hand feeding fish

erie_turbo(NW PA - z5)April 7, 2006

I have never been successful getting any of my fish (just goldfish) used to me being near the pond. They always go to deeper water when they notice anyone near the pond. This year I have 3 koi I'm introducing into the pond with the goldfish and was wondering what the best method is to get the fish used to me being near the pond and eating out of my hand. Right now the koi are indoors. I have only had them for a week and they are small (3" to 4") and I know it's too soon to start trying to hand feed them, but they are scared every time I even go near the aquarium. My question is how do you get them over being scared of people? I know the goldfish will probably never come close to getting over it but I was thinking maybe the koi would eventually.

Thanks,

Terry

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steviedude100

well me being new to this hobbie but i would try the method of only going near them when you feed them, then they will get the idea that you are not there to hurt them in any way, then everytime you go near them in the future they will automatically think its feeding time

    Bookmark   April 8, 2006 at 10:46AM
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steviedude100

well me being new to this hobbie but i would try the method of only going near them when you feed them, then they will get the idea that you are not there to hurt them in any way, then everytime you go near them in the future they will automatically think its feeding time

    Bookmark   April 8, 2006 at 11:03AM
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mike_il(WChi)

Terry, Koi are naturally friendly. What I have found with koi is if they are in deep water they will be friendly immediately. If they have to go into shallow water it will take time for them to get over being afraid of you. On my koi pond I have a bridge going over the center and the water at that point is about 6 ft deep. I never trained the fish to eat out of my hand they just did it the first time I put my hand in the water. The bigger the koi the friendly they are or small koi swimming with larger koi are friendly. I have one koi when it was small liked to play a game. I would put my hand in the water and it would swim into my hand I would lift it up about 18" and it would jump off my hand and into the water. It would swim back and want to do it again. I never trained to do this I just put my hand in the water one day with the palm up and it swam in. Once it got too big for my hand the game was over. If they have to come to shallow water you are going to have to go slow. At first put some food in your hand and than into the water slowly let a few pellets out and without moving your hand wait until the fish come up to eat the pellets. Let a few more out and and wait. Any movement and you will scare the fish. Keep doing over a period of days until the fish come up to your hand to try and get the food out. Let them get some. It will take some time but they will get over being afraid. The deeper the water the better.
Mike

    Bookmark   April 8, 2006 at 10:23PM
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ademink(z5a-5b Indianapolis)

Too many raccoons and cats in my neck of the woods (ok...middle of the city lol) so I never trained mine to eat out of my hand. I didn't want them coming up to a curious paw sticking in the water and then becoming dinner. I have one who doesn't care though, she's trying to MAKE me feed her from my hand. I go to drop it in and she practically eats my fingers! LOL

    Bookmark   April 9, 2006 at 11:22PM
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kay75052(z8, TX, DFW)

Hi Terry, I had my Kois trained when I first bought them. they were also small about 3 to 4 inches long. I just tapped my hand on the water a few times right before I put the food pellets in my hands. It took a few days, but eventually I guess they got used to it and whenever I tapped they just come up to eat out of my hands. It's pretty neat.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2006 at 3:28PM
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carrie1964(6b Ky)

Hi Terry,
I`ve only had my Koi for a year, last year when they were first introduced to the pond they were a little timid and by the end of the summer I did have them eating out of my hand.I was afraid when I started feeding them again this Spring that we would have to start all over..but they were so hungry that they just went nuts! I think the trick is to just be patient, and let them get hungry! When they are hungry the fish will be more likely to come closer to you. Also, I would give them a few worms now and then from the garden while I was working in the yard..now they follow me around the pond waiting for a treat! They just need time to adjust and feel safe I think.
One other thing though, they won`t do this with anyone but me! They get nervous if other people are around, hopefully they will outgrow that! I`d like for my family and friends to enjoy them as well!
Good Luck!
Carrie

    Bookmark   April 18, 2006 at 8:50PM
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goodkarma_(5b)

Mine may or may not eat out of my hands depending on the mood of the female hariwake. If she deems it acceptable- then the boys will follow. Like Carrie I like to feed them worms- and they are especially friendly when I do.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2006 at 10:06PM
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ademink(z5a-5b Indianapolis)

People who think fish are dumb, are definitely wrong. Like you, carrie, I noticed that they definitely know who is who. I always feed them and they react to me in a way far different than my husband. When other people come to gawk at them, they stay pretty low and in the middle of the pond. They know my voice and seem to know from a distance when I'm coming - even if they can't see me....weird! Not sure how that works!

    Bookmark   May 3, 2006 at 9:54AM
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norah_s(Z5 NH)

I just started hand-feeding my goldfish last year when I built a bigger pond (~7000 gallons), and placed a little fishline fence to keep the herons out.

I started by using a floating ring of tubing as a feeder. Once the fish became accustomed to getting their food from the feeding ring, I gradually moved it closer to me, with a string. Eventually I could sit on the bank with my feet in the water and give them food from my hand. I even get mobbed by fishies looking for tidbits when I don my waders and go in to tend the lilies. The babies seem the bravest, never having been netted. Even moving a hand or foot in the water will bring a swarm of fishy kisses.

Fish video

They remembered their training as soon as feeding weather resumed this spring. If goldfish can be this friendly, you should have no difficulty training your koi.

Have fun!

Sharon

    Bookmark   May 6, 2006 at 10:53PM
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