Hi Everyone, I have a colony of Ameca splendens. My numbers are greatly increasing and I have been thinking about keeping some of my older fry outside to try it out and see how it works. They will only be kept out during the warm weather months. I live in central Illinois. Do you think it would work out ok to keep them outside? What should I keep them in? How do I keep predators (Raccoons,cats, and other) away from them? Would a an in ground plastic Goldfish pond work? Or a plastic tub (Like totes at Target, Menard's, Wal-mart, and so forth). Thank you very much! Take care! Chris
I run a tub each summer but have mixed results. Amecas have never been on my short list because of the summer temperatures where I live. If the Ameca splendens maximum temperatures are within the range of your local conditions, please consider using them. They are a great fish, but killing them with high summer temperatures does them no favors. In my own case, my summer tub has already been exposed to air temperatures of 90F so even with the cooling I can get from evaporative cooling using a pond fountain setup, the water has probably been over 80F. Amecas would not do very well in my tub. On the other hand, I have used that tub in summers past for my colony of Xenotoca eiseni and have had great results. The fish look much better when I bring them back in than they did when I set them out.
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.
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Posted on: 2010/6/2 18:33
Patrick ALA Member Grand Valley Aquarium Club Member Grand Rapids MI
Thank you guys very much. Sorry for the late reply I have been very busy. When I find the time and money I really want to try this out. Also I kind of want to wait until they grow up a bit more. I still have to make up my mind between a tub and an in ground pond. Thank you guys very much for all your help.
I live in Illinois and we have tons of coons. Thank you very much for the reply and thanks a lot for helping me everyone. I might not get around to getting them outside this summer but maybe next summer I will have a shot at it. I have also heard that goodeids can go sterile if kept in warm temperatures. I am not sure how true this is but I have heard about it. Well thanks again!