Not sure if you are ready for the high maintenance and expense of koi but want to add life to your outdoor garden still puts you in the position of a lot of choices and options. There are a few things you need to consider before you select your fish and your plants. A word of caution, if you want frogs and intend to introduce them to your Water Gardens you should not have fish. It is possible for them to find your pond just naturally but they can provide several hazards to your fish and your filters. When you select your filter it is important that you know what is going to live in your garden, planning is crucial to success.
Let’s explore some of the fish options though, and there are many. It boils down mostly to personal preference, and several can co-habitat, a simple rule of thumb on community ponds is try to avoid very fancy with very simple. The beautiful fans can be very tempting for the plainer residents to nibble a bit. When in doubt speak to your breeder, they will be very familiar with who can get along nicely.
Goldfish; even if by virtue of variety the goldfish is always a popular choice. One of the earliest domesticated fish related to the carp the goldfish is the highlight of many water gardens. Among the more popular varieties are; comet, colorful Shubunkin, Fantail, Black Moor, Ryukin, Oranda, Lionhead, Ranchu, Lionhead , Bubble Eye, PearlscaleWhat you should know about goldfish They need a pH between 6.0-8.0 . They dont do well at high temperatures. They need a lot of oxygen.
A thin layer of ice will not affect the goldfish as long as there is a good supply of oxygen. The first goldfish pond dates back to the Tang Dynasty The ideal temperature range for the goldfish pond would be between 40-105 Degrees F. The comet is the only variety to originate in the U.S. They were a symbol of luxury and not permitted to be enjoyed by lower class indoor or out. Comet is arguably the most prevalent and are one of the hardiest breed of carp. For beginners this is an excellent choice as they adapt well. Beginners can step into the fanciful varieties as well, with the fantail. Double tails and a dorsal fin and chubby bodies fantails are dramatic, and hearty. Shubunkin and Ryukin are also options that tend to be quite hearty.
There are other varieties of domestic fish that pond well, the mosquito fish, the American flagfish, bitterlings, rainbow dace. Of them all, it is the bitterling that pairs best if you have koi in your pond. Rainbow dace and the mosquito fish can benefit your garden by eating mosquitoes, the flashfish can keep your algae down, the bitterling eats larvae and insects.
A word on foliage, most fish are quite playful by nature and will enjoy having either lillys floating about or water grasses to hide in. Foliage gives fish resting points that they feel protected in, and while not necessary, it is appreciated, and can offer shaded areas.
Pond size is the determining factor for concentration, and fish will procreate, so plan ahead. Keeping mind goldfish require a lot of oxygen, over populating your pond will challenge their survival. Start with one third of your maximum capacity While depth is a minor consideration (with a depth of two feet goldfish will be perfectly happy, and will even winter well with sufficient oxygen) the surface area is the key to population saturation. A 6ft x 4ft pond will house 36 4” fish, so you would begin with 12. Size of the adult fish is the telling factor, so no matter whom you select find out what the full grown dimensions will be.