Choosing the Right Plants and Fish for a Healthy Pond Environment

A pond is an excellent addition to your garden landscape both from a practical as well as aesthetic point of view. It can breathe life into your landscape and give it a more natural feel while becoming a safe haven for helpful insects and animals.

Of course, your pond will only be as good as you’re able to maintain it and an unkempt pond will do more harm than good.

Before getting a pond for your garden, make sure to assess how well you can maintain it on a regular basis and only get it if you can take care of it. Once you’ve decided to build the pond, start thinking about which type of pond plants and fish you can add to not only make it more beautiful but to also get a healthy pond environment.

Keep reading to get all the information you need to choose appropriate pond plants and fish for your personal garden pond.

How to Choose the Right Pond Plants

Your pond will be incomplete without some healthy and beautiful pond plants. These plants add a natural aesthetic to the landscape and give it an organic appearance. Pond plants also help filter the water in your pond by absorbing metals, ammonium, nitrates, and phosphates. They also provide oxygen, nutrients, and much-needed shade to your pond fish while preventing the growth of algae.

If you choose the right pond plants, you can stimulate an organic environment for your pond ecology. Here are the four types of pond plants that are perfect for your landscape.

Long-fin fish in a pond.

Oxygenating Plants

There are some pond plants that are highly oxygenating and an excellent source of introducing extra oxygen to the water to help the fish thrive. They’re also helpful in keeping the algae in control and absorbing decayed organic matter in the pond. You can pair these plants with other aeration devices such as bubblers to increase the air levels.

Floating Pond Plants

Floating pond plants are also an excellent choice for the pond in your garden. These plants cover the surface of the water and keep the water temperature low for fish to survive in the shade. The shade also prevents the algae from growing, further helping you create a healthy pond environment as algae need direct sunlight to grow and multiply.

Deep-Water Pond Plants

As the name suggests, deep water pond plants are placed in deep water and anchored to the soil bed of the pond. This plant starts growing from the bottom and reaches the water surface which makes it look like a floating plant. One of the most famous deep water pond plants is lilies which is often mistaken as a floating plant but is actually a deep-water plant.

Floating water lily in a pond.

Marginal Water Pond Plants

Marginal plants are one of the best varieties to add to your pond. You sow them in pots and place the pot inside the pond. Ideally, the water should only reach a couple of inches of the pot and the plant itself should majorly be out of the water. These plants are excellent for filtering the water, and give it a nice look.

The only downside to choosing this type of plant for your pond is that you need to build a shallow shelf inside the pond to keep the pot elevated from the soil bed. If your area is often riddled with predators like raccoons, you shouldn’t choose this type of plant as the predator will stand on the shelf to eat your pond fish.

How to Choose the Right Pond Fish

Pond fish are the best way to breathe life into your pond. Generally, springtime is the best time to add fish to your pond when the water temperature is ideal. You should also add the fish only after they’ve been eating for some time so they’re strong enough to survive the new conditions of the pond.

Another important thing to note here is that you should only add healthy fish to the pond because the last thing you need is to deal with fish corpses right from the get go. Here are some of the best type of pond fish you can choose for your garden pond.


Koi, belonging to the carp family, is one of the most famous types of pond fish. These fish can withstand varying temperatures and can survive harsh conditions. The only downside to getting these fish is that they can quickly grow from 5-7 inches to about 2 feet so you have to make sure that they get plenty of room to grow.

The small-fin koi is the best option for ponds as they come in a wide range of colors and add to the pond’s aesthetics. You should avoid koi with longer fins as their fins may get hurt by the edges of the pond.

Koi fish swimming in a pond


There are many different breeds of goldfish that you can choose from. You should try to choose ones that work best as outdoor pond fish. These are usually ones that have a long body and are non-fancy. Typically, comets, shubunkins, and sarasas are the best choice for it as they’re great swimmers. That said, goldfish can grow very big in a pond as they tend to grow as big as the container they’re kept in.

Shubunkins have a calico pattern on their body with black, white, and blue specks, sometimes with hints of orange and red. On the other hand, comet is solid white, black, brown, or orange. These fish may change their color as they grow older. You can also get a cross breed to get beautiful colorful variations.

Hi-Fin Sharks

These omnivore fish are often considered to be algae-eaters. They have a white and black skin, which turns into all-black as they grow older. These fish tend to stay at the bottom of the pond where they need a well-rounded, pelleted diet to survive.

Other than these fish, you can also get catfish and sturgeon for your pond but you may need to exercise extra caution for this. Additionally, you should never add plecos, fancy goldfish, saltwater fish, tropical fish, or fish caught from the river to your pond as they don’t do well in the captivity of the pond.

Floating plants and goldfish in the pond.

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