Plecostomus, or Plecos as they are often called by fish hobbyists, are one of the most popular species of freshwater aquarium fish for their fascinating behavior and unique look. But is it possible for you to keep this interesting species in an outdoor pond? Actually, plecos can live in ponds but only if certain conditions are met.
Here are the things you need to know in order for your outdoor pond to be able to house a plecostomus
- The temperature of the water has to be between 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit. The general rule is that if your outdoor pond has warm temperatures, high levels of oxygen, and a high concentration of algae, then the environment is suitable for keeping a plecostomus fish.
- The pH of the water cannot be less than 6.0, and it should be at least 6.5 to 7.5.
- Filtration is crucial in order for your outdoor pond to be suitable for keeping plecos. The reason behind this is because you have to make sure that the aquatic plant life present in the pond will not get eaten by your fish. This is especially true if there are juvenile plecos present in the pond as they tend to be more aggressive eaters than adult ones.
- Plecostomus fish are bottom-feeders that eat algae off the surface of the water. In the wild, these fish can grow quite large, up to 12 inches in length. You have to be wary when keeping a big plecostomus fish in your outdoor pond as they do tend to be heavy feeders requiring you to clean their tank most likely on a daily basis.
- Finally, plecostomus are tropical fish that require warm water to be healthy and active. If your outdoor pond is not heated by the sun or if you live in a region where the weather cools down during winter, then it is best to keep these fish inside your house as they will not be able to adapt.
And then there’s one more thing – if your outdoor pond doesn’t have a concrete floor, you need to keep those plecos in indoor aquariums instead. Why? Well, because Plecostomus like to dig around in their substrate and both catfish and concrete are not really friendly…
Some tips for keeping plecos healthy in a pond
If your pond has all these requirements fulfilled, congratulations! You can now put some lovely-looking plecos into it. Here are some additional tips for keeping them healthy:
- Always provide shelter where they can hide from strong lights.
- Do a quarantine period when you introduce new fish into the pond to make sure they do not carry any diseases.
- Keep your pond clean all the time.
- Feed them with plenty of algae.
- Add some aquatic plants for plecos to graze on.
Can plecos survive in cold water?
Plecostomus fish usually prefer warm water, but they can adapt to colder conditions as long as the temperature difference is not too large. For example, these species of catfish can be kept in an outdoor pond that is about 5-15 degrees Fahrenheit below the average temperature of your region. If you live in a cold area like Canada, you can keep a plecostomus fish in your pond as long as you ensure that the water stays above freezing.
Can a pleco survive in my pond during the winter?
The reason why most people think it’s not possible to keep a pleco in an outdoor pond is that they have already experienced what happens when temperatures drop below zero and their ponds freeze over. But, if ice does form on the surface of your waterbody, all you will need to do is:
Remove excess gas from other areas of the pond so that dissolved gases will go towards keeping the water unfrozen. Not doing so might result in only a small area being frozen while the rest of the pond remains liquid allowing for bacteria to grow leading to problems with ammonia/nitrates levels.
One method that works pretty well is to use an air compressor to force the excess gas out. However, this method will require you to constantly drain out excess carbon dioxide.
Can plecos live in the same pond as goldfish?
Yes, they can. In fact, there are many combinations of fish that you can keep in the same tank. However, it is important to provide large space for each type of fish species. The space is needed to ensure the safety of each fish species. One example is the size difference between goldfish and plecos. Plecos grow much larger than goldfish.
It is therefore important to ensure enough space for the huge fish. Also, when you keep plecos together with goldfish, it is advisable to provide them both with their own hiding place. This way they can engage in their natural habit of searching for caves and crevices to hide in.
We have two large plecos living with Koi and goldfish and they get on together perfectly. The plecos have the upper part of one end of the pond to themselves, which has a shallow slope leading up into some rocks. They love it in there where they find plenty of shade and hiding places.
This works particularly well because the goldfish won’t go anywhere near the pleco’s territory anyway.
Goldfish are, by nature, prone to eating things that they see as food. Pleco’s are not a natural diet for goldfish but if they can get in there and nip some of the slimes off then no doubt they would do it. So it is always good to have some sort of barrier between them too.