Stardew Valley has quickly cultivated a rather large and strong community of farmers since its release back in February of 2016. This is partially due to the game’s natural charm and intuitive gameplay, and partially due to developer ConcernedApe, also known as Eric Barone.
Eric Barone has devoted and continues to devote an incredible amount of time, energy, and love into the game, even 4 ½ years later. His most recent update, v1.4, added hundreds of new items, clothing styles, and ways to make money, including Fish Ponds.
Fish Ponds are a pretty easy way to make some money passively, meaning that it doesn’t require energy to upkeep. All you’ll need to do is harvest their by-products from the fish bucket each day, and keep them happy by completing Fish Quests. More about that below, however. You’ll need to actually make your ponds.
The first step to crafting the ponds is getting the necessary crafting materials and money. You only need 5000 GP, 200 Stone, 5 Seaweed, and 5 Green Algae. There are dozens of guides out there that cover how to make money easily in Stardew, so we’ll just cover the crafting materials. The stone can be gathered pretty easily after a few days in the mines, or if you have the money to spare, you can just buy it directly from Robin before you talk to her about building the ponds.
The Seaweed and the Green Algae are also fairly easy to get as well. Both have a chance of being caught when fishing and spawn randomly as Treasure rewards too. The best times to go gather these are on bad luck days when the spirits are in a bad mood. Going during this time will decrease your chances of catching real fish.
After you’ve gotten the requisite materials, you’ll need to clear out a space for your Fish Pond to go. One pond covers 25 square tiles in a 5×5 pattern. You’ll need to do this before making the trek to Robin’s house, as you won’t be able to clear out space while you’re up there.
Once you’ve built your pond, all you need to do is stock it! The rarer/harder the fish it to catch, the better by-products you can receive in your fish bucket. Each species of fish will have different products that they produce. Common fish, such as Tilapia, will produce mainly just Fish Roe, whilst rarer fish, such as Super Cucumbers can produce Iridium Ore.
Most fish will produce Roe as a standard product, with a much smaller chance to produce non-Roe products as well. The Roe can be aged in a Preserves Jar to increase the sell value. It’s recommended to take perks in fishing and farming that increase your fish and animal by-product sell value if you’re serious about building the farms.
Each species also has a cap to how many fish can exist in the pond at one time. The more fish present in the pond, the higher your chances of receiving rewards that aren’t just Roe. However, in order to get fish to max capacity, you’ll need to finish Fish Pond Quests to raise capacity.
These are fetch-quests in which the fish will request certain items for you to bring them. Each species will request a different item, and there are multiple Fish Pond Quests for each species to raise capacity gradually. For example, Lava Eel Ponds, which are extremely rare, can only hold 1 eel until you give them 3 Fire Quartz after which the max capacity rises to 3.
Keep in mind that you can only give the fish the requisite items after an (!) exclamation point appears above the pond.
The best fish to use in your Fish Ponds is undoubtedly the Lava Eel. They produce great rewards and the Roe sells for more than any other fish. Sturgeon Roe can also be aged into Caviar and sold for a decent amount. If it’s the rewards you’re after, other fish such as Super Cucumbers and Blobfish can be very valuable in other ways.
And there you have it! Fish Ponds can be an incredibly easy way to gain rewards and a fair bit of money as well, so be sure to try them out!