The Different Types of Goldfish Ponds

Once you know where you want to place your pond, it is time to decide what type of pond you would like to build or place there. Remember, the location you choose can add restrictions on the type of pond and what fish you want to keep in there.

The various types of ponds can be distinguished by the way they are structured, the use of materials, shape and size, function and design taste.

Every pond is different; however, the most common types of ponds follow the same rules and methods of ensuring they are secure and safe to house fish.

The main types of goldfish pond

There are a couple different types of ponds commonly used to house goldfish – from person to person, these will vary in preference, and you may find that you yourself prefer some pond designs over others.

Be aware that while all these ponds are suitable to house fish, they each have their own benefits and drawbacks that separate them from each other. When deciding what type you want, consider the following points:

  • Expense
  • Maintenance
  • Durability
  • Modularity

By first considering these points, you may narrow down what pond you want to build and with what resources you want to build it from.

Concrete pond

Concrete ponds are constructed by digging out the shape of the pond you wish to build, then lining the sides of the pond with concrete before painting it with a suitable waterproof and fish-safe paint and/or adding a pond liner. 

Concrete ponds can also be built up with brickwork or entirely built above the ground, which makes them more adjustable to the size and shape you want to go with.

Constructed correctly, concrete ponds will generally have the longest lifespan of all the options, provide great insulation and weather resistance, and have a modular design.

However, they can be labour-intensive to construct, expensive and prone to cracking and subsidence if the substrate shifts or the pond is poorly reinforced. Ensuring stable and suitable construction and taking extra measures to secure the pond’s foundation, is key to keeping a successful pond.

Pond liners

Liners are highly versatile and can be fit to any size or shape of pond. They are cheap and can be very effective, they are also easy to fit, seal and secure. 

Depending on the design they can be quite simple, however, some ponds can be quite fiddly and it may take some time to make sure the liner is secure.

Pond liners are easily available from most aquatics or hydroponics stores, and come in a wide variety of sizes and thicknesses. 

It is best to get a recommended liner which is guaranteed against punctures, even if it may be a little more expensive, any pond keeper will tell you it is worth playing it safe.

Avoid cutting corners when building your pond, as you may be putting yourself, the goldfish and the integrity of your garden at risk.

Pre-formed or moulded ponds

Pre-formed pond moulds are made from fibreglass or plastic – these are very strong and hard wearing, provide good insulation and decent structure to your pond.

They come in various shapes and sizes, meaning they can fit many different pond structures.

They can range in price, with fibreglass being more expensive but more durable, and plastic being less costly, but less resistant to temperature and breakage.

Being that pre-molds are a set shape, this can make them less modular as you will need to build the pond and fit the components around the shape, which can limit your design choices a little.

Moulded ponds are often easily placed in the ground in a hole dug out for them, or built around with concrete or decking.

What shape should a pond be?

The shape of your pond is really up to you, as discussed, what materials and design you choose to go with can influence its shape, such as the pre-moulded ponds which will decide the shape for you.

If you wish to choose your own shape, consider these points:

  • The space you have
  • Whether it fits the constraints of the location and its within your garden
  • The size and depth of your pond
  • How easy the pond is to access and perform maintenance on

Pond shape ideas

The two most common pond shapes are oval and square – both are equally viable options; however, a circular shape can provide more surface area and insulation.

These are two important factors when selecting a shape as a large surface area provides oxygen for your goldfish and insulation keeps the pond from having too high temperature fluctuations, which could kill your fish.

Also know that the depth is important in the choice of shape. A pond needs to be at least 3ft or 36” deep to prevent freezing. Sloping ponds are fine, just make sure that the deep end is at least this depth.

Even deeper is better, but be aware of the safety hazard this could bring and maintenance level.

Whether you want your pond to fit a geometric, cuboid style, built up from the ground or a natural sprawling dug out hole is really up to you.

As long as you consider the aforementioned points: maintenance, insulation, surface area, size, safety and type, you can shape the pond however you like.

What style should a pond be?

The style of pond, again, is really down to your choice, but it can be dependent on what you wish to do with the pond. For example, if you wish to breed your goldfish, having lots of plants and rocks can provide spawning grounds for the goldfish. 

If you do not wish to breed your goldfish, then you can have a more minimalist pond.

The type of goldfish you want to keep also can alter the style of pond – fancy goldfish do not fare as well as their streamlined “comet” cousins in harsh outdoor weather, and often need to be taken indoors during the winter months.

If you do not wish to keep your pond running year round, this opens up how you can stylise your pond as you do not need to worry about freezing, so your built up pond can be less restricted to the ground.

Pond style ideas

Having what is known as a “summer pond” is a common practice among fishkeepers who live in climates with harsh winters or who wish to keep other species of fish outdoors that are normally kept in aquariums, such as mountain minnows or medaka.

In East Asia, the “Medaka pond” is sometimes used to house fancy goldfish over the summer. These ponds consist of a large terracotta bowl filled with water and plants like lily pads, and water hyacinth. 

These look great in natural gardens, but should be emptied over the winter to avoid cracking or freezing.

If you want to have your pond year round, built up ponds are still viable, so long as they are properly insulated. Decking ponds are a great look for any garden and can be painted any colour or built into any shape.

Similarly with concrete ponds, they can be built on different levels, can be circular or square, and can have extensions built onto them, such as an electrical box, filtration container and supplies box.

Whatever design you go with, remember the key elements to constructing a successful fish pond:

  • Maintenance
  • Insulation
  • Surface area
  • Size
  • Depth
  • Safety

2 thoughts on “The Different Types of Goldfish Ponds”

  1. I made a 16 x 7x 2 foot outdoor pond in my yard three years ago. It has a liner made of rubber (such as roofers put under the shingles. It has a filter and a waterfall that provides ariation (?spelling). I have approx. 15 goldfish in it and most have made it through the 3 Winters that froze thick ice over entire pond. It is 39 degrees with a skim of ice now and my fish still respond to my coming out to feed them BUT they only touch the food flakes with their lips; they do not pull it into their mouths.
    Do they need any food, and how can I continue to ariate the pond? I think I have had exceptional luck thus far with only one “floater” in 3 years. If you have any helpful information for me, please E-Mail to me. Thanks. I have 2 beautiful goldfish in my home in a 18 gallon tank and they are beautifully colored, like each other, have had no problems in 8 years. They are always together as if they are a school of 2.


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