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What Fish Can Live With Koi in a Pond? (8 Great Options)

What Fish Can Live With Koi in a Pond? (8 Great Options)

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Aside from being aesthetically pleasing, many believe having a koi pond in your backyard can bring good luck. Also, watching them can bring serenity and peacefulness.

But what if you want to add more life to the pond? As you might know, not all types of fish can live in ponds or get along with koi.

So, you’re probably wondering, what fish can live with koi in a pond? And what fish will have trouble living with them?

In today’s article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about the fish that can get along with them. Let’s get right into it.

What Fish Can Live With Koi in a Pond?

Fortunately, there are many types of fish that can live peacefully in a koi pond. Let’s check them out.

1 – Goldfish

Goldfish are one of the most popular choices when it comes to sharing a pond with koi. That’s because the two species share a lot of similar temperaments as well as living requirements.

In fact, they’re basically cousins. Both of them belong to the same family, Cyprinidae. This is why they can eat the same food, and live in cool water.

Therefore, they can often live peacefully together. However, you should note that koi are significantly larger than goldfish, as well as being fiercer.

To elaborate, with the large, strong body they have, it’ll be easy for them to outcompete for food. Luckily, they aren’t inherently aggressive toward their mates.

On the contrary, they might get somewhat aggressive around the smaller goldfish.

For this reason, not just any goldfish would live happily with them. You should opt for larger or similar-sized ones, such as Shubunkin or Comet. Also, you should avoid small ones.

After they get along, you might spot them schooling with each other, which can be pretty magical to observe.

2 – Suckermouth Catfish

The suckermouth catfish is one of many plecostomus that can keep your pond clean. As the name suggests, the suckermouth has the ability to latch onto surfaces with its mouth.

They use this ability to suck off algae in your pond and clean it. In fact, some people call them “janitor fish.”

The plecos are native to the rivers of South America, which have actively flowing water. Despite the standing water of ponds, this pleco can grow healthy and happy in them.

The suckermouth typically live at the bottom of your pond. Also, they don’t need a special type of food.

That said, the bottom-feeding pleco can also make quite a mess in your pond, especially since they’re large in size.

This means you should add plecos to your koi pond only if you have a filter. Additionally, the pond should be large enough to house both the plecos and the koi comfortably.

The other thing you need to look out for is the water temperature. As a tropical species, the plecos prefer warm temperatures.

Ideally, the water temperature should be around 72-82 °F. If you live in a place with harsh winters, you might need to bring the pleco inside into an indoor aquarium.

Other than that, suckermouth catfish are suitable pond mates for koi. They both get along well, without any sort of aggression.

3 – Largemouth Bass

Koi and largemouth bass don’t share similar characteristics.

For example, koi are generally peaceful and friendly. On the other hand, bass are known to be territorial and somewhat aggressive.

However, both of them can live together peacefully under certain conditions. As a result, it might be challenging for beginners to grow them together.

For starters, bass don’t like small places. On top of that, with both fish bumping into each, you might see some aggressive behavior.

Therefore, you should reconsider growing bass if your pond is small. Ideally, your pond should be around 4 to 10 feet deep to accommodate 1 to 3 bass.

The second condition is that koi should be at least twice as big as the bass they’re living with. Otherwise, the largemouth bass might end up eating them.

Finally, you should provide the bass with hiding places to make them feel comfortable.

4 – Golden Orfe

Before koi became popular, the golden orfe was one of the most known fish to grow in a pond. So, you can expect that they do well in a pond.

However, not every pond is suitable for them. Golden orfe prefers big ponds with at least 500 gallons of water to accommodate its big size.

The torpedo-shaped ornamental orfe is mesmerizing to observe. It can get hyperactive at times, which adds liveliness to your pond.

Stagnant water can be a little depressing for the golden orfe. So, it’ll appreciate waterfalls, fountains, or streams.

In the wild, golden orfe like to eat insects, snails, and fry. As a result, you might need to supplement their pond diet with mealworms and meat-based pellets.

Overall, golden orfe and koi can get along and become friends in no time.

5 – Iridescent Shark

If you want your koi pond to be even more unique, you need to check out the iridescent sharks. Don’t let the name fool you, though, as these sharks aren’t aggressive at all.

Iridescent sharks have poor eyesight. This might lead them to eat smaller fish in the pond.

However, koi grows quite large, to about the same size as the sharks, meaning there’s a low chance of the sharks eating your koi.

Ponds make an excellent environment for iridescent sharks. The reason is that they need plenty of space to grow and swim freely, so they won’t find this luxury even in the largest tanks.

Ideally, your pond should be at least 300 gallons in size and 1.5 feet in length to accommodate these giants. The pond should also have some shaded areas, as this will make it more comfortable for them.

6 – Redear Sunfish

The redear sunfish has many names, like the shell cracker, sun perch, and Georgia bream. They’re hardy and known to consume snails.

You might face snail infestations every once in a while. The shell crackers, as the name suggests, can take care of this problem for you and eat the snails.

More importantly, they can get rid of harmful snails that can transfer parasites to your pond, like the yellow grub.

Most of the time, the redear sunfish will be at the bottom of the pond foraging for food. They rarely approach the surface of the pond.

Therefore, they’re less likely to consume commercial fish food.

The problem with the redear sunfish is that they can reproduce quickly and take over the pond. So, many growers raise them alongside carnivorous species.

Other than that, they can live peacefully in a pond with koi.

7 – Chinese High-Fin Banded Sharks

Despite the scary name, the Chinese high-fin banded sharks are friendly and can live peacefully with koi. They aren’t exactly how you picture “sharks”, right?

At a young age, they usually have black and white bands all over them. As they mature, they gradually change in colors and the bands disappear.

So, it’s basically like growing totally different fish!

These hardy sharks can tolerate the harshest winters with no problem. However, they are prone to some diseases that are present in poor-quality water.

Additionally, they can be sensitive to pH changes in the pond water. So, it’s best if you test the pH level regularly and keep it between 6.8 to 7.5.

Chinese high-fin banded sharks spend most of their time at the bottom of the bond. As a result, they prefer a high-quality substrate, like fine gravel.

They also love hiding places, like big rocks and aquatic plants. In fact, they’re good at hiding and can be shy sometimes.

So, don’t worry if you were unable to spot them the first few days after introducing them into the pond, as they can be just hiding.

8 – Sturgeon

Sturgeon originally come from the Eastern bloc. They’re resilient and don’t fall ill easily.

In fact, they can live for more than 50 years. More importantly, they’re pretty friendly and peaceful.

However, they don’t feel comfortable in tiny and even medium ponds. In fact, they can only grow in big, deep ponds.

On top of that, they appreciate water with a current. So, you can consider installing a waterfall and a powerful filter to keep the water moving.

The problem is that koi are slightly faster than them. As a result, they can eat their food faster.

To avoid this, you’ll need to feed the sturgeons daily and make sure that they reach the food. Also, you’ll need to observe any little sturgeons, as they might starve.

What Fish Can’t Live With Koi in a Pond?

Although koi are generally peaceful and friendly, they’re still omnivores. So, they can eat smaller species and fry when they have the chance.

In some rare cases, they’d eat some of their own fry. You don’t need to be worried, though, as females lay thousands of eggs at a time.

Feeding your koi a balanced diet can often decrease the chances of them eating their smaller mates. However, you can’t completely stop this behavior.

That being said, here’s a list of some fish that they might end up eating them:

  • Minnows
  • Guppies
  • Danios
  • Mollies
  • Small catfish
  • Barbs

Final Thoughts

So, what fish can live with koi in a pond?

Despite being omnivores, they’re pretty friendly fish. There are various types of fish that can share a pond with them.

That includes goldfish, suckermouth catfish, largemouth bass, golden orfe, and other fish we’ve mentioned above.

In any case, you need to make sure that your pond is suitable to accommodate the fish’s requirements. After that, you can enjoy your pond with koi and other beautiful species.


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