Category Archives: Nutrition

Bigger Batch Issues w/ Medicated Food

Making a big batch is a little bit more difficult because mixing the confectioners glaze/medicine mix have to be done evenly so it really kind of takes two people. One person to drizzle and one person to stir.

*Note: this document is intended to convey “how I do it“ and has nothing to do with recommendations, prescriptions, or instructions to you. If you think so, you are mistaken.

This batch called for roughly 700 mg of medicine per pound of food based on a 3% feeding rate and I put in 1500 total. It’s 2 pounds of food. If I had it to do over again, I would have made this with 2000 mg to account for some of the loss of medication during the crushing process. Continue reading Bigger Batch Issues w/ Medicated Food

Vitamins For Freshwater Fish Are a Waste of Money

Vitamins in teleost freshwater fishes are another way to spend money. But before you buy vitamins for freshwater fish, please put the money in an envelop and mail it to the Department of Labor. It will do you about as much good there as it will in your fish tank.

Freshwater fish are inundated by water through their skin and gill. Indeed, if they never took a single sip of water, they would always be over-hydrated. And so they are. Their kidney is engineered to excrete colossal amounts of water all the time, while recovering precious electrolytes and solutes. The freshwater fish never does take a sip.

So how do the vitamins get into the fish?

“Indeed, they are absorbed!” reply the marketing weasels.

“But nay” say I, “The fat soluble vitamins cannot passively cross the gill membrane nor the skin.”

“So perhaps the water soluble ones can!” Exclaim the marketing weasels.

“But they don’t!” I say, “Because as soon as an organic water soluble vitamin encounters another organic molecule of almost any type it becomes bound out of solution, not to mention that most of these vitamins are already so unstable they must be kept in brown glass bottles. How long do they actually last in the water, so that they might be absorbed by the fish?” I query.

“Less than five minutes.” Comes the sheepish reply.

“Perhaps we could recommend that the vitamin-fortified liquid we have put so much ‘R&D’ into could be applied to dry food and fed.” Suggested the other weasel, nodding hopefully.

And so they did.

Freeze Dried Krill: Four Things To Know

Freeze Dried Krill: Four Things To Know

I’ve been giving freeze dried krill since it came out in pet shops. I found it to be the BEST food I ever gave to my Bumble Bee Gobies, they never did as well on anything else. No, I cannot explain how nutrition so narrow could be so good. Where’s the soluble fiber, water soluble vitamins and calcium?

Freeze Dried Krill: Four Things To Know
Freeze Dried Krill: Four Things To Know

I go over four things, including a story about how a guy DIED from Freeze Dried Krill.

how to feed krill



Freeze Dried Krill pushes growth like nothing I’ve seen



“My Dog Won’t Eat.” A Book on Appetite Science

This is only in my Vets Notes and Libraries section because it’s pretty much veterinarian notes on appetite, appetite stimulation, rule outs for failing appetite and medications that may help. There’s a discussion of ‘recently’ discovered hormones Leptin and gRhelin that mitigate appetite in dogs and pretty much every other mammal.

“My Dog Won’t Eat.” A Book on Appetite Science

I don’t own, and wrote barely ANY of the following.

Appetite Book Online Resource

“My Dog Won’t Eat.” A Book on Appetite Science

Sometimes a dog won’t eat, and it’s just being picky, or overweight.

Weight and appetite isn't a thing for Ajax.
Weight and appetite isn’t a thing for Ajax. He was skinny and muscular on Atkin’s (ultra low carb) and loved it.

Feeding Goldfish Properly

Feeding Goldfish Made Simple

Feeding Goldfish is not as easy as some people might think but we can make it simpler. For decades, they have been classified by some folks as ‘herbivores’. Therefore, their foods have been made with low protein levels and bland carbohydrate sources. I have not enjoyed very good success with these foods. Examples are the conventional “Goldfish Flakes” – In recent years, they upgraded to the recognition that they are at least ‘ominivores‘ and started getting feeds made with more protein but still, folks swore up-and-down that without plant protein in abundance, the goldfish will fail.

Modern goldfish do well on high protein color enhanced diets

Today, top breeders know that the food we give to the highly selected Asian carps can be fortified with up to 34% protein and excellent results will be had, even in the total *absence* of fresh greenery in the diet.
In any food, the proteins should be balanced with each other in terms of Amino Acid profile, and the best way to accomplish this is to employ two, unrelated animal proteins in the top three ingredients.

Such as an ideal mix like, White Fish Meal, Shrimp Meal, Wheat Germ Meal.

I really like Hikari Lion Head for all of my goldfish (Lionhead, Ranchu or NOT) because it’s rich in high quality protein AND it keeps the fish off the surface, and eating a fattening, negatively buoyant pellet.

Note on Goldfish Staple Foods:
Vary the Diet… That means, switch foods alot, and offer more than one type, if the fish can be persuaded to take greens (green peas frozen then thawed but uncooked), great!

Goldfish basket feeder
A basket that suction-cups near the water surface to hold various delicacies you might offer the fish, best suited to brine shrimp and blood worm feedings

If they like Brineshrimp, try related foods like Bloodworms or finely ground squid, etc. See notes on Basket Feeders, below.
If they thrive on Pellets or Flake foods, I still recommend you try them on Brine Shrimp about twice or three times per week, for fresh protein. Feeding old food, that which is over 90 days, can be a cause for dietary vitamin deficiencies.

Basket feeders are simply little baskets that suction-cup to the side of the tank, at the surface to hold various delicacies you might offer the fish, best suited to brine shrimp and blood worm feedings, these baskets keep the food where the fish can find it, and they eat it a piece at a time through the mesh. This is a great way to feed these foods, without polluting the tanks with the stray fly-away stuff they miss behind rocks and ornaments.

Goldfish Anatomy
Grab this filter while it’s mispriced at $9.99 It’s normally $27-$45

feeding goldfishConsiderable attention is paid to the serious (and heart breaking) condition of “Flip-Over” disease. Some wager that floating pellets can pre-dispose to this. I am not totally sure that this is so. I fed a sinking pellet to the Orandas & Ranchus and still got flipovers, especially among the Ryukins.

Other factors contribute to the Swim Bladder condition, and I am unsure whether the food type (floating or sinking) makes any difference. More recently, we have determined that Nitrate accumulations can contribute to vasodilation of the air bladder, and ileus in the intestines, both of which can seriously disrupt normal bouyancy.

A word on Freshwater Vitamin Supplements. These are sold by the most mal-informed of manufacturers and dealers. If you have someone advising you to buy Vitamin mixtures *for addition to the water* in freshwater systems, you should be seeking advice elsewhere. For starters, freshwater fish do *not* drink their water. Believe it or not, freshwater fish do not drink any water at all. In fact, their whole existence is based on the ability of their kidney to excrete the massive amounts of water that osmose into their gills and to a limitted extent, through their skin.

Fish do *not* absorb any vitamins except, to a limited degree, the water soluble ones, through their gills.

Vitamins (especially the water soluble ones) are quickly bound by organic molecules, removed by carbon filtration, degraded by UV sterilizers, and degraded by bacteria in the system.
Other vitamins merely breakdown due to age or exposure to light, or the water.
Since fish do not readily absorb vitamins through their gills, and they do not drink water, what is the Vitamin supplement really worth to the hobbyist? Nothing. I hate to burst your bubble, and I don’t mean to be unkind.

Feeding Goldfish Made Simple



Lesions and Deformities of Fish Gill Covers

Lesions of the girl cover

What I’m talking about as far as gill cover is fish, that’s the bony covering under the eye that protects the gills of the fish and allows it to produce a certain degree of suction as the girls are pumping over the gills.

Lesions of the Gille cover seem to be fairly common and they seem to be difficult for hobbyists to manage correctly.

I will go through some of the more common lesions of the guild cover and some of the pitfalls associated with Gil cover disorders of the Gille cover

In baby fish it is not a comment to see a girl cover and curls at work and you should be aware that that is a nutritional lesion, properly fed, little fish grow without flaring of the girl covers the same could be said for the absence of guilt covers which is to a certain extent genetic but to a greater extent. Nutritional.

In Corey and Pond Fish you will often see scrapes and lacerations of the girl covers, these are difficult to treat because they do not close like normal “skin“. A common problem with these is that hobbyists want them to heal and close like a lesion on the body and so they will often over treat, or treat too long because the girl lesion won’t heal.

However in fact, the Galician may be dormant or done, but it takes a long time to heal because the tissues have a difficult time taking back lost ground over the bony Gille cover. As soon as inflammation and redness subside in a Gille cover lesion, and after a reasonable amount of care, you should allow time for healing without further handling of the fish.

Holes in the guild cover of any fish are seldom life-threatening, unless they are actively infected.

But holes in the guild covers of ornamental tropical fish often speak to three different things.

A hole in the guild cover of a tropical fish can be secondary to two, stress related disorders.

One of those is tuberculosis. When a fish is being consumed by tuberculosis with liver lesions, and the starvation that goes along with that, they become vulnerable to infections, and quite often you will see erosion of various tissues not the least of which being thin and Gille cover. Tuberculosis is difficult to diagnose before the fish has actually died because the best lesions to see diagnostically are in the liver and squash preparations under the microscope.

The second stress related disorder that causes holes in the guild covers his exit meter. It is very difficult for that parasite to infect fish that are at the top of their game and in good condition. Want to text me that begins to Chew on the fish, they start to develop pitting and erosion and holes on the face and kill covers. This is especially evident on Oscars, which take a long time to die of hexedine infections. Again, next meeting is a stress related disorder where these protozoans would have no effect on the fish unless they were worn down by stress.

Then the question how do I treat these go cover lesions, and here are the answers.

Flair to kill covers from nutritional deficiency are not treatable, they do not reverse. Before any more fish are disfigured, you need to improve the caliber quantity of the nutrition that you were offering these growing fish.

For lesions of the grill cover in tropical fish where erosions and holes are starting to appear, it is your responsibility to establish that water quality is excellent and make sure that they have plenty of space, and high-quality nutrition. Remember, in tropical fish, erosions of the face and Gille cover or a stress related disorder and often subside as soon as good water quality and nutrition are restored.

Finally, lesions on the girl covers of Koi and goldfish are often caused by damage perhaps in the breeding process or if they Dash themselves against some sharp ornament, and these lesions are simply slow to heal. Don’t over treat them.

On initial approach to a kill cover lesion in a Koi or goldfish You would want to provide a certain degree of debridement and antibiotic coverage in water that is at least 78° and of high-quality, plus an excellent plan of nutrition if possible. It is always better to accomplish these improvements to the husbandry within the Main system and in a crowded or cramped, stressful quarantine facility if possible.

After the initial cleaning or debridement of the girl cover lesion, it is wise not to do that again because healing is going to occur from the outside of the lesion in word. And you don’t want to keep scraping away The tissues as they try to heal across the damage on the guild cover. That is a very thin layer of skin.

If you recover a fish from a girl cover lesion, you will be replacing it in the main Ken quarters, before the lesion has fully healed because they take weeks and weeks to get to a normal appearance.

If you recover a girl cover lesion and fungus take up residence, that is OK. You may see in Taft tuft of a tan, white or green colored photos in the lesion, that is infinitely better than active bacterial infection, and you will notice over time that that we should get smaller and smaller until the Taft simply pops off and healthy skin is revealed underneath. Do your best to resist the urge to pull the fish into a small, stressful quarantine facility for more treatments.

To recap, when you see a lesion on the grill cover of any fish you have to question whether or not your husband really is adequate. Proceed to establish that your water quality, and crowding conditions are ideal and that the needs of your specific fish species are being met.

If you determine that the lesions are congenital or nutritional deficiencies, you need to improve what you were feeding and the amount.

If you see holes and other lesions in the face and gills of tropical fish, some consideration should be given to stress and secondary hexa meter infections. Very often, improvement in water quality and space limitations will resolve those lesions on their own, other times you might need metronidazole.

Finally, and coil and goldfish, when you see deletions you would simply clean those wounds in a procedure called debridement, administer have an antibiotic, preferably by injection, and plan to return the fish to the main facility as quickly as you possibly can. At least with B Trail or in reflects a sin, you get the privilege of having to handle the fish only every third day meantime the fish can be in the main facility where it will be happier and less stressed. Do not over clean a girl lesion and do not keep the fish in quarantine until the Galician is fully healed because that takes weeks.

Bil Wight’s Paste Food for Koi and Pond Fish 

Bil Wight’s Paste Food for Koi and Pond Fish

Some ingredients, like the seaweed flour, can be difficult to obtain, but if you persist, you can get lucky. when I bought the flour for the first time, because the animal feeds dealer had to buy a 25 kilo sack, which no-one else wanted, I bought the whole sack, even tho I figured it would take a couple of years to use it all. Ahaha. It lasted less than a season. Seaweed flour is a huge improvement on wheat flour for binding. It isn’t so downright fattening, it boosts the amount of algal proteins/amino acids, and it adds trace elements. 3 for the price of 1, as it were. It does need to be very fine, like flour. Granular seaweed won’t bind, messes up the consistency of the mix, and isn’t digested well by the fish.

Bil Wight’s Paste Food for Koi and Pond Fish

The amounts and ingredients are all variable, and can be adapted to what you have available. All the information, while as accurate as possible will not all apply to every pond, and common sense should be used in interpreting it.
The recipe is the way it is for a lot of reasons. It started off quite simply, and then like Topsy, it grew. It has had a lot of the corners knocked off by now, simply thru trying it and correcting mistakes a bit at a time over the last few years. Usually what happens is that the first thing people say is “I won’t bother with that, this isn’t necessary, and these would be be better.” They then mail me and say they are having problems with the recipe. It clouds the water really badly, won’t stay together, causes this problem or that and so on ad infinitum. What I would suggest is that no matter how stupid, unnecessary or silly you think some details are, make one batch exactly as I say. After that by all means experiment, and if you find something that works better, please let me know.

As time goes by, this ‘recipe’ is bound to change further, so feel free to mail me and ask for an update. If you are going to feed at cooler temps, the following should be borne in mind. Make sure your biofiltration is excellent, rather than adequate, and test regularly to ensure that ammonia or nitrite isn’t building up. Large females that are building up egg masses are best starved for some of the winter to reduce the risk of their becoming egg bound. However, the usual winter period where they show no interest in food is probably well in excess of this, and the average unheated ponder is unlikely to need to worry about that.

This recipe is aimed at the average hobbyist, to provide a good all year round food which needs no great variation. It does not claim to be “The Ultimate”, or even to be complete, in the sense that it is guaranteed to contain every single element essential for growth. It does try to come close, and it does offer you the opportunity to manipulate and alter the mix. This paste food is an attempt to give the koi a similar quality and variety of foodstuffs as it would find in the wild.

For a food strategy for those who wish to take it that bit further, please see the second part of this ‘recipe’.

Without a doubt, live food is the best. Feeding even a small amount of live food on a regular basis produces results out of all proportion to the amount fed. It is often rich in some of the amino acids and other substances that can be scarce in pelleted food, and this can enable the fish to make better use of the other food you give them. A wider variety of proteins, and hence amino acids, means better use of proteins for growth, and less waste amino acids meaning less ammonia for the filters to deal with. Woodlice, worms, spiders, grubs, centipedes, the list is almost endless. Avoid maggots, mealworms, millipedes and adult beetles, and it is wise to crush the “head” of anything like spiders or beetle grubs which could bite the fish’s mouth, and possibly put it off these valuable foodstuffs. Live freshwater foods should be avoided due to the risk of transferring parasites. Remember that some parasites are not removed by washing and cleaning, but are embedded in cysts deep in the tissues where they wait for their host to be eaten. For this reason anything that lives in water – salt or fresh, should be cooked thoroughly before feeding it to the koi.

Dried insects can be bought from bird food suppliers as an excellent dietary supplement. If you have some spare space in your garden, give some serious thought to providing refuges for invertebrates. If you have the space to run a small compost heap, and you put plenty of cardboard on it to mix and rot with the household vegetable waste, you will encourage woodlice and all sorts of other creepy crawlies. I try and make sure there are lots of old tiles and so on leaning in small stacks against the sides of the compost and elsewhere in the garden.

This provides them with good, safe homes and increases the biodiversity in the area. Plus, you increase the population which you can then harvest in a sustainable fashion for your fish.

Prawns are a great treat, but pull off the ‘heads’ and remove the shells. 3 reasons; the heads have a sharp spike, (the rostrum), they make a mess in the water and the carapaces get spat out and lie on the bottom. Save all this for the recipe. Cut the prawn tails up and feed all year round, especially in the winter AS LONG AS THEY WILL TAKE THEM.

Don’t give them the washed out shell less prawns from the freezer cabinet. They really need prime protein and oil, and shell on prawns provide this. (Note. Do not thaw them aggressively with warm or hot water, as this will drive the oils out of the prawn tissues, which is a waste). Plus, you help to keep the filter fed, so hopefully you won’t have so many problems in the spring. NOTE. If the temperature drops too low, your biofilter may not process ammonia etc so quickly, so monitor water quality very carefully if you feed at low temps, both in autumn and spring. Other primo snacks are mussels, cockles, and any other cooked seafood they enjoy.

The main ingredients here only cost a few pounds a kilo, and the protein content is very high. Prawns at £5 a kilo (less by the box), may seem expensive, but if you work out what you are actually paying per kilo for the small percentage of fish protein and oil in the pelleted food, then by comparison, prawns are pretty cheap. Especially if you eat the tails nd use the shell waste and heads! It should be noted that what is conventionally treated as waste, is actually the most valuable. The heads and shells of prawns, and the guts and internal organs of fish, squid etc are very valuable food sources, and should never be discarded.

To prepare the paste food, always use a reasonably large food processor ( A blender doesn’t really have the required oomph, though having one to hand is useful for some of the later stages.)
I have a square stainless steel pestle and mortar which I smash up the crab legs, waste and shells to splinters. When using crab, or whole mussels, I then put the mush into a blender and then sieve it to remove any larger shell fragments which get another pounding and blending.

This gives you a gritty soup which can be added to the protein paste base.

When you are processing crab shell especially, it can be hard to puree. If necessary add the juice from cooking the squid or fish to help turn it into a smooth paste, as that’s better than adding plain water (Use the minimum amount of water to cook the fish, and never throw the cooking water away, but add it too the mix.) If you are using a whole crab in the recipe, choose a female crab, as they are supposed to have more brown meat, which I feel (no scientific basis here) contains more useful oils, amino acids etc. than does white meat.

Slight update on the food recipe here. One of the things that has been bothering me about the recipe is its lack of quantifiable figures to create a repeatable, reliable result. Also, it’s a nuisance to get the equipment out for a small mix, but get a big mix wrong, and you are stuck with that, or else you have to throw a whole batch away. There is a way round this which also addresses the problem of damage to the oil based vitamins in the cod liver oil during freezing. The advantage is that overall the work is no greater. It takes me about 1 – 2 hours to make up enough base mix for a month to six weeks, and the daily chore of mixing the food for each day takes about ten minutes.
Plus, as mentioned earlier, there is a new ingredient you can add. Bird food dealers also sell dried bugs. In the UK, J E Haithe (01472 357 515) will sell you a kilo of dried “flies” (actually dried water boatmen) for £6, and these represent a useful additive.

Back to the recipe. Instead of mixing everything, you can simply prepare the base mix, and freeze that in usable daily amounts, then on the day, defrost the basic protein paste, add the codliver oil etc, and mix in the seaweed flour. This ensures that the mix is very fresh, the vitamins are as un-degraded as possible, and the texture doesn’t change in the freezer. No need to use the mixer again, as it is easier to stir up the mix for the day in a bowl by hand. It only takes ten minutes, if that.

Eat lots of prawns in the shell, as the heads etc are possibly the best ingredient. For a basic mix, I use 2 kilos of prawn waste, 1 kilo of whole herring and 1 kilo of whole squid. Cook the whole herring and squid thoroughly and allow to cool, keeping all the juices. Put 1/4 the capacity of the mixer each of the herring and squid and puree well to a liquid. Add twice that weight of prawn waste, and puree again, adding juice or water until the puree is smooth enough. Add some of the crab/mussel/lobster shell soup, four rounded spoonfuls of dried bugs and puree again. This will be the basic protein paste. Don’t worry about bits of bone, etc. When you roll balls out between your fingers to feed the fish, you will feel them and they can be removed. The proportions of each ingredient need not be perfectly balanced.

To store the paste, use small pots with lids, like the drinks containers from McDonald’s etc. I use a 1/3 or 1/2 litre container as this is a handy size for me, depending on how much the fish are eating each day. Alternatively, fill it to within half an inch of the top, smooth it to a flat surface, and put it into the freezer. When the top has frozen solid, pour a little water onto the top to cover the paste with 1/4 inch of water or so and leave it to freeze again. This system prevents freezer burn, and keeps it fresh.
The recipe I have been using to make a kilo of paste is as follows

  • 0.5 litre of protein slurry
  • 2 sachets yeast
  • 4g Vitamin C (1 level teapoon)
  • 4 tabs Vitamin B
  • 5g spirulina (1 rounded teaspoon)
  • 75 cc cod liver oil
  • 150g Refresh clay (4 heaped soup spoonfuls)
  • 120 – 150g seaweed flour (6 rounded soup spoonfuls)
  • 25g chitin powder (1 rounded soup spoonful )

To 1/2 litre thawed paste, I add two crushed vit B tablets, a level teaspoonfull of vit C powder, a sachet of dried yeast, a slightly rounded teaspoon of spirulina and some dried silkworm (which I grind down fine in a herb mill – this should only be fed when the water is warm enough). I mix this in before adding the codliver oil, mixing again and then adding two rounded soupspoonfulls of clay, and mix again.

I then add the seaweed flour slowly, mixing all the time until it has a good texture. This is then put in the fridge in a plastic bag.

It is interesting to see how much codliver oil you need. Koi pellets contain about 5% and commercial food fish pellets are alleged to contain more. Cod liver oil is not cheap, but if you buy it from a horse feed store, it is a lot cheaper. Be careful to buy pure oil, as some are mixed with soya oil, which should be avoided. If you add too much oil, you will see an oily scum develop on the water, so cut back on the next day’s mix.. The oil and clay in the mix give a good texture like putty that will hold the paste together well in the water. Thru experimentation, I have found that if the codliver oil is in excess of 7%, it tends to cause a white, opaque, oily scum to form in the skimmer/filter. That is an equivalent amount to 70ccs (7 dessert spoonfulls) per kilo of finished paste mix.

There are a number of additives suggested, eg vitamins, clay, wheatgerm, wheatgerm oil, spirulina, laver (algae again), chitin, propolis,/royal jelly, bee pollen, ground up silkworms and yeast. Any clay used should be good quality bentonite clay suitable for fish.

Yeast is an interesting ingredient. Some pelleted foods use derivatives of yeast which have a good reputation for improving health, and including yeast in the mix could reduce the need to add vitamin B.

Vitamins should be added to the food on the day of feeding. Wheat germ oil is rich in vitamins and fatty acids, just like codliver oil. Chitin is another useful ingredient. The owner of my local Chinese restaurant saves me the shells from the big prawn tails they use. I bake them in the oven on gas mark 2 or 3 until they are pink and bone dry. Then I put them into the food processor until they are small enough for the blender to turn to powder. Be careful handling these. They have sharp spikes that will cause a nasty, infected wound, but once turned into a dry, fine powder, they are safe to handle.

The seaweed is rich in all the minerals, metals and trace elements you might expect to find in any natural salt water product. Some people do suggest that a small amount of manganese sulphate, about a tenth to half a gram in a kilo of paste is a useful addition to promote growth. I have tried this for the last season, and I haven’t killed anything yet. I have noticed good growth, it has to be said, but whether it was down to this, I couldn’t say. You add it, like anything else at your own risk. Please note that more is not better. Ram this down the throats of your fish by the pound, and your roses will do well, not the koi.

If you wish, you can buy herring roes by the kilo to add to the mix. Always use the widest variety of seafood to mimic the diet of a wild carp, which includes annelids, molluscs, fish and arthropods and everything else that moves. Crabs, prawns and anything else with legs and a hard outer covering will do as arthropods, shellfish and squid are molluscs, and the annelids (worms) you can dig up in the garden and feed to the fish direct. Some people are concerned that feeding worms can add undesirable bacteria to the pond, so bear that in mind. If you buy shellfish in the shell, (eg mussels) there is no reason why the shells should not be crushed up very fine and added to the mix. Squid is an excellent addition, and I would use a decent amount in the recipe.

Oily fish are a valuable source of protein and oil. Remember that fish oils are the single best source of energy for your fish.

Thickening the mix. Conventionally, wheat, corn and/or soy flour is used to thicken and bind foods, both paste and pellet. One of the aims of this recipe is to remove all wheat, corn and soy carbo from the diet, and boost the algal content. It has been found that seaweed, ground to a fine flour is an excellent substitute for wheat flour. You can buy seaweed from animal feed stores, it’s used as a supplement to horse feed, and I feel that this in addition is a useful source of trace elements. There is another reason for being generous with algae. A fish protein only diet can be deficient in certain amino acids, especially methionine and cytosine. When this is so, a large percentage of the protein fed is unusable, which means the waste amino acids are burned for energy, and higher levels of ammonia are excreted into the pond. A generous proportion of algae in the diet means the fish will use more of the food, get better growth and produce less waste.

The seaweed does need to be as fine as flour. Too coarse, and the food will be friable, and break up in the water, which is both messy and wasteful. Really fine seaweed flour gives the paste an excellent texture, rather like plasticine/playdough/putty. It’s easy to shape into balls for feeding, and holds together well in the water.

Having said all this, I do feed some pellets. I was advised that with the best will in the world, the paste food may lack some vital ingredient. Since pellets are sold as a complete food (to whit, containing ALL the minerals, vitamins, trace elements etc that koi need), feeding some pellets should mean that this problem is properly addressed. However, over the last year or two, the amount of pellets I feed has more than halved, while the weight of fish has increased.

Do bear in mind that this paste is a rich food. If your koi are couch potatoes in a shallow pond, and you shovel this down their throats, you may end up with fat fish. If you can return the water to the pond to give them a good current to swim against, the exercise will help to keep them in good shape, as will a good depth of water. Ensure that the food is balanced, and feed to a sensible level. 2% of their body weight is sometimes quoted as the ideal amount to feed per day.
Bon appetit, bil.

Any suggestions, comments, corrections or additional information would be appreciated.
Mail me at


“Koi Health & Disease” Reload by Dr Erik Johnson

Smart pond experts "bone up" on fish health so they don't have to say "Uhhh I don't know"
Smart pond experts “bone up” on fish health so they don’t have to say “Uhhh I don’t know”

Folks ask me all the time, what’s new in the new book? If I already have the first edition, should I buy the second edition?

The answer to the question is YES. The reason you should get the second book is because your first edition is probably rather worn by now. Plus, WE DROPPED about 70 pages of dated information from the first edition and replaced it with 90+ new pages of edited, revised and updated information. The book is now 204 pages long!

And, while it’s thicker than ever, it’s the same price as the first edition was even ten years ago! Isn’t digital publishing great! “Koi Health & Disease Reload” is $39 per copy.

We REDUCED the font size, and improved the page layout to fit in MORE information but it STILL ran about sixty pages more than the old book.

New information: Almost everything was massaged, revised for accuracy, and we added notes of interest from the field garnered from the last ten years of practice of fish health. So everything was updated, and we added expanded information on:

Koi Health & Disease Is a "How To" Reference based on 10 years of veterinary practice on Koi
Koi Health & Disease Is a “How To” Reference based on 10 years of veterinary practice on Koi

Nutrition, handling, laboratory techniques, bacterial infections, Koi Herpes Virus, SVC, Tricide Neo potentiated anti bacterial dip, Praziquantel in its current usage, pond predators and much, much more.

We also added improved images. We went back to the source code on some of the original images and retouched them then we put them to digital publishing on high resolution printers and paper.

By the way, the paper and binding are top notch. This isn’t copier paper simply perfect-bound. This is heavy 65lb paper with a nice square, ‘real book’ binding.

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“EXCELLENT FOR BEGINNERS…Without sacrificing plenty of depth where needed… a Koi keeper’s bible!” – S.G., Ontario

“This book goes into extreme detail and gives you STEP by STEP instructions on how to save fish lives under a hundred different conditions.” – Dr. Erik Johnson

“I received your book last week and have almost completely read it cover-to-cover. I’m very impressed with its content and the excellent balance between practical and technical information. If more Koi keepers owned this book, I’m sure there would be many more healthy Koi swimming today!” – Shooterdog”

“I’m very happy with “THE BOOK” A better book doesn’t exist in Belgium. —- Greetings!” – M. Demol

What It’s Good At:

Step by step, recipe-type instructions on how to navigate through a disease outbreak. We offer the fastest shipping available anywhere on this book, and a great price. Even a stockbroker with no science background could save his or her fish with this manual.


Simplicity without being simplistic. Almost anyone can understand how to recover their fish from an outbreak with the proper diagnosis and care recommended in this book


Images throughout book are very clear grey scale photographs, but not full color

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Does this book help with Goldfish, too?

A: Oh yes. When I did the Weatherhill Goldfish book (also sold on this site) they pared out a fair amount of the dosing stuff. So Koi Health & Disease remains the last word on the “how to, step by step” and all you do, with just a couple of exceptions, is use the word “Goldfish” in place of “Koi”. Injections, baths, dips, most other diagnostic and pathophysiology issues are directly correlated. Formalin and Supaverm are notable diversions but Supaverm is not in the book in it’s current edition. ~ Dr. Erik Johnson (

Q: If I wanted to buy 40 copies of Koi Health and Disease for our club, would you be able to reduce the price? NM – Washington Koi & Water Garden Society

A: Simply email us, our customer support leader and we will make arrangements on a wholesale purchase of these items. You’d be surprised what you could buy at extremely favorable club prices when you achieve a ‘dozen’ pack order.

>>> Order Now – “Koi Health & Disease 2006 Reload” is $39 per copy.


Koi Health & Diseases is an incredible guide to koi problems. I have raised koi for ten years and lost a lot of them due to my ignorance. I can not express what a great guide Koi Health & Diseases is. I sat down and read the entire book when it came, nodding at the observations and realizing, “Yep, I made that mistake, yep, I did that too”. It should help me to avoid mistakes in the future. Thank you for sending it.

T. Hicks

Koi Cannibalism: Will Koi Eat Smaller Koi and Goldfish?

Koi will almost never eat or pick on smaller koi, so the answer’s “No” but they like Spring Peepers if they’re big enough fish. There are some interesting things to be said about Koi and their egg and meat-loving proclivities.

Well, what discussion of Koi Nutrition would be complete unless we talked about the Koi’s more jocular habits of eating fry, frogs and each other? More fantastic than fact, here are some things you might not know.

Large Koi may eat small frogs in the Springtime

large and small koi can be kept together without worry about one eating the other
(c) Photo by Mr. Majong

There’s these little frogs called Spring peepers. You can hear them in low areas of your yard or the woods, living in puddles. In the cold months of Spring they spawn and lay strands of eggs. And sometimes, they’ll get in your pond, and a big Koi catches one. Or, like at my house, all the Koi catch one. And so you get up in the morning and all your (big-enough) Koi have a pair of little frog legs sticking out of their mouths and I guess they like the taste pretty good, but they can’t work it down. So they swim around with the frogs in their mouths like pacifiers. Some of the largest fish can get the frogs down, while some eventually spit them out and you have to net them out or they will decay and make a mess.

Koi in tanks with Oscars

I saw two different situations of similar type. A large fish tank with the unlikely tank mates of Oscar Cichlids *and* Koi. The Koi were initially brought home as live food for the Oscars instead of Goldfish or guppies. However, the Koi eluded the Oscars and, as Americans always pull for the underdog, the Koi were allowed to remain in the tank with the Oscars. But the gentlemen keeping the Oscars were only actually “keeping” the Oscars (Good luck, Koi!) so the food being put in the tank was suited for the Oscars: either worms or little fish. To survive, the Koi became very effective hunters, and ferocious guppy and goldfish eaters. Habituate or starve. I’ve always said that. (Ha)

Koi fry and the Cannibals

Finally, you should know this about baby Koi. A momma Koi will lay many tens of thousands of eggs per spawn. And her babies will be very numerous. And these fry mature at differing rates. The brown solid-colored babies will mature faster than the bright solid-colored fish and these babies will mature more quickly than any two or three colored fish. So it happens that often you see several much-larger baby fish in a spawn swimming about with a tiny sibling tail in its mouth. These cannibals eat prodigiously and the more they eat the bigger they get and the faster they get there. So breeders know to remove these cannibals. If you don’t you will have a nice collection of Ogons and no multicolored fish in a spawn. So Koi can be cannibalistic when they’re fry. Later in life, it would be exceedingly rare to see a large Koi eat a small one.

Earthworms as food for fish – where to get them – how to feed

Worms And Koi

Yeah you can feed Koi and pondfish some worms, and they’re not expensive. In fact, superworms made my Koi very happy for a whole indoor winter. Anyway, here’s the guy I get them from.

RE: Earthworms as food for fish – where to get them – how to feed
Hello Doc.
Thank you for linking our site.

We noticed a definite increase in brilliance of color – similar to that realized by bird and dog/cat breeders who feed a beta-carotene supplemented food. The protein content of our worms is higher than that of a “wild” worm as we feed a 16% protein food.

We have had worms in the 8 oz. cups in which we sell the smaller quantities in our basement unrefrigerated for 15 weeks and they are in excellent condition. We recommend that people not refrigerate their worms.

We ship by USPS Priority Mail and orders are received within 3 days of shipment. The care of the worms is relatively easy and has been addressed by a page on our site entitled “earthworm Care and Feeding”. It is linked from our Earthworm page.

Larger Koi can be fed either the European or Tropical Nightcrawlers. Small Koi can be fed Red Wigglers.

Hopefully this will answer your immediate questions, however if you have the time, e-mail me your phone number and the best time to reach you (including your time zone) and I’ll give you a call.


Carlton Smith
New York Worms

Carlton Smith – New York Worms