3 Fish Perfect for a Garden Pond!

When it comes to pond fish, there is a world of wonderful choices out there. From surface fish to bottom feeders, and eye-catching to camouflage, there truly is a species for everyone. However, all this choice can sometimes make the decision of which to keep just a little confusion.

So, to help you out, and give you some ideas, here are 3 Fish perfect for a garden pond. 

Koi (Cyprinus Carpio)

The first on our list of fish to raise in your backyard pond is the Koi. Koi are undoubtedly one of the most popular pond fish available to fish keepers today. A pretty unsurprising fact when you consider their immense appeal.

They have everything going for them including being colorful, confident, active, and friendly.

In addition, some have certain colors and patterns that can easily fetch thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of dollars!

koi image
Koi Carp are a very popular species of fish for your pond

Useful Information

Maximum Size30 inch
LifespanUp to 35 years
Minimum Pond Size1000 gallon, 4 feet deep
Water Parameters64 - 75 °F (18 - 24 °C), KH 2 - 12, pH 6.8 - 7.2

It may, due to their popularity, appear that Koi are rather an obvious choice of pond fish to make it onto this list. However, due to their appearance, personality, and ease of care they really aren’t one you couldn’t include.

They do, however, come with a few crucial points you need to consider to ensure their comfort and health.

Achieving lengths of 24 inches upwards, you must provide Koi with a pond that is both large and deep enough. A group of four, for example, would require a minimum water volume of 1200 gallons, and a size of 8 by 6 feet. Depth wise, and this is imperative, any Koi pond needs to be at least 4 feet. This will provide ample swimming space and stop them from becoming obese.  

Depth of a Koi pond is one of the most important aspects when building a garden Koi pond.

Water quality is also highly important when it comes to keeping Koi. This is mainly due to the fact that they are ‘dirty fish’ which produce an awful lot of waste.

garden pond

You will need to provide them with high-quality filtration that can clean the water capacity of your pond every hour. Our advice, however, would be where you can to double this!

Finally, diet is crucial. When it comes to providing the proper care for Koi, their health and longevity will depend on the correct diet. Koi will eat both meat and vegetable products and should be given both.

A quality Koi specific food like TetraPond Vibrance is great koi carp food and should be used as a staple. Ingredients should include vitamins, proteins, and carbohydrates. Never give your Koi bread bits or Goldfish food. You can, however, offer items such as peas, lettuce, and fruit as treats. 

Sturgeon (Various Scientific Names)

And now for a choice of fish that most people will be shocked at. But bear with us and read on.

Sturgeon are perhaps an unusual choice of fish to raise in a backyard pond. However, they are incredibly interesting and rewarding fish to have in a garden pond. Prehistoric in appearance, they spend all their time moving slowly around the bottom of the pond. They are also compatible with most other pond species. 

3 Fish Perfect for a Garden Pond!

Useful Information

ColorGrayish brown
DietCarnivorous benthic
Maximum SizeSpecies dependant
LifespanUp to 55 years
OriginNorth America/Eurasia
Minimum Pond Size2000 gallons plus, 4 feet deep

There are around 27 species of Sturgeon in the world today. Only a handful of those are suitable for ponds and available to buy within the aquatic trade.

The most popular of these are the Sterlet, Siberian, and Beluga. It has to be said that the Beluga is not for the faint-hearted. This is due to its size, reaching up to 10 meters, and the need for a pond of at least 15,000 gallons! 

The more manageable sized Sturgeon, the Sterlet and Siberian, also require large ponds of 2000 and 3000 plus gallons, respectively. This is due to them reaching 1 to 1.5 meters in length.

They also require a depth of at least 4 feet, but unlike Koi, this is not to gain ample swimming room. Rather, Sturgeon need deep ponds as they thrive best in dark and deep waters. For this reason, they are more active at dawn and dusk and may spend much of the daylight time in hiding.

Considered to be carnivorous benthic feeders, eating from the pond bottom, Sturgeon require a diet of sinking pellets. They will also need to be fed after any other species in your pond so their food is not snatched by them.

You may find it easier to feed your Sturgeon in a different area of the pond altogether. This will ensure more of the food reaches them. To remain healthy they will need to eat 2 – 3% of their body weight in food per day. 

We like Hikari Sinking Pellets for our bottom-feeding pond fish.

It would also be apt to mention that, as you may have already realized, Sturgeon are not the most active or exciting fish to watch.

Sturgeon move slowly, due to poor eyesight, and will spend most of their time in the darkest reaches of your pond. However, they are an interesting fish to view, especially when they are foraging for their food.

They do this by using their facial barbels and also electroreceptor organs. These organs can sense even the slightest electrical current in the water and enables them to hone in on their food. 

For more information on the amazing Sturgeon fish click here.

3 Fish Perfect for a Garden Pond!
Koi and Sturgeons are not suitable for smaller ponds but Sarasa comets are fine.

Sarasa Comet (Carassius Auratus)

You absolutely cannot have a ‘top three’ of pond fish that you can raise in your backyard pond that does not mention at least one of the ever-popular Goldfish species.

They are iconic, bright, colorful, active, friendly, in fact, the list of attributes just goes on and on! Like the Koi, they are also incredibly easy to care for but perhaps advantageously for some smaller.

They also come in a variety of patterns and color schemes meaning there is a Sarasa Comet for everyone.

sarasa comet

Useful Information

Scientific NameCarassius Auratus
Common NameSarasa comet
LifespanAverage 5-10 but can live to 25 years plus
GrowthUp to 14 inches (1ft 2”)
Minimum Tank/Pond Sizes 180-gallon pond, 48 inches (120 cm) plus aquarium
Tank LevelVarying
Care LevelEasy
Water Parameters36 - 90℉ or 2.2 - 32℃, pH 6.8 - 7.2, KH 2 - 12

The Sarasa Comet is one of the most popular types of Goldfish and has been around in the aquatic trade since the 1800s. They are active, fun to watch, and speedy little swimmers that will spend most of their time darting around, exploring their environment, and in search of food.  

Appearance-wise, the Sarasa Comet is recognized by its long heavily forked tail, slim body, flowing fins, and amazing array of colors and patterns. From Yellow to Orange, to red, white, brown, and black, the Sarasa Comet offers them all.

They have flat scales, non-bulging eyes and grow up to, and maybe slightly bigger than 12 inches.

Care wise the Sarasa Comets have pretty much the same needs as their relative, the Koi. However, they do differ in that they do not require a pond quite as big, and that they eat slightly different foods.

They will, however, require filtration just as high quality as that of Koi as they are also ‘dirty fish’.

Sarasa Comets require a pond of at least 180 gallons but since they often share with Koi they are koi they are more commonly found in much larger.

Their staple diet is Goldfish flake which Koi really should not eat, and to avoid this happening in multi-species ponds you should feed a diet suitable for both. Your local aquatic center will be able to recommend the best food available for your particular pond inhabitants. 

We like Wardley Pond Floating Fish sticks for our Sarasa Comets.

It is also worth mentioning that Sarasa Comets tend to breed quite easily. This occurs in spring when up to 1000 eggs may be laid and will hatch within 48 – 72 hours.

Do not worry, however, too much about being overrun with fry as this species will feed upon its own young. Do be prepared, however, for your pond population to definitely increase at this time. 

Conclusion: 3 Fish Perfect for a Garden Pond!

Although this guide is intended to give you a good idea of the needs of our three recommended species of pond fish, you will still need to do further research on them. After all, you can never have too much knowledge on any fish that you plan on keeping, and it helps to be ready for anything.