Thanks to the relatively mild winter weather in South Texas, it is possible to keep an outdoor cichlid pool year round. Greg Steeves of has experimented through the years with in-ground ponds, small kiddie pools and most recently a rather large above-ground pool. The article Raising Cichlids Outside was written several years ago and details some of his early outdoor cichlid pool projects. Since then Greg has upgraded to much larger, adult sized pools. Normally the fish would be caught and brought indoors when the temperatures began to drop. Last year it was decided to keep the outdoor cichlid pool running through the winter.

Outdoor cichlid pool

So armed with a pool sand filter, large pump, a very powerful heater and a 16' above ground pool, the experiment continued. The pool holds around 5500 gallons of water and was stocked with various cichlid species from Lake Malawi and the Lake Victoria Basin. The fish included Pseudotropheus acei, Ps. flavus, Ps. saulosi, Ps. lombardoi, Astatotilapia latisfaciata, Paralabidochromis sauvagei, and Labidochromis caeruleus. After the first cold snap in South Texas, the solar blanket was peeled back and the video below was shot. As you can see, the fish look good and active. The large heater held the water temparature between 67-72 degrees despite the outside temperatures of 20 degrees. Hopefully Greg will write a more detailed follow up Raising Cichlids Outside II.