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7 Best Fish For Backyard Ponds

Adding fish for backyard ponds is like putting money into your savings account – it’s worth more and looks better. Fish aren’t money, but they are an investment because they do add value to your water feature. They also make great pets. Pond fish develop their own personalities and you can feed them by hand!

Here are 7 of the best types of backyard pond fish:

Fish for backyard ponds swimming around under plants

Koi Fish

Koi have a wide variety of colors and patterns, almost like a rainbow! These fish are the most popular with backyard pond owners, and here’s some of what makes them awesome:

  • They can grow up to 3’, making them easy and fun to watch
  • Very friendly and you can hand-feed them
  • Live up to 40 years
  • They develop personalities and you can tell them apart

Koi thrive in ponds of 1,000 gallons or more, making them a great fish for backyard ponds. There are several different types of koi too, such as ghost koi, butterfly koi, hikari, and kohaku. If you’ve got a pond, get some koi!

Koi nibbling on finger as perfect example of fish for backyard ponds

Goldfish

Developed in China over 1,000 years ago, goldfish are great starter fish because they are fairly small. The reasons why they are a great fish for backyard ponds are because of they:

  • Are hardy and easy to take care of
  • Thrive in small ponds of 500 gallons or less
  • Grow up to 14″
  • Can live up to 30 years

There are many different types besides the common goldfish, some of which are listed further down.

Goldfish awesome fish for backyard ponds

Oranda

Orandas carry the nickname “hooded fish” because of the bubble-like “hood” on their head. It makes them look cool, but they’re slow and can be an easy meal for predators. These are awesome fish for backyard ponds because:

  • They grow about 8″ on average (though a 12″ was recorded as the biggest ever!)
  • They can live 5-10 years
  • They get along well with other fish
  • The amount of color patterns they can have is astounding

You’ll want to keep this fish safe with aquatic plants or add some tunnels and caves for them to hide in.

White and red oranda perfect fish for backyard ponds

Fantail

A painting come alive! Red, orange, and black markings set against a pearl white background, these fish can enhance the look of your pond. They’re easily recognizable by their forked caudal fin (at the tail part), which look like butterfly wings. They also:

  • Grow about 7″
  • Live 5-10 years
  • Are very hardy
  • Eat plant AND animal matter

These are highly recommended as beginner fish because of their durability.

Red fantail with white tail beautiful fish for backyard ponds

Golden Tench

This fish would make a great assistant to Dr. Dolittle. Nicknamed the doctor fish, golden tenches help keep the pond clean and watch over other fish. They also:

  • Pair well with koi
  • Grow up to 2′
  • Live 15-20 years
  • Stay near the bottom of the pond

Though you may not see this type of fish very often in your pond, just know that it’s helping lower the maintenance your pond needs.

Sunfish

These fish are certain to brighten up your backyard pond! Sunfish are awesome fish for backyard ponds because:

  • They control insects larvae
  • They grow to about 4"
  • They live about 10 years
  • They are very durable

Only have one at a time or they will mate and take over your pond.

Sunfish swimming around in backyard pond

Black Moor

These fish are the coolest, but also the worst because they are easy prey. Blackish coloring and large, telescoping eyes make these fish look awesome! On the other hand, they are super slow and have poor eyesight, making them easy prey. They also:

  • Live for about 10 years
  • Grow around 4"
  • Can live in hard conditions
  • Can change color with age or water temperature

They do better in aquariums but can still be added to a pond, just make sure to feed them!

Black moors look awesome and are cool fish for backyard ponds

Which Fish For Backyard Ponds Do You Like?

The most important thing to remembers is that these fish are your pets, not wild fish. They can take care of themselves for the most part, but they will need help. Your pond fish will need protection from predators or they will keep disappearing. Now that you now some of the best types of fish for backyard ponds, what types will you get?

You can get answers to other fish questions >>