What Plants Do Koi Fish Not Eat?

Koi fish are a type of domesticated carp that are normally kept in decorative ponds and water gardens. While they are known to be hardy and versatile fish, they are also picky eaters when it comes to the plants in their habitat.

There are particular types of plants that koi will not eat, including those that are poisonous, have a harsh or woody texture, or are not edible.

Understanding which plants koi will not eat can help you create a beautiful and healthy pond environment for your fish.

In this article, you will come to learn about what plants do koi fish not eat?

What Plants Do Koi Fish Not Eat
Image: What Plants Do Koi Fish Not Eat

Do Koi Eat All Plants?

Koi’s are omnivorous, which means they can eat both meat and plants. However, koi fish have a preference for animal protein and may not be as inclined to eat plants as their primary food source.

Besides, some plants that are easily accessible, such as free-floating plants, may be more likely to be eaten by koi than rooted plants, such as lilies and lotuses, which are harder to reach and therefore less likely to be eaten by koi.

Koi fish may eat some plant’s if they’re starving or if the plant is the only food source available, but those plants that are not palatable or poisonous for them, then these plants are not their first choice, thus Koi tend to avoid them.

What Plants Do Koi Fish Not Eat?

Having a koi pond in your yard not only increases the value of your home but also adds a quiet, meditative space outdoors.

To provide a suitable environment for your koi and an easy-to-maintain pond, it’s necessary to understand which plants koi fish avoid.

So you can create beautiful and healthy pond conditions for your fish. Here are five plants that koi will not eat.


lotus plants can be a prominent option for koi as they provide shade for the fish, and their large leaves and showy flowers add to the beauty of the pond. They are also not commonly eaten by koi fish due to the tough, rigid spines that cover the roots.

Water poppies

Water poppies are delicate-looking plants with beautiful yellow flowers and are known to be not palatable to koi fish, so they will typically avoid eating them.

But Water poppies can be useful for filtering your koi pond, by absorbing excess nutrients and helping to keep the water clean. They also provide a safe environment for spawning fish as they can protect them from predators and birds.


Umbrella plants have large fanning leaves that look like umbrellas, and they grow well along the shallow borders of the pond.

This plant is useful as it provides excellent shade for the koi fish, and it also helps to protect these fish from the sun’s harsh rays. But as koi fish will not swim in the shallows, they are unlikely to eat the umbrella plant.

Water smartweed

Water smartweed is not eaten by koi fish but it can be helpful for the koi’s tank environment.

Besides these plants play a crucial role in the food for small aquatic fish species like snails, beetles, and worms in turn are eaten by koi.

But these plants help to clean the tank water by absorbing the excess nutrients and decreasing the exploration of algae


Eelgrass is a marine and freshwater plant that is not typically eaten by koi fish. But it has a superior oxygenator underwater. These plants help to develop the quality of water by soaking extra nutrients removing the algae growth and providing shade for the pond species.

What plants will koi eat?

Plants that are generally consumed by koi are Water lettuce, Water hyacinth, Duckweed, Elodea, and water spinach which contain a lot of nutrients that help koi develop their health and also improve the pond environment. These plant’s benefits and characteristics are discussed below:

Water lettuce

Water lettuce will be eaten by koi. It’s a footing plant that is known as the favorite food for koi.

These plants have a faster growth ability and can reproduce quickly. Besides, it helps to clean the water body.

But it should be kept in mind that water lettuce can cover most of the water’s surface, and can decelerate the oxygen level thus frequent maintenance is necessary.

Water hyacinth

Koi will eat water hyacinth. But not commonly eaten by other aquatic species. It can reproduce quickly.

But its growth may be disturbing for the tank animals as it can overcrowd other plants. Moreover, it has a good oxygenator.

Water spinach

Water spinach is a fast-growing aquatic plant that is a popular food source for koi fish.

It has nutrition containing high protein and vitamins, thus it plays an important role in the growth of koi.

It can be grown in a wide range of conditions, which also helps to keep the water clean from algae.


Duckweed is a typical food for koi fish. It’s a small floating plant that can produce quickly.

It contains high protein rather than other vegetable protein. Duckweed also contains added nutrients which are the ideal meals for koi.


Elodea works as a wholesome snack for koi fish. These plants can grow more than four feet in length.

Besides, it is also popular for oxygenating in ponds. This helps to enhance the water quality by taking in excess nutrients and releasing oxygen in the water.


Koi eats Anacharis. It’s a fast-growing aquatic plant that is popular in koi ponds. It is a great source of vitamins and minerals for koi’s survival.

Besides this plant also contains a high amount of protein that helps koi meet the need for essential nutrition.

Moreover, being careful about Anacharis’s growth is important, as it may overcrowd the pond.

Final Words

Koi’s fish are known as opportunistic eats. They eat a variety of food items, but they also eat plants. As they are carnivorous thus they should provide food consisting of protein-rich foods such as pellets, flakes, and live and frozen food.

Moreover, some of the koi species ingest small quantities of vegetables to retain fiber, but they do not depend on plants as a primary source of food.

But it is necessary to avoid plants that koi will not eat like umbrellas, water poppies, lotus, smartweed, etc.

As these plants may harm koi’s health and even create algae and cause problems in their habitat. Hopefully, this article will help you to learn about what plants will not eat.


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