How to Keep Guppies in a Pond Outdoors?
The most honest answer is yes, you can keep guppies in an outdoor pond. Most people are so used to seeing guppies in indoor tanks that they forget that guppies are feral creatures. It’s unnatural for them to live in human-made tanks rather than outside.
So, if you’ve decided you want an outdoor guppy pond, the good news is that you can do it. However, there are some things to keep in mind along the way.
You will have to overcome some challenges since an outdoor pond won’t offer the same safe and balanced environment to expect in an indoor tank.
That being said, the task isn’t insurmountable. Today’s article will teach you how to keep guppies in an outside pond and provide them with the same comfort level they would experience in the aquarium.
How to Set Up an Outdoor Pond?
The good news is that you don’t require an outstandingly large pond. If you don’t plan on breeding guppies for profit, a medium-sized pond should do the job just fine. Go for 1-2 feet of water depth, and your guppy population should be fine.
You should also remember that setting up a pond isn’t that different from doing the same thing with an aquarium. The process is similar, meaning that you also need aerators, a water pump, and lights for cloudy days.
Here is some of the equipment necessary to set up the ideal outdoor environment for your guppies:
– Water Filter
The filter is absolutely necessary for 10-gallon tanks and, in general, for smaller fish tanks that don’t pack enough water volume. So, you might think to yourself, why should I use a water filter for an outdoor pond that’s already massive compared to an aquarium.
The answer is – because it’s an enclosed environment. A pond is nothing more than an outside aquarium. Sure, a larger one, but no matter how large, it’s not a river with free-flowing streams of clean water.
A filter will come in handy, allowing you to keep the water clean and fresh for longer.
– Pond Heater
The heater will operate as a balancing factor. If you’ve decided to build an outdoor pond for your guppies, I’m guessing you live in an already warm environment. Guppies are tropical fish, which means they prefer warmer water temperatures, but they do fine with fluctuations too.
However, since the pond is outdoors, the temperatures may sometimes fluctuate beyond the guppies’ comfort zone. It’s not necessarily an urgent matter since it won’t harm your guppies directly, but it will influence their disposition.
Guppies may show signs of stress and, soon, their immune system will weaken, opening the door to parasitic infections and disease. A water heater will keep temperatures stable, especially during nighttime when they tend to drop more significantly.
As a side note, I recommend relocating the guppies inside during the colder seasons for a plus of safety.
– Mosquito Net
This advice may sound counterintuitive. After all, guppies will happily eat mosquitos if they can catch them. And that’s the…catch. Mosquitos can’t swim, but they will fly near the water and even walk on it. This will look appealing to your guppies, which may try to dive out of the water to catch them.
Needless to say, they might not land back into the water but end up on near the pond instead. This will leave them vulnerable to pests, insects, and even birds if the suffocation doesn’t kill them first.
A mosquito net can prevent all these dramatic scenarios.
Aside from these items, I also suggest keeping a fish available. Guppies can experience a variety of health issues, some of which are both deadly and contagious. A fishnet will allow you to remove sick guppies before they infect the others.
It’s also useful for detecting the guppy’s condition in the early phases, allowing for quick treatment. This can save the guppy’s life, despite many illnesses being terminal.
You should also have a gravel vacuum, allowing you to clean the pond’s substrate periodically. This is a key point to make since a pond will generally hold more guppies compared to an indoor aquarium. Therefore, the substrate will accumulate more waste more rapidly, eventually increasing the ammonia levels and poisoning guppies’ environment.
The gravel will help you cleanse the substrate regularly to preserve water quality and keep your guppies safe and healthy.
How Long Can You Keep Guppies Outside?
The answer depends on the living conditions in your area. If you live in a tropical zone with temperatures revolving around 68-70 F year-round, there’s no reason to move guppies inside. You can set a permanent outdoor pond for them, provided you include the necessary equipment that I’ve already mentioned above.
In temperate climates, the situation is a bit different. The warmer periods will be between April and October, but they can vary from year to year. In general, you have around 6 months of acceptable climate, during which your guppies can survive outdoors with little-to-no problems.
Other years will allow for 8 months of outdoor living, while some years may offer less than 5 months of steady weather.
There is no standard recommended timeframe. Simply evaluate your area’s overall weather throughout the year and decide accordingly.
If the weather goes below the guppies’ standards, you should move them indoors where they will benefit from steady temperatures and balanced living conditions. You can relocate them outside once the weather has returned to normal.
Will Guppies Grow Faster in an Outdoor Pond?
The answer is yes, they will. Not only that, but guppies that grow outdoor will also reap a lot of benefits from natural sunlight.
Guppies that live in outdoor ponds are generally larger and more colorful than their indoor counterparts. That’s due to having access to live food in the forms of mosquitos and other insects landing in their pond.
The sun will also boost their growth and keep them active and healthy. If you have the opportunity and environmental conditions, I advise keeping your guppies outdoors for as long as possible. The health benefits will be immense.
There’s also the aspect of space. Ponds are way larger than your regular 10-gallon tank, providing guppies with a lot more space to swim around. This allows guppies to live comfortably and move to different locations if they feel stressed or uncomfortable for various reasons.
Is It Difficult to Breed Guppies Outdoors?
Outdoor ponds will definitely raise some new challenges, but I would say it comes with different rewards. Nothing compares with the sight of a massive pond teeming with energetic and colorful guppies.
Remember, guppies that grow in outdoor ponds tend to be slightly bigger and more colorful than their indoor counterparts. To grow guppies in an outdoor pond successfully, however, you need to consider some important aspects along the way. These include:
- Caring for the fry – I should say it’s easier to manage the fry in an indoor tank than an outdoor pond strictly due to the smaller guppy population and space. The pond will be obviously larger with a higher water volume and more guppies to account for. This makes it more challenging to control the guppy population, potentially leading to multiple unexpected pregnancies. This means you will have to check the females regularly and remove the pregnant ones if you want to control the guppy population and prevent overcrowding.
- Ensure optimal heating – Not all days are the same. Some might get colder than the previous ones, and these temperature fluctuations aren’t optimal for your guppies. The same happens with the day-night cycle, especially in temperate climates. A water heater will keep the temperature within the acceptable parameters, providing your guppies the comfort they need to thrive.
- Avoiding overfeeding – It gets easier to overfeed your guppies the more the population grows. You can control the amount of food far better when you only have 4-5 guppies than when you have 15-20. So, you should pay attention to how much food your guppies have to prevent excess waste.
- Cleaning the substrate regularly – A larger environment and a bigger fish population equal more fish waste and food residues, poisoning the water. To prevent this problem, I recommend cleaning the substrate regularly. This will prevent ammonia build-up and keep your guppies healthy, active, and safe.
- The problem of the dead fish – With more guppies to account for, it may be difficult to notice the dead ones. Guppies tend to die for a variety of reasons, including illness, bullying, or parasites. Dead guppies will quickly become bacteria-infested corpses, polluting the water and affecting the living population. I recommend checking your guppies at least once per day to identify sick, dying, or dead fish and remove them from the tank immediately.
Guppies can live quite well in outside ponds, and, given the right conditions, they will even thrive. You do have to make more preparations and handle the situation with greater care, but it’s all worth it in the end.
A colorful guppy pond will make a lasting impression on anyone.
Make sure you set up the pond properly, ensure a balanced water temperature, and control the guppy population. If you have questions on guppy ponds or anything related, comment below!