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Goldfish is one of the most popular pond fish that adds opulence to your garden and improve home interiors. Their beautiful, vivid colors and social adaptability grab immediate attention and develop a powerful bond in no time. And because they belong to a group of cold living species, they can adapt to winter seasons pretty well, making it a perfect choice for your outdoor pond.
If you are new to pond keeping, and wondering which pond fish would be suitable for your garden pond. No worries!
This article will cover the best varieties of pond goldfish for your ease.
But first, know that there are two groups of goldfish — one is suitable for tanks while the other group can adapt to outdoor ponds. Pond goldfish require more space, and therefore are suited for most indoor aquariums. Hence, to save the hassle, I’m listing down 7 of the best pond goldfish for your garden ponds in this article.
Best Goldfish For Ponds
Here is a quick table of goldfish that are suitable for ponds
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The Top 7 (2023 Update)
Here are 7 of the most valued pond goldfish to spruce up your garden ponds.
Coloration, patterns, and it's Koi-like features make this goldfish one of the most popular for ponds
If you ask me honestly, Shubunkin goldfish is a higher end variant of Comet goldfish with a hint of extra color, which is why it is one of the most sought-after pond fish breeds.
Appearance and Features of Shubunkin
Bizarre coloration makes this breed of goldfish distinct from others. And not just bizarre coloration, the beautiful, extraordinary patterns that contain a mix of metallic and translucent scales with blotches of black, red, brown, white, and even blue. The color patterns also run on the fins and tail of the fish, which makes it an enthralling experience for any pond enthusiast. However, the most opulent color in Shubunkin goldfish is blue, which determines its actual cost.
The bluer the goldfish, the rarer.
They are graced with long, flowing fins that drape dramatically when it swims and glides in the pond.
Lots of space and food will keep your Shubunkin happy and healthy. Given the conditions, your Shubunkin goldfish can live up to 30 years or longer, and grow to over 12 inches. They prefer to live in their natural habitats, therefore refrain from keeping them in a tank or an aquarium.
2. Sarasa Comet
The Sarasa is a great Koi lookalike goldfish variety that offers a variety of colors
Sarasa Comet has an uncanny resemblance to Koi that any new pond keeper would confuse the two. Like Koi, Sarasa Comet also requires a vast pond with a decent plant scaping to keep thriving.
Appearance and Features of the Sarasa Comet
Sarasa Comets can grow as long as 14 inches and can live up to 25 years if provided with a favorable habitat.
They possess an intense red/gold body with subtle white patches all over the skin, and this makes it akin to Koi, especially to Kohaku Koi.
Sarasa Comet is a single-tail breed with long-flowing beautiful fins that are slightly slender than a common goldfish.
Spotting a swimming Sarasa Comet in your backyard is a sight to behold. With their fins held upright, flexing their slender bodies in whirl. They are not afraid of crowds.
Sarasa Comets like to live in peaceful habitats with many plants. This variety of goldfish is one of the most low-maintenance and highly recommended for beginners as they are easy to keep, not finicky, and prodigious eaters.
If you’ve just got a young Sarasa Comet and wondering why it didn’t develop beautiful, bright hues?
Sarasa Comets don’t develop their natural hues until they are eight months or older.
3. Comet — The Most Common
The Comet is a fast, hardy, and well adapted goldfish for aquariums and outdoors ponds
The Comet goldfish is one of the most popular and swiftest varieties of pond fish you’ll ever find. Many pond enthusiasts love being around Comet for several reasons. It is an ideal outdoor pond fish for any novice keeper because:
- It is robust, adaptable, and hardiest among all the varieties of goldfish.
- It can be kept indoors or outdoors.
- It can survive harsh weather (to some extent).
- It can grow big without proper pampering.
Appearance and Features of Comet
Like other varieties of goldfish, Comets are also characterized by their beautiful colors and exceptional personality. However, their long, slender bodies and elongated, deeply forked tail set them apart. The eccentric, large tail gives Comets a very stylish appearance.
A Comet can be adorned with a single color or may have multi-colored bodies that add extra magic to its popularity. It can be usually seen in lemon-yellow or orange-red bodies that shine through the water surface subtly.
Their unique, long tails make them more suitable for large garden ponds or aquariums as they are quite active and the fastest variety of goldfish.
However, if you’re introducing your Comet to another goldfish, I’d suggest that you go for common goldfish rather than fancy varieties. That’s because fancy breeds are slower and can’t keep up with the pace of the Comet.
With their elongated bodies and unique fins, Wakins are a flash of color and character to your pond
Wakin is one of the most popular and common varieties of goldfish that has ancestral roots with Crucian Carp. Wakin is the progenitor of all goldfish with little tweaks to Carps’ tails.
Appearance and Features of Wakin
The body of Wakin is elongated with slight compression and short single, twin, or triple butterfly- tails, which makes them worthy of keeping in garden ponds.
The exhibit bright and beautiful original colors of red, white, or a combination of red and white. However, Wakin with magnificent red and white body color with a triple-tail is the most valuable and sought-after.
Wakin goldfish are active, and fast swimmers, so they need plenty of room to swim. Furthermore, the water quality should be pristine to keep your goldfish happy and energetic throughout.
If taken good care of, they can live up to 10 years and grow to over 12 inches.
The fantail is the most suited fancy goldfish for ponds
If I could name one fancy goldfish that is hardy, beautiful, and low-maintenance, it would definitely be Fantail goldfish. As the name suggests, the tail is the most prominent feature of the fancy tail or fantail goldfish.
Appearance and Features of Fantail
The features of fantail goldfish are fancy enough for other varieties of goldfish. Therefore, I call it a basic version of fancy goldfish.
Most commonly, this goldfish is found in orange, red, or yellow colors except for a few rarer colors resembling Koi pond fish.
The most beautiful feature of this variety is its tail that is split in the middle with two halves on the top and bottom of the fin. The tail is structured in a manner that it appears to be a triangle from the top of the tank or garden pond. The metallic gleam on the scales sets Fantail goldfish apart from its cousins.
They are relatively smaller, ranging from 6 to 8 inches, and have a brief life span.
Fantail is the happiest around its likes and in large ponds with ample plants. Keep the ponds neat and clean, as they are messy eaters and produce a lot of waste. It’s best if you install a quality filtration system to ensure water purity.
I highly recommend Fantail goldfish to beginners as it’s exotic, hardy, and can survive in cold, dry climates gracefully.
Outside of the Fantail, all other fancy goldfish are ill-suited for outdoor ponds. They are best kept in aquariums
Fancy Goldfish have been around us for ages and have been used for ornamental purposes. The most common goldfish available widely today are Black moor, Bubble eye, Panda moor, telescope eye, and butterfly tail. They were exclusively bred for decoration and give a glamorous look to your home interiors.
Appearance and Features
The fancy goldfish differs from the common goldfish in the way that their bodies are egg-shaped with double anal fins. They are also relatively smaller than the common goldfish, making them a perfect fit for indoor aquariums and tanks.
However, there are many varieties of fancy goldfish, and the features vary accordingly:
Black moor (Bubble Eye) Goldfish
Black moor goldfish is the fanciest of them all. With its beautiful telescope eyes, flowy fins, and round body.
If you fancy bold and beautiful colors. Black moor goldfish would suit you just fine.
Bubble Eye Goldfish
Bubble eye goldfish are usually orange and white with fluid-filled sacs beneath each eye. These sacs give them a unique appearance, however prone to diseases, partial blindness, and physical injury.
Fancy goldfish thrive in aquariums and tanks. Therefore, I don’t recommend keeping them in ponds as they don’t do well in outdoor ponds.
Since fancy goldfish are prone to infections and diseases, they need extra care. Also, they are slower than the common Goldfish, and struggle to compete with other goldfish and Koi.
If you’re a novice to pond keeping, I strictly advise you to avoid Fancy goldfish for your outdoor pond as it’s best to keep them indoors.
Feeders in general should be avoided for ponds. The link provided below is to one of the few breeders who raise healthy feeders
Imagine walking by the feeder tank and spotting your favorite pet goldfish being sold in cents?
The low price and attractive features might lure you, but buy beware.
If there’s one piece of advice I can give you as a fish expert, it’s this–If you’re looking for affordable pond pets, never look at the feeder Goldfish.
Why should you Avoid Feeders?
You’ll find feeder goldfish almost everywhere — in your local fish store, online stores, and chain pet stores. However, I still won’t waste my energy and time on them as they are termed feeders for a reason.
- They might carry parasites and have diseases that might infect your existing pets with life-threatening infections.
- They are not cared for and usually kept in overcrowded tanks, which results in a suppressed immune system.
- The death rate is high in feeder goldfish, and most of the feeders suffer from ammonia poisoning due to their overcrowded conditions.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Do they do well outdoors?
Koi and goldfish are two of the hardiest pond fish you’ll ever find. Goldfish are beautiful, colorful, and easy to care for. Also, they can endure harsh weather pretty well.
So yes, goldfish do pretty well in ponds.
How big should the outdoor water feature be?
Goldfish are fast swimmers and voracious eaters. Therefore, they need plenty of space and food to thrive and live happily. A goldfish pond should ideally be 50 sq. ft. (surface) or smaller water gardens from 50 to 500 gallons. If you’re a beginner, I suggest that you keep it simple and minimal.
What is the best food?
Pond Goldfish usually feed on larvae, algae, other insects, and aquatic plants to attain their essential body nutrients. However, to enhance their color, increase the growth rate, and improve their health, you can feed them packaged food specifically designed for Pond goldfish.
The best pond goldfish food depends on your set goals, whether you want to enhance the color, improve growth and health, or achieve all.
What fish can live with them outdoors?
Goldfish make peaceful and friendly pets and go along with pretty much every variety of fish really well. However, you should avoid introducing aggressive breeds to your Goldfish pond.
Here are some varieties of fish that can live with goldfish in a pond:
– Koi fish
– Mosquito fish
– Hi Fin Shark
Which Are Suitable for Outdoors?
This article covers 5 goldfish varieties that can live happily and zealously in any garden pond. The varieties include:
2. Sarasa Comet.
However, you should always avoid the two varieties of goldfish discussed in this article because they are suitable for indoor aquariums, i.e., fancy goldfish and Feeder Goldfish.
Goldfish are beautiful creatures with bizarre colors and exceptional features. Any pond connoisseur would love to keep goldfish as their playful pets. However, novice pond keepers often get confused in choosing the best goldfish for garden ponds.
Lucky for you, this article lists some of the most popular pond goldfish along with two that are a no-no for your wonderful outdoor ponds.
Happy goldfish keeping!
Mark is the founder of Aquarium Store Depot. He started in the aquarium hobby at the age of 11 and along the way worked at local fish stores. He has kept freshwater tanks, ponds, and reef tanks for over 25 years. His site was created to share his knowledge and unique teaching style on a larger scale. He has worked on making aquarium and pond keeping approachable. Mark has been featured in two books about aquarium keeping – both best sellers on Amazon. Each year, he continues to help his readers and clients with knowledge, professional builds, and troubleshooting.
I have personally been ponding for over ten years and do to the wildlife in my area all I will put in my pond are feeders I have had many of the same fish for more than 8 years I used to bring them in and out for the winter then i dug a deeper bigger pond so I could leave them outside and I’ve gotten many fan tails and beautiful colored fish from buying feeders only never had a problem with them dying or being sick they just want forever ponds too….. but for the price of a small koi to get eaten by a opossum or coon monetary wise I’ll keep with the feeders and I haven’t had to buy any since I put my big pond in I do have to keep giving them away because they are very fertile and I always have an over abundance of tiny babies
I do agree if the feeder goldfish are healthy and not from infected tanks they will make great pond fish. I just know in general feeders are kept in really bad environments at pet stores. It’s usually more than likely they will come over with diseases or aliments – which can wreak havoc in a smaller pond.
I get the feeling that you may have a larger pond. You certainly migrate the risk with a larger pond, as there is less stress and stress is going to be the main factor that gets diseases going if a fish is carrying it.
We also keep feeders in our 500+gal pond due to racoons and the birds of prey area we live near. We don’t lose them to predators because we have dogs now, and they have grown into large healthy fish 10-14″. Some are 5-7 years old, others are the babies which have grown large as well. We leave them to winter in our pond which freezes over, and they are dormant 2-3 months. They revive without loss every year. The pond is mostly shaded with lots of overgrown ivy and Orange Jubilie that roots in the water, which they love ,along with a fountain that runs mostly year round.