Some people wish to add different animals to their pond (and not necessarily fish) or add a menagerie of critters.  Be aware that some of these animals do not play nice with others or can be destructive.

Aquatic Turtles: There are a few species (such as red sliders) that are great in ponds.  Provide them with basking areas in sun where they can get out of the water, hiding spots at the edge of the pond and places for them to go adventuring around the pond.  Turtles have rather sharp claws so use the heaviest liners along with sloping sides allowing them easy access in or out of the water.  Ensure good water oxygen levels too.  Turtles are great escape artists and secure fencing three times their body length high and 6” - 10” into the ground around the perimeter of their range.  Of course, your seasons and temps in your area will also be a factor in removing the turtles indoors during winter or providing them with proper hibernation areas.  Be aware that turtles will eat guppies and small goldfish, decimate many aquatic plants and nibble on expensive Koi.  Mixing fish with turtles may not be an option unless you have a very large pond system.

Ducks or other Domesticated Waterfowl: Making a duck pond for your waterfowl is slightly different from a fish pond.  Ducks actually prefer water that is only a few feet deep.  Keep the banks gradually sloped for easy entry and exit.  Provide lots of marginal and submerged plants (avoid cattails or barrier plants).  Provide plenty of cover for feeding, resting or nesting.  Ducks are not good alone, having 3-4 is best.  However, be aware that ducks emit lots of waste (times 3 or 4 ducks).  So, ensure that the pond filtration system is oversized and cleaning or water changes will be greater compared to a fish pond.

Amphibians:  Some people want to make a frog pond.  Before considering adding non-native or exotic species, in the US alone, there are nearly 300 species of amphibians (including frogs, toads, newts and salamanders) and found in every state.  If you build a water feature about 2’ deep with plenty of cover around, native species will appear wanted or not.  Another reason adding non-native species is a bad idea is that they can spread Chytrid fungus to local species.  Further, these exotic species might not be able to survive in your local habitat OR, just the opposite, they could be an invasive species and could be disastrous for the local ecosystem.  Keep exotic species confined indoors in proper aquarium habitats.

Snails and other Invertebrates: There are many types of snails that can be bought and added to ponds.  Some are purely ornamental while others seek them out to clean algae or muck such as fish waste or uneaten food from the pond.  Beware that some snails are destructive to certain pond plants or may breed uncontrollably.  Certain chemicals can harm invertebrates like snails so treating water may be difficult.  Be careful where you source snails as you may end of with an unwanted or harmful species.  Just like exotic amphibians, you may be introducing a competitor to local fauna that could wreak havoc.  Always check with your local state for lists of invasive species before adding snails from a reputable source.   

Fish: Of course Koi and Goldfish come to mind.  However, there are many other fish suited for ponds.  Mosquito fish, red and fathead minnows, gobis, sunfish, or golden tench, ruud, and orfes, to name a few.  Some people like catfish, but be aware that some grow large, are destructive, aggressive and even predatory to other fish.  All these fish have different needs, temps, water conditions and space so do your homework before mixing them together.  Always test the water before adding fish to the pond.  If adding fish for the first time or adding to the existing populations, calculate how many fish the pond can hold – do not overcrowd.  Follow this rule-of-thumb when calculating your pond’s fish capacity: For large fish (like Koi), allocate 35 gallons per inch of fish; if keeping small fish (like Goldfish) allocate 20 gallons per inch (do not count tail fins).  Fish grow and breed as well, so plan ahead.  Remember: Do not stock invasive species!

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