Their Brilliant colours and constant fluid motion make fish a favorite addition to water features for young and old alike. Although they do require some additional care, their presence is well worth the small amount of extra effort.

Fish ponds should be at minimum 21” - 30” deep and 4’ in diameter. Deeper, larger ponds offer better protection from predators like birds and racoons. Ample depth is crucial for fish that spend the winter in the pond.

Fish also need plant cover particularly in the shallow areas around the pond shoreline where they can hide from predators and reproduce in safety. A combination of submerged, marginal and surface plants is ideal.

The type of fish you select will also effect the size and shape of the pond you choose. Koi, for example need at least 1000 gallons of water because they grow quite large. They do best in water that is at least 3 or 4 feet deep or deeper.


Although there are approximately 120 different varieties of goldfish, only a few are suitable for outdoor ponds. Nonetheless, goldfish are the most common pond fish and certain varieties are among the easiest fish to maintain.

The Common Goldfish:

The common goldfish is very hardy and breeds well. Their popularity is due in large part to their bright colours and high activity level. They can grow up to 15 inches in ideal pond conditions. In smaller ponds goldfish tend to stop growing before they become too large for their surroundings.


Shubinkins are a type of goldfish that have transparent scales that create a smooth, shiny appearance. Their vast assortment of blotchy or speckled colours make them highly attractive. They breed well and the young colour up in just a few weeks to become perfect miniatures of their parents.


Developed in the United States, the comet is an impressive goldfish. It is quick and agile adding an element of excitement to your pond. Comets can be either one single colour or variegated with orange, white and black.


All Koi originated from the common carp which have naturally occurring mutations resulting in patches of bright colours. The formal Japanese name for these colourful carp is Nishikigoi which means “living jewels”. The earliest landscaping-resources to Koi dates back to 533 B.C. According to Dr. Takeo Kuroki in his book “Manual to Nishikigoi”, King Sholo of Ro (Japan) presented Confucius’ newborn son with a Nishikigoi.

The maximum number of fish in a pond that has a properly sized filtrations system should not exceed one fish for every 30 gallons of water.

It was not until the 1820’s and 1830’s that Japanese rice farmers began to breed the more colourful mutated carp for their aesthetic appeal. Originally these farmers simply kept their Koi as pets, but gradually interest in these increasingly brilliant specimens began to spread across Japan.

In 1914 Emperor Hirohito of Japan was presented with Koi for the moat surrounding the Imperial Palace. Instantly, Koi became famous nationally and were destined to become highly sought after around the world.

Koi can grow up to 48" in the right conditions and can live over 100 years. They become quite tame, eating out of one's hand and following individuals around the pond. In small ponds they are hard on aquatic plants.

Shubunkins are community fish. They tend to swim in rather tight schools. Large schools are fun to watch as their colourful mass moves as one around the pond.


Overfeeding is the most common cause of fish loss. Fish require feeding when they are first added to a pond. If a pond is well planted there should be an adequate supply of algae, mosquito larva and other water insects for them to eat.

When fish do require feeding, food pellets are recommended. Be careful to feed them no more than what they can consume within 5 minutes.

How many Fish:

Too many fish in a pond will pollute the water with waste material which in turn will increase algae growth. Excessive amounts of algae will cloud the water and potentially kill the fish.

Reptiles and Amphibians

The most common types of reptiles and amphibians to visit or live in ponds are snakes, turtles and frogs. Among these, turtles are generally favored due to their unique shape and their tendency to bask in the sun where they can be seen and enjoyed.

Occasionally they will lie stacked on top of each other three high in the late morning to mid afternoon.


Frogs that jump into the water when approached add some initial excitement to the pond. Their croaking habits create a natural ambience around the pond, particularly at nightfall.

Our desire to be near water has been a part of us since the dawn of time. Perhaps that is why water captures our interest with its gleaming reflections, mesmerizing movement and refreshing sounds. A water feature is rejuvenating. It inspires the imagination and fills us with endless hours of peaceful enjoyment.


In Canada turtles are active from March or April to late October. The rest of the year they spend hibernating in the mud at the bottom of the pond. While hibernating turtles absorb oxygen through the tissue in their mouth and an opening under their tail called the cloacal.

Turtles are omnivores which means they eat both plants and animals.Although they do not have teeth, they are able to tear into their pray using their sharp claws and sharp pointy beaks.

The Red-eared Slider is among the most common pond turtles. They prefer habitats with numerous basking sites and an abundance of aquatic vegetation.

Their diets include aquatic snails, crawfish and other crustaceans as well as plants like arrowhead, water lilies, hyacinths and duckweed.

Red-eared Sliders spend most of their days basking in the sun on logs, rocks or stumps in or near the water.

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