Fish are usually the reason people build a pond and watching them is one of the most calming things you can do.
But what fish do you buy?
Choosing fish species is about much more than just looks. Like any animal species, each has its own preferences and needs. Some types of fish will thrive in certain conditions while others won’t.
You need a healthy mix of fish that can adapt to your pond and achieve a natural balance with the conditions, each other and your plants.
We’re going to outline a series of fish types we often see in ponds along with their preferences.
Hopefully, by the end, you’ll have a good idea of the types of fish you want to add to your own pond!
Koi are incredibly popular pond fish. They are colorful, grow to substantial sizes and are relatively easy to look after.
They can be expensive but you really do get what you pay for with koi. Buy from a reputable dealer and the more you pay, the higher the quality of the fish.
Koi needs an enriched diet and a larger pond to thrive. Koi are hardy and can handle most conditions but are susceptible to predators because of their coloring.
Goldfish are another incredibly popular pond fish. They can be colorful, grow to a decent size and are relatively easy to care for.
Goldfish are much cheaper than koi but require areas of shade because they are susceptible to direct sunlight.
They also require space to swim and don’t like overcrowding, so population control is key.
Mosquitofish are a curious one. You don’t see them often in pet shops or garden center’s, yet you’ll see them a lot in ponds.
They are relatively small and not very colorful. They are unassuming little fish that are typically used to keep mosquito larvae under control.
Mosquitofish are adaptable and can cope with most conditions but require access to the surface to feed.
4. Pond loaches
Pond loaches are utility fish like the Mosquitofish. They are bottom dwellers that help keep the pond clean.
They live mainly on the bottom of ponds, so you’ll rarely see them. They help keep the bottom of the pond clean and help reduce food and nutrients that sit at the bottom.
They are hardy, flexible and can cope with a wide variety of temperatures.
Guppy is another popular fish variety that you’ll find in many smaller ponds. They breed well and add a little color and texture to a pond.
Guppies are small and have that signature tail. They come in a range of colors and patterns and add a little decoration.
These little fish can cope with most conditions and manage to thrive almost anywhere the water is clean.
Shubunkin look like small koi and come in orange, yellow, black and other colors too. They are popular as much for their translucent qualities as for their color.
Shubunkin can manage in all shapes and sizes of ponds and at all depths. They are relatively hardy and like pond plants.
Shubunkin are very sociable fish so need to be kept in groups. Otherwise, they are very easy pond fish to keep.
Rosettes are popular because of their bright fins and tail. They are typically silver in color with red fins and tail and look great.
These fish need clean water with good flow and lots of oxygen, so a well-balanced pond is a must. Otherwise, they are hardy and very easy to manage and tend to do well.
Rosettes also prefer living in groups of 10-20 and can live up to 20 years.
8. Siamese Algae Eater
As the name implies, the Siamese Algae Eater is a utility fish that just loves eating algae.
Known for their signature stripe, the Siamese Algae Eater is a relatively small fish that requires easy access to the substrate to eat but is otherwise very low maintenance.
They can cope with a range of conditions and as long as they can feed, they can thrive.
9. Molly fish
Molly fish are a small colorful pond fish that add a little light-heartedness to a pond.
They are small, colorful and come in 39 varieties. They all have a triangular body with an arrow head and can live happily in all kinds of conditions.
Molly fish live in groups and get on well with other fish and are very low maintenance to keep.
10. Golden Orfe
The Golden Orfe is a larger fish that is known for its color. They have a shimmering gold or orange color that makes them a joy to look at.
Golden Orfe can cope with most conditions but requires space to swim and to congregate in groups. They are social fish, so they need numbers to stay healthy.
The one thing you do need to watch with Golden Orfe is jumping. They have been known to jump out of the pond and not get back in!
11. Golden Tench
The Golden Tench is not a natural species but has been created by cross-breeding. It’s part of the tench family and has a bright, golden color, hence the name.
The Golden Tench is a robust fish that can cope with many conditions and are hardy enough to require very little management. This, along with their looks, is why they are so popular.
They do spend a lot of time at the bottom of ponds, but if you have natural light, you’ll see them shimmer as they move.
Fish types for a healthy pond
We think the fish species in this guide are plenty enough to get you started.
There’s a little something for everyone here. Fish that do a job, fish that are nice to look at and fish to keep each other company.
According to Closer Pets each variety is sturdy enough to cope with most British ponds and should require very little maintenance as long as water quality is maintained.
We would suggest starting with just a few fish and gradually build up. This will allow the pond water to adapt and enable you to keep an eye on the fish to make sure they can share the pond without becoming aggressive or too territorial.
The rest, as they say, is up to you!