Can you keep yabbies in a pond?

Yes provided the pond isn’t a liner pond. 

Yabbies like to burrow and will chew through pond liner. 

If you want to keep yabbies in a pond it’s best if the pond is a solid material. Preformed ponds will work. Also container ponds will work.

Yabbies of course can also be kept in unlined ponds or dams. But these are murkey and you’ll never get to see the fun little critters.

If you are going to keep yabbies in a pond you will want to provide an nice thick substrate for them to burrow and forage. 

This could be common aquarium gravel or course river sand.

Add in some larger rocks to create caves, nooks and crannies.

Yabbies are very territorial so providing lots of different homes will help everyone get along.

Yabbies are notoriously messy eaters so you’ll want a good filtration system on the pond to keep the water nice and clear. I recommend a small bog filter.

Feeding is easy. They will eat almost anything we would. Peas, carrots and chicken are some favourites. 

You should try and remove any uneaten food as it will impact on the water quality in the pond. Yabbies can go months without food, so only feed them once or twice a week.

If you ever need to remove the yabbies from the pond watch out for their claws! They pack quite a punch.

Picking them up from behind with your fingers under their armpits is the safest way.

Can you keep fish with yabbies?

Yabbies and fish can be kept together. I recommend small active fish. Particularly fish that spend time around the middle or top of the pond. I have found white clouds work well.

White clouds also breed easily so you won’t notice if the yabbies catch one or two. 

Yabbies and white clouds are both hardy and will tolerate a wide range of water parameters and temperatures.

If you try and keep large fish and yabbies the yabbies will become food. If you keep slow moving peaceful fish they will end up with pieces missing.

I wouldn’t be keeping goldfish with my yabbies.

Temperature, growth and breeding.

Yabbies aren’t fussy when it comes to temperature. Practically anywhere in Australia won’t have problems keeping yabbies in an outdoor pond.

Yabbies won’t feed much if at all in temperatures under 12C so don’t bother feeding them over winter.

The warmer the water the quicker they will grow. 

In temperatures over 15C they can start breeding. It is possible for multiple spawns throughout the warmer months.

The eggs are carried under the females tail.

Yabbies need to shed their exoskeleton to grow. This is when they are most vulnerable to attack from other yabbies.

There isn’t really anything you can do except provide plenty of hidey-holes.

Will yabbies survive out of water?

Yabbies can survive out of water if they don’t dry out. During rain events yabbies will travel kilometres between dams or ponds.

Because yabbies breed so prolifically and are territorial, they are always on the look out for a new place to colonise.

For this reason don’t be surprised if one day the yabbies in your pond go walk about.


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Hi, I'm Kev. My pond and water garden started with simple aquariums. I have created many ponds and water gardens around our home: Fish ponds, Aquaponic systems, grey-water wetlands and bog filters. My favourite topic is water filtration.

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