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Swimming art: Bringing koi feed back to nature

November 27, 2018

Prized koi fish require high-quality nutrition designed to meet their unique needs.

The term Nishikigoi means "colorful carpet" and was first used as far back as 200 years ago in a village in the Niigata prefecture in Japan. The first nishikigoi was produced by farmers breeding black carp (or Magoi) as a food source to survive severe winter weather conditions. The result of this effort was a vibrantly colored carp with an admirable figure that stood out from the rest with its rare beauty. 


As awareness grew, many started to appreciate nishikigoi like a fine work of art. The first koi was imported to the U.K. in 1980. This was the start of a new pet that has since become very popular throughout Western Europe. Admirers keep koi fish in their gardens (on average, 20-30 koi per pond), and they are often thought of as family members. Superfans keep and breed fish with beautiful and unique color patterns, which are often very valuable; individual fish can fetch prices of over US$11,000.


Back to nature


Not surprisingly, the feed market for these fish developed rapidly. High-quality nutrition, focused on growth, coloration and health of the fish, became increasingly important. High fishmeal and fish oil inclusion, synthetic colorants and uncommon herbs were used in an attempt to further improve koi feeds. However, as these koi feeds developed, one important fact was generally overlooked: koi DNA still closely resembles (by more than 99%) that of their ancestor, the common carp. And the common carp is a typical omnivorous fish — they spend much of their time stirring up mud and uprooting plants on the river bottom while also consuming insects, plant waste, water weeds and plankton.


Keeping this close DNA match in mind, Alltech Coppens developed a new koi feed, specially designed for nishikigoi. The feed is called Midori, which translates to “green” in Japanese and refers to our back-to-nature concept that aims for both natural and sustainable koi feed.

Key sustainable features of Midori:


  • Contains insect meal derived from the black soldier fly

  • Made with no fish meal or fish oil

  • Formulated with algae, a natural and sustainable source of both EPA and DHA

  • Designed with spirulina and other raw materials rich in natural colorants

  • Unique shape of feed pellets mimics the size and shape of black soldier fly larvae, helping to promote the natural feeding behavior of koi and to give customers a unique fish-feeding experience


I would like to learn more about aqua nutrition.