How to Take Care of a Goldfish in a Pond

An outdoor pond can be a great home for a goldfish. Given you can meet all criteria necessary to ensure its survival, it can live for years to come.

goldfish garden pond
  • Only hardy breeds or fish that are native to your region should be kept outside. It’s best to stick with common, shubunkin and comet breeds if you live in a geographical location that gets cold.
  • Your pond needs to be a healthy living space that takes into account all the vital water parameters including: water temp, oxygen levels, pH, ammonia and nitrates.
  • You will need to be able to maintain your pond by conducting routine maintenance throughout each season.

Related: How to Plan and Build a Garden Pond

Selecting a Spot Outside

Whether you want to build an in-ground pond or add a container pond onto a patio, you should find a place that is ideal for the fish, water, and any plants living in the pond. Avoid placing a pond directly under trees that can drop leaves into the water. This will lead to extra nitrates in the water as the leaves fall to the bottom and rot. This can throw off the water parameters and potential kill your fish if it gets out of hand. Likewise, don’t place the pond in a place that gets direct sunlight all day. Too much sun can lead to algae blooms, reduce the oxygen in the water and again, potentially kill your fish. It’s best to choose a location that has some sun and some shade.

How much sun to shade depends on how big the pond is. A larger pond with a lager volume of water can absorb more of these negative factors than say a small container pond. A pond with more water, and deeper for that matter, will take much longer to warm up in the sun and take longer for the water parameters to spike due to rotting waste or algae growth.

More Tips for Outdoor Pond Care

  • Having a pond outdoors means less safety for your goldfish. There are a number of predators from raccoons to birds that could eat your fish. You can avoid this by adding hiding places for the fish, making the pond deep enough so the fish can escape downwards or you could add a protective netting above the pond to keep these would be predators at bay.
  • Keeping an pond out in the garden also means, it will be subjected to the elements and changes of the seasons.depending on your geographical location, you may need to learn about winterizing your pond. This involves providing safeguards to protect the fish, plants, and water from the elements. The water will get cold, the fish will become less active, and the plants will die back. You will need to change the feeding cycle and diet of the fish. You may also need to make sure the pond doesn’t completely freeze over. Lastly, you should learn how to cut back and prepare your pond plants for the winter and following spring.
  • You may be tempted to load up a pond with a lot of fish but consider doing this slowly over a period of time so your pond water parameters and cycle can adjust. It’s also important not to overstock the pond as it will lead to additional maintenance and a fight to keep the water healthy. Goldfish can grow large and produce a lot of waste so make sure to take that into account before purchasing your fish.

Reviewed By: Tim Winter

Tim Winter has a strong affection for pets and wildlife. His years of experience caring for various types of pets has led him to share his knowledge with others on the best practices in pet care. Tim holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communications.

11 thoughts on “How to Take Care of a Goldfish in a Pond”

  1. If you use well water in you goldfish pond what do you need to put in the water before you put the goldfish in the water?

  2. hi we have a small garden pond we put 2 goldfish in 2 shibumkins and 2 orfe this is just under a year ago i lost an orf then both goldfish died and now my shibumkin looks sick we have a good pond filter and an ultra violet lite i have also put tetra medifin in occasionally there is only 3 fish left and i am reluctant to put more in if they die .I would appreciate any advice thank you pat.

    • ok late post here, i have 5 , 8 to 10 inch shubunks. the males are gold and i,ve noticed as the get older the white spots on them become more promenant. the two females are calicoes one as it got older as turned white and lost alot of it,s spots the other you can see the color fade as they get older.. I have maybe 40 fish in the tank most are new born showing wonderful colors including neon yellow and a red burst. I seem to have a lot of greys and silvers… stunning fish but will the color change when they get older, they are about 3 inch now. i run a 11,000 gallon main pond and a 500 gallon little fish tank.

    • Usually the only goldfish breeds that should be kept outside over winter are Common and Comet types but I know of a few people that have successfully kept Black Moores outside during the winter. But not in a freezing climate where it snows. I myself would take in any small ones since they don’t handle temperature extremes as well as bigger fish do. If your pond is shallow, that might be a problem too. in a deeper pond, the water is slightly warmer at the bottom and the fish will hang out there. You could always buy a small heater that they can congregate around.

  3. Just opened your web site and I must say I LIKE IT…!!! All of my life I have wanted a fish pond. I have now moved to Thailand to retire and have built my wife (and me) hehehee….Three ponds…I look forward to all you have to offer here and will have many questions for sure…Thank you so much..Ted Davis, Chiang Rai Thailand…

    • I’m so jealous; you have three! Currently I don’t live in a location with enough space for a goldfish pond let alone three. Enjoy your retirement in Thailand, that sounds great.

  4. For the last three years or so my black (moors?) with the fan tails have bred with some of the orange commets. They produced a solid black commet, some with straight flowing tails and others with nice fan tails. I guess only about 5-6 of the babies survive each year, but after 2 years they really grow to about 4-5 inches. I have never seen these type fish and they live very nicely in my ousde fish pond. I wonder if they are expensive at a fish store if anyone has them in their store.

    • Those goldfish sound pretty neat looking. Usually those two wouldn’t make a good looking fish but it sounds like you have had good success with breeding them. Comets are hardy goldfish and the black moors are typically not as hardy in outdoor ponds. Again it sounds like you have also had success with them. I’m not a breeding expert so I wouldn’t know what they might sell for. I would post pics of it on a fish forum to see what the community thinks.


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