Fish Species That Thrive in Outdoor Backyard Ponds

A pond in your backyard is a great way to breathe life into your outdoor space. Backyard ponds look beautiful, add a charming appeal to your outdoor space, and can also help boost your property’s value.

However, to make the most of your backyard pond, you will need some beautiful and colorful fish in it. But adding fish to a pond is different from buying fish for a fish tank.

Several variables are outside of your control with backyard ponds, including the weather. Therefore, the fish species for backyard ponds need to be carefully selected, ensuring that the ones you choose can survive and thrive in the pond.

Here are the fish species we’d suggest.

Koi – To Add Some Color

Koi fish swimming in a pond

Koi carp fish are the perfect decorative add-ons for your backyard pond. They’re one of the most popular fish species for ponds, thanks to their stunning colors and patterns.

There are also wide longfin varieties that you can choose from; they look beautiful threading through the water, creating ripples in their wake.

Generally, Koi fish can grow up to 39 inches, so evaluate the size of your pond before placing these fish in it.

Additionally, if you live where it snows a lot, build a deeper pond for Koi; they won’t survive in freezing temperatures unless they can swim in deeper water.

Goldfish – For A Classic Touch

Goldfish are extremely common across the board, whether in ponds or fish tanks. They’re gorgeous and iconic, and there’s no reason not to have them in your backyard pond.

They’re an excellent choice for outdoor ponds because they can survive colder temperatures, unlike some tropical fish that need warmth.

Additionally, when it comes to goldfish, you’ll have an incredible variety to choose from, thanks to their crossbreeding habits.

You can go for the common single-tail types like comets, or you can select fancy goldfish, which are magnificent!

Minnows –For Practical Reasons

A person dipping their hand in water with fish

Another fish species preferred by many pond owners are minnows.

These include both fathead minnows and regular ones. There are many reasons to keep them. First, they easily survive cooler temperatures, making them a great option.

Additionally, you don’t have to worry too much about their diet since they can survive on plant matter, and they also eat aquatic larvae and insects, including the mosquitos that’ll buzz around the pond.

They can also survive more than just cold temperatures. You don’t have to worry about pH conditions, oxygen levels, or murky water with minnows—they practically care for themselves!

Chinese High-Fin Banded Shark – To Build a Peaceful Marine Community

You probably think a shark can’t be the friendliest fish for a peaceful pond but hear us out.

The Chinese high-fin banded shark is also known as the hi-fin banded loach, and it’s perfect for backyard ponds.

However, despite their massive size, they’re peaceful fish that can easily live in a backyard pond with goldfish and koi carp.

They will mostly live at the bottom of the pond, but once they get used to you, they’ll come up to be fed by hand.

Mosquitofish – To Keep The Mosquito Community At Bay

If you’ve only ever kept fish in tanks, you’ve probably never heard about mosquitofish. They’re small and more popular for ponds than aquariums and can be a value-adding option for your backyard pond.

Given their small size, they’re not precisely ideal visual elements for your pond; they tend to fade into the water.

However, they’re beneficial since they feed on mosquito larvae—all day. This helps to keep the mosquito population relatively low in your backyard.

Sticklebacks – As Seahorse Alternatives

Do you like the sound of keeping seahorses in your backyard pond?

Well, sadly, you can’t. Seahorses require specific conditions and care to survive—conditions you can’t provide in a backyard pond.

But we have the next best option for you: sticklebacks.

Sticklebacks aren’t more than 6 inches, but they have a sleek bodies with armor plating and are super energetic. So, they’ll keep things lively in your backyard pond by speeding around.

They don’t require much care either; they’ll eat insects and maybe tadpoles most of the time. They can even survive in cold weather.

Weather Loach–To Know When You Have Storms Headed Your Way

Weather loaches are also called pond loaches since they’re a trendy choice of fish for ponds.

They swim and live mainly at the bottom of the pond and can quickly adapt to the pond environment.

You’re probably wondering why these fish are known as weather loaches. Well, it’s because they can predict bad weather.

Every time the weather is about to get rough, your weather loaches will start acting up, swimming around the pond erratically.

Fish That Shouldn’t Be Kept in Backyard Ponds

It’s also important to know that certain fish you shouldn’t be keeping in your backyard pond, no matter how charming they appear.

There are many reasons for this.

For instance, catfish, though hardy, might end up eating some of the other smaller fish in your pond. They might also dig through your pond’s edges, making it murky.

Another fish that must stay out of ponds are sturgeons, mainly because they can get extremely large.

Plecostomus are also not recommended for the same reason, as well as the fact that they usually need a controlled environment and can’t survive in more extreme temperatures.

A fish swimming to the surface of a pond

Also, don’t try to go fishing in the nearby river for fish species in a backyard pond. You need to be careful and do your research.

If you want to learn more, you can check out our entire section on Backyard Pond at BackYard Alpha.

We have the best backyard pond ideas and even the best koi pond kits.

Also, with a backyard pond, you may have to deal with mosquitoes, so feel free to check out the mosquito repellant tips online on our website.

Check it all out!