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Goldfish Ponds - Add a Splash of Color to Your Water Landscape

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common goldfish
A Common Goldfish

Goldfish ponds are an excellent introduction to the hobby of keeping fish in a pond. Not to be confused with Koi fish, goldfish are a popular pond fish due to their small size, inexpensive price tag, and hardy ability to withstand a variety of climates. Goldfish as we know them today were developed in China beginning over 1000 years ago, and over time many distinct breeds have developed. As a result, goldfish come in a variety of pleasing colors, shapes and sizes.

Goldfish vs. Koi

Although both Koi and goldfish are part of the carp family, they are from different genus, which makes them quite different fish. For small ponds and water gardens, goldfish are a good choice since they don't grow as large as Koi, and thus don't need quite as much water for proper biological breakdown of waste. As a general rule, goldfish can survive in a pond of 500 gallons or less, where Koi really begin to thrive in a pond of around 1000 gallons. However, for the best biological conditions with either type of fish, the more water the better. Click here to read about Koi Ponds instead of goldfish ponds.

lionhead goldfish
A Lionhead Goldfish


Goldfish ponds can work in a large variety of climates. In warmer climates, the fish will stay quite active all year round with the warm weather. In colder climates, the fish may become less active and will eat less during the winter months, spending the majority of their time at the bottom of the pond. This behavior is completely normal and as the weather begins to warm up in the spring, the fish will become more active. In very cold climates, goldfish can even survive short periods of time if the surface of the pond is allowed to freeze. However, this should be avoided if possible by breaking the ice up, or by heating the water slightly to prevent ice from completely covering the pond. If ice is allowed to cover the pond, then there is no way for the water to re-oxygenate itself as the fish gradually use up the oxygen in the water.

clear shubunkin goldfish
A Shubunkin Goldfish

Plants in Goldfish Ponds

Goldfish are compatible with a wide variety of plant life, and will usually not disturb the plants in the pond. Koi on the other hand have been known to eat certain types of plants, or dig in submerged pots, which can result in a plant becoming uprooted or damaged. However, there are ways to prevent Koi from damaging plants, either by placing ballast rocks in the tops of submerged pots, or by choosing certain types of plants that are more resistant to Koi. For more information on the types of water plants available, please see our page on plants for ponds. For more information on 'planting' water plants, please have a look at our page entitles 'How to Water Garden'.

Pumping and Filtration

There is certain equipment that is necessary to keep the water quality in goldfish ponds to a high enough standard to house fish. As the fish eat, they will naturally excrete waste into the pond, which left unchecked will eventually harm or kill your fish. Along with regular water changes, a healthy goldfish pond will make use of one or more pumps, filters, skimmers and pond liners.

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