The Complete Guide to Goldfish Ponds

This may be The Goldfish Tank, but many out there decide to keep their goldfish in outdoor ponds, rather than in the home aquarium. 

Keeping fish in a pond is different to keeping them in a tank, and so we’ve created several guides to help you find out what is involved in setting up and maintaining a pond.

Generally goldfish tend to do much better in ponds than they do in tanks, they are given more space to grow and varied natural weather, which they benefit from greatly.

Building and maintaining a goldfish pond may initially seem like a daunting task, however, our guides aim to break down what it takes and help you better understand how it’s done.

 In the articles below, we cover everything, from choosing size and position of your goldfish pond, what equipment you will need, what plants, fittings and fixtures to add, how to properly acclimate goldfish to your pond, and how to keep them healthy all year round!

Why should you set up a fish pond?

Pond keeping can be an incredibly rewarding and healthy hobby. Maintaining and working on a pond keeps you mentally and physically active, and has the same relaxing impact as an aquarium, while requiring less maintenance.

You can learn a lot from pond keeping, especially about the natural world, water chemistry and a little bit of plumbing, again, keeping your mind active while providing a beautiful ornamental piece for your home or garden.

Why add goldfish to your pond?

As previously mentioned, goldfish, especially common goldfish, tend to do much better in ponds than they do in aquariums. 

They can grow to very large sizes in ponds (over 10” long), and live longer lifespans (up to 20+ years!)

Goldfish add a good level of interaction with your pond, and can make great pets, especially for those who can’t have cats or dogs. 

While they do require a level of care and understanding, goldfish are incredibly relaxing to watch and feed due to their typical docile and tame nature. In a pond, they express more natural behaviours which can be observed, and can be easily bred if kept properly.

Fish Pond Types

There are many different styles and types of ponds, which may suit different individuals better, read more about the varieties of ponds and what goes into setting them up and maintaining them:

  • Concrete ponds
  • Pre formed or moulded ponds
  • Brick ponds
  • Lined ponds
  • Planted / Natural ponds
  • Pond style ideas

Where to set up a goldfish pond

Finding the perfect spot to place your pond is key to running a successful home for your fish.

There are a few critical things you should know before you decide where your pond goes, find out more below:

How big should my goldfish pond be?

Deciding on the size and dimensions is another important aspect of pond building. 

There are important things you need to know about pond size, such as how deep a pond needs to be to prevent freezing.

What size is ideal to house multiple adult goldfish and what affects a large pond has on the oxygen level and filtration.

Fish Pond 101

What kinds of fish can I add to a pond?

Common goldfish:

These are amongst the hardiest of goldfish breeds, they have a streamlined natural body shape, shorter fins and are well equipped to deal with harsh winters and hot summers.

Popular common breeds include: gold comet, canary comet, serasa comet and shubunkin.

Fancy goldfish: 

Usually only kept outside during the summer and brought in over winter, includes breeds like the ryuken, oranda, ranchu, moor and many others.

There are also many other types of fish which can be kept in outdoor ponds such as koi carp, sturgeon / sterlets, orfe, sticklebacks and so on. All have different living requirements and suit different styles of pond.

How many fish can I have in a pond?

Choosing an appropriate number of fish for your pond is important in providing good welfare for your pets.

There are important things you should know about the effects of overcrowding:

  • How large goldfish can grow;
  • How many to add at the start;
  • How many should be kept together.

How to Build a Fish Pond

You’ll need to know a few simple steps to get you started on building a range of goldfish ponds, as well as:

  • What goes into the equipment needed to construct each pond;
  • How well they fare against each other;
  • How time consuming and expensive each one can be.

How to set up a fish pond

There are clear essential steps on what goes into setting up a pond, such as what to look out for, what you need to keep on top of.

What equipment do you need for a goldfish pond?

You’ll need to know what to add, including plants, water treatment, cycling, equipment, filtration and so on.

How to decorate a goldfish pond

We can offer valuable tips on how to appropriately decorate your pond, what plants to use, things to avoid using, how your goldfish can benefit from decor and provide ideas of what to add to your garden pond to freshen it up, or to even protect it.

Pond Fish Care – The Basics

Your basics to pond fish care will be: how to provide good welfare for your fish and what are the daily, weekly, monthly and yearly activities that go into keeping a healthy goldfish pond.

You’ll also need to be aware of the care essentials for your pond, how to test and buffer your water and what to look out for.

Seasonal fish pond care

What goes into the maintenance and keeping of fish ponds over winter through summer? How does care level change, what is “torpor” and why is it important to leave fish alone during freezing temperatures?

We can provide some explanations of things you might not have expected to see throughout the year and the different seasons in your pond and fish.

How do I keep fish pond water clean?

You’ll need to be aware of how to maintain good water chemistry, what the nitrogen cycle is, whether you should buffer your water and how to do it.

7 thoughts on “The Complete Guide to Goldfish Ponds”

  1. If I use city water how long before I can I add fish And do I need any type of chemical for the water

    • We recommend that you add a chemical dechlorinator to tap water, as they remove harmful contents other than just chlorine such as heavy metals.

      We also normally recommend waiting at least a 3-4 days after filling the pond to add fish to allow the oxygen and temperature to reach stable levels.

      However, ideally you should wait around 2 weeks before adding fish, as this time allows your pond to grow beneficial bacteria which filters toxins out of the water.

    • Hi Barbara, thanks for your comment,

      Yes, you should remove dead fish as soon as possible, as they produce ammonia, and some other fish can contract disease from eating carrion.

      If you have snails in the pond, or loaches, they will eat the dead body, but if the fish is large, then it should be removed as it is a hazard to the health of your pond.

      hope this helps

  2. My pond goldfish are suffering from horrific ulcers. I have waterfall, pump and filter and 2 air stones . I have done numerous partial water changes . Done blanketweed treatments and anti sludge bacteria and about 6 pond treatments of ulcer treatments . But it’s heartbreaking to see these huge deep ulcers about the size of a penny that ultimately kill the fish . So far lost about 15 to 20 fish . At my wits end just a few fish left .Any suggestions would be most welcome

    • Hi Dorina, sorry to hear that.

      It is very unusual to lose so may fish to ulceration, it is normally something that occurs when the fish are damaged or have an infected wound.
      do you test your water? what are the results?
      do you treat your tap water with a dechlorinator?
      what treatments are you using?
      you can send us pictures through email ;

      As mentioned it isn’t common to lose so may fish to ulceration like this, it must be something in your water or something about your setup, we would suggest adding a UV steriliser, this will kill any pathogens in your pond water and prevent the spread of disease.

      Most pond filters these days already have UV sterilisers in them, so have a check at the type of filter you have, it might just be a case of replacing the bulb.

      Best of luck.


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