Like humans, fish need oxygen to survive. These creatures take in oxygen through their gills, extracting it directly from the water. Oxygenating plants not only keep fish healthy, they add an attractive element to outdoor ponds. Placing these important plants in any fish pond is a necessary but very simple home landscaping project.
Oxygenating pond grasses
Pond grasses can be a good addition to any outdoor fish garden. The oxygenating plants often grow tall enough to provide fish with shadowy places where they can hide. Grasses also add a more natural, organic look to fish ponds while helping maintain oxygen-rich water. Look for plants like anacharis, myriophyllum, vallisneria and elodea when choosing oxygenating pond grasses for your fish. To get the most out of your pond grasses, plant one bunch per every 0.2 square metres (2 square feet) of pond surface. Most of these grasses will grow out of containers situated at the bottom of the pond, and require very little care to flourish.
Fish-friendly water lilies
Water lilies aren't just beautiful and colourful additions to your water garden, they also help oxygenate your pond to keep fish healthy. Generally, these flowering plants grow in pots that rest 15 to 25 cm (6 to 10 inches) below the surface of the pond. Many types of hardy lilies work well in fish ponds, including pink, red, white and yellow hardy lilies. Hardy water lilies are often easier to care for and more resilient than tropical lily varieties, making them ideal for fish ponds.
Floating water hyacinths
Water hyacinths differ from many other types of oxygenating pond plants; these flowers float on the surface of the pond. The unique petals, usually blue or purple in colour, help keep the plants aloft on top of the water, creating an attractive look for any fish pond. Water hyacinths can be excellent for oxygenating pond water and keeping it clear, but they require warm, 23.9 degrees C (75 degrees F) water in order to survive and bloom properly. Because water hyacinths are tropical plants, you may want to include them in your fish pond only in spring and summer months.