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How Many Fish Can Phoenix Homeowners Have In Their Phoenix Pond?

Phoenix and Scottsdale homeowners are often confused by the amount of information on the internet about the subject of stocking a backyard pond: what kind of fish, how many, etc. Every environment is a bit different, so be careful about where the information is coming from. Here are some tips on the subject for our Sonoran Desert ponds specifically.

Before adding fish, be sure you ask your contractor about their recommendations based on how they designed and built your pond.

When to Add Fish to your Phoenix Pond

First of all, you should wait at least two weeks after the aquatic plants have been installed before introducing Koi or decorative goldfish to your backyard pond.  The longer you wait for your plants to mature and become well-rooted, the better off you’ll be.  But we understand that a new backyard pond is exciting, and that you’re anxious to put all the pieces together. 

Remember that a Koi’s mission in life is to forage and uproot the lovely aquatic plants that you’ve grown fond of.  It’s how they entertain themselves – fish humor, if you will.  This is especially true if you’re not feeding them other types of food regularly, which you don’t need to do in a well-built and well-balanced backyard pond.  They can certainly live off foraging, and this makes them about the lowest-maintenance pet possible!

Size of Fish to Add to Your Phoenix Pond

Secondly, we recommend purchasing small fish (3-5” in length).  This is a much less expensive option than buying larger fish, and it’s less stressful on the smaller fish to change environments – typically from a glass bowl/tank to a backyard pond.  In addition, smaller fish do less damage to aquatic plants already in place.  The drawback, however, is that you may not be able to see exactly what the fish will look like when it “grows up.”  Be sure to follow acclimation guidelines when adding fish to your pond.

How Many Fish to Add to Your Phoenix Pond

Stocking density is an important part of keeping your backyard pond healthy and low maintenance.  Having fish in your backyard pond is an essential part of the ecosystem, but if your fish are crowded, they are more likely to have problems with parasites and disease.  If one fish is sick in a crowded pond situation, the illness will spread more quickly than in a less crowded pond.

There are different guidelines for stocking density, depending on how low maintenance you want your backyard pond to be, and how many fish it was designed to support (filtration, predator protection, etc.):

  • If you want a lower maintenance pond, you should calculate a ½” of fish per ten gallons of water. This will allow you to have a simpler filtration system.
  • The highest level of stocking that we recommend is calculated as 1” of fish per ten gallons of water.  We typically build our ponds to this ratio.
  • You can have a few more goldfish than Koi, should you wish.  You can also mix the two, substituting two goldfish for every Koi.  There are many lovely choices of both!

These are general rules of thumb to follow for a living ecosystem backyard pond. 

Serving Phoenix, Scottsdale, Glendale, Arizona (AZ) & Surrounding Areas

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