50 gallon pond? Question 

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Jennalovesanimals

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Hi guys, I have a 50 gallon rubber tote in the middle of a circular flower garden that I’m considering making a small fish pond? I have goldfish in a tank in the house and I love them so I’d like to make it a goldfish pond but I don’t know if that’s acceptable.. I also would like some suggestions on filtration for small ponds? My dad would prefer not to have a bunch of extension cords running across the lawn if possible, and I’m wondering if there’s any way to keep them in there over winter?
It’s okay if it isn’t acceptable for fish, it’s just an idea.
Thanks
 

EmbersToAshes

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I think ponds have to be a couple feet deep inorder to keep them there over winter. It would also be hard to keep such a small amount of water cool enough during the summer. I would go bigger
 
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EmbersToAshes said:
I think ponds have to be a couple feet deep inorder to keep them there over winter. It would also be hard to keep such a small amount of water cool enough during the summer. I would go bigger
Okay sounds good I won’t do it then. The fishless pond had been there for years so I’ll just leave it that way :) it’s only a foot deep.
 

Mongo75

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I would also worry about the Rubbermaid plastic being able to handle the outdoor conditions over a long exposure period. My experience is it gets brittle and cracks real easy.
 

EmbersToAshes

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I'm not an expert on the subject and you might be able to get away with it if you live in an area that doesn't freeze. But eventually goldfish would outgrow 50 gals of space and need to be rehomed
 
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Jennalovesanimals

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EmbersToAshes said:
I'm not an expert on the subject and you might be able to get away with it if you live in an area that doesn't freeze. But eventually goldfish would outgrow 50 gals of space and need to be rehomed
Yeah I don’t like in an area that stays warm. Everything freezes here also it would be fancy goldfish rather than comets and I wouldn’t overstock so they wouldn’t outgrow it but still I just won’t do it if it isn’t big enough not to freeze all the way
 

Mr. Kgnao

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You could always take whatever you put in there inside when the temperatures drop. So long as you keep it out of direct sunlight temperatures shouldn't get to high. The biggest problem would probably be predators if it's only a foot deep.
 
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Jennalovesanimals

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Mr. Kgnao said:
You could always take whatever you put in there inside when the temperatures drop. So long as you keep it out of direct sunlight temperatures shouldn't get to high. The biggest problem would probably be predators if it's only a foot deep.
Yeah particularly my outdoor kitties that like to drink from there now that I think about it. I wouldn’t have room to bring anything inside unless I just took what is currently in my tanks and put them out there.. my goldfish tank is full as well as my tropical tanks and besides those it’s just betta tanks and an African clawed frog tank I mean maybe it would be something I could do with the guppies I’m planning to sell? Except I wouldn’t want to spend a huge amount on filtration because I’m moving next year..
 

Mr. Kgnao

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I would just drop a sponge filter in there and call it a day, so filtration doesn't have to be expensive.
 
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Jennalovesanimals

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Mr. Kgnao said:
I would just drop a sponge filter in there and call it a day, so filtration doesn't have to be expensive.
Hmm.. would a sponge filter be enough to keep a 50 gallon tank clean in direct sunlight though? I’m really starting to consider this a possibility with some guppies and maybe my neon tetras.. just for the summer. Might not tho
 

Mr. Kgnao

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It will be enough biological filtration, a 50 gallon tub is probably going to turn green though, and you're definitely going to have some particulate, but that's just a pond. I would definitely try to keep it out of direct sunlight, or at least limit the sun to mostly early morning. I've used large plants like hibiscus to shade smaller ponds, or a pallet stood up on end and planted with vines, ferns, and succulents. It looks dumb for a while, but it eventually fills in.
 
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Mr. Kgnao said:
It will be enough biological filtration, a 50 gallon tub is probably going to turn green though, and you're definitely going to have some particulate, but that's just a pond. I would definitely try to keep it out of direct sunlight, or at least limit the sun to mostly early morning. I've used large plants like hibiscus to shade smaller ponds, or a pallet stood up on end and planted with vines, ferns, and succulents. It looks dumb for a while, but it eventually fills in.
If I keep my guppies out there in the summer I would like to buy some females for them so I can fill up my pond without buying every one of the fish, but then when summer is over that could become an issue...
so I have a couple questions
1. How can I keep the temperature consistent?
2. Is there any way to keep them outside year round with a heater in the water? Just because I won’t have any tank room to bring them all in during the winter..
3. Will they overstock themselves if I don’t save any fry or will only a few survive?
 

CichlidFreak7000

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You can keep a heater there during the winter (but it has to be overkill if it gets below freezing) and guppies are hardy fish and probably don't need a super consistent water temp, just not over 85 degrees Fahrenheit or under 68 degrees. Generally if it gets overstocked, they will cannibalize their babies. Its kinda sad
 
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CichlidFreak7000 said:
You can keep a heater there during the winter (but it has to be overkill if it gets below freezing) and guppies are hardy fish and probably don't need a super consistent water temp, just not over 85 degrees Fahrenheit or under 68 degrees. Generally if it gets overstocked, they will cannibalize their babies. Its kinda sad
Yeah unfortunately they’ll cannibalize their babies whenever possible.. if I go through with this plan then I’ll have to have rock formations in there for them to hide in. Also another question I had is when I do water changes I really don’t wanna have to run into the house to get a bucket with warm water, I’d rather just use the hose, which would have cold water. Is that going to hurt the guppies?
 

EmbersToAshes

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I would fill a bucket up outside by the pond, then wait for it to become outside temp before pouring it in. You might be able to get away with using the hose if you do many small water changes through the week instead of a larger one once a week
 
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Jennalovesanimals

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EmbersToAshes said:
I would fill a bucket up outside by the pond, then wait for it to become outside temp before pouring it in. You might be able to get away with using the hose if you do many small water changes through the week instead of a larger one once a week
Okay sounds good. How about for one the winter? I’m thinking a 300 watt de-icer and possibly a waterproof enclosure over the pond to keep it warm, but I’d probably have to bring water from inside for water changes right?
 

Mr. Kgnao

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I have no idea how cold it gets where you live, but in my opinion, if it stays below freezing for most of the winter, heating a small, above ground pond to a temperature guppies can tolerate is unrealistic.
I do all my water changes with unheated water, I only change 10-20% at a time. For a pond I'd just let the rain do most of the water changes for me and keep the water buffered with some limestone.
 
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Jennalovesanimals

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Mr. Kgnao said:
I have no idea how cold it gets where you live, but in my opinion, if it stays below freezing for most of the winter, heating a small, above ground pond to a temperature guppies can tolerate is unrealistic.
I do all my water changes with unheated water, I only change 10-20% at a time. For a pond I'd just let the rain do most of the water changes for me and keep the water buffered with some limestone.
It’s below ground if that makes a difference.. I watched a woman on YouTube who pulled it off in the same climate as me.. I’m willing to not do it for sure though it’s just an idea at this point
 

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I live in NW Florida, panhandle. It does get below freezing here, though typically not for more than overnight, or at most a few days at a stretch. So, it is temperate enough that water in a foot-deep container won't freeze solid, at most it'll get a thin skin of ice on top.

With that said, I have, outside, year-round:

One 50-gallon Rubbermaid-style tote (it's a heavy duty black one) that houses my blue swordtails. It has lots of plants (both floating and rooted), and also inverts (shrimp/snails). It's aboveground. I did brace the sides of it with 2x4's, so I could fill it over halfway - the sides will definitely bow out (and I'd expect eventually break) otherwise. It is heated in fall/winter (300W Aqueon), and filtered (one large sponge filter, and a submersible filter rated for 40 gallons). It's in a partially shaded area, and I shade it a bit more with some screen over it.

It's been going for more than a year; before I heated and filtered it, it was home to a group of Florida Flagfish (who have since been split up into several 20 gallon aboveground containers, basically large barrel-planters - no heat, no filtration, just plants. They are in a shaded area that only gets direct sunlight in the early morning, and the water is clear. Flagfish are native to Florida (though not this specific area) and are found in ditches, sloughs, and so on that are primarily still, shallow water; they've done quite well.)

I also had a 30-gal tote that had some guppies in it (I moved them before winter, didn't have a heater to spare) last summer, filtered with a solar air pump/sponge filter and lots of plants. Having a lot of floating plants from the start does help with green water; but of course doesn't do much for you being able to see the fish. I was using the tote for some overflow storage rather than to look at, so having the surface almost completely covered in salvinia and hornwort wasn't an issue.

I also have an Intex kiddie pool housing the main body of my swords and guppies, it's somewhere between 250 and 300 gallons total. It is in the ground, for multiple reasons - one being that I didn't trust the lack of external support on it (or the inflatable-ring top). Another was that I didn't trust roaming cats, possums, squirrels and raccoons (for whom the 6-ft wood fence around the yard is not an obstacle) not to try to climb it and poke holes in it on the way up. It made heating it easier (it's got a 500W and 300W heater) and keeps it cooler in the summer (there is a pop-up canopy over it as well - not only for shade, but also to keep it from the view of passing herons, osprey, and so on). Since where I live is all sand anyway, digging the hole for it took very little time or effort. Never officially measured it, but it's somewhere between 2 and 3 feet deep, around 5 feet across.

It is heavily filtered. There's five large sponge filters, and a submerged pump with an intake box filled with lava rock. From there the plumbing goes up and out of the pool, through a heavy-duty UV sterilizer, and then is partially split into a bog filter (another large tote with plants and lava rock) before returning to the pool. [This is about to get an upgrade - a larger capacity pump (currently it's rated 750gph, in practicality it's pushing about 150gph.) Replacing it with a 2230gph that has a controller to dial it down if it's too much, and going to split the output into the bog filter with just plants, and a trickle with lava rock.]

The number one issue that I've had has not been heating, cooling, filtering, or keeping the water clear - it's been the $*#& raccoons. Not even so much actually catching the fish (although they did with the first pool I had, which was only a foot and a half deep - they could just stroll around in it and catch fish at their leisure), as just wrecking things in general. Dropping food from someone else's garbage into it (dropping it while they were 'washing' it in the pool.) Tearing the plants out - they absolutely love doing that. Pulling the hose off my bog filter and draining the entire pool down to the intake filter box. Pushing the side down and trapping fish between the tarp that I lined the hole with, and the pool. Stealing fish food if I forgot and left it out.

I've tried every deterrent known to man - finally had to resort to trapping and relocating (which meant having to pay someone, because you can't transport a wild raccoon unless you are a licensed trapper here.) There's still at least one around, but it hasn't been bothering the pool (over this winter, anyway).

The number two issue is one I'll be on the lookout for this year, and that was toads laying eggs in it. Trying to keep your water parameters under control when there are suddenly a thousand or more tadpoles (that the fish won't eat) in addition to your fish is not easy. The aboveground containers haven't had that problem, they're tall enough (I guess) to keep the toads out (and the raccoons don't really bother them either, I guess because the pool is just so much more of a draw.)

That's just my experience with outside tropical fish, in a fairly temperate climate. It can be done, but at a foot deep if there are any raccoons around you can expect that they'll make short work of it.
 
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