Caring for outdoor pond fish isn’t all fun and games. You need to choose the right ones that will survive outdoors in your climatic conditions.
A lot of homeowners shy away from keeping fish as pets. But, contrary to popular belief, fish make excellent pets. They are sensitive, intelligent, have bubbly personalities, and interact with their owners.
If you are thinking about adding a pond to your landscape, introducing pond fish may be a good idea. That being said, it is crucial to choose the right kind of fish that are hardy enough to survive in outdoor conditions.
Confused about the best pond fish to get for your outdoor pond? Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered. Here are some of the most popular and hardy pond fish you can consider for your home.
Take a look!
Best Pond Fish Ideas
When you think of outdoor pond fish, one of the first ones that come to mind is Koi fish. Most homeowners with outdoor ponds choose to turn it into a Koi pond. Undoubtedly, Koi fish are the most popular kind of outdoor pond fish you can consider.
These fish are descendants of common carp fish and can grow anywhere between one to three feet in length. They are typically seen in white and orange color combinations with unique patterns and coloration on their bodies. If you look close enough, no two Koi fish have the same kind of pattern on their body, making each one unique.
These fish thrive in water temperatures around 59-77°F and are reasonably hardy. That said, sudden changes in temperature can shock them and even cause them to perish. Ensure that you keep the outdoor pond at a pH level of 7.5 to 8. Furthermore, your outdoor pond should be at least a meter deep, so that the fish can swim comfortably and find adequate hiding spots.
After Koi fish, the next most popular kind of outdoor pond fish is Goldfish. Like any other animal or fish, you can find hundreds of breeds and species of Goldfish. Depending on their type, Goldfish can vary in size, shape, and coloration.
Of course, as the name tells you, these fish typically feature a solid orange or golden shade but can also feature patterns and coloration in white, black, and yellow.
The Common Goldfish is a beautiful, lively species of fish that was domesticated from the Asian carp. This species originated in China over 1,000 years ago, but now, you will easily find them all over the world.
By and large, the Common Goldfish is an amicable species that have personalities as vibrant as their bright orange and gold bodies. That said, the smaller Goldfish species are prone to getting attacked and eaten by larger fish.
If you plan on introducing other fish species to your pond, ensure that they are not predator fish or prone to attacking other species. This will put your Goldfish in a lot of danger.
As for the pond, the ideal temperature for your Goldfish to thrive is between 68°F and 72°F. Ensure that the pond maintains a healthy pH level of 7.2 to 7.6 at all times.
Although its name may automatically produce certain images in your mind about how this particular Goldfish species looks, these Goldfish can be slightly tricky to care for.
For starters, Fancy Goldfish are not as energetic or fast as their counterparts – the Common Goldfish. Because of this nature, they are often slow to move around and catch food. This makes them prone to getting attacked by other fish species.
Moreover, their slow-moving nature means that they can’t defend themselves properly or fight against other fish for food. They may eventually be attacked or even starve to death. This is why it is best to keep Fancy Goldfish alone, rather than introduce them with other fish species that are bigger and faster than them.
Depending on the particular breed of Fancy Goldfish you get, their ideal pond temperatures can vary. However, most Fancy Goldfish thrive in temperatures between 65°F to 80°F. Some of the different Fancy Goldfish brands you may find include Lionhead, Fantail, Comet, Bubble Eye, etc.
Golden Orfes, more commonly known as Orfes, is a beautiful species of pond fish that can light up any home. These fish typically grow up to three feet in length, depending on their breed and how much space they have in the pond.
Ensure that you provide an adequately large pond for this fish species, as they require at least a meter deep water and around 1,000 gallons to live comfortably. It is important to note that Golden Orfes are extremely sensitive to water quality issues, so you must ensure that your pond is in optimal condition at all times.
That being said, Golden Orfes are hardy fish and can tolerate freezing water temperatures. Not just that, they can also survive in extreme heat, where the water temperature rises to 90°F. Ideally, you should maintain your pond pH level between 7 and 8, as they thrive in slightly alkaline conditions.
Before moving on to the next species, we must mention that Golden Orfes are known for their energetic and jumpy personalities. They are prone to jumping out of ponds and overexerting themselves while swimming and playing.
To ensure their safety, create a boundary around your pond so they cannot jump out of it. Furthermore, maintain an oxygen level of 7-8 ppm in the pond, so they don’t suffer from oxygen deprivation due to excessive activity.
Siamese Algae Eater
As the name tells you, the Siamese Algae Eater thrives on consuming algae. This particular trait makes them a favorite amongst many pond owners, as the fish naturally enjoy eating algae which can otherwise be annoying and a time-consuming process to remove.
These fish don’t grow very long, reaching only about 6 inches when fully mature. However, they have very vibrant personalities and can be very enthusiastic in their approach. This can pose a threat to more docile species of fish like Fancy Goldfish.
As such, it is best not to introduce Siamese Algae Eaters with Fancy Goldfish, or any other docile fish species, as they may stress them out. Although they are not prone to violence or don’t have an aggressive nature, their enthusiasm may scare and stress docile fish species.
It is best to maintain a water temperature of around 70°F to 79°F for this fish species to thrive. Moreover, if the temperatures drop below 70 degrees, it is best to bring these fish indoors, as they may not survive the temperature change.
Pond Sturgeon fish is most commonly known because of their caviar. However, if you take one look at these fish, you may think they have been transported into our world from prehistoric times.
These fish have a unique appearance which makes them quite popular amongst pond enthusiasts. They are generally black and have distinct fins and a long tail. However, these fish can grow quite large.
The smallest varieties of Pond Sturgeon fish can grow up to a meter long. If that’s not surprising enough, imagine how long the larger varieties can grow – up to ten meters! Furthermore, they can weigh up to thousands of pounds, making them look quite exotic, but challenging to care for.
Those who have small or medium-sized ponds should not opt for these fish primarily because of their size. Pond Sturgeon love their space and freedom and will feel restricted in small ponds.
Although Pond Sturgeon began evolving over 250 million years ago, they have not adapted very well to high temperatures. These fish thrive in cold water, and anything below 60 to 70° F will make them very uncomfortable. So, if you live in a region where the temperature rises above 70 degrees, it is best to avoid getting Pond Sturgeon.
Another vital aspect to note is that they do not like too much light. Place your pond in a shaded location, and provide your fish with plenty of hiding space, as these bottom-dwelling fish love laying low.
More commonly known as Plecos, the Plecostomus fish are another variety of algae-eating fish which thrive in outdoor ponds. Unlike the Pond Sturgeon, these fish thrive in warm temperatures, making them ideal for those who live in temperate climates.
The Plecos fish looks slightly similar to the Pond Sturgeon – both these fish species look like they come from prehistoric times! While one breed of this fish, the Bristlenose Plecos, grows only about 4 inches in length, the Common Plecos can grow up to two feet long.
Depending on the breed of Plecos you opt for, ensure that you provide adequate pond space for them to live comfortably.
Originally hailing from South America, the Plecos fish does quite well in warm temperatures. They may be able to tolerate slightly lower temperatures for a day. However, if the temperature outside drops below 50° F, it is best to take these fish indoors; otherwise, they may perish.
The Plecos are primarily bottom-dwelling fish, and their dark bodies can make them otherwise hard to spot. However, the bright yellow polka dots on their bodies give them a distinctive appearance that helps identify them from other fish species.
If you are fascinated by long, slimy fish that look like eels, you may want to consider getting a Weather Loach. These fish are also called Pond Loaches and have a distinctive appearance that resembles an eel. However, their light brown bodies and unique mouth shape give them a fascinating appearance, unlike most other fish species.
A great thing about Weather Loach fishes is that they are very social and friendly fish. As such, it is best to get more than one of these species in your pond, as they thrive in social interaction.
Feeding them is not an issue as well, as these fish are not picky eaters. They will happily consume fish pellets, worms, algae, small insects, larvae, and even vegetables.
Although you can introduce this fish species with your other pond fish, Weather Loaches enjoy the company of their own kind. They may interact and socialize with other fish species, but ensure that you have at least one more Weather Loach, so they feel comfortable in your pond.
Do you have a relatively small pond on your property? You might be thinking about getting a smaller fish species. Well, the Red Shiner fish may be ideal for your needs.
These fish originally hail from North America and enjoy cold water. Moreover, since this fish species can also be found in mountainous regions, we know that they can also withstand cold water temperatures.
That being said, if the temperature of your pond dips below 59° F, we recommend bringing your Red Shiners indoors. Although they may be able to tolerate such low temperatures, they are not comfortable in them and may eventually fall sick or die.
If size is an issue, you may be happy to know that this fish species does not grow beyond 3 inches in length. As such, you can introduce these fish to other fish species without issues. However, it is best not to introduce them into ponds with fairly large fish, as they may eat them because of their small size.
Keep in mind that these fish reproduce fairly rapidly, so you need to take precautions when introducing male and female species in the same pond. Moreover, in case you want to get rid of some, we do not recommend releasing them into the wild.
The Red Shiner fish are considered an invasive species in many parts of the world. Releasing them into the wild can cause ecological damage, so it is best to give them to a pet store or another pond owner.
Mollies and Guppies
Mollies and guppies make very popular indoor tank pets. However, they are also well suited for outdoor ponds, as long as you can maintain an ideal environment for them.
While Mollies require water temperatures below 75°F, Guppies are able to manage well in water temperatures below 50° F. Both fish species do not grow very large – only a few inches at the most. However, if the pond temperature drops during winters, it is best to bring these fish indoors. They do not enjoy cold temperatures, but they are relatively easy to transport indoors because of their small size.
Like many other smaller varieties of fish, both Mollies and Guppies reproduce fairly quickly. You may need to sell the babies to your local pet store ever so often. That being said, never release them into the wild, as they are not acclimatized to it and will eventually perish.
The Pumpkinseed Fish is native to certain parts of North America. It is a part of a species called “sunfish,” which are known for their vibrant bodies and distinct, appealing good looks. However, this fish species is considered an invasive species in certain parts of Europe, which is why it is recommended never to release them into the wild.
Keeping these in your home pond is a wonderful experience, as these fish are very active, friendly, and look beautiful. Moreover, they don’t grow beyond 8 inches in length, although some species of Pumpkinseed Fish grow only up to 3 inches in length.
That being said, this fish species thrive in social contact. If you plan on introducing Pumpkinseed Fish to your pond, get at least a few of the same species so they can interact with each other.
This fish species prefers slightly alkaline water, so ensure that your pond has a pH level of 7 to 7.5. However, they are relatively tolerant to water temperatures and thrive comfortably between 69 and 75° F. It is essential to keep your pond heated during winters so they do not freeze or perish.
High-Fin Banded Shark
Those who enjoy the look of exotic fish in their pond will love the High-Fin Banded Shark. This fish species is native to China and is known for its distinctive appearance. In fact, they are also commonly known as “batfish,” as their dark appearance gives them an uncanny resemblance to bats.
You can introduce the High-Fin Banded Shark with other smaller fish in your pond, such as Koi, Guppies, Goldfish, Plecos, etc. Although these fish species enjoy the company of their own kind, they can also tolerate being on their own.
However, you need to maintain a pond temperature of at least 55-75° F. They will be able to survive in outdoor ponds over the winter as long as you maintain the minimum required temperature.
Keep in mind that this fish species can grow up to four feet in length, so you should have adequate pond space for them to thrive.
Before we talk about the Catfish, we must give you a fair warning. Although these fish species are often introduced in outdoor ponds, Catfish can be prone to violence and aggression. These fish are known to eat smaller fish species like Molly, Guppy, Goldfish, and Koi, amongst others.
However, their rambunctious nature also causes them to attack larger fish species, even those twice their size! While some Catfish can be docile and live amicably around other fish species, they are known to be unpredictable and can attack your smaller fish on a whim.
However, since Catfish are very tolerant to a range of water temperatures and conditions, many pond enthusiasts enjoy keeping them as pets. Whether or not you want to keep Catfish in a pond is up to you. However, ensure that you don’t introduce other smaller fish species, as they can be in danger.
Well, that’s all we have for today.
We hope this guide helped you learn more about the different pond fish species you can consider. Ensure that you research adequately before introducing new fish species to your pond, as every species thrives in slightly varying conditions.
In case you have any other questions, feel free to reach out to us in the comments below. Let us know which fish you picked for your home pond and why.
Until then, stay safe!