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Choosing Pond Fish: The Best Match for Your Pond

4th March

Whether starting a new pond or rejuvenating an old pond, adding fish is a great fresh start. In fact, when it comes to owning a pond, choosing pond fish and caring for them is probably the most exciting part. New pond owners will have a lot of pond care questions. While more experienced owners might already know the do and don’t rules of pond care. However, it’s important to know which types of fish are the best match for your pond. No matter what stage you’re at.

Choosing the right fish for your pond is more important than most people might think. The type of fish you keep can have a significant effect on the natural balance of pond water.

With that in mind, we’re going to cover 7 popular pond fish varieties, their qualities, compatibility and more general pond fishkeeping tips. Helping you make a more informed decision on which varieties of fish are most suitable to achieve a healthy, successful pond.

Choosing Pond Fish

Koi Carp

Koi are the most popular, if not the most famous type of pond fish. They come in an array of stunning colour combinations and patterns. Including orange, yellow, white, black and even blue! These fish are an aesthetic addition to any pond. However, aside from aesthetics, they also add to more effort to pond maintenance…

When it comes to decorating your pond, unfortunately, you might have to choose between the beauty of pond plants or koi fish. Koi Carp are notorious for digging up pond plants from the roots. Unfortunately, this also means that pond owners can’t rely on pond plants as a method to increase pond oxygen levels. For this reason, it’s essential for ponds with Koi Carp to have an effective filtration system and water feature. To help maintain clear, oxygen-rich water.

Koi Carp are best suited to ponds that are over 60 inches deep. This allows them to hibernate during the autumn/winter season. The ratio for how many koi to add to a pond is 1:1000 litres of water. Think Koi would be perfect for your pond? With good care and maintenance, Koi can live in your pond for as long as 40 years.


Another stunning fish variety (goldfish to be specific) for a pond full of beautiful fish is Shubunkin. Similar to Koi, Shubunkin fish also come in a range of orange, yellow, black, white and blue patches. With stunning if not, fascinating metallic and transparent scales. Love the sound of that? You’re probably now wondering; what kind of pond is the best to keep Shubunkin?

Keep Shubunkin in ponds with varying levels of depth. This should range from areas which are 6 inches deep, allowing the fish to propagate, and areas over at least over 28 inches deep, for hibernation. When it comes to keeping fish in general varying areas of depth are beneficial if you want a better chance of seeing fish more often.

Unlike Koi fish, Shubunkin love pond plants. Fortunately, because these two types of fish are so similar in colour ranges. Possibly making it easier for pond owners to choose which types they would prefer to keep. With that in mind, it’s important to note that Shubunkin need to be kept in groups of no less than 5. They also have a shorter life span than Koi, ranging between 15 to 20 years.

Golden Tench

Golden Tench has been coined the “doctor fish”. This is due to their supposed abilities to prevent other fish from becoming ill. This quality could possibly make them the perfect companion for other fish in your pond. In fact, Golden Tench are best matched with Koi Carp, because they eat their fish waste. This helps with reducing the nutrients that trigger the production of green water causing pond algae. Like Shubkin, keep Golden Tench in groups of at least 5, in a pond that’s at least 28 inches deep. Although, varying depths in the pond are not essential for this type of fish.


Rosettes are instantly recognisable. They have silver scales combined with distinctively red fins and tail. They love clear pond water that also has a little movement and flow. Therefore, an effective green water treatment, accompanied by a strong filtration system is essential to keep these fish healthy and happy.

Rosettes also need oxygen-rich water, so consider adding oxygenating aquatic plants to your pond. Oxygenating pond plants are typically submerged in the water. Hornwort and watercress are great options.

Finally, Rosettes can live up to 20 years and should be kept in groups between 10 to 15.


Goldfish are probably the best-known fish in the world. Often being kept in aquarium tanks, Goldfish are better suited to ponds. This is because ponds allow Goldfish to live in a more natural habitat with greater space. This especially benefits Goldfish in helping them to live out their life span, which ranges between 20 to 30 years. The good news of beginner pond owners is that Goldfish are strong and resilient. Giving beginners a chance to work on creating the ideal pond conditions for them to thrive without the fish dying off.

Another benefit of Goldfish is that they’re cheap. However, despite being accessible, pond owners should add Goldfish to the pond with caution. Goldfish reproduce quickly and easily. Too many fish, of any variety, in a pond, can disrupt the water parameters balance that could lead to common pond problems. Such as green water, algae/blanket weed and sludge.

The ideal pond to keep Goldfish should be at least 40 inches in depth. The ratio of Goldfish to water should be 5:1000 litres of water. Note that consistent water temperatures provide the ideal conditions for hibernation.

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