So your family is going on vacation for a while and leaving the fish pond unattended with nobody to feed your beautiful and expensive koi fish. Of course, you ask yourself: How long can koi go without food? No koi owner would want to come home from a great trip away only to find a disaster in their pond. And of course, it’s not practical to take the fish with you on your trip! A koi sitter might be another option, but it would depend on whether that would be absolutely necessary or worth it – after all, koi aren’t dogs, needing constant attention and care. While the answer may not be so straightforward and does depend on various factors, we will look at that in detail in this article.
Typically, a pond setup that is not brand new would be settled in and balanced within the pond ecosystem. Based on this assumption, we can have some general timeframes for you to use as a guide when deciding on how to plan for your vacation.
2-3 days / long weekend: This would not be a problem for pond fish. If you’re heading away for a long weekend, no need to be frightened that you’ll come home to a dead fish pond. Almost any fish can last that long without fish food, as there are plenty of nutrients for them to nibble on in the pond itself, such as algae and other microorganisms.
Beyond a few days, however, you would definitely need to consider a vacation feeder or a slow-release feeding block that can feed your koi for a week, so that your fish get the adequate amount of nutrition in your absence.
Factors To Consider
One of the most important factors in determining how long your koi can last unfed is the age of your pond setup, whether it is relatively new or if it is older. If you have had this pond for a long time, chances are the ecosystem is quite balanced and the pond can be left alone without worries. Fish that have lived in a certain pond environment for some time would be accustomed to the pond, and would be healthy and last long in that environment. Within that pond ecosystem, all the members such as fish, plants, algae et cetera have found their equilibrium and can honestly go on as they do in nature – without human feeding schedules involved. Of course, if your pond is relatively new this cannot happen and you need more control over that environment to maintain the balance.
Another factor is age of your koi. Older, and larger, fish tend to be able to last longer without being fed than smaller or younger fish, simply due to the amount of stored reserves they have in their bodies.
How To Prep Your Pond Before Vacation
There are some steps you can take before you leave to ensure your pond is in good condition. For one, you can clean the filtration system a few days before leaving, as well as partially change the water. This will help avoid the sticky situation of a clogged filtration system right after you leave. Next, get your vacation feeder or feeding block in advance so you don’t worry about it being sold out right before you leave! You can purchase your koi care needs online from Everything Koi. Have a great vacation!