Putting Goldfish in a Pond – Can They Survive Without a Pump?

Updated on by Patrice Alsteen | Affiliate links may be present.

There is something so peaceful about the sight of happy fish swimming in a pond! I could sit and watch them all day!

Do you really need a air pump to keep those goldfish happy and healthy? What is the best way to introduce goldfish to a pond, anyway? Let’s explore ponds, pumps, and goldfish!

What is the Purpose of a Pump?

The pump in your goldfish pond serves two purposes:

  • Filtration: The pump moves the dirty water in the pond to the filtration system so that it can be cleaned.
  • Oxygen supply: Since the pump keeps the water moving, it also keeps it full of bubbles and oxygen that are helpful to your fish.

Can Goldfish Survive Without a Pump?

Give your goldfish a long, healthy life with a properly aerated pond! Goldfish in a pond with a pump may live as long as 10-15 years. Goldfish in a pond without a pump usually survives for only several weeks to a month.

Preparing Your Pond Before Adding Goldfish to it

Make sure your pond will be a good home for your fish before you add them to the water!

Pond Depth

Goldfish are considered cold water fish, which means they will go dormant in the winter. They need deep enough water so they can hibernate under the ice all winter. The depth of your pond should be at least 24 inches deep for goldfish.

Pond Pump and Filter

Invest in a recirculating pump with a filter to keep the water aerated. A pump will also help keep part of the pond from freezing in the winter, so the fish have an area for dormancy.

Treating the Pond

If you use chlorinated tap water to fill your pond, make sure to add a dechlorinator. Pond test strips may be helpful to make sure that your pond has the ideal levels for healthy fish.

Aquatic Plants

Aquatic plants provide your fish with food, shade, and hiding spots. Try to install enough plants to cover about 60-75% of the surface of the pond. Water lilies and pickerelweed are good plants for a backyard pond.

Add the Fish

Once your pond is ready, it is time to introduce your goldfish to their new home.

Acclimate your Fish

It is important to allow the fish to adjust to the temperature of the pond, rather than just dumping them in. Place the container with the fish outdoors until the temperatures equalize, or float the fish in a bag in the pond.

Slowly Add Pond Water

Acclimate your fish to the pond water by gradually adding the pond water to the water in the fish’s current environment.

Introduce the Fish to the Pond

Your fish is ready to dive into their new home! Gently add the fish to the pond. Monitor their activity. A healthy fish should be active.

How Many Goldfish Should I Put in a Pond?

The general rule is one adult goldfish per 100 gallons of water. To find how many gallons of water are in your pond, you will need to do a little math. Find the area of your pond, then convert it to volume in gallons.

Avoid overcrowded conditions for your fish! This will put your fish and your pond at risk. Make sure you account for potential losses and the addition of any baby fish.

Do I Need to Feed the Goldfish?

Goldfish are natural foragers and will eat whatever they can find. The goldfish will eat the aquatic plants in the pond. They will also make a meal of any bugs or larvae that land in the pond.

Often, the goldfish are able to meet all their dietary needs without your help. However, if your pond is new, your goldfish is new, or you don’t have many established plants yet, you may need to add some food.

Do not use standard aquarium fish food. It will disintegrate before the fish can find it! Use a pond-specific fish food, like this. As usual, be careful not to overfeed your fish.

What About Pumpless Ponds?

A healthy pumpless pond is possible. However, a natural pond must be constructed to support fish in a very specific way.

A manmade pond can quickly become stagnant and fill with harmful bacteria without a pump to move the water through a filter. The fish could also suffer from a lack of oxygen in a pond that is not aerated with a pump.

Final Thoughts

Your goldfish can live a long, healthy life in a pond with clean water. The key to clean, aerated water is usually a pump. Invest in a recirculating pump, and introduce your goldfish to the pond with care. You should be able to enjoy your pond full of happy fish for years to come!

About Patrice Alsteen

Patrice has been an animal lover, right from her childhood. She's currently enjoying the company of her cat, dog, aquarium fishes, and a few small furry companions.

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