Backyard ponds with brilliant fish and plants bring interest and beauty to any landscape. Pond fish add color and character and are also an important part of the pond’s ecosystem.
Whether building a new pond or reconstructing an old pond, adding fish is a good start. In regard to keeping a pond, selecting pond fish and caring for them is the most interesting part. New pond keepers will have many pond care questions, while more experienced ones might grasp the do and don’t rule of pond care. However, it’s essential to know which types of fish are the most proper match for your pond, no matter what stage you’re at.
Selecting the appropriate fish for your pond is more vital than most people might think. The kind of fish you raise can have a considerable effect on the natural balance of pond water.
With that in mind, we’re going to introduce to you the most popular pond fish varieties, their qualities, and their compatibility. We’ll aid you make the right decision on which types of fish are most suitable to get a beautiful, healthy pond.
1. Koi Carp
Koi are the most common type of pond fish. They come in a range of marvelous color combinations and patterns, including white, black, yellow, orange, and even blue. These fish are a beautiful addition to any pond.
They have been raised and selectively bred since the 1800s. Koi are thoroughly bred for both shape and coloration. The ideal pond for maintaining koi is at least 1000 gallons with numerous aeration and good filtration. Koi will grow big and need a lot of room to swim and stay healthy.
The fish are resilient and can survive in a frozen pond as long as you keep an open hole in the ice along with an air pump and air stone or floating heater. This is crucial to let natural gases, such as carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide, get out and allow oxygen to enter the water.
Meanwhile, if the pond surface is covered with ice, Koi can die. They often look for food at the bottom of the pond. They will search through potted plants and sometimes uproot water lilies. They likely much on floating plants like water lettuce and water hyacinths.
It would be best if you keep koi in a pond without aquatic plants. Some pond owners get a separate pond filled with water lilies and other stunning aquatic plants. The bog pond or water garden work as a natural filter for the koi pond. Water is transferred from the koi pond to the water or bog pond and then goes back to the koi pond.
Learn more: Best Pond Filters System
You can keep koi in earth-bottom ponds. A lot of koi farms utilize earthen ponds to keep koi. They think the natural minerals and murky algae-filled water foster the growth of appealing dazzling. However, these ponds are not used for viewing the koi as the fish probably stir up the mud and sediments. The main aim is to nurture the koi and improve coloration before selling them.
Goldfish is among the most iconic pet fish species in the world that also grows in ponds. Goldfish are incredible pond fish that don’t need super warm water like tropical species. They thrive in slightly cooler conditions, making them proper for outdoor ponds.
Goldfish have a long history of crossbreeding, so there are plenty of unique varieties. Most of them are divided into two categories, including fancy goldfish and single-tail goldfish.
Fancy goldfish have many features to flaunt. A lot of fish in this group are sporting a double fin and a bulbous body. Though not being the strongest swimmers, fancy goldfish are a sight to behold.
Meanwhile, single-tail goldfish are popular, including common, shubunkin, comet, and so on. They feature a standard body shape that is similar to a carp’s.
Shubunkin is another beautiful fish variety for a pond. Like Koi, Shubunkin fish have numerous colors, including black, white, yellow, orange, and blue.
You can keep Shubunkin in ponds with different levels of depth. This should vary from areas that are 6 inches deep, enabling the fish to propagate, and areas over at least 28 inches deep for hibernation.
Shubunkin fish should be in a school of about 5, and even though they love plants, they do require enough swimming room.
This type of fish can dwell with many other pond fish species and develop up to 8 inches long. They often eat insects and high-quality fish food.
Read more: 7 Best Pond Vacuum Cleaners
Mosquitofish are small, unassuming species that you might not find in the aquarium trade, but they are common in the pond fishkeeping community.
These fish only grow up to two inches. A standard torpedo-shaped body and semi-translucent fins make them vulnerable in the water. In the meantime, the dull gray or brown color coloration allows them to fade into the background.
Pond keepers don’t introduce these fish to the community for their looks but their utility. Mosquito fish can eat a huge amount of mosquito larvae around the clock. These flying pests lay eggs in the water, so ponds usually become a large magnet for aquatic larvae. Mosquitofish will do their part to help you control insect problems.
Moreover, these fish thrive in most standard pond environments. In intense parameter fluctuations, mosquitofish stay resilient enough to tough it out until things become stable.
5. Guppy Fish
Among the most well-known live-bearing species, guppy fish are a perfect choice for smaller ponds. This fish has no issue breeding in captivity. With little care, you can have a thriving guppy population to bring some life to your pond.
Guppies can reach only around two inches long. Females are likely to be a bit bigger than males, but males are the most sought-after. This is because males have an appealing tailfin covered with color and intricate patterns. It’s fan-shaped and larger than the rest of the fins, making it an outstanding feature. Females can also have a nice caudal fin. However, their bigger size makes them less stunning than what you see in the males.
Guppy fish come in a wide array of colors and patterns. Some common types include tuxedo, dumbo ear, cobra, and snakeskin.
6. Fathead Minnow
Bright and colorful, the fathead minnow brings a nice contrast against the natural decoration of a pond. These fish often come in a solid shape of pinkish-orange.
Fathead minnows are small, reaching up to two or three inches in length. They have a thin, torpedo-shaped body that lets them zip via the pond water at rapid speeds. The fins are clear and streamlined, making these fish look like tiny pops of color when they play.
As much as hardiness goes, fathead minnows are touch. They can withstand a wide range of parameters. Nevertheless, it is vital to keep conditions as steady as possible. Consistency is key to preventing undue stress. While they can survive in most temperatures, hard swings in either direction should be prevented.
Read more: Best Automatic Pond Fish Feeders
7. Pond Loach
As called the dojo loach, pond loaches are quirky bottom-swimmers that maintain the substrate nice and clean. In tanks, pond loaches only grow up to around six inches. However, they can get even bigger in larger ponds.
People often mistake this species for an eel. It owns a slender body with small fins that can be hard to see in murky water. Besides, the fish has a pointed snout with an underturned mouth, making it easy to burrow and forage.
The fish come in many colors. Most have a neutral shade of olive green, light brown, or grey. Subtle features like a paler belly and dark spots bring some dimensions to the fish’s body without sacrificing their capability to stay hidden.
8. Siamese Algae Eater
Native to Southeast Asia, Siamese Algae Eater can be your pond’s cleaning crew. As their name implies, these fish consume algae. While some algae are useful for your pond, algae eaters dodge overgrowth and poor water conditions.
These fish can swim throughout the whole pond, but they love to stay close to the substrate where algae grow.
The fish has a long and slender profile that is ideal for swimming in any part of the water column. The only determining feature to impose their preference for bottom-living is the unreturned mouth.
Siamese algae eaters are predominantly brown or beige, lateral stripes expanding from the tip of the snout through the caudal fork and tail.
Read more: Best Pond Heaters for Winter
9. Golden Orfe
Golden orfe is a brilliant pond fish that can reach up to three feet long in the proper conditions. The fish are most famous for their bright coloration, which is often glimmering gold or orange. Some fish get black spots on the head and neck, while others have some shades of blushing pink on the fins and tail.
These fish are active and social enough to live in groups of at least three. If not, they are inclined to become unhappy and ill. In an ideal environment with numerous shoaling mates, golden orfes can live up to 20 years.
Withstanding temperature fluctuations, these fish will well adapt to outdoor ponds in colder climates. Provided that the pond is deep enough, golden orfes can withstand winter without any problems.
Moreover, they can also resist diseases and parasites that harm other pond fish. However, you should worry about their jumping. It’s easy to see golden orfes jumping out of the pond and die.
Sturgeon is a distinct species that is called a living fossil. It possesses a prehistoric look that is similar to that of a shark. Defined body armor running throughout the entire body contributes to their unique look.
Sturgeons are bottom feeders and get an underturned mouth to support their feeding habits. Plus, they also use some tiny sensory barbels to look for food.
These fish love cold, oxygen-rich water. It can be a bit harder to care for them, but if you can get things right, sturgeons can live up to 50 to 60 years on average. So incredible!
You might need to know that sturgeons quickly get stuck in algae and plants. They cannot swim backward, so getting stuck can result in drowning if they cannot escape.
11. Molly Fish
Molly fish are suitable for both aquariums and outdoor ponds. They have about 39 different varieties. Each of them has its distinguished quirks and physical characteristics.
Some of the more dominant species include balloon molly, black molly, dalmation molly, and lyretail molly. In spite of differences, these variants all have the same profile and body shape.
Mollies get a flattened body with a triangular head. They’re tallest and widest at the midsection. On the front end, the fish body tapers to a great point at the snout. For the back, it tapes to a large caudal fork and fan-shaped tail.
Resilient and simple to please, mollies live well in most environments. In addition, they are very peaceful that can stay in harmony with other gentle pond fish.
Sterlets are a subspecies of sturgeons. They can adapt to the colder environments and lifestyles because their natural habitat belongs to the cold water areas of Eurasia – Siberia and the rivers that ran into the Caspian Sea, the Azov Sea, and the Black Sea.
In fact, these fish are endangered as their natural environment is getting contaminated or people overfish.
Sterlets are great for your pond, thanks to their hardy nature and adaptability to cold waters. They have black bodies with white stripes and barbels on their lips. A sterlet can survive to the age of 22 to 25 years and can live up to 25 years.
Rosette is easily recognizable with silver scales and uniquely red fins and tails. They prefer clear pond water with a little movement and flow. Hence, an efficient green water treatment, combined with a robust filtration system, is necessary to keep these fish happy and healthy.
Rosette requires oxygen-rich water, so you should consider adding oxygenating aquatic plants to your pond. Oxygenating pond plants are often submerged in the water, such as watercress and hornwort.
These fish can live up to 20 years and should be raised in groups between 10 and 15.
The most appropriate pond fish are hardy species that can flourish in any condition. The above list includes a vast array of different types to ensure there’s something for everyone. Whether you love a small and low-maintenance pond species or a big fish that needs more care and space, you will not get any trouble searching for a good fit for you.
Is there any pond fish that you want to add to that list? Please let us know by dropping some lines in the comment box.