10 Best Fish for Pond You Should know (Goldfish, Koi, and More)

There're thousands of pond fish out there, among them- Koi, Goldfish, Golden Orfe, Sturgeon, Pupmkinseed, Minnows are best pond fish.

Do you love having a wide variety of fish in your pond? Wouldn’t it be great if you can spend quality time with plenty of fish species? If your answer is yes to both of the questions, then you’re already in the right place to know more about fish for pond.

You may agree with us that not only do colorful fish and plants add serenity to any landscape, but they’re also quite essential and integral parts of a pond’s ecosystem.

Apart from enhancing the beauty of a pond, some of them are really effective in controlling mosquitoes.

When you’re going to prepare a pond for keeping various fish species, you have to check the pond condition, whether it’s all right to be an excellent place for fish.

For that, you need to be confirmed about the right water temperature, nutrient levels, pH levels, and air temperature.

Now, if your pond is ready, and the water of the pond is okay, you can start adding fish and planting plants.

But, before you start stocking your pond, you have to identify whether a particular fish species is suitable for your pond or not.

Not all fish that live in rivers and other waters are suitable for your pond. You have to know the different types of fish species and their compatibility with living in a pond.

This article is going to help you learn a lot more about them.

So, here we go!

Top 10 Best Fish for Pond

1. Goldfish (Carassius auratus)

Gold Fish In a Pond

Goldfish are one of the most popular fish for backyard ponds due to their small size and the ability to survive in most weather conditions.

Typically, the smallest species can reach up to 7 inches, while the largest ones can grow a maximum of 18 inches in length.

As Goldfish are relatively small, they require only 20 gallons of water per adult. These fish usually live in calm, clean water. However, if the water is a bit cloudy, they won’t mind living there.

When it comes to temperature, these fish prefer cooler waters, thriving in waters ranging from 68 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit (20 to 22 degrees Celsius). The pH range should be in between 7.2 to 7.6.

In terms of food, Goldfish are omnivorous. They usually eat newts, aquatic plants, insect larvae, and frogs.

You can feed your pet Goldfish pellet fish food and boiled vegetables. In addition, you can feed Goldfish shelled peas, chopped grapes, watermelon slices, orange slices, and more.

You can grow these fish in an aquarium or indoor fish tank. Once they start getting bigger, you have to transfer them to either smaller or bigger ponds, wherever you want.

In fact, we recommend you transfer them to smaller ponds if they’re a few in number.

Goldfish are available in a wide variety of subspecies, including common Goldfish, Fancy Goldfish, Comet, fantails, black moors, shubunkins, and many more. Here we’re going to talk about some of the most common varieties of Goldfish briefly.

  • Common Goldfish – Initially domesticated from Asian Carp in China more than a thousand years ago, Goldfish come in a variety of subspecies. Some of them grow only a couple of inches long, while other subspecies can reach up to 12 inches in length.
Common Goldfish
  • Fancy Goldfish – Fancy Goldfish is a slower-moving species that prefers to take things slowly. They appear in several sizes and colors to add a unique flair to ponds. If you want to stock these fish to your pond, keep the temperature of pond water in between 68 to 74° F.
Fancy Goldfish

Note: You should avoid keeping fancy Goldfish with common Goldfish together due to their different nature.

  • Comets – Comets are one of the most common Goldfish that people love a lot. A Goldfish from this species have a long, slender body. It usually comes in orange color. But, you’ll find some colored by a combination of white, red, and orange. They’re called Sarasa comet.
Comet Goldfish
  • Shubunkins – The Shubunkin has a similar body shape to the Comet. The difference is in the way the fish is colored. Shubunkins have a base color of light blue, which is covered with patterns of darker blue, red, brown, white, or black.
Shubunkin Goldfish
  • Fantails – Compared to a comet, a fantail comes with plumper, shorter body. These Goldfish come in a variety of colors, including red, black, and white. They usually thrive in temperatures between 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Fantails Goldfish
  • Black Moors – Black Moors have the same body of fantails but solid in black color. You can distinguish a black moor and a fantail by looking at the bulging eyes of black moors.
Black Moors Goldfish
  • Ryukins – Ryukins are quite similar to fantails in terms of shape. The noticeable difference is that the back of the Ryukins is a bit sloped. You can clearly see a sharp slope between the dorsal fin and the head of Ryukins.
Ryukins Goldfish
  • Lionheads – Lionheads come with a fantail shape with bumpy head. They can survive in temperatures a minimum of 65 degrees Fahrenheit. The only difference between a Lionhead and a fantail is that the Lionhead lacks a dorsal fin.
Lionheads Goldfish

2. Koi (Cyprinus rubrofuscus)

Koi is a beautiful, well-known fish species that come from the carp fish family. They have stunning patterns and unique colors that make many people choose them for their backyard ponds. Most people think that Koi fish are small, but they can be up to 3 feet long.

Koi Fish in a Pond

Besides, their weight increases with their size. For example, a fully grown adult Koi weighs around 35 pounds. So, if you’re planning on having Koi in your pond, you’ll need to have a deeper, larger pond.

When it comes to food, koi fish are omnivorous, and most surprisingly, they can eat almost anything that people usually eat. For example, Koi fish love to eat cereals, watermelon, lettuce, shrimp, bugs, and even small fish.

In terms of maintenance, Koi fish need very clean water in their ponds. This means an outdoor filtration system is necessary. If you want adult Koi fish to live comfortably, you have to have a ratio of 500 to 1000 gallons of water per adult.

Koi can withstand a wide variety of temperatures, ranging from 59 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit. If you want to keep them healthy and happy in your pond, you have to keep the pH level in between 7.5 to 8.

3. Golden Orfe (Leuciscus idus)

Golden Orfes, also known as Ides, is one of the species of a freshwater fish family usually found in rivers, lakes, and ponds in Asia and Northern Europe. It has been introduced as one of the best fish for ponds in many populous areas, including Europe and North America.

Golden Orfe Fish

Typically, Golden Orfes can grow up to 18 inches or more. This means you’ll require a larger pond to stock these fish. Your pond should have plenty of space, approximately 500 to 1,000 gallons in size, and at least 3 feet deep.

Since the natural habitat of Golden Orfes is in fast-flowing rivers, they need highly oxygenated water so that they can live comfortably. To ensure enough oxygen to them, you have to settle a powerful filtration system in your pond, especially during summer months.

Besides, Golden Orfes can withstand almost any temperature, ranging from freezing temperatures to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. But, the ideal temperature for these fish is in between 50 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit with a pH level of 7 to 8.

When it comes to food, these fish species eat pond flakes, live insects, pellets, and sticks. They’re quite difficult to care for because they cannot tolerate sudden changes in temperatures and start showing the effects when the pH level gets out of the ideal range.

4. Pond Sturgeon (Acipenseridae)

The Pond Sturgeons are one of the largest fish on this list. These big, beautiful species can reach up to 3 feet in length, while the largest subspecies can grow up to 30 feet or more. This means you have to carefully choose the subspecies so that they cannot take over your pond.

Pond Sturgeon Fish

Besides, these fish are one of the hardiest species in the world of fish. They have been living in water for millions of years. Many scientists think that they began to evolve more than 250 million years ago, at the time of the dinosaurs.

When it comes to eating food, Pond Sturgeons are carnivores. They need high-quality feed that includes 40% crude protein to ensure their growth and good health. This is why they can eat meat and other small fish.

Although their temperature resistance depends on the particular subspecies, a healthy Pond Sturgeon can withstand temperatures up to 70 degrees Fahrenheit (22 degrees Celsius). However, they prefer to live in darkness.

For that, they stay at the bottom of water bodies where they can protect themselves from direct sunlight and excess warmth of the sun. So, make sure your pond will be deep enough and shaded if possible.

5. High-Fin Banded Shark (Myxocyprinus asiaticus)

Don’t worry; it’s not the big shark that you may have seen in the ocean. The High-Fin Banded Shark is a unique species that is a suckering algae eater, known as the batfish, because of the dark, almost bat-like appearance.

High-Fin Banded Shark Fish

As the name suggests, these excellent fish species are quite peaceful and easygoing. They’re compatible with just about any other fish, such as Koi, Guppies, Goldfish, carp, plecos, Golden Orfe, and many more.

If you want to stock these fish in your pond, you have to add 3 or more than 3 banded sharks together to make the happiest school of their own. Besides, they prefer to live in colder waters that have plenty of areas to hide.

In terms of temperatures, these sharks withstand temperatures in between 55 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit (13 to 24 degrees Celsius). Keep in mind that these fish can grow up to 4 feet in length, taking a few years in the right environment.

High-Fin Banded Sharks are omnivores, and they appear to be more of herbivores. They’re basically algae eaters. Regardless of eating algae, they also eat benthic invertebrates to keep themselves energetic and active below the water.

6. Pumpkinseed (Lepomis gibbosus)

Pumpkinseeds, also known as Sunfish, are one of the most popular fish species for ponds. These remarkable looking fish come with bright patterns and colors that reflect sunlight. This is why they’re also called Sunfish.

Pumpkinseed Fish

In fact, they’re considered as an invasive species all over Europe, although they’re native to North America. Besides, a healthy Pumpkinseed can grow up to 8 inches in length, while the smallest ones reach only 3 inches.

These excellent fish prefer living in smaller schools of 3 to 5 fish. They remain quite active when they live in their own schools. So, if you’re planning on having one, you should get a few more to make a school and ensure their happiness.

When it comes to withstanding temperatures, the ideal water temperature for Pumpkinseeds is in between 69 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit (21 to 24 degrees Celsius). Keep in mind that the pH level should be in between 7 to 7.5.

In terms of food, Pumpkinseeds eat a lot of things, such as insects, insect larvae, snails, leeches, and even smaller fish. Sometimes, they destroy mosquito larvae to consume detritus. In addition, they love to eat small amounts of aquatic vegetation.

7. Minnows (Phoxinus phoxinus)

Minnows are quite peaceful. These little aquatic creatures can live with other community fish, such as plecos, mollies, tetras, in the same pond. They’re also easy to maintain. This is why they’re a great choice for stocking in backyard ponds.

Minnow Fish

Indeed, these fish can grow up to only 4 inches in length. Due to their small size, you can stock them in ponds of all sizes when they’re many in number. You can also take them to your aquarium if you have a few of them.

Besides, they usually live for an average of 4 years and can live in aquariums for their entire lives because of their small size. If you stock them in a pond, they’ll help you control mosquitoes by eating insect larvae.

In terms of water temperatures, Minnows require cool water to thrive in. The ideal water temperatures for Minnows are in between 64 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure that the pond has a neutral pH and is decorated with live plants, driftwood, and rocks.

When it comes to consuming food, these fish eat a variety of flakes and pellets. Even they eat fresh and frozen foods. All in all, you can stock them in either a pond or an aquarium, depending on their numbers.

8. Weather Loach (Misgurnus anguillicaudatus)

Weather Loaches, also known as Pond Loaches, are one of the best species to stock in ponds, especially where the water temperatures become extremely wild all-year-round. They’re also quite tolerant of almost all temperatures.

Weather Loache Fish

For example, healthy loaches can withstand water temperatures in between 40 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit (4.5 to 25 degrees Celsius). This means you can keep these fish in your pond even during the winter nights without any issues.

Besides, these excellent fish are incredibly social and enjoy living in small schools of their own. They can reach up to 12 inches (1 foot) in length. So, you won’t be able to stock them in aquariums or small indoor fish tanks.

When it comes to consuming foods, Weather Loaches are omnivores, feeding on vegetables, insects, and food pellets without any hassle. They take much of their diet, like algae and plant material, from the bottom of ponds and shallow streams.

9. Red Shiner (Cyprinella lutrensis)

Red Shiners are one of the most popular fish species in North America. They’re freshwater fish that come with a combination of red and silver body, sometimes vibrant blue, with red-orange fins that help them stand out.

Red Shiner Pond Fish

These lovely looking fish are relatively smaller than most other pond fish species. They can grow up to 3 to 4 inches in length. Most importantly, they prefer water temperatures in between 59 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit (15 to 25 degrees Celsius).

Since they’re often found in mountainous regions, they can resist any temperatures. But, it’s recommended to bring them indoors when water temperatures drop below their minimum level of 59 degrees Fahrenheit.

In terms of food, Red shiners are omnivorous, and therefore, they can feed on algae and terrestrial and aquatic invertebrates. They also eat the eggs and larvae of native fish. With having these foods, they can only live for around 3 years.

When you’re going to purchase Red Shiners for your pond, make sure you’re allowed to stock them. This is because they’re considered as an invasive species, both in the United States and the United Kingdom. So, keeping them in your pond might be against laws and regulations.

10. Mosquito Fish (Gambusia affinis)

As the name suggests, Mosquito fish feed on mosquito larvae. They also eat algae and flakes when they’re in their natural habitat. They’re freshwater fish and can withstand temperatures up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Mosquito Fish

These excellent fish species are one of the best fish for small pond. Males can grow up to 3 inches in length, while females can be 3 inches or less. This means females are usually a bit longer than males.

So, if you’re planning on having these fish in your pond, you’ll need only a smaller volume of water for per fish. For smaller ponds, they’re pretty suitable as well. You can stock them in aquariums, although they’re not considered as aquarium fish items.

Furthermore, Mosquito fish are native to eastern and southern parts of the United States. They’re quite effective in controlling the breeding of mosquitoes. This is why you should keep them in your pond.

How to Stock a Pond with Fish

Now that you know what fish is best for ponds, you need to know how you can stock your pond with a wide variety of fish. Not only will this guide provide you with useful information on how to keep fish in a pond, but it will also help you to control weeds, insects, and worms.

Step – 1: Balance between Prey and Predator Fish

When you’re going to stock your pond with fish, you should balance between preys and predators in a good ratio of 3:1. As a result, predators have enough food to eat. At the same time, prey fish also get a chance to lay eggs and reproduce so many new fish.

Step – 2: Choose the Best Time to Stock Your Pond

Do you know what the best time is to stock a pond? This is during fall or spring. In this time, temperatures ensure a higher amount of oxygen in the water. So, if you choose this period to stock your pond, chances are you’re going to get the best results.

Step – 3: Ensure the Right Quantity

How many fish you can have in your pond entirely depends on how much surface area your pond owns. However, we’ve made a rough guide using the pond size in acres. Hopefully, this is going to be quite helpful to you.

  5-7 in. Largemouth Bass 3-4 in. Yellow Perch 2-4 in. Hybrid Bluegill/Sunfish Fathead Minnows
1 acre 60 240 480 32 lbs.
1/2 acre 30 120 240 16 lbs.
1/4 acre 15 60 120 8 lbs.

Step – 4: Create an Underwater Habitat for the Fish

You should plant underwater trees to create a good habitat for the fish. If you grow them, small fish can hide from predators. They can also lay their eggs, hiding behind those trees. Overall, these trees ensure a good environment underwater.

Step – 5: Make the Fish Adjust with Temperatures

Before pouring the fish into your pond, you should place the bag containing fish in a shaded area of your pond for around half an hour. Water gets inside the bag and gradually fluctuates the temperature so that it can match the pond water temperature.

Step – 6: Maintain the Pond Regularly

Once you’ve poured the fish into your pond, you have to maintain the pond regularly to keep them fresh and healthy. Make sure that the water is always oxygenated and free from toxicity. If everything goes well, you should catch a few of them to check.

How Many Fish Should You Have in Your Pond?

If you own a pond that includes too many fish, chances are it can create water imbalance. So, you have to make sure that you’re smart about the quantity and size of the fish and the pond to make a balanced ecological system.

For every inch of fish length, fish in a pond usually require 10 gallons of water. However, they’re growing bigger over the years. So, you can add a few more fish in the pond. But, you should be careful about the pond not to be overstocked.

Fish Swimming in a Pond

Some pond experts suggest that pond owners should keep 10 gallons of water for only ½ inch of fish to ensure a maximum stocking density. But, you may have a pond that contains a variety of 2 to 3 inches of fish per 10 (ten) gallons of water, and surprisingly, they’re perfect.

In fact, this density can’t be ideal for your pond. The pH level might decrease, and the fish will probably be growing more slowly than usual. Therefore, the fish can be affected by various diseases, and this will be a common affair.

How Many Fish Can a 1 Acre Pond Support?

As a general rule of thumb, a 1 acre pond support around 6000 one-year-old carp fingerlings that come in a size of 100 to 150 gm. Make sure that you prepare the pond scientifically before stocking it with these fish.

Once you’ve done stocking, you have to provide the fish with food regularly. If everything is okay according to what we’re saying, you can expect to get around 3 thousand kilograms of fish from your pond.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Can you put legendary fish in fish pond?

No, it’s recommended not to put legendary fish into a fish pond. This is because these fish may come with sea urchins and coral, which is not good for freshwater ponds and the other fish.

2. Can Goldfish live in a pond without a pump?

Ponds that contain fish produce high-in-nitrogen waste. These ponds need a pump that helps to keep the water clean and full of oxygen.

On the other hand, ponds that contain only plants don’t need a pump because they’re always full of oxygen.

Now, if you’re planning on having some Goldfish, you need to have a pump even after the pond has plants.

3. Can you keep Catfish with Koi?

Although this entirely depends on the subspecies of Catfish, you shouldn’t keep catfish with Koi because they can eat or damage Koi when they’re grown enough.

4. Are Catfish bad for ponds?

No, Catfish are good for ponds, although this depends on what species you’re going to stock in your pond. They’re also excellent for outdoor fishing.

5. What Fish Can be with Koi?

A wide variety of fish can be the best mates of Koi in a small pond or an aquarium. Let’s see some of them below.

  • Barbel
  • Barbs
  • Catfish
  • Goldfish
  • Golden Orfe
  • Tench
  • Pleco
  • Sturgeon

6. How Deep Should a Pond be for Fish to Survive?

When you’re looking for fish to be in your pond, it should be 60 cm (2 feet) deep.

Final Words

Best pond fish are almost similar to fish that you can find in lakes, rivers, or other still waters. If you’re planning on stocking an outdoor pond with a variety of fish species, you have to ensure a natural environment into the pond water.

Whether you have colorful Goldfish or excellent Pond Sturgeons, they can live for many years if you provide them with proper care. For that, you have to check their feeding, water condition, and quantity of the fish regularly.

Besides, your pond should be deep enough so that the fish can get plenty of space to swim, lay eggs, and hide from predators. To get the best results, you can follow our guidelines that help you choose fish species and resolve your confusion related to pond fishing.

Now. tell us about your plan, which pond fish you are going to buy?

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