Live Fish

  • Koi

  • Butterfly Koi

  • Goldfish

Live Plants

  • Bog Plants

  • Oxygenator Plants

  • Floating Plants

  • Water Lilies

  • Sinking Plants


Live Fish


Koi fish are bred primarily as ornamental fish, come in a variety of colors and sizes and can grow as big as 3’. There are 2 main types of koi, standard and butterfly, and they are classified based on their physical appearance.


Both varieties are hardy to the Indiana area, so they can tolerate the cold temperatures we experience here in the state. Koi are also known to be a peaceful fish and can easily share a home with many different types of fish and critters–including goldfish, frogs, tadpoles, rosie reds, and hi-fin sharks.


Golden Orfe are a great way to add life to your pond. These fish have slender, torpedo-like bodies and are golden orange in color, often with tiny black spots. They are a schooling fish, meaning they like to stay together in groups, and are primarily surface dwellers. They tend to be more active than koi and goldfish, but do need an adequately sized home as they have the potential to grow up to 20”.


Gold fish are also bred primarily as ornamental fish and come in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes. They are ideal for smaller water features as they typically only grow up to 12”. 


Gold fish are hardier and cheaper than koi, making them a great choice for beginners. They can survive the cold temperatures and are known to be a peaceful fish. At Aquatic Design we carry 3 different varieties of gold fish, each with their own unique characteristics.


Rosie Reds are a part of the minnow family and can easily be housed with a variety of other fish like koi, goldfish, hi-fin sharks, and more. These small pinkish red fish only grow to be around 2-3” but can dramatically increase the liveliness and activity of your pond. They are a schooling fish, meaning they like to stay together in groups, and are extremely energetic. They are hardy to the area and can remain in the pond all winter long.


Live Critters


Japanese Trapdoor Snails 

They are a perfect addition to help control algae. During the day, these snails will feed on dying vegetation and algae found on the sides and bottom of the water feature. They are one of the few species that can tolerate cold Indiana temperatures.


Bullfrog Tadpoles

For some, their pond is not complete without the sound of croaking bullfrogs. When mature, they are usually green to green-brown in color and can grow as big as 6”. Bullfrogs prefer to live in the vegetation along the edge of large, slow moving bodies of water and feed on just about anything that will fit in their mouth; this includes small fish, insects, birds, snakes, etc. They are hardy to the area and can be found hibernating at the bottom during the winter months. Once they turn into bullfrogs, they have been known to hop away from their home pond; many believe it is to search for love. Buying multiple tadpoles at one time can help prevent this from happening.



Live Plants


Planting zone 1: Bog Plants

Improve water quality by extracting excess nutrients from the pond environment before they can accumulate.


Planting zone 3: Deeper Marginals

These plants generally grow 3'- 4' tall and can add dimension to your pondscape. Grasses in this category are especially useful for removing excess nutrients.


Planting zone 5: Oxygenators 

Hornwort is the only oxygenator currently allowed to be sold in the state of Indiana. It sinks to the bottom of the pond. During the day it adds oxygen to the water. 


Planting zone 2: Shallow Marginals

These plants grow along the pond-edge, usually in aquatic planting baskets. They provide splashes of color throughout the year. These plants are typically 1'- 2' tall.


Planting zone 4: Lilies & Deep Water

Water lilies are the most exquisite and colorful plants in the water garden. They play an important part in the pond ecosystem by shading the pond surface during the height of summer. 


Planting zone 6: Floaters

A simple way to give extra shade to your pond. Floaters grow rapidly and are a great filtering plant that loves consuming nitrogen. Unfortunately they only last one season. 

Click on a category below to see the questions (then click the dropdown arrow).

Fish & Critter Questions

Will a salt treatment hurt my fish or plants?

If used correctly salt will not hurt your fish. Plants are much more sensitive to salt than fish. We recommend getting a salinity pen to ensure you do not exceed .1 parts per million (ppm) salinity with plants, or .2 ppm salinity with fish.

When should I use salt to treat my fish?

Salt is a good generalized treatment especially if you cannot pinpoint a problem. It is good at resolving mild fungal and bacterial issues. We recommend you start a salt treatment as soon as you notice something off with your fish. Waiting to treat a problem will decrease the likelihood of success.

Should I get snails?

Snails are very helpful to have in your pond because they eat decaying plant matter. However, only put snails in your pond if you are positive that you want them. Once in your pond, it is very difficult to remove them all.

Will bull frogs eat my fish?

Bull frogs will eat fish that they can fit in their mouth. We don’t recommend getting one if you have small fish like minnows. For most ponds with fish over three inches, having bullfrogs will be fine.

How big do goldfish get?

Goldfish can grow up to 12 or 14 inches.

How big do koi get?

Koi can grow up to 24 to 36 inches. That's 2 to 3 feet!

Can you special order specific types of koi?

Yes we can and are happy to do so. Please call us to discuss what you type you are looking for. Our phone number is 317-996-3106.

When should I start / stop feeding my fish?

It is best to stop feeding your fish when the water falls below 55 degrees. We stop feeding fish then because their metabolism slows down and they cannot digest the food before it rots in their digestive tract. Conversely, you can start feeding your fish when the water is consistently above 55 degrees.

How often should I feed my fish?

Feeding fish is for our enjoyment, not because fish need it. When fish are in an outside pond they can usually get enough nutrients from bugs and algae. If you want to feed your fish, give them as much food as they can eat in 5 minutes. If you really enjoy feeding the fish, you can give them a few smaller meals throughout the day as apposed to one large feeding.

How deep should my pond be for fish?

There are two things to consider when answering this question: predators and winter. To keep fish safe from most predators, a depth of 18 inches will suffice. In the Midwest, specifically Indiana, to keep fish in a pond over winter we suggest making it minimally 24 to 36 inches deep. This will prevent the fish from freezing solid (which they cannot survive).

How do I acclimate new fish to my pond?

We start by placing the fish bag into the water on the edge of the pond. We immediately open the bag and pour some pond water into the bag, and let it sit for about twenty minutes. When we come back, we’ll add even more pond water to the bag and let it sit for another ten minutes. After that, we compare the water temperature in the bag to the temperature of the pond water. You can do this by placing your hand in the bag and then the pond. If the temperature feels close, we release the fish into the pond. Don’t be worried if you don’t see them for a while. They need time to get acclimated in their new surroundings.

What fish can I put in my pond?

    • We recommend cold hardy fish such as: koi, goldfish, golden orfe, and minnows.
      • Koi: can grow up to 3 feet long and are best for larger ponds.
      • Goldfish: usually grow up to a foot long and work well with smaller ponds
      • Golden orfe: potentially grow up to 20 inches long. They are known for adding a lot of life to the pond and are also a schooling fish.
      • Minnows: grow up to 3 inches and are very active. They look best in large schools and can be seen moving around the pond in a tight school.

Plant Questions

Where should I place lilies in my pond?

Lilies are a deep-water plant. They appreciate being planted on or near the bottom of your pond. From there they send their stems to the surface of the water where you will see the lily. Make sure the lily is not near any running water such as a waterfall as they prefer calmer or still water.

What type of pond plants do you have to choose from?

We have a pond plant for every zone in your pond! Please look at our image above to learn more. We do not own the image used here, but it is helpful.