As a pond owner, you may be wondering about the “right way” to feed the fish in your pond. The correct answer to this question varies somewhat from pond to pond depending on your objectives.
In some cases, the fish in a pond may not require any supplemental feeding. If the pond is an established body of water, with a balanced population of both predatory fish and forage species, and you are happy with a natural growth rate, there may be no need to supplement.
On the other hand, if you are looking to maximize growth of fish, or if the pond is maintained with a predominant population of any one species, supplemental feeding can be very helpful and in some cases necessary, specifically if you are trying to keep your predatory fish from feasting on your less aggressive, smaller species.
How much feed to give the fish can vary from day to day, and will also vary with water temperature. However, the rule of thumb is to give the fish the amount of feed that they will completely consume in about 15 minutes. It is important to try to avoid wasted feed, as it fouls the water and wastes money. Fish can be fed more than once per day to maximize growth, but pay attention to how they are feeding in order to avoid food waste.
In summer, when oxygen levels tend to be lowest, feed earlier in the day if possible so that the fish can digest their meal when oxygen levels are highest during daylight hours. Avoid feeding heavily in the evening because this will increase the need for oxygen during the night, when oxygen levels are lowest in your pond. It is possible to kill your fish by feeding them excessively during low oxygen availability.
The right feed size depends on the size and species of fish that you want to feed. Different species of fish have different size mouths, so you will want to feed a pellet that is small enough for the smallest mouths that you want to feed. Mixing feed sizes is a strategy that can work on ponds that have a mix of sizes or species.