Best Fish for Outdoor Fountains

The Best types of Fish for Your Outdoor Fountain and How to Care for Them

Would you like to add some interest to your outdoor fountain by adding fish to the pool? Before you purchase just any old fish, you’ll need to know which types of fish are best for an outdoor fountain. Only certain breeds of fish do well outdoors and these are the most popular for fountains.


  • Goldfish. Goldfish are a great choice for a fountain as they are very hardy and grow to be quite large when housed in a larger fountain. They also come in a wide variety of colors including red orange, gold, black and bronze, making them a colorful addition to your yard or garden.


  • Japanese koi. Japanese koi are also very popular fountain fish due to their mixed colors. They are much more colorful versions of standard carp, coming in shades of white, black, red, yellow, blue and cream.  


  • Catfish. With their long whiskers and ray fins, catfish are a unique element in any large fountain. Their large dark bodies add a mystery element to your fountain, making it the ideal talking point to visitors.
  • Mosquito fish. A mosquito fish is a freshwater fish that is a bit smaller than other types of fish, making them a great choices for smaller fountains. When placed in larger fountains in larger numbers, their silver bodies add a shimmering effect.

Taking Care of Fish in Your Fountain

To care for your new additions to your fountain, you’ll need to take a few steps to keep the fish healthy. This involves controlling algae and keeping the water levels balanced. Here’s how to care for fish in any size fountain.

  • Control algae in your fountain by adding rooted plants to the absorb nutrients that algae normally feeds on. Taller, leafy plants also shade the surface of the water, preventing algae from growing and give the inhabitants some shade.
  • Install a filtration system to clean the water in the fountain. You’ll want to choose your filter based on the size of your fountain and the amount of water in it.
  • The fish need space to swim and grow, so be sure not to overpopulate your fountain.

Clean out the sides of the fountain at least once each summer. You should do this to remove residue that builds up along the bottom and eliminate waste that may harm the fish.  

How to Feed Fish

  • Only feed your fish as much as they can eat within 5 minutes. At first, you’ll need to observe the fish to get the right amount.
  • In cooler water (50 to 60 degrees), only feed fish once every one or two days.
  • In warmer water (65 to 80 degrees), fish have higher metabolisms and will likely need to eat two to four times per day.
  • In very hot water (over 90 degrees), fish won’t need to eat as much.
  • In very warm weather, do not feed your fish. They will dine on the algae that grows in the pond during warm weather and don’t need extra food.
  • These are general rules so be sure go over their dietary requirements when purchasing.