Last Updated: 6/16/10
Additional Pond and/or Aquarium Fish:
The following fish are European and Asian pond fish. These are fish that I have never had. Most I have never seen, but I would like to try some of them in my pond. The problem is that most of these fish are hard to come by in the United States.
Golden Orfe have their own web page.
Fish that I have had for too short a time to write about:
Corydoras habrosus, neon tetras, and some catfish
Sources for Information on These Fish
Please note that the following fish that used to be on this page have moved to the North American native fish page: catfish, dace, darters, minnows, shiners, and sunfish.
I moved the bitterling section to its own page, here.
Garra pingi pingi has been showing up in a few aquarium stores, being sold as a pond fish. There is very little information about this Asian fish. From what I have gathered, it is similar in behavior and appearance to various loaches and "algae eaters." It is reported to eat algae but probably is opportunistic. One person I spoke with said they are not able to survive ponds over winter that freeze and yet stores sell them for ponds. I really do not know. It is also not known how well they get along with other fish but appear to be generally docile just by looking at them in the fish store. The person below who actually has one says they are not. They probably grow to about a foot long. If you have information on this fish, please contact me. Some responses are below.
This is what Tony told me about their effectiveness in ponds and more (on 4/5/03):
"I don't know about a pond. Unless it were a very small pond, I don't think they would be very effective. In addition to pond size, the climate, what else is living in or around the pond, water conditions, etc....As far as the tank, yes it is a good algae eater. The one I have spends its day eating or harassing tankmates. It is quite aggressive...."
Jay on the other hand told me on 3/31/03, "...I probably wouldn't keep dojos outdoors, but I wouldn't hestitae to keep Hi-fins or the Pingis in a pond...." Hi-fins refer to hi-fin sharks which are not sharks at all. Pingis refers to the Garra pingi pingi.
Here is one tiny web site on them (no photo though): Garra pingi pingi.
Mark sent this information about Garra pingi pingi:
"They are only aggressive to goldfish it appears. As I purchased them from where I work and we first kept them with fancy goldfish and they killed the lot by sucking on them and causing fungus, etc., we then tried them with golden minnows and they were fine. I have a hunch that it's something to do with the taste of the slime on goldfish as I know plecos will chase and suck goldfish but will not to any other member of the cyprinid family which goldfish belong to. They are quite fussy when it comes to water quality. As they seem to have a taste for goldfish it would appear that they are omnivorous and not 100% herbivorous! I seriously would not recommend keeping them in a pond, and I'm not sure of their minimum temperature just yet and they are dead expensive."
John sent me the following information about Pingi pingi on 9/10/04:
"...I once had one in a 30 gallon tank with a moor and ghost carp....As an algae eater it was average but it did like brussels sprouts and would wrestle with one for a few days until there was nothing left. Also, what was quite comical was that it would come to the surface for flake food and kind of stick its head out of the water to get it. But, it just did not like the carp and would not tolerate it, often head butting it. The carp was only about 2 inches at the time. The pingi was 3 inches. It didn't bother the moor though. I'm sure as the carp grew, the situation would have changed but it was so stressed I ended up taking the pingi back to the store where I bought it. This was back around 1995, in Edinburgh, Scotland."
A person without a name on the e-mail sent me this on 3/4/05 (which I edited slightly for
"I have currently stocked this fish for many years, and it seems to have a taste for goldfish like other similar species, e.g. sucking loach! I have tried in the past to keep fancy goldfish with this species without success due to it repeatedly sticking to the goldfish and eating the slime causing damage! As far as ponds, I do not promote them for ponds just coldwater aquariums as they will mostly surely die in winter time! Although they are a bit of a pain as far as compatibility with goldfish is concerned, I just adore them and will not hesitate to order them whenever I see them! They get to about 15 cm (6") but possibly bigger in a big tank; they don't seem too fussy about water quality, although of course my water quality is always of the highest standards (chuckle chuckle) but when the temp drops below about 7 degrees C, they start to fall to bits breaking out in fungus, etc. Hope this helps."
David sent me the following about his garra pingi pingi's on 1/3/06:
"I have kept 2 garras in my 4 ft cold water set up for over a year, in that time they have both grown from around 2" to just over 3". They are stocked with fancy goldfish, weather loaches and WCM minnows. They are only aggressive to each other, I suspect that I have two of the same sex and the dominant one keeps the other in one corner as much as it can, it can't stop it feeding but has stressed it enough so that it hasn't grown as fast, neither does it show as much colour. As they are clearly territorial, I would recommend keeping only one per tank, unless you are fortunate to have a pair develop. The price here is so high that I couldn't contemplate getting half a dozen and awaiting until a pair emerges. For a reasonably rare fish they are also quite hard to move on, so the extras would be difficult to find new homes for. They are pretty decent brown and green algae eaters, I have occasionally observed them sucking near the gill plates of the black moor but never seen any damage arise from this, I suspect it is taking food rather than sucking on the slime coat...."
Ulysses sent this information about his garra pingi pingi's on 5/14/08 (I edited the worst spelling
and grammar problems but not all):
"I read through your short index of people who have experience with pingi pingi catfish. I checked through your website before making the decision to buy the pingi catfish for my goldfish tank. People seem to have mixed reviews but I took a chance and glad I have. The pingi is Janitor catfish as he is cleaning the tank and eats the messes the goldfish make. He is like a pleco that has had a Red Bull energy drink. I recommend this fish if people can understand its flamboyant nature. I have had mine for a few months now and only seen my pingi cat try to latch on twice. This only happened in the first week of him/her adjusting to the tank. I suspect the reason for the behavior because I didn't have the proper food at the time to feed him. Once he was on a proper eating habits, I never saw him once try to latch again. He has become VERY territorial when it comes to his home (a little plastic cave and live plants that are in his small corner). If goldfish venture to his corner trying to eat his food, and he will chase them off. He runs off the goldfish with no damage I can see. The goldfish seem to have learned not to mess with his home now. I do not mind though, I have a 75 gallon tank and that little corner is nothing compared to the rest of the swimming space they have. Hope this helps some people."
Grass carp, or Ctenopharyngodon idella, grow up to 3 or 4 feet long but tend to stay 2 to 3 feet long. They may also be called white amurs. In their native Asia, some grass carp can grow to 100 pounds but tend to grow to about 20 to 30 pounds. The wild colored grass carp will hardly be seen in a pond but new albino grass carp may work well in large ponds. They eat attached algae and plants and are strict vegetarians. A few grass carp will eat most accessible plants when kept in a small pond (under 100,000 gallons). Because they are hardy, care must be taken to keep them out of wild waterways where they will eat native vegetation. There is a sterile strain available. They make good companions for koi (which are of course another species of carp) and behave similarly. The albino grass carp shows up well in a crystal-clear, plant-free, koi pond. Grass carp live for a long time like most carp. They are known for their ability to leap out of the water making them hard to catch. Grass carp have been introduced into most of the United States where they can harm native ecosystems. They can eat more than their own weight in vegetation in one day. They are usually greyish blue and have a hump on their heads and a weird body shape. Some states have made them illegal to have as an invasive species.
One place that sells grass carp is Willow Pond Aqua Farms. Their phone number is 1-888-854-8945.
The roach, Rutilus rutilus, is a native of Europe. They like cool water in the 50's and 60's degrees F and grow up to 16 inches long. Breeding may occur in ponds in late spring. Roach are omnivores. Breeding males sport a "rash." They do well with orfe, koi, and goldfish. I heard or read somewhere that these were good pond fish but cannot find a source of much information on them nor anyplace that sells them in the USA. Apparently, ponders in Europe have roach but they are rare in the USA. The pearl roach, or rudd, is very similar except the pearl roach's pelvic fins begin before the dorsal fin while the roach's are found at the beginning of the dorsal fin.
Species Summary for Rutilus rutilus Roach - includes photo
Roach - fishing site
Rutilus rutilus - site in French, includes drawing
Rudd, or Scardinus erythrophthalmus, are interesting additions to ponds. Rudd come from Europe and Britain where they are quite common in ponds. They come in wild (greenish black) and man-made golden colors (the Golden Rudd). They cruise the surface fast but at a slower speed than golden orfe. They are peaceful surface shoalers (shoal especially when young) who get along well with orfe. Rudd grow to about 16 inches long and like water in the 50's and 60's usually. Breeding males have spots and eggs are laid in late spring or early summer in ponds. Rudd are omnivores. A subspecies, Scardinua erythrophthalmus racovitzai, lives in the hot springs of western Romania and can only live in water from 68 to 93+ degrees F. Ordinary rudd can survive in iced-over ponds. While they are reported to be hardy, some also say that they are more sensitive to chemicals (especially potassium permanganate) than other pond fish, even orfe. One person who posted about them on the rec.ponds newsgroup said that his grew to 8 inches in 2 or 3 years. This is one species of fish I would like to acquire for my ponds but have yet to find a source in the USA. Rudd are also called pearl roach and often confused with the roach (see above under roach for more information).
The following is information provided by Ken from the UK on 3/13/01:
"...Rudd, however, are found in Britain, and normally share ponds with roach (much bigger, but very similar fish) with whom they shoal. They have silvery bellies, or can even be golden on their bellies, but along their backs, they are almost black, so that you have to see them side-on to see the golden colour which is much redder than orfe, and they are better camouflaged than orfe. They are much smaller fish, rarely growing more than eight inches in a pond. I find the orfe and rudd shoal together in my pond, often doing energetic fast circuits of the pond, and leaping out of the water just for fun, almost like dolphins, much to the annoyance of the more peaceful goldfish, carp, and koi! Most of the time, they hang near the surface, under a lily or other floating leaf, ready to pounce on an unsuspecting insect. I've even seem them sunbathing, simply floating near the surface in the sun, when they have not been aware of my watching them. They are shy and nervous fish, and detect you long before you see them, so that all you see is them disappearing as you approach the pond. You need to sit quietly for a while before they come out again...."
This nonindigenous aquatic species web site on rudd includes a photo of a dead rudd. According to this web site, they are sold as bait fish in the USA. They are native to Western Europe where they are popular as food and game. They can hybridize with the USA native golden shiner, Notemigonus crysoleucas to produce a more vigorous hybrid. They thus threaten US native fish by diluting the golden shiner's genetics and competing with all fish for food (invertebrates mostly). Some states have forbidden the use of rudd for live bait.
The tench, or Tinca tinca comes in two varieties. European ponders often keep tench. They are hard to find in the USA. The green tench is the wild type while the golden tench is a man-made variety. Red (red tench) and red-and-white (red-and-white tench) specimens show up from time to time. Tench are bottom feeders who stir up debris and may thus cloud the water. Plant material and insects are eaten. They like to shoal. Most grow to about 15 inches long but lengths of up to 28 inches are possible. Mature fish need large ponds.
I used to have Corydoras habrosus and neon tetras listed here but I have got some new ones to try out so now these two species have their own pages.
Years ago, we bought a small catfish from the local pet store. At the time, I was young and did not have even 1% of my current knowledge of fish. The guy at the store said this catfish would get along with our goldfish in an old 20 gallon tank. The goldfish were the only fish I had until 1992. This took place sometime in the early 1980's. I do not know what species of fish this was, only that it was not a suckermouth catfish. It was blue-gray with very long whiskers. Thus, I am pretty sure it was some predatory species of catfish. Although it was only a few inches long, within an hour of being with the goldfish, it tore off most of their fins. So, I filled up the bathtub and put the catfish in it. Well, the drain leaks, so the next morning when I went to get him to return to the store, the catfish was stranded. I put him in a bucket of water, and he came back to life. I have since read that catfish can survive out of water longer than other species but, at the time, I was amazed. Even so, the catfish died a few hours later so I could never return him.
Sources of information on grass carp, rudd, and tench:
1997-1998, 1998-1999, 1999-2000, and 2000-2001 Ponds and Watergardens USA Annual by various authors, Fancy Publications, Inc., 1997, 1998, 1999, and 2000 respectively.
Chris sent these photos of some fish on 4/25/09 that he found in South Manchester, UK. They
look a little like some dace in the US. Do you know what their species is?
Paul in the UK e-mailed me in June of 2010 to tell me the following:
"Being a keen fisherman and fishery owner, I'm 95% certain that they are bleak, a small river fish common in some rivers in the UK. They are surface feeders growing to about 4" and used to be found in very large shoals although they're not as common as they used to be."
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