The essential inhabitants in your garden pond are the pond fish. It would help if you did not house too many fish in your pond, as they can quickly multiply and contribute to increased algae and sludge formation through their excretions. To remove pond sludge and provide better water values, you should use a pond sludge vacuum. You should base your choice and number of fish on the size of your pond. You should make sure that the different species live in peaceful coexistence with each other. Space is an important criterion required by each fish.
Considerations Before Choosing Fish
For the fish to feel comfortable in your garden pond, the pond should be at least 30 inches (80 centimeters) deep and have a minimum area of 100 square feet (10 square meters). Low-maintenance and undemanding fish are recommended, especially for beginners. The fish should be suitable for domestic conditions and not be sensitive to frost. Before you buy fish, you should consider:
- How much space does a fish need? The area required depends on the type of fish.
- What is the location of the pond in the garden? It is essential for the fish’s need for sunlight or shade.
- Which pond plants do the fish prefer?
- What technical accessories are needed to provide adequate living conditions for the fish?
- Which fish harmonize well with each other?
- When choosing fish, the principle is “less is more.” It is crucial both in the choice of species and the number of fish.
You don’t always have to buy fish. You can also look around at swap meets and trade fish for aquatic plants. There you can also get rid of fish that have multiplied too much and for which your pond no longer has room.
All Nine Fish Species at a Glance
Goldfish – The Popular Classics
Goldfish are the most popular ornamental fish and inspire by robustness. They do not make high demands on care and can even overwinter when the ice cover is closed. To prevent the pond from freezing completely, it should be at least one meter deep. Goldfish grow up to 12 inches long (30 centimeters), are resistant to diseases, and love the partial shade. The water temperature should not be higher than 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20° degrees Celsius) in summer. When it comes to feeding, goldfish are uncomplicated. They feed on pond plants, on microorganisms, but also on their spawn. For the offspring to hide, the pond should have shallow areas with planting. You can feed fish food, but you should dose it sparingly. Goldfish are voracious and like to eat more than they need. Since they are schooling fish, you should buy a group of at least five. The peaceful animals get along well with bitterlings and minnows.
Golden Orfe – Elegant and Uncomplicated
The gold orfe is a breeding form of the aland and is slimmer than the goldfish. It has a white-golden to orange-red coloration and grows up to 10 inches (25 centimeters). An active swimmer, it likes to stay on the surface of the water and hunt insects. It does not stir up the pond bottom and is greedy for mosquitoes. The golden orfe requires good water quality, so you should regularly remove leaves, branches, and algae. You should install a filter in your pond and pick up the mud vacuum now and then. In summer, the water temperature can reach up to 77 degrees Fahrenheit (25 degrees Celsius). Since the golden orfe is a schooling fish, you should keep at least eight animals. The golden orfe harmonizes well with goldfish and moderlieschen.
The Inconspicuous Bitterling
The bitterling is rather inconspicuous and grows up to eight centimeters. It has a silver-colored scale dress, which shimmers like a pearl. The male has red eyes. The bitterling is suitable for smaller ponds, but the pond size should not be less than two cubic meters. The water temperature should be no more than 73 degrees Fahrenheit (23 degrees Celsius). Since the bitterling hibernates in deeper regions, the pond should be at least one meter deep. The undemanding fish feeds on aquatic plants and small marine animals. Mosquito larvae are welcome supplementary food for this fish. If you want the bitterling to reproduce, you will need painter’s mussels. You should keep one mussel per pair. The bitterlings enter into a reproductive symbiosis with the mussels and lay their spawn in the mussel’s gills. You should own at least four animals.
The Minnow – The Small Silverback
Slimmer than the bitterling, but with up to eight centimeters also not larger, is the minnow. It is inconspicuous and has a silverback. Males turn a strikingly colorful hue during the spawning season. The minnow is a schooling fish, of which you should keep at least ten. The right partner for the minnow is the bitterling. The pond should be at least 35 cubic feet (3 cubic meters) in size with ten animals. In summer, the water temperature should not exceed 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius). The minnow loves clean water that is rich in oxygen. Since the minnow likes to hibernate in deep water, your pond should be at least three feet (one meter) deep. These little fish feed on insects, aquatic critters, and plants.
The Peaceful Moderlieschen
A peaceful contemporary, the moderlieschen is well suited to smaller ponds and gets along well with other fish. Moderlieschen requires good water quality and have no problems with higher water temperatures in the summer. Moderlieschen copes well with cold and ice in winter. The males grow up to 3.5 inches (9 centimeters), the females up to 4.7 inches (12 centimeters) long. They have a silvery scale with a blue sheen. Moderlieschen eats small aquatic animals and mosquitoes. They like to swim at the water surface. Moderlieschen is also schooling fish, and you should keep at least ten of them.
The Predatory Sunfish
The sunfish is not a native fish. It was released in Germany and grew up to 6 inches (15 centimeters). Its brown-turquoise markings make this spiny finfish an eye-catcher. The water should be clean, rich in oxygen, and not warmer than 73 degrees Fahrenheit (23 degrees Celsius) in summer. The hardness of the water should be higher than 7. You should regularly check the water quality and do not do it without a pump and filter. For the sunfish to overwinter well, the pond should be sufficiently deep. The sunfish prefer shade and like to stay among water plants. It eats aquatic animals, insect larvae, as well as spawn, and young fish. It would help if you kept it in pairs. If you have other fish species in the pond, expect hatchlings and juveniles to fall prey to the sunfish.
Less Pond Sludge With Gold Tench
If you want to reduce pond sludge naturally, you can keep gold tench. Since these shimmering golden beauties grow up to 16 inches (40 centimeters), they are only suitable for larger ponds. For the gold tench to overwinter well, the pond should be at least three feet deep. Gold tench become active only at dusk. As they rummage through the pond mud for food, air bubbles rise. It would be best if you had enough aquatic plants in the pond for the tench to hide. Tench eat worms, snails, and other small critters that live at the bottom of the pond. If you give fish food regularly, the gold tench can become a little more trusting and come to the surface. Gold tench can also tolerate a short-term lack of oxygen and water temperatures up to 79 degrees Fahrenheit (26 degrees Celsius). Gold tench are peaceful and have no problems with other fish. You should keep at least four animals.
The Sociable Rudd
With its silvery scales and striking orange-red fins, the rudd grows up to 10 inches (25 centimeters) long and is only suitable for large ponds. Since it is a gregarious schooling fish, you should keep at least ten animals. Rudd is undemanding and hardy. They do not make high demands on water quality and live to an old age.
The Koi Carp – A Status Symbol
The Koi carp is considered a status symbol because it is expensive to purchase. Larger and incredibly colorful specimens can cost several thousand dollars. Koi carp, however, make higher demands on care and keeping. They are by far not as uncomplicated as the previously described species. They have been kept in China for more than 2,000 years. However, in the last 200 years, the Japanese have been leading in Koi breeding.
If you want to buy the koi cheaply, you should buy it as a young fish. The koi needs a lot of space and is suitable only for larger ponds, as it grows up to one meter long and weighs up to 53 lbs (24 kilograms). If you take good care of it, it can live up to 60 years. Each animal needs at least 35 cubic feet (one cubic meter) of water. For wintering, the pond should be at least 5 feet (1.50 meters) deep. Koi also feels comfortable in groups. The pond should be two-thirds shaded, as the koi’s skin is sensitive to sunlight. The pond will be well shaded with deciduous trees, but you should remove the leaves regularly and do not do without a filter and pump. The water temperature should not exceed 75 degrees Fahrenheit (24 degrees Celsius). Koi carp feed on aquatic plants, worms, and insects. You should provide in a controlled manner and be careful when choosing plants. Plants that the koi do not like to eat are essential. The voracious glutton will not stop eating until there is no more food.
When choosing fish, the size of your pond should guide you. Depending on the size and habits, different species of fish require different amounts of space. For the fish to overwinter, the pond should be deep enough. Fish are friendly and should therefore be kept in groups. You should make sure that the fish species get along well with each other. Different species such as golden tench, rudd, or koi carp are only suitable for large ponds.