Types of Ornamental Pond Fish

and how to care for them

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What Are The Different Types Of Ornamental Pond Fish?

Few things are more relaxing than watching the meditative movements of beautiful fish swimming around a bubbling ornamental pond. If you are planning on adding a garden pond to your life, you may wonder which types of ornamental fish are best for your backyard.

Depending on your local weather, many types of ornamental fish can thrive in backyard ponds. Keep in mind that each fish type will have unique requirements (water temperature range, pH levels, cold hardiness, nutrient levels, etc.) and adaptability with other fish.

Top Three Most Common Pond Fish Species

Ornamental Koi Fish Varieties

The stunning diversity in colors and adaptability to different temperature ranges make Koi one of the most popular ornamental pond fish. Koi descend from the common carp and can easily grow to a size one to three feet long, depending on the variety.

With over 100 different recognized Koi subspecies, there are many colors, patterns, and even shapes of Koi to choose from, with Kohaku, Taisho Sanshoku (Sanke), and Showa Sanshoku (Showa) being the most popular. You can use this Japanese Koi Terminology Guide to identify your favorite varieties and to learn a little more about these beautiful fish.




Koi are hearty fish and tolerant of gradual temperature shifts. They thrive in water temperatures between 59-77° F, making them well-suited to garden pond life. Koi fish need a larger pond, with at least three and a half feet of depth. Domestic Koi fish live around 15-20 years on average in well-maintained ponds.

Comet Goldfish

You may be surprised to know that goldfish come in many different breeds. The ones best suited for ornamental pond life are Comets. Named for their long flowing tail, Comet Goldfish have long, slender bodies, unlike fancy goldfish varieties. They are typically either orange or a combination of white and red.

In a backyard pond, your goldfish will grow very large, reaching around one foot in length when fully grown. Comet Goldfish tolerate water temperatures in the 50-75°F range, making them a great pairing with Koi varieties. You may even find your Goldfish and Koi schooling together.

Grass Carp

The Grass Carp is one of the most common ornamental pond fish after goldfish and Koi. Very adaptable to pond life, they feed on plants and can control the growth of algae and other aquatic vegetation in your pond. In controlled numbers, this fish is a helpful freshwater pond fish.

Grass Carp can reach thirty-nine inches in length in ornamental ponds. With an average lifetime of five to nine years, they won’t live as long as your Koi or Goldfish, but the Grass carp will eat two to three times its body weight worth of plant materials each day.

One thing to keep in mind is that the extreme hardiness of Grass Carp makes them a potential invasive species. They should only be kept in backyard ponds that have no risk of escape to prevent ecosystem disturbances.

3 Essential Tips when Caring for Ornamental Pond Fish

Ornamental pond fish are very easy to care for when kept in a well-built and well-maintained pond. The most important keys to keeping pond fish healthy are avoiding overcrowding, maintaining clear water, and feeding high-quality food.

1. Avoid Overcrowding

First, to avoid the stress of overcrowding, limit your finned friends to a maximum of one fish per every ten gallons of water in your pond.

2. Maintain Excellent Filtration

The most basic filtration system includes a skimmer to remove physical debris and a biofilter for the important beneficial bacteria to thrive. In the warm season, add a weekly dose of beneficial bacteria to keep the water clear. Your fish’s health and happiness depends on clear(ish), clean water.

3. Feed With Intention

Feed your fish one to three times daily, and only as much food as they will eat within the first fifteen minutes. It’s best to feed in multiple locations at your pond to give the most opportunity for less aggressive fish to get a fair share of food.

It’s important to choose high-quality food, like Star Milling 38% Koi/Goldfish Float Food. Fish have very specific nutritional requirements. They can suffer poor growth, deformities, and even death if not fed properly.

Star Milling also manufactures a wide range of premium fish diets for your ornamental pond in both extruded and steam pellet forms to meet your individual needs. Learn more about the different types of ornamental fish food our drug free animal feed mill has to offer

If you live in a seasonally diverse location, follow feeding guidelines based on temperature.

Choosing The Best Ornamental Pond Fish

Choosing ornamental pond fish that thrive in similar conditions and enjoy each other’s company will ensure your backyard pond is a place of serenity and beauty. The shining orange Comet Goldfish and vibrant Koi varieties are naturally friendly with each other. While Grass Carp are content to spend their days peacefully munching on algae. Keeping a well-maintained backyard pond full of ornamental fish is an easy hobby that can bring you peace and relaxation for decades.

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