Pond Fish Selection

Almost as important as a fish pond's size, shape, and pond plant content is it's fish. Pond fish are beautiful, fun to look at, and enjoyable to take care of. People have been keeping pond fish for thousands of years, and with a little time and effort so can you. But picking the right species of pond fish for your unique fish pond can be a challenge. Fortunately with the vast array of pond fish species available, you can almost always find a match for your fish pond.

What is a Pond Fish?

A pond fish is any kind of fish that can survive well in a pond and is kept for it's aesthetic qualities. This is a pretty broad description however, as many species of fishes could potentially fit this definition. However typically ornamental crap such as goldfish and koi dominate the pond fish market. This however does not mean you are restricted to these specific pond fish species. Ask around your local pet or garden store about what pond fish species survive well in your area.

Pond Fish Species

The Koi
The Koi

Pond fish come in a great variety of sizes, shapes, and colors from huge ten pound koi to tiny gold fish. Even within those two groups there are tens of sub-species to choose from. Luckily there are a few more common species of pond fish that have proven themselves to be quite comfortable living the pond lifestyle:

  • The Goldfish is probably the most common and recognisable pond fish in the world today. Goldfish were first bred into their vibrant colors by the Chinese over a thousand years ago! Since then they have been bred into a wide array of shapes, sizes, and colors.
  • A relative of the goldfish, the Koi resembles a giant goldfish, some reaching as much as twenty pounds! The koi fish is often kept in much larger fish ponds than the more commonly kept goldfish due to it's large size and sensitivity to water conditions. Koi are not recommended for the novice fish pond enthusiast.
  • Other non-carp fish species are kept in garden fish ponds as well. Some of these species include catfish, various sucker species, and on rare occasions bass and other sunfish. While catfish, suckers, and even sunfish can do quite well in captivity, many black bass will quickly die in fish ponds if not carefully managed.

Keeping Pond Fish

While not as common as goldfish or koi, catfish are a favorite pond fish.
While not as common as goldfish or koi, catfish are a favorite pond fish.

Keeping pond fish alive and well is a large part of the fun of fish ponds. This however does not mean maintaining a fish pond is all fun and games. Proper consideration and care is needed to create and keep a stable fish pond. Here are a few tips for keeping pond fish alive and healthy all year long:

  • A pond heater may be necessary for winters in colder climates. As temperatures drop in winter, the chances of small fish ponds freezing solid rises. If a fish pond freezes solid it will more likely than not kill all the fish inside. Luckily there are several small heaters on the market today designed to keep small fish ponds warm durring the winter months.
  • Check your pond filter regularly to make sure it's in proper running order. Fish ponds with a low plant content will rely on the water filter more for water oxygenation, not to mention filtering out the fish waste. Consider adding more fish waste eating plants to your pond if your filter becomes jammed too often.
  • Keep algae levels down with water lilies and other pond plants that provide overhead cover. These pond plants block sunlight and choke out algae before it has a chance to "bloom". Also consider adding one of several species of algae eating catfish to your fish pond.


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PondWorld 5 years ago from Dallas, TX

nice hub...glad to see a mention about the importance of pond plants. That is an aspect of ponding many people underestimate.

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