Are you just feeding or really nourishing your pets?

Feeding fish - the second most beautiful thing in the world!

Feeding fish is fun for everyone - young or old! A lot of fish species learn to eat out of your hand very fast and apparently develop a special relationship to their keeper. Hand feeding has real benefits too: you can feed weak fish individually with a higher food amount and catch them more easily if you need to.

There are a large number of different fish foods with sometimes considerable price differences.

Why is a species-appropriate nutrition so important?

Because fish feeding is such fun, a lot of pond owners tend to forget that there is a lot more to it than that. Food, of course, is important. It influences such factors as growth and resistance to disease. And fish, which can differ from each other as much as a cat does from a cow, have widely differing feeding demands to reflect this! Predatory fish, such as trout or perch, need food based on (fish) meat, whereas semi plant eating omnivores, such as goldfish or koi, need a higher plant content in their food. Do not forget that commercial trout or carb farming food is created to build up as much fish biomass as possible in the shortest possible time (age of slaughtering), whereas in the garden pond more importance is attached to continuous and slower growth for a long fish life. Nobody wants to slaughter their expensive koi carps after 2 years just to eat them. This accounts for the significant differences between most commercially produced fish food and food produced specifically for garden pond fish.

Not all pond fish require the same food and their stage of life (young/old) is also relevant. Another very important point is the metabolic rate (digestibility) of the food. Dog owners know the problem: Cheap food leads to huge piles of faeces, while the dog still shows deficiency symptoms. With fish unsuitable food has identical results, and while this doesn’t annoy pedestrians so much, it badly contaminates the pond water with pollutants. This in turn leads to problems with unwanted algae.

Which species eat which food?

If you keep several fish genera or species in your pond, which is mostly the case, the first question is, of course, how to feed the different species separately. In “community ponds” this is simply impossible unless you feed all the fish by hand. With a collection of various families and species in a pond it is important to offer a range of food which meets all their requirements. That’s the only way to avoid deficiency symptoms and diseases. This difficulty, incidentally, has led to the trend of more and more pond owners building pure “species ponds”. One could contain just koi, another one just sturgeon species.

Wir unterscheiden in Teichen folgende Fischtypen:

Koi, Goldfische, Biotopfische und Störe. Koi und Goldfische sind vom Ernährungsbedarf sehr ähnlich, nur werden Koi deutlich größer. Sie können die richtige Futtergröße eines Koifutters sehr gerne auch an Goldfische füttern und umgekehrt. Die richtige Futtergröße, passend zum Maul der Fische, ist da das Entscheidende. Die Zusammensetzung eines Koifutters ist oft qualitativ hochwertiger als das eines Goldfischfutters. Daher kommen meistens auch die Preisunterschiede!

What exactly are pellets, extrudates and granules?

Outline of the various food types:


Pellets are the results of the simplest food technology. The ingredients are mixed and grounded, cooled and then pressed through the holes of a die. In general, pellets are small round balls with a shiny surface and irregular break edges. Real pellets have practically no use in pond fish diet.


They get their name from the machine in which they are produced: the extruder. Basically a long, thin sausage comes out of the extruder, and it is cut into long or short pieces. Long pieces are called sticks, shorter extrudates are often called granules or food pearls. Very short slices are referred to as wafers.

This layout makes it possible to move, to mix, to knead and to build up pressure. In addition it can add water and steam and it can heat. The mash is briefly heated up to about 140 °C and exposed to a pressure of up to 100 bar before it shoots through the die (which is situated at the end of the screw) in the form of countless strands. A knife rotates in front of the die and cuts the strands, depending on the number of revolutions, into short spherical or longish sticks. The food produced with the extruder has significant advantages: It is more easily digestible and it is practically germ-free. In addition there are also some technical features: The more grain the extrudate contains, the more air it includes, because after leaving the die, the pressure abruptly decreases. This ensures that the extrudates can float. The more valuable proteins there are in the extrudate, the less air they can store. This makes the extrudates heavier and they eventually reach the point where they cannot float. As a general rule: the heavier the extrudate, the more value it has, and the lighter it is, the more you know you’re just buying packaged air.

How much do you need to feed?

Please feed as much as can be completely eaten by the fish in about 2-3 minutes. Should uneaten food still be floating on the water surface or lying on the pond bottom after 5 minutes, you have fed too much!

Strangely most pond owners seem to be afraid that their fish will starve to death. As a result they often overfeed their animals. This is extremely unhealthy and causes extreme pollution in the pond (resulting in algae problems).

You can accurately dose the food quantity if you know the weight of your fish. 100 grammes body weight of a large koi requires about 1 - 2 grammes of food per day. But who wants to weigh their fish and the food all the time? The “eaten in a few minutes“ rule is absolutely sufficient and leads, when combined with the right food and feeding frequency, to perfectly healthy fish.

On the side of every ProPond® / NEO Index® pack you will find a table with precise feeding recommendations.

In addition pet shops sell JBL food dosing cups, similar to washing powder dosing cups, to help you to determine the right food amount per type of diet. This is a professional way to prevent under and overfeeding and thus to keep your pond fish healthy and well fed.

How often do you need to feed?

The basic rule applies: little and often is better than rarely and a lot. Here too the similarities with the human diet are obvious. Young animals need their food ration at least 3 times a day, whereas older animals can easily manage with one feed in the evening.

Let us not forget that most ponds of more than two years possess comprehensive microfauna and flora which can serve as dietary supplement.

The vitamin cure

Your pond fish and koi will receive vitamins through the food you feed them and through the natural nutrition present in your pond. As with us humans the vitamin supply is only sufficient when an optimally balanced diet can be achieved. The same applies to your pond dwellers, and it is therefore advisable to administer an extra dose of vitamins at least once a week. The most efficient method is to drip the vitamin concentrate JBL Atvitol onto the food, shortly before it is fed to the fish. When your fish show symptoms of disease, the vitamin cure is, along with medicinal supplements, the most important step. Medications only have an effect on pathogens, whereas the vitamins strengthen the fish’s resistance to disease and help them to get well.

JBL ProPond NEO Index

ProPond® / NEO Index® food is the only physiological-nutritional concept on the market.

Even if your pond fish are always hungry and greedily eat any food they can get it’s important to get to grips with the issue of correct nutrition. Which factors are really important? It is simply not enough to select the right seasonal food. Proper nutrition needs to provide energy at the right time and in the right place. JBL’s scientists have summarised all these factors in an index, the so-called NEO index (natural, energy- optimised nutrition). For the first time ever PROPOND Seasons food sorts will give you over 100 articles which are created on the basis of the criteria animal size, age, function and water temperature, along with the corresponding protein/fat ratio.

The protein/fat ratio

Behind the NEO index lies the ratio of proteins to fats in the food. Looking at the season alone, the fish would only need half as much protein in winter (2:1) as in summer (4:1). But because not only the season (meaning the water temperature), but also the size and age of the fish, and food function (e. g. growth food = growth ) play determining roles, the NEO index has been developed to calculate the right protein/fat ratio.

Auf der Vorderseite jederProPond® / NEO Index®Futterverpackung finden Sie die zwei großen Zahlen des NEO Index zum Protein-Fettverhältnis und auf der Rückseite der Verpackung die Details dazu. Wenn Sie z. B. beim Frühjahrsfutter () das gleiche Protein-Fettverhältnis (3:1) wie beim Herbstfutter () finden, so zeigt ein Blick auf die genaue Zusammensetzung, dass es sich hier nicht um das gleiche Futter in unterschiedlichen Verpackungen handelt, sondern die Zusammensetzung deutliche Unterschiede aufweist:

Im Herbst benötigen die Fische einen höheren Protein- und Fettgehalt als im Frühjahr, um Energiereserven für den kommenden Winter aufzubauen. So sind beide Gehalte, bei gleichem Verhältnis zueinander, höher als im Frühjahrsfutter. Dafür ist der Rohfaser- und Rohaschegehalt im Herbst etwas geringer, da der Verdauungstrakt beim bevorstehenden Winter kürzer belastet werden sollte. Zudem ist das Frühjahrsfutter ein schwimmendes und das Herbstfutter ein sinkendes Futter, da die Tiere im Herbst langsam zur Ruhe kommen und nicht durch die Fütterung an die Wasseroberfläche gezwungen werden sollten.

Proteins are the basic components of the body and necessary for the building and renewal of body cells. Proteins as enzymes and hormones are also responsible for a wide range of tasks in the body. Amino acids are also classified as proteins and they create important conditions for healthy and good growth. Proteins can be found in all raw materials. Particularly suitable for the pond fish are protein sources from fish, crustaceans and molluscs.

Fats provide an important storage of energy in the body and are therefore an especially important food component when higher storage is required (before winter). In addition there are also essential substances in fats (which the body cannot produce and have to be taken via food). High-quality fats with many Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids are therefore an important supplement in fish food. Fish oil especially provides quite naturally the ideal composition of fats for our pond fish and further important substances, such as carotenes which support the colouring of the fish.

Just like us, our fish need an indigestible proportion of their diet to support the digestion. The crude fibres make sure that the food is better absorbed. In crude ash substances can be found which can be absorbed as minerals or trace elements and are essential for many processes in the body. Important for the formation of the skeleton are, for example, calcium and phosphorus, for the metabolic processes sodium, potassium, magnesium and chlorine, and iron for the function of oxygen transport.

However what is often overlooked in the garden pond especially, is the quantity of food required . Sample calculations and numerous tests about maintenance metabolism show quite clearly that many garden pond owners do not feed enough for fear of algae growth. A koi pond with 20 koi carps of 40 cm needs 600 g food per day (!) in the summer months.

If you preferably feed something like breeding food for trout (mostly brown pellets in transparent large bags for little money) to goldfish and koi, this is like putting cows on a meat diet. The animals grow fast but they can’t process the food correctly and become susceptible to diseases. The missing extensive digestion of the food and its consequent excretion can lead to higher water pollution. Moreover a fatty degeneration of the liver occurs, which can sometimes be recognised by a very round body shape.

Juveniles: Compared to larger fish, smaller fish need smaller food, if only due to their smaller mouth size. Because smaller goldfish and koi will grow more than big ones (fish grow throughout their life time) their food composition also has to be appropriately adapted to suit this growth.

Fische wachsen ihr Leben lang

Würden wir das Wachstum eines Fisches als Kurve darstellen, so würde es eine ansteigende Linie ergeben, die sich oben abflacht. Das Wachstum verlangsamt sich also mit zunehmendem Alter, auch wenn es nie aufhört. Es könnten auch Dellen in der Kurve sein, denn das Wachstum hängt auch von Nahrungsverfügbarkeit und Lebensbedingungen ab. Ein 5 cm langer Koi wiegt etwa 2,2 g. Wächst er auf das Dreifache heran ist sein Gewicht bereits auf knapp 60 g gestiegen. Mit 50 cm Länge wiegt er dann über 2 kg. Da Fische etwa 3,5- 5 % ihres Körpergewichtes täglich als Nahrung benötigen, braucht ein 50 cm Koi etwa 110 g Futter täglich.

Vielfältig. Wie die Anforderungen an den Stoffwechsel

Obwohl Ihre Teichfische immer hungrig sind und auch fast jedes Futter gierig fressen, sollten Sie sich unbedingt mit dem Thema der richtigen Ernährung befassen. Es ist nicht ausreichend, nur ein Futter passend zur Jahreszeit auszusuchen, sondern eine richtige Ernährung sollte Energie zur richtigen Zeit am richtigen Ort zur Verfügung stellen. Fische sind wechselwarm! Demzufolge hängt Ihr Stoffwechsel immer von der Umgebungstemperatur (Wassertemperatur) ab. Während im Winter bei kalten Temperaturen die Fütterung eingestellt werden muss (unter 5 Grad Celsius) benötigt der Fisch mit steigender Temperatur immer mehr Futter. Auch wenn der Stoffwechsel der Fische von der Umgebungstemperatur abhängt lässt sich immer eine Einteilung in den Grundumsatz, welcher für die Erhaltung der Lebensfunktionen nötig ist, und den Leistungsumsatz machen. Diese beiden Energietypen hängen von der Umgebungstemperatur, dem Alter, dem Geschlecht und der Aktivität der Fische ab.

Do sturgeons require special food?

Yes, because sturgeons are small animal eaters, which search for food on the bottom of the pond. For these interesting fish JBL PROPOND STERLET S in two granule sizes have been developed.


Complete food for small sterlets

  • Complete food with the right protein/fat ratio 3:1 in accordance with the NEO index which takes temperature, function, animal size and age into account
from 11,99 €


Complete food for medium-sized sterlets

  • Complete food with the right protein/fat ratio 3:1 in accordance with the NEO index which takes temperature, function, animal size and age into account
from 49,95 €


Complete food for large sterlets

  • Complete food with the right protein/fat ratio 3:1 in accordance with the NEO index which takes temperature, function, animal size and age into account
from 49,95 €

Sturgeons and other fish in one pond

How do you feed fish with different requirements?

Sturgeons not only need a different food than your koi or goldfish, they also have a different feeding behaviour! Generally goldfish and koi are eager feeders and swim to the feed area when a human approaches the pond. After feeding there’s usually nothing left for the sturgeons and sterlets! You can solve this problem with a trick: take an opaque plastic tube and put the sturgeon food inside it.

JBL PROPOND STERLET M is a sinking food and reaches the bottom through the tube, where the sturgeons learn to pick it up. That’s how the sturgeons get “their” food and the other pond dwellers can’t eat it away!

Sturgeon almost starved to death by greedy fellow occupants

Should you also feed pond fish in winter?

Even when the water temperature sinks under 15 °C the fish are still active. Activity means energy consumption, which needs to be fed back to the fish. For this purpose JBL has developed a special low temperature food ( winter ). The composition of this food is such that the food is easy to digest and doesn’t affect the digestive tract, because in low temperatures the digestion process works very slowly. A good winter food needs to supply the animals with more energy than required for the digestion of the food. Otherwise the fish would be greatly weakened by their energy loss, despite eating!

Professional tip: Do white koi need different food to red-and-white or orange-coloured koi?

The fish colours are created by pigments in special pigment cells inside the skin. Natural substances such as carotenes and astaxanthines enhance special yellowish and reddish colours in the skin. But if too many natural colorants are added to the food, a white koi can become pink! Therefore a lot of experience and knowledge is required to achieve colour enhancement with clear colour separation at the same time! Now there is no need for fish owners to worry about feeding their fish artificial chemicals to make them beautifully coloured! The carotenes (from carrots etc.) and even more so the expensive astaxanthines originate from high-quality feed animals, such as krill, gammarus, brine shrimp, cyclops and water fleas – thus from a natural fish diet. They are extracted and concentrated and then, carefully dosed, are added to the pond food. Metallic shimmering colours, depending on the light, are called structural colours and can’t be influenced by the food.

JBL NEO Index is worth it!

Feeding your fish in accordance with the NEO index, means you are providing your fish with the perfect food for each fish size, fish age and season and for all living conditions. That way your fish stay healthy, grow the right way and display very beautiful colours with clear colour separation.

ProPond® / NEO Index®

Feed your animals throughout the year with the natural, balanced JBL ProPond fish food, to keep them healthy and active for the long-term. All ProPond products of the the physiological-nutritional concept contain high-quality ingredients in accordance with the NEO Index®.