During the COVID-19 lockdown of 2020/21, many people have turned to their gardens for entertainment and solace. Garden ponds can be a great feature to install in your garden as they are decorative and can also provide homes to a variety of creatures. Most people yearn for fish in their pond, and because not all ponds are the same, it is important to choose fish that will be able to adapt to your pond's environment. Here are some tips on how to choose the best fish for your garden pond.
How to Choose the Best Fish for Your Garden Pond
If you live in a country where the temperature drops below 10⁰C, it is advisable to purchase goldfish or koi carp for your pond as these species of fish can survive low temperatures. These fish go into a hibernation-like state when the temperature drops to levels close to freezing point and remain so for a prolonged period of time. During this time, the fish will stop digesting food, so it is important to give them a nutrient-rich diet in the lead up to winter to develop their fat stores, and then stop feeding them when it gets below 10⁰C as they may become blocked up with food and die due to the cessation of the digestive process. Visit a local aquatic store with koi carp for sale as well as goldfish and ask for recommendations of fish that will thrive in your pond.
The size of fish and the number of fish you can get for your pond depends on the pond's capacity. An overstocked pond can lead to stressed, unhappy fish and a high number of mortalities. Too many fish in a small area causes ammonia and organic waste levels to rise, and your filtering system may not be able to cope. Subsequently, parasites will spread, and fish will die. Pond specialists recommend you provide 200 gallons of water per 1-2 koi or 2-3 goldfish. Take into consideration the size your fish will be when fully grown and allow for an increase in numbers during the breeding season.
Temperament and Appearance
Fish such as koi carp and goldfish are attractive for us to look at, but sadly, their bright colours and patterns can make them more visible to predators such as herons, cats, foxes, and badgers. To avoid high levels of predation, make the pond too deep for herons to stand in and make enough depth between the land on the pondside and the water surface so that mammals cannot reach in to grab the fish. Alternatively, choose a species of fish such as mollies that produce young quickly and in such vast quantities that their numbers will never become dangerously low.
Some fish help keep the pond dynamics in balance. Golden Tench are great fish to have because they are hardy and consume koi excrement, which will help keep the pond clean. If you have koi carp and want to keep insect and larvae levels down, stock the pond with some Sunfish (or Pumpkinseed fish) because they eat harmful insects and their larvae.