How to raise goldfish in a garden pond

Updated February 21, 2017

Garden water features have become a popular and tranquil addition to the landscape, and every pond should have its residents, particularly goldfish. These beautiful creatures can live for many years if cared for correctly. Raising pond goldfish and koi carp can be educational and rewarding.

Condition the goldfish for one year. Wait through the winter hibernation cycle and then do not feed them for several months. When spring arrives, the goldfish will begin breeding. For best breeding results, males should be three to five years old, and females should be four to six years old. Make sure the goldfish are healthy to ensure successful breeding.

Give them privacy. Create a separate area called a spawn pond. In the spawn pond, the fish will need good water quality, proper water temperature, and a place in which to lay their eggs.

Populate the pond. Place two males for every female into the spawn pond. A male goldfish will develop white spots on the pectoral fins and on the gill covers when he is looking to breed. The males will chase the females, triggering the female to spawn. The fish usually spawn between dawn and mid-morning unless disturbed.

Watch the pond temperature. Ideal spawning temperature is 15.5 to 21 degrees C (60F to 70F). For the incubation period of the eggs, 20 degrees C (68F) is best. The temperature for young fry should be around 24 degrees C (75F).

Make the pond comfortable. Suspend in the water a media to harbour the developing eggs and new hatchlings. This media can be made from string attached to a cork, evergreen branches bundled together or plastic PVC pipe. The newly hatched goldfish babies, called fry, cannot swim so the media will help keep them safe. Remove the adults from the spawning pond, because the eggs and fry will be eaten by adults if they remain together. Don't feed the fry until three to four days after they hatch.

Keep the pond clean. Breeding ponds need to maintain good water quality. Good aeration and oxygen content are needed to prompt fish to spawn. After spawning, a thorough water change is needed. To help clean the water, use very fine filter mesh to avoid drawing the small fry into the filter.

Thin the herd. One month after hatching, cull at least half of the young goldfish. After an additional two to three weeks, cull again. As they grow, give the fry higher protein foods.


See if you can pass on the culled fry to a friend, neighbour or a local school.

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