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13 Best Types of Backyard Pond Fish (With Pictures)

Outdoor ponds are the perfect way for fish lovers to enjoy the beauty of their fish in the comfort of their backyard. A variety of eye-catching and colorful fish can be put in these man-made structures.

You can even put larger breeds of fish in your pond if they are big enough! In short, outdoor ponds are a fun and unique place to house your fish.

Still, you want to consider which types of fish you are putting in your pond. Not all fish breeds are suited to a backyard environment.

Again, think about all these fish qualities and consider which breed is right for you and your pond. We will be introducing some of the best types of pond fish in this article to help you.

But you should still think about your preferences when you go out and buy fish for your pond!

In addition, this article will provide you with care tips and information about ponds. This way you can properly care for your pond fish! Read on to get the pond fish info you need!

13 Best Types of Backyard Pond Fish

The best types of backyard pond fish have been put into our list.

We want you to know what kind of pond pet is right for you and your backyard.

Grass Carp

The first pond fish on this list is the grass carp. Grass carps are not eye-catching fish, but they can serve your pond well. If you want to keep your pond water clean and algae free get a grass carp.

These carp fish can get quite large, they come in white and silver tones and prefer larger ponds. So you shouldn’t put them in very small bodies of water.

These kinds of carps have been seen all over the world. They have been put in rivers and fields to control weed growth and even cleanout natural bodies of water.

Grass carp are strong fish that can adapt well to your pond environment. You might have to do some paperwork before you obtain this breed.

But if you are looking for a bigger fish with plenty of functionality this could be the pond pet for you! Grass Carp are one of the best types of backyard pond fish!

Golden Tench

golden tench fish

The next pond fish on our list is the golden tench. If you have koi fish, you might want to get one of these fish. Golden Tench are known to eat the waste of koi fish. So they will keep koi ponds extra clean!

In addition to their cleaning properties, Golden Tenches have a nice look to them. They look like slim goldfish. Their bodies a long like koi fish and they come in all kinds of shades of orange and white.

These fish like to stay at the bottom of your pond. So they will stay safe from predators. And really, they get along with many breeds of pond fish. We really recommend these fish for any kind of pond!

They are one of the best types of backyard pond fish, especially for koi ponds!

Golden Tench are sturdy, won’t get sick easily, and make your pond look better.


goldfish in a pond
Goldfish by Brian Robert Marshall (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Goldfish are an obvious choice for any pond. Goldfish have been bred for centuries and come in several varieties.

These are fun and easy to take care of pond fish. They aren’t too big so you don’t have to have a large pond to house them. And they get along with other fish.

Just make sure that you don’t put them in with fish that might eat goldfish.

Overall, goldfish are a standard pond fish. One of the best types of fish if you want a pet that is simple but colorful for your small pond.

Ide Fish

ide-fish in a pond
Big sized ide by Viridiflavus (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Ide Fish are meant to be placed in large ponds. If you have a farm pond or a fishing pond, try one of these fish out. Ide fish come in three varieties. You can get them in a silver, golden, or a blue hue.

Ide are spunky pond fish. They swim near the surface of ponds and like to grab the attention of those around them. Ide get pretty big, but they live a long life. You can keep your Ide fish for up to twenty years!

This is another great fish for your backyard pond!

Just make sure to keep your fish safe from cats and other animals.

Koi Carp

school of koi fish in a pond

Koi is one of the most popular pond fish out there! You’ll want to have a large enough pond space for these fish. But on the whole, they are beautiful fish that stand above many other pond breeds.

Koi ponds look great in backyards, especially gardens. You’ll want to get a school of these fish and put them in at least one-thousand gallons!

Koi Carp also come in all sorts of fun colors. You can’t go wrong with this type of pond fish. Not only do they look great, but they live a long time.

You can keep a koi in a pond for around thirty years. As long as the water quality is good and well-oxygenated they will live long lives.

They are one of the best types of backyard pond fish!

Pumpkinseed Fish

pumpkinseed fish or pond perch
Pumpkinseed (Lepomis gibbosus) by Bernard DUPONT (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Pumpkinseed Fish are from the sunfish family. These pond pets are bright, colorful, and have great patterning.

These are small but active fish that can fit in nicely with small fish communities.

They prefer to be in a group of other pumpkinseed fish. So consider getting a school of these fish. These are versatile pond fish that can adapt to your pond.

Just keep their water clean and oxygenated!

Shubunkin Fish

Shubunkin are a type of goldfish that come from Japan. These fish have a special calico pattern. Their scales are littered with black spots and combined with yellow, white, red and orange.

To top this off, this fish is metallic looking and has some transparency. Some people even say this fish looks like a pearl in the right light.

Shubunkin are bred to live in ponds and will stay healthy and robust in their new home. This is a fish you want to look out for, one of the best types of backyard pond fish!


Plecostomus fish

Plecostomus is a medium-sized fish. They are a type of catfish that comes from a tropical region. You’ll want to keep your pond warm for Pleco fish. Pleco fish have a fun and different look with plenty of color options.

Plecostomus dwell at the bottom of ponds so they won’t be in much danger from predators. But make sure you have a nice substrate lining the bottom of your pond for them.

Plecostomus are easy-going fish and can cohabitate a pond with many other fish. This is another great option for ponds!

Weather Loach

weather loach fish
Weather loach by Manoel Jr. (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Weather Loaches are another pond fish with a unique look. Loach’s are skinny fish that are known for their eel-like appearance.

They like to stay at the bottom of ponds as well and are good at keeping ponds clear of algae.

They don’t come in a ton of colors, but they are a nice sturdy fish that do well in almost any type of pond!

Chinese High-Fin Banded Shark

Chinese High-Fin Banded Shark by Daiju Azuma (CC BY-SA 2.5)

The High-Fin Banded Shark is a Chinese pond fish. They are small when they are first born, but these fish grow big over time. They can get up to three feet long! You’ll want to make sure you have plenty of room in your pond.

The bigger the pond the easier it will be to keep this fish.

The High-Fin Shark has an attractive design. With its black stripes, it looks almost zebra-like. Their color morphs over time, but they look beautiful throughout their decades-long lifespan.

The High-Fin Shark can survive in a large range of temperatures which makes it ideal for an outdoor environment.

Again, just make sure you have the room for this fish!

Fathead Minnow

fathead minnow pond fish

Fathead Minnow are small pond fish. As you might guess, they have big heads but smaller sized bodies.

These are cute and active fish that come in more earthy colors. They can act as food for your larger fish.

But if you want to keep them as pets, make sure to stock your pond with fish that won’t eat your minnows.

Golden Rudd

golden-rudd fish

Golden Rudd’s are great looking fish. Their scales take on the appearance of a sunset. Not all these fish are orange, they can also be bought with blue and pink hues. But we recommend a warmer tone Rudd!

These are small fish that like to be with their own kind in a pond. Make sure to get a group of these and make your pond deep so they can hibernate properly.

Also, make sure your water is up to par and outfitted with a filter. Golden Rudd don’t do well in dirty pond water.


sturgeon fish

The last pond fish on this list is the Sturgeon fish. The Sturgeon comes in a few dozen varieties and ranges in color. They have a long body with an almost pointed nose.

Sturgeon fish date back millions of years and have a long history in the fish keeping world. Not all varieties are meant for your pond though. So make sure you get a Pond Sturgeon.

If you get the right Sturgeon and keep them in good water conditions they can live the longest of any fish on this list.

Some fish in this breed are known to live up to a hundred years! As a side note, don’t put them in small ponds. These fish get big!

Choosing a Pond Fish

There is a large range of fish to choose from, but consider a few factors when picking a pond fish. The climate of the area you live in will limit your choices. The hardiness of your fish should be considered as well.

The more versatile the fish, the better they will survive in your pond water. In addition to these qualities, think about the kind of fish you want.

Each fish has it’s own unique properties. Color and aesthetics will play a role in your decision. But other more pressing qualities should be mulled over.

For instance, some fish dwell on the surface of your pond while others spend more time at the bottom of your pond. This is an important distinction to make.

Fish that swim closer to the surface are more vulnerable to attacks by other animals. But fish that are bottom dwellers could uproot your plants.

Other fish breed faster and will take up more pond space. Certain fish have good camouflage that can keep them safer in an outdoor environment.

Some breeds of fish get along better with other fish. And some fish are more suited to specific types of ponds than others.

Best Pond Conditions For Your Fish

The conditions of your pond are vital to the health of your pet. You want to make sure that your pond is kept to a high standard. Temperature is a large part of this. You want to keep your pond warm enough for your fish.

At nighttime, the pond water should be at least sixty-five degrees Fahrenheit. In the daytime, a temperature of seventy- five plus degrees is ideal. This depends on the fish of course. But these parameters will fit most breeds.

If you live in a warmer area you should be able to keep your fish outdoors year-round. If you live in a colder region, you might have to bring your fish in during the winter.

Backyard ponds that are dug into the ground will maintain temperature much easier. And heating devices can also help maintain the right temperature.

Pond Plants

pond plants

Plants are also important to your pond water conditions and serve several functions. For one, they can help keep your water healthy and filtered. Ponds can be filled with toxins and waste, and plants will reduce these substances.

Plants also add oxygenation to your pond and keep the water breathable. More importantly, though, plants will shade your fish from predators and the sun. You don’t want your fish to overheat, so having plants is always recommended to give them proper shade.

Birds and other large animals could also come after your fish. A plant will hide them from other animals.

Pond Water

In addition to this, make sure you are using the right water for your pond. Normal tap water or water from a hose will not be good for your fishes. It has chlorine and will need to be treated. Get treated water or treat the water yourself. And make sure that the water level is always maintained.

Evaporation can suck water out of your pond and cause cramped conditions for fish. Rainwater can keep your pond at the right level, but you might have to add water occasionally depending on the weather.

Be careful if you use a sprinkling system in your backyard. You don’t want to contaminate your pond too much. Grass should also stay out of the water.

Sometimes grass has chemicals that can be dangerous for your fish. Even without chemicals grass can rot in the water and make the water quality drop dramatically.

Consider all of this when you put your fish in its new home. You want to have a successful pond for your pet!

Devices You Should Get For Your Fish Pond

To improve the conditions of your pond, there are a few devices that should go into the water. You don’t want to leave a pond bare. It needs a few tools to reach an optimal state of quality. Pond fish need clean and well-oxygenated water just like any other aquarium fish.

Plants should be added to a pond to help with this. But plants can’t do all the work. A filter must be put into any pond you have built. This will keep waste levels and ammonia levels down to a tolerable level.

This is important because your fish can get sick or die in low-quality water. As we also mentioned, a heater for your pond will also be a good investment. But this depends on which region of the world you live in. Some areas are already warm. So you won’t need a heater.

Lastly, a pump should also be installed in your pond. Pumps will help keep the water moving in your small man-made pond. You don’t want the water to stay stagnant. Movement will keep bugs out of the water. It will also prevent any kind of algae build-up!

Getting  Fish Used to Their Pond

You don’t want to just dump your chosen fish in your pond when you get them. Fish can get stressed out when they are put in new environments. So its best to give them time to acclimate to the water temperature.

Float your fish in your pond while they are still in their plastic bag. This way they won’t be shocked by climate differences when they are dumped out of their bag. You should do this for at least fifteen minutes.

If you want to further acclimate your fish, you can put them in a bucket with tank water and pond water mixed. You can keep them in for an hour. This can be helpful but isn’t strictly necessary. If you don’t have as much time acclimate them with their plastic bag.

Keeping Your Fish Safe

Fish can survive in outdoor climates, but sometimes they can be vulnerable to threats from other animals. You want to do everything you can to keep them safe. As we mentioned, plants are a must to keep your fish from prey, but you can take this a step further.

Put netting near your pond to keep animals away from your fish. You can also have an underwater cave installed in your pond. This can keep your pets protected from predators as they will have a place to hide!

You don’t want your fish eaten so keep this in mind!


With this fish pond guide, you should have found the best types of backyard pond fish.

You can be limited in choice depending on the type of pond you have and the environment.

But overall, there are plenty of great options out there for your backyard!

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Aaron Boyd
Aaron Boyd

Hello, I’m Aaron Boyd, the proud owner and author behind Aqua Movement. I hope my article was able to answer your questions. If you want to learn more about me, click the home icon above.

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