Desert Fish and Amphibians That Will Love Your Water Feature

Goldfish add a visually striking element to your pondSo, you’ve installed a pond or some other water feature in your yard. Now what?

That is to say, what kinds of fish and amphibians are going to thrive here in San Diego? You certainly don’t want to accidentally pick up any fish that aren’t able to live a healthy life in this climate.

Allow us to help you out with this one – the following fish will do just fine in San Diego:


There’s good reason why you never see game fish like trout and bass in small garden ponds. They’ll eat up all your aquatic plants, and they need a little more room to roam.

Goldfish, on the other hand, handle the close quarters of a small pond quite well.  And most species of goldfish are brightly colored, so they also make your water feature even more visually striking.


No surprise here – pretty much everyone has at some point seen a koi pond at a restaurant or nail salon or some other place and knows that koi do well in small ponds.  They do just fine in the desert, too.

Just remember that with the temperatures as high as they frequently are here, your koi need fish food that’s high in protein to keep their strength up (this goes for goldfish as well).


We’ve mentioned goldfish and koi – and while both of those fish are indeed good fits for a garden pond, they’re also somewhat uninspiring choices. It seems like every garden pond the world over has goldfish and koi in it.

For many people, that’s fine. Others aren’t satisfied to conform to the mainstream. These are the people that listen to obscure Belgian house music instead of Top 40, wear ironic T-shirts and pajama pants rather than a suit and tie, etc.

Such people may be interested in selecting sunfish for their San Diego garden pond or water feature. These flounder-like fish are much more unique than goldfish or koi, and they’re sociable and comfortable in small ponds.

Southern Western Pond Turtle

Fish are great, but they’re a bit poker faced. Who knows what they’re thinking? It’s nice to also have some water feature residents with a little more personality, like the Southern Western Pond Turtle – which, as you may have guessed from its name, is more than acclimated to the hot and dry southwestern climate.

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions about installing a garden pond or water feature or any of our other services.

Clarke Ramsey
Landscape Artist. I help landscaping dreams come to live. I create raving fans and give my customers the highest quality product available.
Clarke Ramsey
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