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Unique Fish Species for Your Outdoor Pond

Caring for fish

Species of fish

October 2, 2020

When it comes to keeping a backyard pond, you may think that your options for fish are limited to goldfish and koi. In reality, however, there are plenty of unique and interesting fish that you can use to stock your pond. Below you will find descriptions of some of the most unique species of fish for backyard ponds.

Problems with Goldfish and Koi

Keeping goldfish and koi in an outdoor pond is more challenging than many pond owners realize. Both of these species need a significant amount of space, space that the average plastic backyard pond simply cannot accommodate. These fish need highly oxygenated water and a large water volume in order to accommodate for their high waste output – if you try to keep goldfish and koi in a pond that is too small, you will have a very difficult time maintaining high water quality. Water quality is the key to keeping any outdoor pond healthy and there are a few simple tricks you can employ to make your job easier. In addition to having a high-quality filtration system in place, you should also consider installing an EcoBio-Block Wave in your pond to help bolster the beneficial bacteria colony in your pond. EcoBio-Blocks are infused with live beneficial bacteria as well as the nutrients they need to reproduce and thrive in your pond, establishing and maintaining the nitrogen cycle so that your pond water remains clean and the quality remains high.


The fish belonging to the genus Lepomis are collectively referred to as Sunfish and they make great additions to the backyard pond. These fish typically grow between 4 and 8 inches long, though some species can grow up to 16 inches in length. Some common species belonging to this group of fishes include the Bluegill, Warmouth, Redbreast Sunfish, Spotted Sunfish and the Green Sunfish. If you are looking for a species that will add color to your pond, consider the Megalotis Sunfish which exhibits bright red and blue coloration.


Another interesting type of fish for the backyard pond is the Stoneroller. These fish belong to the family Cyprinidae and they are native to the United States. There are five different species of Stoneroller – the Central Stoneroller, Largescale Stoneroller, Mexican Stoneroller, Bluefin Stoneroller and the unnamed Campostoma pullum. These fish tend to inhabit fast-moving bodies of water, so if you plan to use them in your pond you might consider installing a stream or water channel for these fish.


The fish belonging to the family Percidae are commonly referred to as Darters and they are found in freshwater streams throughout North America. These perch-like fish tend to remain small and they can make a colorful and active addition to the backyard pond or stream. Pair Darters with minnows to add some visual intrigue to your pond or water feature.


If your backyard pond is very small, one of the best fish you can keep in it is the Killifish. There are over 1,000 different species of Killifish but one of the best species for a backyard pond is Heterandria formosa, the Least Killifish. These fish are one of the smallest species in the world, growing up to only 1.2 inches in length, which makes them ideal for a small pond. This species also prefers slow-moving or standing water, so a small pond with a single fountain to keep the water oxygenated will be ideal.