Feeding Pond Fish: From When And How Often?

All-season food

Year-round food can be fed to pond fish all year round, as long as the water temperature does not drop below 10 °C. Four different types of year-round feed can be distinguished:

  • Pellet feed
  • Pond sticks
  • flake food
  • Food tablets
  • Pellet food

Pellets are available in pet shops for koi and goldfish. Since it usually contains a higher percentage of protein and fat, it provides the fish with a lot of energy and important nutrients. However, leftover food also puts more stress on the water. Therefore, a powerful filter system is important with this type of feed.


Pond sticks

Pond sticks can be fed to all fish species. However, with this type of food, the pond inhabitants need other food sources, such as insect larvae or algae. Therefore, pond sticks are particularly suitable for natural ponds. Since they do not sink to the bottom immediately, fish species that live in the upper half of the pond are pleased with this type of food.

Flake food

Because flake food fits smaller fish mouths, it is excellent for small and/or juvenile fish. Because it sinks to the bottom quickly, it is ideal for shy species or species that live on the bottom of the pond.

Feeding tablets

Feed tablets sink to the bottom quickly, but dissolve slowly. They are ideal for:

Juvenile fish

  • shy fish
  • bottom dwelling fish species
  • Food according to seasons

Since pond fish, depending on the season, have different demands on the food, there is special food for each season in the pet store. The season is not only determined by the calendar, but also by the water temperature. The following overview provides an orientation at which water temperature the respective seasonal food is optimal for the pond inhabitants, whereby the transitions are fluid:

  • Spring food: 12 °C to 14 °C, maximum 16 °C
  • Summer food: from 16 °C
  • Autumn food: 12 °C to 16 °C
  • Winter food: below 6 °C to 11 °C

Since the shelf life of summer feed in particular is limited, leftovers should not be stored for the coming summer. To ensure that leftover food does not end up in the garbage, various combinations are possible, depending on the water temperature:

12 °C to 16 °C: light winter feed mixed with the remains of summer feed.
Below 20 °C to 16 °C: 70 percent summer food and 30 percent winter food.
Tip: You can extend the shelf life of winter feed by freezing it.


In spring, pond fish enjoy food that contains plenty of vitamins and nutrients. Ideal spring feed contains:

easily digestible carbohydrates
a maximum of 32 percent protein
vitamins: A, D, E and C
If the feed bag has already been open for several weeks, then you should give your pond inhabitants an additional dose of vitamins once a week in the form of a multivitamin preparation.

Tip: If the temperatures slowly start to rise above 14 °C, the spring food can be mixed with summer food.


Summer feed is characterized by a high protein content. If it contains additional micronutrients, the fish can utilize it better, which in turn reduces the amount of excreted substances and consequently reduces algae growth. The optimal level of protein in summer food depends on the age of the pond inhabitants.

young or still growing fish: 42 to 45 percent protein content
older pond inhabitants (from the 3rd year): 38 to 42 percent protein content.
Tip: Since summer feed has a limited shelf life, the crude fat content should not exceed six to eight percent.


Autumn feeds are used when the water temperature gradually decreases in the fall and remains constantly below 20 °C. If the temperature settles between 16 °C and 12 °C, you can slowly increase the proportion of winter feed.


Winter food contains less protein and fat. Since the fish grow less in winter, they also need less energy. In addition, winter food pollutes the water less. Winter food can be fed to the pond inhabitants up to a water temperature of 6 °C. From this point on, the fish do not get any food. From this point on, the fish no longer get any food. If the filter system is already switched off at a water temperature above 6 °C, this means the end of feeding.

If the water temperature in the pond is between 6 °C and 11 °C, pond fish feeding depends on the behavior of the inhabitants:

  • do not feed resting pond fish
  • feed active fish sparingly with winter food


In order for the inhabitants to feel comfortable in the pond, the amount of food given also plays an important role. The amount of ration depends on the water temperature and the weight of the pond fish, but the amount should not exceed one percent of the total fish weight. As a rule of thumb, less is more. For the water temperature applies:

  • whole ration: 20 °C to 25 °C (on divided into one to six portions per day).
  • less than half a ration: above 25 °C (one portion per day)
  • less than a third of the ration: 11 °C to 15 °C (one portion every two days)
  • no food: above 30 °C (cool water)

If the pond inhabitants are active at a water temperature of 6 °C to 11 °C, then they get one to three pellets per fish every two to three days, if the filter system is not switched off.

Tip: To ensure that the pond fish find the food and eat it quickly, you should always feed them at the same time, distributing the food well in the pond so that all inhabitants get something.

You can tell the actual amount of food your fish need by how quickly they polish off the food. If there is still food left after a few minutes, you should reduce the amount. As the pond fish do not eat the leftover food, it settles to the bottom of the pond and over time prevents sufficient oxygen from being formed in the water. Golden loaches or gudgeons help eliminate stuck food as they clean the bottom as they forage.

Tip: Fish that regularly receive high-quality food will survive even a short vacation of a few days without food in the pond.