Betta fish are considered hardy creatures, which is why I thought that they could survive in a pond. But can they? This article will address whether betta fish can live in a pond and, if so, what could be the best way to keep them safe.
Bettas can live in ponds, although keeping them in those can be challenging. Since bettas require a narrow temperature range (78 to 80 degrees F), ponds may get too hot or cold for them. Also, betta fish can quickly be eaten by most pond fish, including Koi, Goldfish, Catfish, and Sturgeon.
As we move forward, I will elaborate on what obstacles betta fish could face in a pond. Then, I will take you step-by-step through the process of overcoming those challenges. That includes picking the right location, choosing the proper substrate, and taking advantage of hiding places.
Can Betta Fish Live In A Pond?
Yes, betta fish can live in a pond. However, maintaining a betta fish pond is easier said than done. You have to keep the following factors in mind:
1. The Pond Temperature May Not Suit Bettas
This is your biggest challenge. Bettas thrive within a narrow temperature range (78 to 80 degrees F). You can keep them in tanks with temperatures as low as 72 degrees F and as high as 86 degrees F. However, while the bettas will survive, they won’t be happy.
In an outdoor pond, you have two primary complications, namely:
- Water Too Cold
The temperature of the water in an outdoor pond is more challenging to control. Because the pond is at the mercy of the weather, temperatures are more likely to drop.
Most aquarists know that bettas cannot live in a pond during the winter. The temperature will drop to the point that is not conducive for the survival of the betta. Unfortunately, aquarists do not realize that rain is just as dangerous.
Several minutes of rain can cause the temperature of a pond to fall drastically. Coldwater reduces metabolic functions, making the bettas inactive and lowering their immunity to diseases.
- Water Too Hot
High temperatures increase metabolic functions. Rather than slowing down, the bettas will become hyperactive. They may also age faster. Bettas originate from tropical regions. In the wild, they live in warm, shallow water, so they cannot tolerate cold conditions.
That being said, high temperatures are just as detrimental to their health as lower temperatures. Ponds are exposed to direct sunlight, which causes overheating. It will also encourage algae to grow at a faster rate.
2. Ponds Can Be Too Dirty For Betta Fish
Like the temperature, you don’t have direct control over the hygiene of an outdoor pond. An indoor aquarium has four walls and a cover. An outdoor pond is exposed to leaves, bird droppings, plastic waste, and other pollutants in the vicinity.
On top of the waste generated by the fish in the pond, you must also account for the pollutants coming into the pond from outside. If you don’t want to do the work required to keep the pond clean, you should move the bettas to an indoor aquarium. Otherwise, the pollutants will make life in the pond unbearable.
3. Predators Can Attack Your Bettas
Outdoor ponds are dangerous because the bettas are exposed to predators. A bird can snatch a betta out of an outdoor pond before you can react. Cats and insects are just as problematic. Protecting a betta in an outdoor pond is far more complicated than keeping the fish safe in an aquarium.
Predators that have failed to snatch bettas from the pond will inadvertently introduce pollutants like sticks and leaves. Leaves seem harmless. But they can ruin the chemical balance you have created in the water by rotting.
4. Bettas Cannot Live With Most Pond Fish
Most fish keepers grow Koi and Goldfish in their ponds. Unfortunately, these species should not be mixed with betta fish. They are relatively large and can quickly eat your bettas. That also applies to other types of pond fish, such as Catfish and Sturgeon.
How Do You Make A Betta Fish Pond?
Betta fish ponds are more challenging to make and maintain than betta fish aquariums. But you can accomplish the task if you have the necessary resilience. You can expect the following:
1. Pick The Right Location
I highly recommend looking for a flat, level surface with compact earth. You should also keep the sun in mind. You don’t want to expose the pond to direct sunlight. Where possible, install the pond near a wall or under a tree.
But ponds under trees are problematic because you have to diligently clean the tree’s debris before it pollutes the water. Make sure the pond is partially submerged. This allows the pond to maintain relatively stable temperatures.
2. Get Enough Gallons Of Water
Male bettas are territorial and aggressive. Keeping multiple male bettas in an aquarium is frowned upon because they will fight each other to the death. However, the same cannot be said for ponds.
Multiple male bettas can share an aquatic environment if they have plenty of room to explore without repeatedly running into one another.
In an aquarium, bettas require a minimum of 10 gallons of water. However, a pond allows you to exceed that figure with ease. Aim for 100 gallons or more. This gives you room to add more fish than a conventional aquarium can hold, including multiple male bettas.
3. Choose The Right Substrate
Add two inches of sand or gravel at the bottom. Many aquarists favor gravel because it is easier to maintain. However, stones are not as conducive as sand, where the growth of aquarium plants is concerned. You have to add supplements.
4. Scatter A Few Plants
Like an indoor aquarium, an outdoor pond requires plants and decorations. They provide protection from predators. Add as many driftwood and rock caves as possible to create an aquatic space that mimics their natural environment.
Depending on the pond’s location, you should consider using floating plants like duckweed, Java Moss, and Water Spangles. Floating plants prevent the water from overheating due to direct sunlight during the summer.
5. Use Submersible Filters
Ponds need filters. Bettas do not have filters in the wild but rain and flooding change the water routinely. You can replicate these processes in a pond by adding filters. Submersible filters are more attractive because they are cheaper, and they tend to stay out of sight.
External filters are more powerful and easier to maintain. But they cost more money. It should be noted that filters cannot succeed alone. They provide mechanical filtration functions that remove debris. However, you have to perform periodic water changes to control the concentration of toxins.
6. Set The Right Water Parameters
The parameters are just as important in a pond as they are in an aquarium. You have to treat the water with softeners to combat dissolved minerals where necessary, install heaters to maintain the temperature, and alter the pH to meet the expectations of the betta fish (6.5 to 7.5).
I also recommend that you keep the ammonia, nitrates, and nitrites at 0 ppm. To measure these and the pH, I personally recommend getting the API Water Test Kit (link to Amazon). That is probably one of the most accurate bundles I’ve tested so far.
The parameters are easier to maintain with large ponds because they do not change as quickly or as drastically. Nonetheless, you should test the water routinely. A sudden shift in the parameters could do lasting harm to the fish.
7. Neutralize Potential Predators
Plants and decorations in the pond will provide a certain amount of protection from predators. But what happens when a betta comes to the surface? How do you protect the creature from birds?
Some people use scarecrows. Others install birdbaths and feeders in the vicinity to lure the birds away from the pond. But if your region has a large population of predatory birds, you should cover the pond with a see-through net.
Can Betta Fish Tolerate Cold Water?
Bett fish cannot tolerate cold water for long periods. They require temperatures ranging from 78 to 80 degrees F. This is why outdoor ponds are dangerous. You have to bring bettas inside during the winter because they cannot survive the freezing conditions in an outdoor pond.
You can take steps to keep the water in an outdoor pond warm during the winter. But it is so much easier to move the fish to an indoor aquarium. Coldwater lowers a betta’s immunity, exposing the fish to bacterial, parasitic, and fungal infections.
Because bettas are less active in cold water, they do not eat as much. Some betas will stop eating altogether, especially if they have bloating and constipation that came about because the low temperatures caused the betta’s digestive process to slow down.
Because bettas come from tropical regions, any temperature below 74 degrees F is not conducive for these creatures. But the solution to cold water is not to increase the temperature quickly and immediately.
Bettas whose immunity has been weakened by the cold water may die if you suddenly increase the temperature. Fish require stable conditions. If you want to improve the conditions in a cold pond, raise the temperature gradually. It may take you several days to raise the temperature to the required range.
Can Betta Fish Live With Koi?
Betta fish should not be mixed with Koi. Bettas are already troublesome on their own because they have aggressive tendencies. However, their violent streak doesn’t matter in this case because bettas grow to an average size of 3 inches, making them easy prey for Koi fish.
Koi fish can grow to 2.5 feet or more. They take up too much space. And if space isn’t an issue, your biggest concern is the bettas and Koi fish relationship. Koi fish are more than capable of killing and eating the bettas.
You can protect the bettas by giving them hiding places. But you have one more challenge to overcome. Koi fish prefer colder conditions. They thrive in temperatures ranging from 65 to 75 degrees F.
You would have to create discomfort in one of these creatures to accommodate the other. You can either raise the temperature for the bettas or lower it for the koi fish. Either way, you are going to cause distress in one or both fish.
If you found this article helpful, these may also interest you:
- Can Plecos Live In Cold Water Ponds? (Complete Guide)
- Why Are My Koi Not Eating? (With 5 Easy Solutions)
- Can Betta Fish Live In Cold Water? (Bettas Temperature Guide)
- Betta Fish Hiding Behind the Heater: All Reasons & Solutions
- Why Does My Betta Fish Stay In One Spot? (With 7 Solutions)
Betta fish, like all other creatures, require certain conditions to live comfortably. You must provide these conditions for bettas if you want them to thrive. This is especially important for outdoor ponds because they are less self-sufficient than aquariums.
Ponds will need filters and aerators to maintain the water’s integrity. Water changes will become a necessity as well. You should also avoid aggressive fish, such as Koi and Goldfish, due to their ability to turn even the best companions into dinner.