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What Kind of Fish Can Live in an Outdoor Pond?

Backyard ponds are a fantastic way to add vibrancy and character to your property, and the varieties of plant and animal life that can be housed by a pond are abundant. One of the most popular types of pond-related hobbies is raising fish. At Fontana Landscapes, we know that tending to a fish pond is a great way to enjoy one’s yard, and we know all about the kinds of fish that can live in an outdoor pond.

How to Select Fish for an Outdoor Pond

When deciding what types of fish you want to put in your backyard pond, there are a couple of factors to keep in mind. Some of the factors that affect the types of fish that can live in your outdoor pond include:

  • Size of the pond
  • Types of predators in the area
  • Regional climate
  • Size and type of other fish in the pond
  • Aquatic plants being used
  • Type of pond landscape (muddy, rocky, gravel, etc.)

Types of Fish that Can Live in a Backyard Pond

There are many types of fish that can live together in an outdoor pond. In many cases, bigger fish will eat smaller fish, so it is important to make sure that your fish are compatible in size and type. Some types of fish that work well in most cold-water backyard ponds include:

Surface Fish

Outdoor pond surface dwelling fish feed near the surface of the water. These fish are usually quite visually attractive and are fun to watch; however, because these fish spend their time at the surface of the water, they require extra measures to protect them from predators. Examples of these fish include koi, some types of carp, goldfish, orfes, rudds, goldfish, and sunfish.

Bottom Dwellers

Bottom dwelling pond fish are great for keeping the pond clean, but they are often less attractive and harder to see than surface fish. Because they typically stay near the bottom of your backyard pond, they tend to be preyed on less than surface fish, making them a good low-maintenance, long-term investment. Examples of bottom dwelling fish include tench, catfish, sturgeon, loaches, Chinese algae eaters, and carp. Having some types of freshwater crustaceans, such as crawdads or crayfish, can also provide some interesting entertainment and pond-cleaning benefits.

Shoal Fish

Many types of smaller pond fish will form shoals, if given enough space, making them an interesting and less expensive addition to any backyard pond. Shoal fish can be a more expendable option for a type of pond stocking fish because they come in greater numbers, regenerate their more numbers more quickly, and do not cost as much as other fish. Red shiners, onesided livebearers, flagfish, and Japanese rice fish are all examples of shoal fish.

If you would like to find out more about what kind of fish can live in an outdoor pond, or if you are interested in any of our other water feature products or services, please contact Fontana Landscapes at 778-990-9773 or fill out a contact form on our website.


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