Q&A: What are good fish for a small, outdoor pond?

| February 21, 2014 | 5 Comments

Question by AEG: What are good fish for a small, outdoor pond?
I recently bought a 120-125 gallon pond for my garden
(this pond: http://www.discountedpetproducts.net/VendorPics/Full/web/052309710548.jpg )

I would like to put fish in it, thought I am hesitant to go with koi, though I’d like to, since it is small and I’ve heard that koi need very specific pond circumstances. I live in Northern Utah, and the pond will freeze during the winter. (I’m not sure it will freeze completely though, but it may be possible) It’s also in a shaded area, where it will receive 1/2 sun and 1/2 shade during the sunlit hours.

Would goldfish be a better alternative? I am able to do water changes and feed them, but I don’t want a fish that needs excessive care. (Or is too expensive)

A man at Petco (I realize, he may not have actually know much) said that 3 to 4 koi would be fine in my pond, as long as I made sure to feed them winter food in the approaching fall. How wrong was he?

The pond is in an area where leaves may fall in. I will be able to scoop them out daily, but will it be a big deal for fish?

Please, be as detailed as possible in your explanations. :)

Best answer:

Answer by Madisen
Although I’m not a big fish person I have had an out door pond about that size. And I had 5-6 larger gold fish in it they did perfectly fine. I fed them winter food and did water changes every 2 weeks and scoped debris of the top as much as I could! Good luck! :)

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  1. overeasy says:

    Goldfish are fine, but can grow quite large, depending on the size of the pond. If you want something a little more fancy, go for a koi.

  2. lizardbreath says:

    an outdoor pond heater can stop the pond from freezing

  3. JOHN says:

    Goldfish Or Koi will work fine. You pond has to be 3 preferably 4 feet deep though if you expect them to survive the winter. Also it will have to be aerated somehow to keep the pond from freezing solid. If it freezes solid than they may suffocate from lack of oxygen. It would be best to remove them in winter and place them in an aquarium in your house for the winter. I have had success with small Bluegill and small Catfish as well. If you must keep them outside for the winter, I would strongly suggest a pond heater. This will however raise your electric bill $ 30.00 to $ 50.00 per month because it will run all the time when the temp is below 32 degrees. Another suggestion is that you can buy feeder goldfish at most bait shops for very little money and give them away or let them die and replace them in the spring with some more cheap fish for the warmer seasons. I Know this sounds cruel but it is what allot of my friends with backyard ponds do. I always used a stock tank I bought at a farm store and placed them in my basement for the winter. This way I could keep my Lillies and water plants alive for the winter as well. It can be allot of work to keep fish in an outside pond and you really have to take the time and do it right or you will be replacing your fish all the time.

  4. Aquella BSL=BS says:

    The man at PetCo was ill-informed. (What a surprise…)

    The absolute bare minimum volume for a Koi pond is 1,000 gallons.
    Each Koi needs a bare minimum of 300 gallons of the pond to himself.
    Any pond in a colder climate needs to be at least 4 feet deep.
    More is better for all of the above mentioned minimums.

    You will need a good filter on this pond if you want to keep fish. Can I assume that you have one?

    Assuming you have sufficient filtration, and indoor accommodations for the winter time, you could keep several, (up to 5) Fancy Goldfish. Or you could choose smaller pond compatible fish such as Mosquito Fish or Minnows. (Common/Comet/Feeder Goldfish are out, as they will grow too large for that volume.)

    So long as the 1/2 sun is in the morning, you should be OK. If it’s afternoon sun, you may have trouble with your pond getting too warm.

    The leaves should be fine, as long as they are regularly removed.

    If you do decide to keep fish, please be sure that you have a full understanding of the Nitrogen Cycle.

    Good luck.

  5. Local Fish Store says:

    Koi have absolutely no chance in such a place. Your pond can handle 2-3 goldfish. Once they reach maturity, about 2-3 years old, they will have outgrown the pond. I STRONGLY suggest you consider a freeform pond. Those rigid ones are beastly. I built an indoor one for a customer today. Framed it in pressure treated lumber, back filled sand and soil. The bottom actually sits on the concrete floor of this “three season room.” It was very difficult. I’ve probably installed 100 ponds in my life. This one was here http://www.lagunaponds.com/lagunaeng/preformedponds.php the “Hudson” model at 192 gallons. I could have formed the same basic thing from a $ 150 sheet of rubber, saved them $ 50+ on the install but they insisted on this $ 200 preformed pond. It has a 350 gph pump and 9×9″ bottom filter. http://www.pondmaster.com/Store/Products/Danner/PID-02205.aspx
    I’d estimate this pond to be able to support 2 adult, 10-12″ goldfish.
    I personally sold that pump and filter for $ 79.99 today. Let me know if I can be of further help. I’d look into a 10×10 EDPM 45mil rubber liner.

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