Pond Fish: Types, Care, And What You Need To Know

Pond Fish: Types, Care, And What You Need To Know

Valuable Information For Fish Owners In Maryland, DC, And Northern Virginia

If you want to learn all about backyard pond fish, this is the guide for you! You can click these links to skip to each section and learn about:

Before we dive in, you can “dive” into this ecosystem pond and swim around with some beautiful koi fish:

Here’s a tip to start you off- fish hibernate during winter, and as such their digestive system slows down. Feeding them during this time can injure them as they can’t digest food well.

Don’t have time to read the whole article? Download your free PDF copy of our Guide to Keeping Your Fish Safe, Happy, and Healthy

Types Of Pond Fish

There are several different types of pond fish, they can even vary depending on where you live. These are 6 of the more popular pond fish people choose to live in their pond:
a group of fish swimming in a pond.
a fish is swimming in the water.


Koi are the most common fish for a reason as they can live long and are great pets.

Dragon/Butterfly Koi

Unlike common koi, these have longer fins and a slimmer shape, plus they’re more hardy.

a red and white fish in a bowl of water.
a goldfish swimming in an aquarium filled with water.


These fish can enhance the look of your pond with their many colors and fan-like tail.


They can live in outdoor ponds, and quite well as they are a hardy fish coming in different colors.

a couple of goldfish swimming next to each other.
a goldfish in an aquarium with a fish hook in it's mouth.


These fish can enhance the look of your pond with their many colors and fan-like tail.


They are for the bubble-like “hood” on their head, giving them a cool look even though they’re slow.

You can find out more about them here >>

Pond Fish Diseases

Pond fish get sick like any other animal, but it can be harder to spot. They can hide and be easy to miss, especially if you have more than a few. But if you can identify it, and the cause, it’s more than likely you can treat and cure it. You can deal with most pond fish diseases by isolating the affected fish and treating them with antibiotics.

Along with fungal infections and pop-eye, some common diseases are:

a fish that is sitting on a cloth.
a close up of a fish in an aquarium.

Anchor Worms

These are white, stringy worms that attach to the outside of fish. They cause red sores and inflammation at the attachment site.


Also known as white spot disease, ich is caused by fish stressing over changes in the water, usually pH or temperature.

a blue and red fish in an aquarium.
a fish that is laying on some snow.

Fin/Mouth Rot

This disease causes fading color or decaying tissue around the fins or mouth.


It strikes when immune systems or low, causing the kidneys to retain fluid, causing bloating.

The Best Number Of Fish For Any Pond

Fish are an important component of ecosystem ponds but you don’t want to have too many. This can throw the ecosystem’s balance off and end up harming your fish. There are many aspects to consider, such as location, pond volume, growth, and more.

a large group of fish swimming in a pond.

Here are 3 simple rules to follow for the best amount of pond fish:

Rule 1: a 6” fish per 100 gallons of water

Rule 2: 1′ of fish per 10 gallons of water

Rule 3: 1” of fish per square foot of surface area (24” deep pond)

Feeding Your Pond Fish

For starters, make sure the food pellets are the appropriate size. This ensures easier and better digestion so your pond fish can be happy and healthy.

a hand is pointing at a fish in the water.

Speaking of digestion, the best time to feed your fish is when the temperature is between 50-85°F. Feeding them outside this range isn’t good for them, especially in winter when they don’t digest quickly.

If you have an ecosystem pond, you won’t have to feed them at all! Your fish can feed off the algae, plankton, and other nutrients in the water, meaning that when you feed them it’s for fun.

You can learn more details on feeding your pond fish >>

Pond Protection Additions For Your Fish

You may want to install some add-ons to protect your pond fish and keep them healthy. Having a great blue heron and other predators fishing in your pond isn’t good for your wallet, your backyard pond, or your fish.

Here are a few ways to keep your backyard pond fish safe:

a pile of rocks sitting next to a green field.
a pond filled with lots of water next to a lush green forest.

Fish Caves & Tunnels

These provide a great hideout from herons, raccoons, and other pond predators. They also give your fish more swimming area.

Install Netting

Netting keeps herons from landing in your pond and prevents other predators from wading in. It’s also great during fall for catching leaves.

You can also use decoy fish for predators to catch, or try and catch, instead. Other options include using a fake heron or dog to ward off any unwanted predators.

This video can tell you more about fish caves and tunnels:

As for keeping your fish healthier, you can install an aerator to add more oxygen to the water by moving it around. These aerators help your fish breathe more easily, circulates the water to prevent stagnation, and moves debris towards the skimmer.

Pond Fish Behavior

Koi can start acting strangely for a few different reasons. Your fish could be sick, predators start coming to the pond, or it could be a new pond or even new fish causing them to hide.
a pond filled with lots of water lilies.

Something may be wrong with your fish if they start doing any of these:

1. Not moving

2. Always at the pond bottom

3. Always hiding

4. More active than normal.

Introducing Fish To Your Pond

It would be nice if you could place them right on in, but doing so can injure your pond fish. Any new water may have different chemical makeup and temperature which can cause your fish to stress out. Stressed fish are more likely to get sick or injured.

This is why we have a nice, slow process for introducing your pond fish to their new pond home.

Take the container your fish are in and put it in the water. Every 3 minutes mix some of the new water in with the old so the temperature and chemical makeup can balance out. After about 15 minutes your fish can start exploring their new home!

Winter Fish Care

Leave your pond fish alone during the winter. The only thing you need to do is create a hole in the ice, and not by breaking it. Breaking the ice sends shock waves through the water that can harm your fish.

It’s best to use an aerator or a de-icer to create a hole in the ice. These devices are great because they allow harmful gases to escape, keeping your fish safe and healthy during winter freezes.

There’s more to know about pond fish winter care >>

Enjoy Your Pond Fish Friends!

Fish can add life, excitement, and fun to your water feature. You can name them and watch as they develop their own personalities plus you can hand feed them. But, they do more than liven up your pond. Pond fish also filter the water by eating algae and other nutrients living in your pond. As part of the pond ecosystem, fish are like adding a filter with flare.

This is Premier Ponds’ 9 step pond cleaning process >>