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Fish for Backyard Pond

Q. I have a new pond with hardy waterlilies and other aquatic plants. I would like to add some fish. Any suggestions?

A. When considering fish for a new water habitat, even a contained one in your own backyard, avoid introducing any that might be related to an invasive species. Unfortunately, some gardeners (as well as former pet owners) discard their live fish into natural waterways, streams and lakes, creating an imbalance with the native species. While gold fish and koi might be commonly found in backyard ponds, they pose a serious problem if released into the wild, since they are members of the highly invasive carp family. (These fish also will graze heavily on many of your aquatic plants!) Minnows are recommended for pond use, as are some of the native fish, such as bluegills.

To create movement as well as a pleasing sound in your water garden, consider adding a small fountain or bubbler to the pond. By keeping the surface of the water moving, you discourage mosquito egg laying and encourage water and oxygen flow throughout the pond.