by koi experts, as the bio bacteria is most likely still inactive. I have to admit that I have been occasionally guilty of succumbing to their begging during these prolonged warm spells, but mostly I just ignore them. If they were well fed going into the cold weather, they should be fine until spring.
12-13-2010, 01:50 PM
In your super temperate climate, 58 sounds cool enough for the effect to be triggered. Though the temps will go up and down + or - a handful of degrees over the course of week, you need to fight your desire to feed 'em. Give 'em their rest.
12-13-2010, 02:24 PM
Okay. Thanks Nancy and koikeepr.
Seems my koi are the lazy ones and don't want to eat now. So no more feeding.
12-13-2010, 02:37 PM
They're really not lazy, this "hibernation" is very important to their well being. If you see the water consistently at 60 for 2 weeks straight, I would see if they're interested--other than that, just let 'em rest.
12-13-2010, 02:38 PM
Even if your water temps come up for a few days, the fish will be sluggish in eating.
You should stop feeding for about 6-8 weeks even if your water temp is above 55°. I begin feeding mine 1 time a week in December. By the end of December, I stop feeding until mid March.
This is really important if you have females as it makes them absorb their eggs. This not only avoids mass spawns, it helps stop egg impaction with is usually a death sentence.
12-13-2010, 02:51 PM
12-13-2010, 05:18 PM
I've often heard about females absorbing their eggs, but I'm not sure I'm a believer in that. My fish go from mid-December through February or early March (10 to 12 weeks) with no food at all (the nibbles I spoke of above always occurred early in the season, before winter set in hard), but no matter how hard the winter, I have never had an occasion where the females ever absorbed their eggs. Every spring, we get that mass orgy, one female after another, for weeks until they're finally done. I wish they would absorb the eggs! But I've never actually known it to happen.
12-13-2010, 07:29 PM
Knock on wood, since I've starting do this I haven't had 1 spawn. My fish look like balloons by March and thin out during the summer and winter.
I also keep only females.
12-14-2010, 12:03 PM
let's take a look at the " absorb the eggs " issue.
The mentality started when avid koi keepers bought expensive females to compete in the show circuit with. Not wanting them damaged by a spawn ( and since males were not considered in a pond with SHOW females) sometimes females died of egg impaction because THEY WERE NOT SPAWNED) so to get around this fatal situation, folks learned that if females (gravid-meaning 3 years and sexually mature) needed to experience winter so that by denying them food they would absorb enough protein from their existing eggs so as not to get egg impacted. A cause produced by carry heavy eggs year after year and not spawning.( people are smarter now but not all and many still feed a koi in winter to get extra growth. What happens is mother nature has designed her to not use the protein for growth but to increase egg production, thus insuring continuation of the species) So if you have a mixed pond and do have spawns that you have a natural way of avoiding this situation. If you do have show fish and don't want them trashed by spawning, allowing ADULT females to experience a 6-8 week, minimum exposure to no food to help with the situation. It does help, is it fool proof with every individual, not hardly! But whether you can see any re-absorption or not, is not as important as realizing this effort is valid and has merit in avoiding a serious health issue. In japan with top notch all japan candidates, it takes a few years to get them to competitive size-90 cm. So they're probably somewhere 6-8 years old that means there are 3 maybe 5 years of egg production that has to be dealt with. The safest way is to use injections that causes the eggs to ripen and then to knock the female out and hand strip her of her eggs. Once that is done all the
protein from feed is used to grow the koi lengthwise during the summer till fall. It's then that the body returns to using food to produce eggs.
You do not want to deny females 2 and younger food in the winter if you have the facilities to heat and feed. The issue focuses on the age of sexual maturity, usually at the age of three.
I hope this rambling fills in some gaps for understanding about this issue and i have made it clear enough so as to be understood.
12-14-2010, 01:35 PM
Wow, that was really interesting, Coach!
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