With the many fish you can choose from to keep in your backyard pond, it can be confusing to figure out what types of fish you can put together. If you’re looking to creating a safe haven for different fish in one pond, it’s best to choose some that can live in harmony with other species.
Some of the best types of fish to choose from are the common and fancy goldfish, koi carp, red shiners, weather loach, pumpkinseed fish, high-fin banded shark, and more. These breeds of fish are known for their adaptability, resourcefulness, and toughness in changing weather.
In this article, we’ll discuss the different breeds of fish that you can put in your backyard pond. When adding fish to your pond, you must know the capability of your waterhole and the factors you need to consider beforehand.
Also read tis article: How many aquatic plants do you need for your pond?
Best Types of Fish to Keep in Your Backyard Pond
Not all fish can survive with different breeds. The same goes for the weather conditions and the environment they live in. If you’re looking to add some species into your waterhole, here are 12 of the best breeds of fish to choose from.
- Koi Carp (Cyprinus carpio)
Koi Carp fish are perfect for backyard ponds because they’re considered decorative fish. Thanks to the diversity of Koi Carp, you’ll find them in many colors, including white, black, orange, yellow, and more. It’s been recorded that there are over 100 categorized koi subspecies in the world, which means that there are koi for anyone worldwide.
Koi Carps are known as some of the best choices for outdoor ponds because they can grow from a foot to a maximum of three feet. Also, they are known to be tolerant in different weather conditions as long as it doesn’t change too fast.
To keep them strong and healthy, make sure that the pH level of the water ranges from 7.5 to 8 and that the water temperature is between 59-77°F. Also, make sure your pond is at least a meter deep for them to have enough space to swim around.
- Common Goldfish (Carassius auratus)
Common goldfish were originally domesticated in China over a thousand years ago. This fish is known for growing in different sizes depending on their species, which means adult common goldfish can grow from a couple of inches to about a foot. When choosing to add common goldfish to your pond, make sure to consider the size that can fit your waterhole.
The common goldfish is known for its ability to coexist with other fish species. Although, you need to consider the other fish you put along with them as not all of them can get along with goldfish. Additionally, if there are small fish in your pond, it’s natural to see the large ones preying on them.
When taking care of a goldfish, it’s best to have a 7.2 to 7.6 pH water range and water around 68-72°F. Compared to other types of goldfish, the common goldfish enjoy swimming and is fast and energetic.
- Fancy Goldfish (Carassius auratus)
The fancy goldfish are known for their slow movement and don’t compete for food, unlike other fish. Because of this characteristic, it’s not ideal to mix fancy goldfish with regular goldfish or any other fish that eats the same food as them.
Like regular goldfish, these fancy fish come in different varieties, which can add flair to any pond. If you’re planning to add this fish to your waterhole, you should know that its different species require different sets of water and environment. For example, lionheads are healthier when they live in water around 65°F or lower, while Fantails, who are known for their forked caudal fin, need a temperature between 70-80°F.
Most fancy goldfish can be kept in an outside pond as long as their needs are met. They do well in water around 68-74°F, but need to be moved indoors when the temperatures drop too low in the winter.
- Golden Orfe (Leuciscus carpio)
Golden orfes are known for their hyper-energetic personalities and sensitivity to water qualities. They can grow a foot to a foot and a half in normal circumstances. Although, if provided with plenty of food and live in a large pond, they can grow up to three feet.
Orfes are also known for being extremely sensitive to water quality. Expert orfe collectors use the “golden orfe toxicity test” to regulate it. If the water is not up to the standards of the test, the water is deemed unhealthy and will require treatment before you can put any orfes in it.
One of the best things about golden orfes is their ability to withstand any temperatures, making them an ideal choice for outdoor ponds. Indeed, they can tolerate weather as warm as 90°F while also doing well in freezing conditions. The best temperature for orfes is 50-77°F, with pH levels of 7-8.
Since orfes have hyper-energetic personalities, they tend to jump out of the pond, which means that you have to put nets around the area for them not to exceed the boundaries. In some areas, these fish are considered invasive species and are not allowed to be released from captivity.
Because of their excessive movement, they are vulnerable to oxygen deprivation, so make sure that your pond always has a high oxygen level, around 7-8 ppm.
- Weather Loach (Misgurnus anguillicaudatus)
Weather or pond loaches are great for outdoor ponds due to their high tolerance to weather conditions. Indeed, they can live with no problem in temperatures around 40-77°F, meaning they can be comfortable in the winter and summer. They grow up to a foot, so they are comfortable in medium-large size ponds.
If you choose to adopt pond loaches, make sure you buy at least two, so they can accompany each other as these are sociable species that tend to stay with their own kind in small groups.
These fish are not picky eaters and will eat anything without any complaint, including food pellets, algae, vegetables, and insects.
- Pond Sturgeon (Acipenseridae)
Like goldfish, pond sturgeons come in small varieties, different sizes, and require a different environment compared to the previously mentioned fish. Sturgeons were discovered 250 million years ago, making them one of the most resilient fish to put on an outdoor pond.
Depending on the variety that you choose, a sturgeon can grow from 1 and up to 10 meters, and up to 2,000 lbs. If you choose to have pond sturgeons for your backyard waterhole, you must have a large and deep pond. For them to survive many years, they need a place where they can swim deep and have enough space to hide from the warmth and brightness of the sun.
Pond sturgeons are known to have a better survivability rate in cold weather than in the summer. So, make sure to keep the temperature below 70°F and above freezing temperatures when you have these fish. They also need high-quality sturgeon food to live healthily and for a long time, which includes 40% or higher crude protein.
- Siamese Algae Eater (Crossocheilus oblongus)
As its name suggests, the siamese algae eater feeds on the algae of your pond, making it one of the most sought out fish of pond hobbyists. You can pair them with common goldfish because they are high-spirited and can do well with other fish species that have high energy.
They can reach up to 6 inches, as long as the water temperature is between 70-79°F. When the temperature starts to drop in the winter, it’s best to move these fish indoors.
- Plecostomus (Hypostomus plecostomus)
The plecos fish originated from South America, which makes this species warm-water fish and more adept to summer conditions. These are peaceful and easygoing fish, meaning that you can easily put them with other species.
While the common plecos are between 1 to 2 feet long, the bristlenose plecos are known for their small nature, as they only measure about 4 inches. Make sure to consider the size of your pond before you choose the type of species that you want to add to your pond.
They can survive in water between 72-86°F, but once it drops to 50°F or below, make sure to transfer them inside or they could die from the cold weather.
- Mollies and Guppies (Poecilia)
You’ll mostly find mollies and guppies in an indoor aquarium since these fish don’t sit well in cold weather or in the winter. Although, if you live somewhere mostly sunny and warm, you can put them in your backyard pond. Make sure that the water temperature is above 50°F for mollies and above 70°F for guppies.
These are straightforward and easygoing fish, making them great if you intend to mix them with other species. They breed quickly so you have to monitor their breeding and the capacity of your pond. Never set them free into the wild as they won’t survive. However, you can sell them to pet stores.
You can also use these as a food source if you have a separate pond for frogs or turtles.
- High-Fin Banded Shark (Myxocyprinus asiaticus)
Also known as batfish because of their bat-like and dark appearance, these fish feed on algae. Like the previous fish, the high-fin is compatible with almost any fish as it is easygoing and peaceful. It can live alone but becomes healthier when it lives with the same species in the pond.
You’ll recognize these fish with their striking features. Because their only source of food is algae, they can grow up to 4 feet long, which takes years to achieve.
High-fin banded sharks are capable of living in an outdoor pond, even in the winter as long, as you keep your water temperature around 55-75°F and have the water heated above the minimum range. Also, make sure to provide them with enough space to hide.
- Red Shiners (Cyprinella lutrensis)
Originating from North America, red shiners can be easily distinguished with their orange fins, silver bodies, and small size (3 inches long). They can live in almost any temperature but feel best in temperatures between 59-77°F.
Thanks to their ability to withstand extreme weather conditions, they can survive outdoors in the winter where temperatures reach -21° C, or in areas where you’ll find southern hot springs. Of course, this isn’t advised, and you should bring them inside your house when the temperatures drop below 59°F or reach over 77°F.
Red shiners are considered invasive fish species both in the U.S. and the U.K., which means you should never use them as bait when fishing nor release them into the wild. Their ability to quickly reproduce can cause ecological damages and affect other species.
- Pumpkinseed Fish (Lepomis gibbosus)
Pumpkinseed fish are distinguished by their patterning and bright coloration. A native to North America, these fish grow 3-8 inches long, depending on their variety. They prefer to live with a school of fish with their same species, so make sure that you buy a couple of them if you decide to include this fish in your backyard pond.
They can live in different water temperatures, but their preferred temperature is between 69-75°F, and they prefer to have pH levels between 7 and 7.5. They are capable of living in overwinter conditions, but make sure to keep your water heated. Lastly, if you live in Europe, remember to never release them into the wild as they are considered an invasive species.
How Many Fish Will Fit in a Pond?
No pond owner wants their backyard pond to be overfilled with water and risk, threatening all the fish they have. If you’re wondering how many fish your pond can contain, you should know the three most important rules when it comes to fish and ponds.
Rule 1: For every hundred gallons of water, you can only fit one 6” fish.
Rule 2: For every 10 gallons of water, you should only fit one 1” fish.
Rule 3: For every square foot of the surface area and 24” deep pond, you should only fit one 1” fish.
Fish are sensitive creatures, so make sure that your pond is fully prepared before you add any fish to it. There are also five factors to consider before adding any fish to your backyard pond.
- Pond volume
Before adding any life to your pond, you must determine the size of your waterhole and its capacity. To ensure you have the right volume and length, you can use a pond calculator you’ll find online.
A quick example would be:
- If your pond is 3 wide, long, and deep equally, you’ll have around 27,000 liters (7,132.59 US gallons) of water.
- If your pond is 3 meters in maximum width, length, depth, and liner overlap equally, you’re required to have a pond liner with a minimum size of 15m x 15m.
- The total surface area of the pond
Like pond volume, it’s vital to know the total surface area of your pond before adding any fish to it. To know the overall area of your pond, multiply the length by the width of the waterhole. The result would be the surface area in square feet.
- Size and type of filtration system
For a pond to be healthy and become a living ecosystem for your fish, it must have the right type and size of filtration system. Over filtration will harm your fish while under filtering can cause murky water and eventually harm your fish.
Before purchasing a filtration system right out of the bat, make sure to do your research because there are several factors to consider beforehand. If you’re not sure how to determine this, you can ask a professional to help you with this task.
You may have noticed earlier that all types of fish can only live healthily if there live at the right water temperature. Thus, before adding fish into your backyard pond, make sure that the collection of fish that you’re planning to buy has almost the same standards when it comes to water temperature, alkaline pH level, and more.
Do thorough research about the different types and varieties of fish that you choose. Consider whether they are energetic, peaceful, won’t fight for food, need to hide into the shadows, etc.
Like water temperature, the climate is a huge factor when it comes to considering the type of fish you’re going to put into your pond. Thus, make sure that the fish you choose can withstand the weather conditions or changing climate in your area.
If the fish that you choose is sensitive to the cold, make sure you have ample space inside your house for an aquarium until the changing of seasons.
A backyard fish pond doesn’t only add aesthetic to a property but can also calm the mind of the owner. Before adding any fish into your waterhole, make sure you have carefully thought about the five factors we’ve mentioned above.
Also, check the 12 amazing fish on our list and pick the ones that you know will live happily and healthily in your pond. Finally, make sure that you meet their requirements to ensure that they can live a long time.