Can You Keep African Cichlids in a Pond?

African Cichlids can definitely be kept in outside ponds but there are a few conditions that have to be met. For example, you are going to need a heater even in tropical climates.

During the winter, the temperature is simply not going to reach the recommended 73 degrees Fahrenheit.

The other solution is to take them indoors during the winter and keep them in an aquarium.

All in all, this will definitely be a challenge even for some of the more experienced fish keepers reading this.

But there is no need to panic, as we have summarized everything you need to know about outdoor ponds for African Cichlids.

Now all you need to do is to keep on reading and we are going to answer the most important questions regarding the matter!

Keeping African Cichlids in a Pond

Just like in a home aquarium, there are numerous conditions that need to be met. The water parameters, the size of the pond all need to be ideal for your fish.

Not to mention that you need to set it up in a way that replicates their natural environment.

You should also do the research when it comes to keeping African Cichlids together in a community pond. Different cichlid species have different needs.

However, most of the species that are from the same lake are quite similar. Methods like overcrowding and providing hiding places to reduce aggression can be also applied.

In a warmer climate, keeping cichlids in a pond is not that hard after all. You just need to be familiar with the needs of the particular species you keep and adjust the water accordingly.

Water changes need to be performed the same way as when you keep them in an aquarium.

There are also threats you should look out for. You definitely don’t want your cichlids to suddenly disappear.

Therefore, you should make sure that birds or household pets can’t get to your fish. If you are not careful, your fish are going to be delicious bites for another animal in the yard.

Can You Keep African Cichlids with Koi in a Pond?

People absolutely love to keep Koi in their outdoor ponds. It is simply a beautiful fish species that is considered as the best choice for ponds by many fish keepers.

Keeping Koi is not only a fish keeper thing. It is a wonderful tradition that goes back hundreds of years.

Now the question is, should you keep them with African Cichlids? Seems like a really good idea considering that cichlids can flourish in some of the most amazing colors.

It is probably a delight to look at them in an outside pond.

Unfortunately, the answer is no. It would be a great if they would be compatible but there are some huge differences in their needs. First of all, they don’t prefer the same temperature.

You have the luxury of keeping Koi in colder ponds, while African Cichlids prefer warmer waters.

The recommended 73 degrees Fahrenheit for cichlids is simply too warm for the Koi, in fact it’s intolerable.

The other thing is that cichlids are much more aggressive than Koi and they would bully them to death. If it’s a smaller cichlid, on the other hand, then the Koi would probably eat it.

Either way, the outcome would be fatal. When it comes to the water conditions, the main problem is with acidity.

While African Cichlids prefer an acidity of 8.4 pH in some cases, Koi live in waters of 7 pH. There are also cichlid species that live in waters of 5.5 pH, which is also pretty bad for Koi.

Can You Keep African Cichlids in Pond in the Winter?

You can but only in a tropical climate. During the winter, you need to keep the water temperature at 73-82 degrees Fahrenheit.

This can be done by installing a good heater in the pond. Also, you need to know exactly how much water the heater is able to warm up.

Otherwise, it might happen that the water is not warm enough on a colder day because the heater is simply not powerful enough. In this case, your fish can get sick rather quickly.

Can African Cichlids Survive Cold Water?

African Cichlids don’t have the slightest chance to survive in cold water. They are all tropical fish, meaning that there is a narrow scale of temperatures that they can endure.

Once it gets below 73 degrees Fahrenheit, their stress levels start to build up.

The colder the water, the weaker their immune system will be and the more stressful they are going to become.

Therefore, it is definitely not something to play with, as cold water can be fatal to your fish. 73 degrees Fahrenheit is still far from the freezing cold of some climates during the winter.

Keeping cichlids in an outdoor pond is a rather delicate thing and we only recommend it to experienced fish keepers.


As you can see, the way African Cichlids should be treated in a pond is quite similar to how you treat them in a home aquarium.

They need to be in the right environment, enjoying the ideal temperature for them. Furthermore, the acidity, hardness, ammonia and nitrite levels should be kept at bay.

They need to have plenty of space to swim around as well. If you feel like you want to set up your own outdoor pond, then all these requirements should be met. Follow our advice and you are going to be able to set up a pond where your fish will thrive.

In case you are completely new to fish keeping and you have never had an aquarium before, then make sure to do the research.

Read more about all the African Cichlids you want to keep. It is enough to know how to keep them in a home aquarium. Then you will be able to figure out how to keep them in a pond as well.

avatar Noah
I’m Noah, chief editor at VIVO Pets and the proud owner of a playful, energetic husky (Max). I’ve been a volunteer at Rex Animal Rescue for over 2 years. I love learning and writing about different animals that can be kept as pets. read more...

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