With spring in full bloom, your pond should be pretty active and well used. Nothing adds a beautiful aesthetic to your yard and pond like fish. They provide color and character and are also an essential part of the pond’s ecosystem. Whether you keep pond fish for their lively glistening colors, graceful movement through the water, or just for mosquito control, fish are an important addition to any pond or water garden. So what types of fish are best for your pond? Read below for a helpful guide to buying the right pond fish for your water garden.
Koi are a type of hybridized carp. Since the 1800’s, they have been kept and selectively bred for both coloration and shape. Koi become pretty large and require a lot of room to swim and remain healthy. The ideal pond size is at least 1000 gallons with plenty of aeration and good filtration. The fish are very resilient and can withstand the cold winter in a frozen pond, provided there is an open hole in the ice with an air pump and air stone or floating heater. This is necessary to allow the exchange of natural gases to escape and let oxygen into the water. Koi are best kept in a pond without aquatic plants.
Goldfish come in a range of shapes and colors. Through selective breeding over the centuries we now have many types of goldfish. Goldfish do not grow as large as koi, making them perfect for smaller ponds and water gardens. Long, graceful fins and beautiful color patterns distinguish the “fancy goldfish” from the common Comet goldfish. Shubunkins are similar to Comets but fancier breeds are Fantails, Black Moors, Ryunkins, Orandas, Lionheads, Ranchu, Bubble-Eye, and Pearlscale. A splashing waterfall is not recommended with fancy types of goldfish due to the delicate nature of their fins that are easily damaged. It is also recommended to keep these fish away from Comets and Koi as their fins are susceptible to injury from aggressive fish.
Catfish have a majestic quality about them, with their long whiskers and large size.
They are also often used in ponds with the hope that they will help to keep the water clean. Other cleaning additives are necessary though like pond cleaner tablets and algaecide, but Catfish will help to keep your water clear and clarified.
Other recommendations are Pond sunfish and Sturgeon. Pond sunfish are an eye-catching addition to any pond and vary in size between 4’’ and 12”. They often have beautiful bright colors and do well in a small school. Sturgeon do well in highly oxygenated environments and need a pond that holds at least 2,000 gallons of water. They can handle the cold very well but don't do well in warm climates because oxygen levels tend to be lower there.
To maximize the benefits like beauty, low maintenance, and longevity, the best fish for water gardens are Comets and Shubunkins. These varieties are hardy, colorful and quite active. They also can be kept in the pond all year long. They are able to tolerate water features like a waterfall or fountain since they enjoy the water movement and will often swim directly through the splashing water.
Add some exquisite detail to your pond with some fish today! Check out your local pet store or research online where to find your perfect pond fish.