Yes, you can keep them outside. You should have warm enough weather until the end of August and then I would say take it week by week. I live in Grand Rapids MI and try to remove my fish the week after Labor Day. You should be able to go at least that long.
The bigger the container you can keep them in the better. Right now I have a 6’x8’x18” preformed in ground pond and a 3’x3’x18” deep above ground tub. I live in the city so my yard is pretty small otherwise I would have a bigger pond or more of them. A Rubber Maid horse trough should work well. I have also heard of people using kiddy wading pools.
I would not try to keep them in anything smaller than 100 gallons for several reasons.
One as you point out the smaller the container the easier it is for animals to mess it up. Raccoons love water and will rip up plants and knock over fountains mostly looking for crayfish but will take the opportunity to catch a fish if they can. My 18” tall tub is big enough that they can’t reach in the center and get the plant that is growing emersed or reach to the bottom and pull up the plants that I have in the bottom.
Bigger ponds tend to retain heat better on cooler nights and take longer to heat up during hot days providing a more stable temperature for the fish.
You can put more plants into bigger ponds. You should put as many plants as you can. If you belong to a local club and they have a HAP program this is a good way to propagate lots of plants. They also give the fish lots of hiding places. If your Ameca are 3 months old or older you can almost expect to have fry by the end of August as they will mature very quickly outside.
You should try to put an above ground tub in an area that doesn’t get more that 4-6 hours of direct sun each day as you may find your water will warm up too much. Depending on how deep an in ground pond is and what plants you have in it you can put that out in a spot that gets sun all day. We just had a week of temps in the upper 80’s and my pond still has not gotten above 75deg. My tub on the other had has flirted with 80.
I don’t filer my pond or tub but do have a fountain in each to circulate and aerate the water. If you have a big enough pond you can do more than one species at a time ( I do in my pond) and they should look great when you take them out and if you put adults in you should get lots of fry. Just be careful about which species you mix.
I hope this helps some. Attach file
POND 6-2-2010 2.JPG (0.00 KB)
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