Floating Pond Plants for a Goldfish Pond

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Floating pond plants are an essential component to a healthy balanced goldfish pond. Depending on how much direct sunlight and the depth of the goldfish pond, the floating pond plants should cover up to 60% of the surface area of the pond water. Floating pond plants not only provide shade during hot summer days, they reflect and absorb direct sunlight that buffers the water temperature of the goldfish pond. Depending on how much direct sunlight and how deep a goldfish pond is, floating pond plants should cover up to 60% of the surface area of the pond water. Floating pond plants will shrink the surface area of the water and allow less oxygen to enter the pond water. Avoid low oxygen levels in the summer by running water features 24/7.

Floating pond plants also provide protection from predators. They uses up excess nitrate in the water that allow algae blooms to grow and eliminate chemical pollutants that might be present in the goldfish pond water. All of these benefits aide in the well being of the goldfish pond residents by eliminating stress that can cause a goldfish to become sick.

lilly pads

Readily Available Pond Plants

By no means is this a complete list; these are floating plants that many pond keepers have had success with in a goldfish pond. Always Know if the aquatic plants you purchase are legal in your region and never dispose of these in to local water ways. Even if you think they are dead, they can bounce back.

  • Water Hyacinths
  • Water Lettuce
  • Frogbit
  • Parrot Feather
  • Sensitive Plant
  • Azolla
  • Duckweed

A water lotus plant is a nice flowering plant that can be planted in a basket and placed on the bottom of your pond (6”- 12” beneath the surface). It will then grow up and of the pond. the leaves will float on the surface and eventually some colorful flowers will bloom.

Avoid Goldfish Predators
By adding pond plants you can help keep predators out.

goldfish common type



Avoid placing new floating plants that have been out of the water for an extended time into direct sunlight the first few days. The leaves and shoots will be dehydrated and the sun will burn the leaves and turn them brown. Keep these new plants in a separate container full of pond water that is placed in the shade or place them in an enclosed spot in the shade of the goldfish pond. Many goldfish pond keepers will create a pond fence that keeps their floating aquatic plants form spreading to where they don’t want them. A hula hoop is an inexpensive way to control the spread of a floating pond plant. This keeps any floating plants form being sucked up into the pond skimmer, damaging the plants and clogging the intake of the pond skimmer.

Goldfish will nibble on the roots of many aquatic plants. This should not be a problem if there is an abundance of aquatic plants and other things to eat in relation to how many goldfish are stocked in the pond. If this becomes a problem, place a few floating pond plants in any upper portions of the pond where goldfish can’t get to like the tops of waterfalls. If the goldfish begin to eat the floating plants, fresh healthy aquatic plants can be cycled in. Add an aquatic plant fertilizer to encourage growth during the growing season.

Photo: Randy Heinitz

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