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Guide For Taking Care Of Goldfish In A Pond | Must Know.

Goldfish are known as one of the most popular pet fish in the world. They come in a wide variety of colors and types. Goldfish are well known as aquarium fish, but they can thrive well in ponds too. As they are omnivores, they can survive in ponds without food for a long time because of the natural food sources they get in ponds.

Can a Goldfish Live in a Pond?

Yes. Goldfish can live in a pond. Actually, Goldfish live well in a pond as they get a natural habitat in a pond with plenty of space to swim and grow. If kept well, a Goldfish will live over 15 to 20 years in a pond.

Are Goldfish Easy To Keep In A Pond?

Yes. Goldfish are hardy fish that can tolerate different water conditions, and they are omnivores that can eat almost any food you provide. If you grow plants in your pond and keep the water condition well, they can survive without any given food for a long time. So, Goldfish are easier to keep in a pond than in an aquarium.

How Big Do Goldfish Get In A Pond

If the pond’s water condition is good and you provide a good diet, Goldfish will attain their maximum size in a pond. Pond goldfish usually outgrow more than aquarium goldfish as they have enough space to live.
Small rooms usually stunt the Goldfish growth if water changes were not done frequently. Goldfish in ponds typically grow to their maximum length if water changes are done regularly and feed them properly. They grow up to 14 inches in a pond.

What Kills Goldfish In A Pond?

Goldfish may die in a pond because of many reasons.

Water Quality

Although Goldfish are hardy fish that can tolerate different water conditions, they can survive on polluted water only for a limited time. Low oxygen levels or high Ammonia, nitrate, or nitrite levels of water create a potentially lethal environment.

So, it’s important to check water conditions regularly if you want your fish to live happily in a pond. pH reading of your pond should be at 7 to 9.

Ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite level should be at zero. If your pond readings show higher levels, you should do a 30 percent water change as soon as possible. Otherwise, poor water quality may kill Goldfish in a pond.

Water Temperature

Although Goldfish can cope with water temperature changes, severe or sudden water changes cause stress in your fish. A stressed Goldfish is more susceptible to diseases and is more vulnerable to other problems such as fewer oxygen levels or increased ammonia levels. Hence, the stress can be fatal for your Goldfish.

Over Crowding and Overfeeding

The overcrowded and overfed fish ponds usually have fewer oxygen levels and increased nitrogen levels in the water. Both situations are lethal to fish. You should prevent adding more fish to your pond than the recommended amount and feed them properly. If you somehow overfed them, be sure to clean the tank ASAP. The recommended water amount per Goldfish is 20 gallons. So, if you plan to add more fish, you should check the water amount your pond can hold and add fish according to recommendations.


Even though Goldfish eat algae, they can not consume all of it. If the pond gets an algae blast, it can deplete the pond water’s oxygen in the nighttime as a part of the photosynthesis process. Algae bloom can cause lower oxygen levels in the water, which can be lethal for the Goldfish. Besides, large dead algae plants can be deadly to your pond fish as the decomposition process further depletes the water’s oxygen.


Often not performing a water cleaning process leads to poor water quality in your pond. Poor water quality itself doesn’t harm your Goldfish as fish are hardy, but the chances of bacteria and virus growth increase in polluted water, which can cause infections in your fish. Bacteria and virus infections are usually lethal for fish.

Pond Goldfish Types

Although there are more than 200 goldfish types worldwide, you can not put every type of Goldfish into the ponds. Some Goldfish, such as fancy Goldfish and feeder Goldfish, are not hardy as single-tailed Goldfish, and they are not suitable as pond Goldfish. Below are five types of Goldfish that can survive and thrive in ponds.

1. Comet.
2. Sarasa Comet.
3. Fantail.
4. Wakin.
5. Shubunkin

How Big Should A Goldfish Pond Be?

Experts recommend at least 2 feet deep pond if you live in an area with a cooler temperature. It would be best if you built a large enough pond for your Goldfish as they grow about 12 inches long. Recommended diameter is 4 feet. A larger pond is better as a larger pond will give your Goldfish extra freedom to thrive in a natural habitat.

Can You Put Goldfish In A Pond In Winter?

Yes. You can put Goldfish in a Pond in Winter. Goldfish are very hardy fish that can survive in a pond in freezing cold temperatures as long as it doesn’t freeze solid and have adequate water quality and oxygen. Goldfish can survive in water temperatures as low as 0°C, so; you can keep your Goldfish in a pond in Winter.

How To Take Care Of Goldfish In Winter?

When the temperature drops, Goldfish hibernate themselves until the temperature rises to their preferred level. To help them stay healthy when hibernated, you need to follow some steps in Fall. Below steps will ensure happy and healthy Goldfish in the Spring season.

Temperature changes

When the water temperature falls below 18°C, begin feeding cold-water-fall-fish food such as Aquascape, Tetra or Hikari. You have to mix fall food with their regular summer food then gradually increase the fall food amount as the temperature decreases.

Once the temperature drops below 15 °C, you should only feed cold-water-fall-food. When the temperature drops further, you have to decrease the amount of food you feed gradually.

Stop feeding them once the temperature drops below nine °C. It is important not to feed your Goldfish when the weather is below  9 °C as their digestive system shuts down, and it doesn’t process food below this temperature level.

If you continue to feed your fish, the food can become lodged in their gut for a long time, causing serious problems. You can use a pond thermometer to check the water temperature.

organic matters

Remove leaves and other organic matters from the pond. Winter doesn’t stop the decomposing of leaves and other organic matters, which can cause elevated Ammonia and Nitrate levels and low oxygen levels of the pond.

Nitrate, Ammonia and low oxygen levels can be lethal for your Goldfish. You can prevent this easily by covering your pond with a Pond Netting.

Remove organic matters like debris and sludge from the bottom of your pond. You can do this with a fine mesh net or a pond vacuum to keep the bottom of your pond clean.

beneficial bacteria

Add cold water beneficial bacteria to help maintain good water quality throughout the Winter. These beneficial bacteria and enzymes break down any remaining leaves, residual sludge and organic matter and sustain biological activity in the cold water through the Winter. Maintaining good water quality is important to keep your fish healthy until Spring.

Adding pond salt

Adding pond salt will also help your fish to stay healthy in Winter. Salt can stimulate mucous slime coat production, make osmoregulation easier, and reduce nitrite toxicity.

maintain a hole in the ice

You must maintain a hole in the ice in your pond during Winter. An opening in the ice is essential because it allows oxygen into the pond and CO2 out of the pond.  You can use a pond heater or a De-Icer to keep a hole open through the ice.

An aerator is also a good choice to save a hole open in the ice. The water current produced by the rising bubbles prevents water from freezing, provides circulation and increased oxygen levels. 

Do Goldfish Need Feeding In Winter?

The metabolism of Goldfish is slow when the temperature drops below 9 °C; hence they hardly need any food during Winter. Goldfish goes to hibernation during Winter, and they can survive for months without food when they are hibernated. Because of this reason, Goldfish don’t need feeding in Winter.

How Long Do Goldfish Live In A Pond?

The life span of a typical Single-tailed Goldfish is usually 10 to 15 years. But, when Goldfish live in ponds, their life span increases. A single-tailed Goldfish will live up to 20 years in a pond. Even a fancy tail goldfish will live more than 15 years in a pond.

How To Build A Goldfish Pond?

Building a goldfish pond is easy if you are a creative person. There’s no exact size for making ponds. You just have to keep in mind that a goldfish will grow up to 12 inches long, head to tail, and one Goldfish need at least 20 gallons of water to thrive.

A rule of thumb is to keep the pond at least 2 feet deep to ensure the safety of Goldfish in the Winter season. Usually, the minimum size of ponds is 4 feet in diameter. The bigger the pond, is better.

There are specifically designed water filter systems, aerators, pumps and other accessories made for fish ponds. Do not forget to install this equipment before adding your fish to the pond, as these accessories help you maintain good water quality in your fish pond.

You can use rocks, plants and other decorations just like you use to decorate your aquarium in your pond. Make sure they are bigger enough to highlight within your pond.

You can add plants, an artificial waterfall and many other decorations to the exterior of the pond. Creativity is the key to building a magnificent pond in your garden. If you are out of ideas, just do a search on Google for goldfish ponds. You will have a ton load of ideas with only one search.

How To Keep An Outside Goldfish Pond Clean

Keeping a clean pond is essential if you wish to keep Goldfish in your pond. If you are a new fish keeper, you may find it difficult to keep your pond clean. Tips written below will help you keep your pond water clean.

Limit the fish population

Overcrowded ponds collect excessive fish waste, which leaves you no choice but to clean the water regularly. Frequent cleaning is a hassle for every fish keeper. To limit cleaning time, determine the fish population in your pond.

Avoid over-feeding your fish

Goldfish tend to eat everything you throw if that’s edible. If you over-feed your fish, the excessive food will go to the bottom of the pond and will decay. The fish waste will also increase because of increased intake of food, which leaves more waste to clean. Feeding once per day is more than enough for pond goldfish and removing excess food after about 4 minutes always helps. 

Install a Filtration System

There are large water filter systems made especially for ponds. Using one or a few of these in your pond is a clever idea if you want to avoid cleaning regularly. Filtration systems remove debris from the water to keep the water clean so, installing a filtration system is a clever idea if you want a clean pond.

Put a Pond Net in the Pond

If your pond is located outdoors, you can not stop the leaves and sticks falling to the pond. But, you can keep your pond clean by installing a pond net in the pond. This pond net will catch debris, leaves, sticks and other organic matters from falling into the bottom and ease your work cleaning the pond.

Credits to Keith S

Also see Calico goldfish care 15 things must know

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About Dr.Chamika

Hello, I'm Dr. Chamika. I am a Researcher in Water quality, Aquatic organisms, and Environmental chemistry. I am a passionate fish keeper, with10 years of experience. My mission is to help other aquarists experience the joy of fish keeping.