Thinking about doing a mini-pond outside

aquachris

Member
Thinking of doing a mini-pond outside (something in the 15-30 gallonish range) for the season. I am in Michigan, so something that can withstand probably low 50's to 80's (and possibly higher) would be ideal. I can make sure they stay in a shaded area, but that has the downside of being colder when it does warm up. I could do a heater possibly as well... but I dont know how well that will do...

I've debated on mosquitofish, minnows, etc.. I'd like something that would breed. Once temps start to dip below, I have no issue moving them inside (what's another tank?).

Ideas and thoughts?
 

Oriongal

Member
I've had livebearers outside for years now, and I started out doing it with 20-30 gallon preform pond liners and rubber or resin planters. I'm in Florida, but it is the northern part; certainly not anything like Michigan winters, but it does drop below freezing here at times. Mostly only overnight but occasionally we get a run of below-freezing days.

I do use heaters in the winter, regular fish-tank heaters in the 300W to 500W range. In a 20-30 gallon container, a heater that size might even keep up through a Michigan winter; but it can get a bit expensive on the electric bill if you have several containers that you're trying to keep warm enough.

Guppies will do fine in an unfiltered (just plants) 20-30g container, if the stocking is light (4-5). They can make it down to 60F or so.

A pair of flagfish is another option, though you won't really see much of them; their natural coloring makes them hard to spot from above in a dark container. Mine have overwintered here without a heater, but again it's nothing like Michigan winter temps. They might be okay overwintering in a garage though, they managed with it being cold enough to put a skin of ice across the top.

Other natives might be interesting as well, like shiners, darters or dace. Sachs usually has a lot of natives on offer.

A single plain comet goldfish of course works also, I ended up raising some really nice-looking ones from cheap feeder goldfish.

ETA: The main issue I had was the $%&# raccoons. They will tear out plants just for the fun of it. They'll climb in and do laps, even take a running jump and do a belly-flop. And of course will do their best to catch the fish.
 
  • Thread Starter

aquachris

Member
Realized that my thought would be just spring-fall and going inside once we start hitting that freezing mark. Use the heater just to help through the colder swings.
Oriongal said:
I've had livebearers outside for years now, and I started out doing it with 20-30 gallon preform pond liners and rubber or resin planters. I'm in Florida, but it is the northern part; certainly not anything like Michigan winters, but it does drop below freezing here at times. Mostly only overnight but occasionally we get a run of below-freezing days.

I do use heaters in the winter, regular fish-tank heaters in the 300W to 500W range. In a 20-30 gallon container, a heater that size might even keep up through a Michigan winter; but it can get a bit expensive on the electric bill if you have several containers that you're trying to keep warm enough.

Guppies will do fine in an unfiltered (just plants) 20-30g container, if the stocking is light (4-5). They can make it down to 60F or so.

A pair of flagfish is another option, though you won't really see much of them; their natural coloring makes them hard to spot from above in a dark container. Mine have overwintered here without a heater, but again it's nothing like Michigan winter temps. They might be okay overwintering in a garage though, they managed with it being cold enough to put a skin of ice across the top.

Other natives might be interesting as well, like shiners, darters or dace. Sachs usually has a lot of natives on offer.

A single plain comet goldfish of course works also, I ended up raising some really nice-looking ones from cheap feeder goldfish.

ETA: The main issue I had was the $%&# raccoons. They will tear out plants just for the fun of it. They'll climb in and do laps, even take a running jump and do a belly-flop. And of course will do their best to catch the fish.
Eep on the raccoons! I was just talking to my mother who is in Tampa, and now she wants to do a pond like this LOL...
 

Oriongal

Member
Guppies are probably the best bet for something to try it with initially - colorful enough to be seen from above, tolerant of a fairly wide temp range. But you'll want to have a plan for the million offspring, unless you're keeping only males. (Oscar snacks, maybe?) They'll of course also eat their own fry, but generally not enough to keep from hitting an over-stocked point.

And as I edited into my answer above - also be prepared for the raccoons. They love fouling/hunting in/destroying a mini-pond.
 
  • Thread Starter

aquachris

Member
Oriongal said:
Guppies are probably the best bet for something to try it with initially - colorful enough to be seen from above, tolerant of a fairly wide temp range. But you'll want to have a plan for the million offspring, unless you're keeping only males. (Oscar snacks, maybe?) They'll of course also eat their own fry, but generally not enough to keep from hitting an over-stocked point.

And as I edited into my answer above - also be prepared for the raccoons. They love fouling/hunting in/destroying a mini-pond.
Ya will have to watch out for raccoons, not sure I've seen any luckily in our area, but doesn't mean they aren't there. I have a few mutt guppies I could toss in, and can easily get my hands on more... I've been successful on rehoming them for free at different people/places. Might be a good start since they are readily avail.
 

Oriongal

Member
Here's some of my trash-pandas getting into the outside containers.

Running dive into a 20g preform: the camera is sitting on a cage I built over another container, to keep them out of it (bubbling in the audio is the sponge filter in that container.)

I put spare hornwort, excess snails and cull shrimp in that 20g preform just for them, so they could still feel like they were getting something, and would maybe leave the other containers alone. It generally worked, but I did still have to secure the ones I wanted them to stay out of.

Here's 3 of them, one is doing laps in the preform while another is trying to get into a container to the right of it (harder to see that container, bit washed out by the light which is just in front of it and also was shot through a screened enclosure.)


Fishing in the livebearer pool, before I got a better enclosure to keep them out:


More fishing, but this time it appears the fish bit back...

 

StarGirl

Member
Do mosquitos lay eggs in ponds outside, or does it have to be still water like a bucket?
 

Oriongal

Member
StarGirl said:
Do mosquitos lay eggs in ponds outside, or does it have to be still water like a bucket?
They do, unless the surface is moving too much. But guppies will eat the larvae, as will goldfish.
 

Pfrozen

Member
I had to sign a contract saying I wouldn't install a homemade swimming pool in my living room when I rented my first apartment. Do I blame you?

I read that as "inside," not outside. Joke ruined

for my contribution to this thread you could do some rice fish, they're pretty nice
 

Catappa

Member
Pfrozen said:
I had to sign a contract saying I wouldn't install a homemade swimming pool in my living room when I rented my first apartment. Do I blame you?

I read that as "inside," not outside. Joke ruined

for my contribution to this thread you could do some rice fish, they're pretty nice
I'm planning to create some tiny ponds for Medakas (rice fish) and maybe also Guppies. I have two small ponds (but they aren't mini-ponds) already. One has salamanders every year, so I won't put fish in it. The other stays empty, so I'm considering Sticklebacks, although they are so tiny, I'd probably never see them. Still thinking it all over.
 

Pfrozen

Member
Catappa said:
I'm planning to create some tiny ponds for Medakas (rice fish) and maybe also Guppies. I have two small ponds (but they aren't mini-ponds) already. One has salamanders every year, so I won't put fish in it. The other stays empty, so I'm considering Sticklebacks, although they are so tiny, I'd probably never see them. Still thinking it all over.
sticklebacks are a cool idea but probably wont be able to see them from above
 

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