Betta fish live in freshwater ponds, rice paddies, and shallow streams throughout Southeast Asia, so if the conditions are right, you can create a betta fish pond in your own backyard!
While it may be harder to catch glimpses of your beloved bettas once they’re in a pond, you can keep more fish in the same environment because each fish or “harem” (group of female bettas living together or with one male betta) will be able to carve out its own territory.
For optimal viewing, stick with a tank, but if you want to keep multiple bettas at once, keep reading to learn more about betta fish ponds.
Can Bettas Be Raised in a Pond?
Yes, bettas can be raised in ponds designed just for them. The pond must mirror its natural habitat and be big enough for each betta in the pond.
For more than one male betta fish, you need at least 100 gallons. This means your pond will need to be outside.
Can They Be Raised in an Outdoor Pond?
Bettas can survive in outdoor ponds only if you keep the temperature stable and protect your fish from predators.
You must also maintain suitable water quality for your bettas, which can be more challenging in an outdoor pond.
Can Betta Fish Survive in a Pond in Winter?
No. Betta fish can only survive in 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit waters. You cannot keep a betta in an outdoor pond if you live somewhere cold.
Even with a heater, you will have difficulty controlling the water temperature, and your betta fish could get sick, stressed, or even freeze. Never keep betta fish outside anywhere the ground freezes!
Unless you are positive you can keep the temperature about 75 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the winter, bring your fish inside until spring.
Can Betta Fish Live With Koi?
Absolutely not. If you are thinking of using betta fish to add some variety to your koi pond, think again. Betta and koi have vastly different needs and cannot, under any circumstances, live together.
Even if the fish preferred the same conditions, koi are omnivorous, much bigger than betta fish, and would quickly swallow your betta buddies whole.
Some fish forums say betta and koi can live together if the betta fish have plenty of space to hide, but this could not be further from the truth.
Please, do not add betta fish to a koi pond (or vice-versa).
Can You Keep Multiple Bettas in a Big Pond?
Yes. Each male betta needs about 20 gallons of space to create a territory, so if you have a big pond, you should be able to keep more than one male betta.
At the very least, you can create a betta sorority or breeding harem with one male betta and two or three female bettas.
A breeding harem may be safer because the male bettas you see at pet stores have been selectively bred for centuries. This means they are the most aggressive and vibrant of the “Siamese fighting fish.” They may fight even with plenty of space.
If you breed betta fish in a pond, the families may have a better chance of establishing their own rules and territories. Of course, you will have to monitor your pond to ensure it doesn’t get overcrowded.
At betta fish farms, breeders keep harems in large ponds to breed.
Then, they transport baby betta (fry) to separate fry ponds, let them grow up together, and sell males that get too aggressive for the environment.
You may have to do something similar if you want to keep multiple bettas in a pond.
Again, betta ponds are an advanced fish-keeping technique — mostly used by professional breeders in Thailand and other tropical locales.
Will Betta Fish Breed in a Pond?
If you are able to keep your water conditions perfect and host a breeding harem, betta fish will breed in a pond.
Nevertheless, you will not be able to monitor the process, and only a few baby fish will survive the breeding cycle.
Your bettas might expand their family without your intervention, but if you want to ensure a productive breeding season, breed your bettas in a tank instead.
What Things Do Betta Need in a Pond?
If you decide to take on the challenge of a betta pond, your betta will need carefully maintained water conditions, substrate, live plants, rocks, and decorations/ accessories.
The idea is to mirror bettas’ natural habitat as closely as possible.
Ideal Water Conditions
Betta needs calm, soft water that is clean and oxygenated, so you will need the following:
- A heater
- A filter
- Live plants
- An oxygen pump
- And more
Additionally, you will need to establish a naturally occurring nitrogen cycle in your pond, which may take some time.
Cycling your water is difficult enough in a 20-gallon tank, so give yourself plenty of time to prepare your pond before introducing betta fish.
The bottom of your pond is very important and must be hospitable to your betta fish and the aquatic plants they need to thrive (more on this in the next section).
You can create a natural pond bottom by adding sand and/or leaf litter to your pond liner but beware of difficult-to-clean pond scum.
You can also landscape your pond with gravel or beach pebbles — just make sure everything is aquarium safe if you plan to introduce fish.
An outdoor pond won’t feel safe or natural for your betta unless you add plenty of aquatic foliage. Floating plants and moss can be especially useful, as they will help provide shade for your betta.
Water lettuce is a great option for your betta pond because the leaves float and provide shade, and the roots hang down, creating space for your betta to play and hide.
Live plants also add oxygen to the pond and attract insects and other naturally occurring snacks for your betta.
For more ideas, read our blog, “The Best Live Plants For Betta Fish.”
Rocks, Decorations, and Accessories
Make sure your betta fish has a diverse underwater environment with plenty of places to rest, play, and hide.
Add driftwood and other shelters for your betta, and have fun with it by introducing pretty rocks and interesting decorations.
Starting Your Own Betta Pond
Just because you can raise betta fish in a pond doesn’t mean you should. Bettas are much easier to see, enjoy, and even breed in a tank — and they have been bred especially for this purpose.
Keeping betta fish in a pond is extremely difficult and usually reserved for advanced and professional fish keepers.
If you want to challenge yourself AND you live somewhere suitable. However, you can start a betta pond to recreate your betta’s natural habitat as closely as possible.
You can also create betta harems and families, which may not be possible without the space of a pond.
Whatever you do, DO NOT keep your betta with koi, DO NOT keep your betta outside anywhere the ground freezes, and DO make sure their water conditions remain suitable and stable.