When it comes to Pond Critters there are a few guidelines you might want to consider. The most popular fish are Goldfish and Koi. This because they are available everywhere and goldfish, at least, are cheap. Not only that, both are reasonably hardy, have few requirements, and are beautiful to look at. There are other fish for the backyard pond, as well as an assortment of scavengers. It can be confusing and having fish does place a responsibility on the ponder, so lets take a closer look at pond livestock and their needs.
Basic Needs These are a few things all fish will need. Don’t over feed! If you put in more food than they can eat in 5 min.. It will foul the water. Feed from the same spot each day, at about the same time. This is so the fish will anticipate their feeding and will swim right up for food. If you are going to be gone on a trip don’t worry about feeding the fish, they can survive quite nicely without anything other than the natural food in the pond, if the pond is not over stocked. They don’t need to be fed once the water temperature falls below 55 degrees Fahrenheit
Don’t over stock. Rule of thumb is six inches of fish to every square foot of pond surface. Err on the conservative side.
Quarantine any new fish for at least two weeks. You don’t want to introduce a disease into your herd.
For winter protection just keep a hole in the ice. Koi may need to be housed inside if the pond is in the far north or is shallow. Winterizing Your Koi has detailed information on this subject.
There are many types of goldfish, some more suited to ponds than others. The one most often found in ponds is the Comet. They come in a variety of colors, mostly bright orange, but often with white and/or black markings or even all white or all black. They are swift and beautiful.
Another is the Shubunkin. These are scaleless fish with a typical goldfish shape. They are spotted with gold, white, black, and blues. Like the Comet, they are gentle well behaved fish. They won’t root up plants or bully smaller fish.
Both the Comet and the Shubunkin will grow to 6-8 inches, both are very hardy and will live happily on small servings of goldfish food and mosquito larvae. They will nibble on plants from time to time and will also eat a little algae now and then. So get a few of each!