Whether you are building a pond from scratch or remodelling an already built pond, the choice of which fish to be kept is a very important one. They not only add a natural aesthetic to your man made pond but also create an ecosystem in which harmony exists. It turns out to be a very peaceful experience for people who are interested in it but before you make a decision, it is important to make yourself familiar with what is available and what your best choices are. 

Types of pond fish

The carp family members dominate the pond fish category as well as the koi carp fish. Although there are various types of fish, it is important to understand the quality of each type of fish before selecting it. The hardy fish such as tench and goldfish are used in every size of pond as they are the most readily available and known. Koi carp fish are not that common in small ponds as they require a big area to swim around and a relatively larger pump is used for aeration. You can also choose a fish based on its visibility, some fish swim at the bottom of the pond so they are not seen from above water. There are others who swim on the surface and can be spotted, these fish give a life to the pond itself. 

A Beginner’s Guide to Keeping Koi

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Few cold water fish can compete with Koi, whether that’s in terms of their variety of patterns and colours, their long history and cultural traditions, or just their sheer physical presence. Koi appeal for all [...]

  • Pond Fish

A Beginner’s Guide to Fish Breeding

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If you’re a fish-fan, then sooner or later the prospect of breeding your own is almost certainly going to appeal – always assuming your fish haven’t already beaten you to it, and started producing ‘tiddlers’ [...]

Fast Facts About Pond Fish

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For many pond owners, the chance to have a few fish swimming their way through the water-lily stems is a big part of the reason they built their water feature in the first place. Anyone [...]

Fish Diseases and Ailments

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Just like us, fish suffer from their share of health problems and there are few things more alarming than noticing that some of your prized pond life is looking ill – or, worse still, dying. [...]

FAQ: Pond Fish Problems

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There’s something very special, not to mention relaxing, about idling away a moment or two on a hot summer’s day watching fish languidly swimming their way through the water of a well set-up pond. Unfortunately, [...]

Looking After Your Fish

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Around 90 per cent of the health problems and deaths in fishponds can be put down to poor husbandry. Having taken the trouble to select your fish carefully avoiding any obviously diseased or damaged ones, [...]

Keeping pond fish well fed

Pond owners have to help the fish to grow and for that, feed them properly so they are nourished. Although there is algae, worms and all kinds of insects in the pond which the fish can feed upon, they still need supplements which are specifically for their growth. Pellets are a very common fish food which is served to promote growth as it is full of protein and vitamins. Always try to buy pellets or minnows from a high quality brand which is trusted and authentic. 

The benefits of buying high quality food is that most of it is absorbed by the fish and unnecessary chemicals are not passed in the water as is the case with low quality fish foods. If the size of your fish is small, crush the pellets into even smaller pieces so it can be easily taken up by them. Pond fish are not just for aesthetics but they form the aquatic life in a pond which is why it is so important to keep them safe!

Types of UK common pond fish

In this set of questions and answers, we explore the different types of pond fish found in the UK, such as koi carp, golden tench, and shubunkin. We also discuss other popular pond fish like rosette, goldfish, and comet fish, each with unique features and requirements. It’s essential to consider factors like the pond’s size, depth, and water quality before choosing a fish species, and to maintain an appropriate number of fish for healthy growth. Whether you’re an experienced fish keeper or a beginner, this guide will provide you with useful insights into the world of UK pond fish.

Koi, Shubunkin, Golden Tench, Rosette, and Goldfish are some of the best fish species for a British pond. Koi Carp is the most popular type of pond fish in the UK, well-known for its vivid coloration, striking patterns, and longevity. Shubunkin, a goldfish variety, is also stunning and popular for its vibrant appearance. Golden Tench, also known as the “doctor fish,” is a great addition to a pond as it can eat parasites and dead skin cells. Rosette is a hardy fish species that can survive harsh environmental conditions. Goldfish are also a great choice for ponds as they are hardy and come in a variety of colors.

Koi and goldfish are the most commonly found fish species in ponds, although other species like comet, shubunkin, fantail, black moor, oranda, and loinhead can also be commonly found. These fish species are popular for their vibrant colors and hardiness, making them suitable for beginners.

Common goldfish, in particular, are one of the most recognisable fish species in the UK, with scales that shine in gold-orange or yellow colours and a single, short tail. Largemouth bass, bluegill, and channel catfish are the most commonly stocked species in ponds, but other species can be used for specific management objectives, such as fathead minnows, crappie, black bullhead, redear sunfish, and gizzard shad. Green sunfish and carp are also often found in ponds.

What can live in UK ponds?

Apart from fish, various aquatic creatures can live in UK ponds, such as pond-skaters, water snails, leeches, worms, water beetles, freshwater mussels, and larvae of caddisfly, alderfly, dragonfly, and damselfly. These organisms play a crucial role in the ecosystem of a pond, contributing to nutrient cycling and acting as food sources for fish.

Which pond fish are best?

Goldfish, Golden Tench, Koi carps, Rosette, Shubunkin, Sturgeon, Golden Orfes, and Sunfish are some of the best pond fish species. Golden Tench and Rosette are hardy and can survive harsh environmental conditions, making them a great addition to a pond. Sturgeon and Golden Orfes are suitable for large ponds, while Sunfish is a great choice for small ponds.

How many fish should be in a pond?

The number of fish that can fit into a pond depends on the size of the pond, species of fish, and filtration system used. Two basic rules for determining the number of fish that can fit in a pond are: one six-inch fish for every hundred gallons of water, or 1 inch of fish per 10 gallons of water.

What is the hardiest pond fish UK?

Common Goldfish, Common Minnows, Mosquito Fish, Sticklebacks, and Red Shiners are some of the hardiest pond fish species found in the UK. These species are able to survive harsh environmental conditions and fluctuations in temperature.

What fish can go in an outside pond?

Several fish species can thrive in an outdoor pond, including Archerfish, Bluegills, Fathead Minnows, Golden Rainbow Trout, Goldfish, Koi, Pumpkinseeds, and Redears. These species are hardy and can survive in outdoor conditions with minimal maintenance.

What is the most common fish in UK lakes? Bream (Abramis Brama) is the most common fish found in UK lakes. Bream are typically found in large, shallow lakes and rivers, and are a popular catch for anglers. They are known for their silver scales and black eyes, and can grow up to 16 inches in length. Bream are often found in large shoals and can be caught using a variety of baits, including worms, maggots, and sweetcorn.

Koi Carp

25-35 years

Known for their vivid coloration, striking patterns, and longevity, Koi are actually the colored variety of the common carp.


10-15 years

One of the most recognisable UK pond fish, goldfish have scales that shine a gold-orange or yellow colour with a single, short tail.


10-15 years

A stunning goldfish variety, shubunkin have striking blue, black, and orange speckled patterns.

Golden Tench

10-15 years

Also known as the "doctor fish", golden tench have golden scales and are known for their algae-eating habits.


10-15 years

A sleek, silver fish that can grow up to 18 inches long, orfe are popular for their lively behavior and ease of care.


5-10 years

A small, copper-colored fish, rudd are known for their peaceful temperament and attractive coloration.


25-35 years

Large, prehistoric-looking fish that can grow up to 6 feet long, sturgeon are popular for their caviar, but are also kept in ponds for their unique appearance.

Golden Rudd

5-10 years

Similar to rudd, golden rudd have golden scales and are known for their peaceful demeanor.

Blue Orfe

10-15 years

A blue-colored variation of the orfe, blue orfe are popular for their striking appearance and lively behavior.

Grass Carp

8-12 years

A herbivorous fish that can grow up to 4 feet long, grass carp are often kept in ponds to control vegetation growth.

European Perch

10-20 years

A predatory fish with distinctive green stripes, European perch are known for their aggressive behavior and can grow up to 20 inches long.


5-10 years

A small, bottom-dwelling fish with an elongated body, gudgeon are popular for their peaceful temperament and ease of care.


25-35 years

A small species of sturgeon that can grow up to 3 feet long, sterlet are popular for their unique appearance and hardiness.

Weather Loach

10-15 years

A small, eel-like fish that can grow up to 8 inches long, weather loach are known for their lively behavior and sensitivity to changes in weather.


10-15 years

A goldfish variety with a distinctive rose-like tail, rosette are popular for their unique appearance and peaceful demeanor.

Sarasa Comet

10-15 years

A bright red and white goldfish variety, sarasa comet are popular for their striking appearance and active behavior.


10-15 years

A goldfish variety with a double tail and rounded body, fantail are popular for their graceful swimming and peaceful temperament.

Black Moor

10-15 years

A black-colored goldfish variety with protruding eyes, black moor are popular for their distinctive appearance and hardiness.


10-12 years

A bottom-dwelling fish with a greenish-brown coloration, tench are popular for their hardiness and ability to thrive in a variety of conditions.

Common Carp

10-12 years

A large freshwater fish that can grow up to 4 feet long, common carp are popular for their hardiness and ability to thrive in a variety of water conditions.

Last Modified: April 5, 2023