How to Choose between Goldfish and KOI
Many people have asked us over the years "Should I add
goldfish or KOI (or both) to my pond? The answer is "it
Goldfish are better suited to smaller water gardens and
ponds, in the 50 - 500 gallon range. Goldfish are extremely
hardy and easy to care for, which makes them the perfect choice
for the new pond owner or water gardener.
KOI, on the other hand, require a little more knowledge and
better water quality in most cases, than goldfish and are better
suited to the more experienced pond keeper. KOI generally thrive
best in ponds over 500 gallons (the bigger - the better.)
This is becuase KOI can grow quite large and therefore
require more water in the pond for proper biological breakdown
of waste. KOI are also more expensive (and harder to replace)
than goldfish, so this should also be taken into account before
filling your new pond full of KOI fish.
Goldfish are an excellent choice for the average water garden
that is usually also full of a variety of potted plants.
Lilies, Lotus, Iris, and submerged annuals - these all do well
in a water garden pond with goldfish. Goldfish will not
disturb the plants, and will enjoy playing around under the lily
pads without disturbing the plants.
Japanese KOI on the other hand, and especially the larger
ones, will often create a huge mess out of submerged potted
plants. They seem to enjoy 'digging' in the soil of the
plants and sometimes even knocking them over. This all leads to
added mess in the pond, and can create a real problem for the
Generally, it's best to not have submerged plants in large
pots, when also keeping KOI. The ideal KOI pond is much
deeper than the average water garden, so the necessity for
plants to help with water quality and shade is reduced.
However, if you still do want to keep potted plants in your
KOI pond, we recommend wrapping netting over the tops of the
pots, to keep the fish from digging in the pots. Another thing
you can do is to top the pots with 1" of pea gravel, and then
larger river stones or similar over that. The KOI will not
be able to get past the larger rocks.
As far as mixing Goldfish with KOI, this is fine and very
common, we've just tried to highlight the most important
differences between the two and between the average water garden
and KOI pond. Feel free to experiment with both, and then
decide which fish is more to your liking.
Koi and Goldfish
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