Which fancy goldfish can I keep all year round in ponds?

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Some fancies are more suitable for ponds than others. Paul Green advises.

Where you live in the UK may have some bearing when it comes to keeping fancy goldfish in a pond, but it will definitely extend to some the fancier varieties if you live further south and experience a shorter/warmer winter.

I live in the south-east and have kept Ranchu, considered by many to be delicate, in an exposed outdoor pond for nearly ten years. This was unheated, only 30cm/12” deep and regularly froze over in winter. It never adversely affected the fish — in fact they spawned regularly!

Growth rates were also good, despite the fact the fish were subject to normal seasonal changes.

I am also aware of Orandas, Fantails and so on kept successfully under similar circumstances and, in a few cases, much further north.

Just because the fish may be OK outside you still can’t mix them with single tail varieties and I would recommend a one-variety pond approach. Some strains of fancy goldfish are hardier than others and I’ve never seen the likes of Pearlscales or Bubble eyes kept in this way.

Research the background to your chosen fish and contact either your most local goldfish club or the Goldfish Society of Great Britain to source those that have already overwintered in an outdoor pond.

Never just go and buy fancy goldfish from a shop and put them in your pond as these fish will almost certainly not be used to our prolonged winter.  At the very least this will stress them — possibly even worse! 

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