Pond Fish

Things to Know Before Buying Fish for Your Pond

Fish are Mother Nature's filters and they contribute to the overall health of garden ponds. However, fish and wildlife should be added to your garden pond in stages.

Goldfish and Koi are the most popular types of pond fish because they are colorful, which makes them easier to see in the pond water than many other kinds of fish. Both goldfish and Koi derive from the carp family.


Characteristics such as size and vegetation will largely determine which type of fish is the best choice for your pond.

Speed - Koi are more relaxed swimmers than goldfish.

Color - Goldfish and Koi are available with different markings, body shapes and fin spans. Choose the type of fish that will best enhance your water feature and be most visible underneath the water.

Vegetation - If you choose to support a Koi pond, you will have to limit the amount of vegetation in your pond; Koi eat plants, whereas goldfish don't.

Size - A Koi pond needs to be larger then a goldfish pond - Koi continue to grow despite the size of the pond. A Koi pond should be at least 1,000 gallons and at least 3 feet deep. Your pond's surface will determine the amount of fish your pond can support. For example, measure your pond's surface diameter - your pond can hold that many fish lined up head-to-tail across its diameter. The addition of a pump will increase the oxygen level and add to the number of fish your pond can occupy.

Number - Overstocking a fish pond is a costly mistake, especially with Koi since they grow despite the size of the pond. Too many Koi can rob one another of essential oxygen. Feeder goldfish should always be the first fish added to any garden pond followed by 2 or 3 Koi (at most), until the pond water is ready to support them. Ideally, pond water should be unoccupied for several weeks before introducing any fish.

Timing The first fish should never be added to garden ponds until mid-May in temperate climates. Even though Koi and goldfish can endure cold water, an initial cold shock can be fatal.

There are many types of pond fish to choose from - choose carefully. Before you spend the big bucks on stocking your fish pond, you must do your homework. The food chain is important; there are types of fish which may be eaten by others and some fish will eat and kill the aquatic plants in your pond.

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