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Outdoor year-round pond stocking inspo?


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Looking for suggestions for a year-round outdoor pond -- besides goldfish/koi, guppies, rice fish, or similar small fish, which are a hard sell for my partner.

We have an about 400 gal outdoor pond in our backyard (it's probably about 2 feet deep, concrete, dug into the ground).  My partner had originally wanted to convert it into an aquaponic system and put bluegill in there, but I may have an opening to divert us towards keeping ornamental fish and decorating it out with floating/bog/emersed plants.  

We live in Northern California, temperatures can get as hot as above 100 degrees F (37 celcius) for about 1-2 months of the year, and as low as 30s (F) (near 0 C) evening temps during the winter.  I would love to do ranchus but my partner is meh on goldfish (don't even get me started in response to that lol).  My partner recently got into Kamp Kenan youtube channel and likes the idea of a cichlid pond, but I don't think the temps are warm enough in the winter for them.  I know there is anecdotal evidence of firemouth cichlids overwintering in Washington from another pond thread.  I don't think we want to do a heater but it's not completely out of the question.  Am I being too conservative or is a colorful cichlid pond a possiblility?  Our water tends to be higher pH and hard.  I think pretty ideal for African cichlids (aside from temperature needs). 

Anyway - wondering if there are other NorCal folk here w/year-round outdoor ponds, and what do you keep?  


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A cichlid pond would be awesome. Id like to do something similar one day. Unfortunately the winter temps in your area are probably going to make that difficult but there are always solutions for that if you want it bad enough. Maybe you could install an inline pond heater? Or you could always do some Rosy Barbs or Rainbow Shiners. Some shiners are absolutely stunningly colorful. 

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