Lake And Pond Food Chain

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The elements in the pond food chain

What makes up the food chain in a pond ecosystem? It can seem deceptively simple, and at the same time, it is deceptively complicated, but for our purposes in lake management, there is a reasonably simple middle ground that ends in good pond and lake management, and good fishing. There are several elements in the food web for ponds and lakes, and they begin with a simple, single cell plant that exists just about everywhere.


In the life chain, that is, the pond food chain, the beginning is phytoplankton. We could take this back a little further, and say that the pond food chain begins with the presence of phytoplankton, which is seemingly present everywhere, and awaiting water, fertility, and sunlight to become active. Once all the elements are present in sufficient quantities, the process will begin, and continue as long as the elements remain in sufficient quantities to produce algae bloom.


Microinvertebrates, the mini sized creatures that exist in large numbers in pond and lake water, feed on phytoplankton. The more phytoplankton, the more of these little creatures.


These are the little bugs (under .5 millimeters) that exist in and around ponds and lakes, and feed on the microinvertebrates. Once again, the more of the microinvertebrates they have to eat, the higher the numbers.

Small fish

Small fish exist in ponds, both small fingerlings of the larger species, and smaller species. These small fish eat the bugs that exist in the water, and once again, the more bugs exist, the more these small fish increase in number.

Larger fish

Now we are getting down to the brass tacks. Small fish provide food for larger fish, and the more small fish are available, the larger the large fish will grow.


Finally, if the food chain achieved good results, starting with the phytoplankton, and you are a reasonably good angler, you will have food for your own table!

How Can I Clear The Water In My Muddy Pond?

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The first thing to do is to make sure that the reason the water appears to be muddy is because of soil particles and not a result of algae.

Is it mud or algae?

Algae in a pond should be a light green color, or a slightly golden brownish green if diatom algae is present. In most cases here in the U.S. what we expect to see is the light green unless you have used nano silicates from Nualgi.

The sources of turbidity or muddy water

If the water is indeed muddy, you should first solve the mystery of why it is muddy.

Bare banks and inlets

Bare banks and inlets, or adjacent bare feilds will often be the cause. If this is the case, vegetation will need to be established in those areas, or all the water clearing methods in the world will not solve the problem.

Turbidity causing fish

In some cases certain types of fish may be causing the problem, and they will need to be removed by a qualified company with the proper equipment for the job.


After this problem has been dealt with, the serious work of clearing the soil particles can begin, if it is still needed. The process is known as flocking. Flocking is the use of a product that will bind with soil particles, and drop the soil particles to the bottom of the pond. The most common agent used for this purpose is alum.

Flocking agent amounts and water volume

The amount of allum needed is determined by the size of your reservoir, and to some extent, the severity of the turbidity. You will need to know the surface area of your body of water, as well as it’s average depth to determine the amount needed.

Application involves broadcasting this over the surface of the water.
For specific reccomendations in your area, you can consult your agriculture extension agency. These folks have a wealth of information on such topics, and are more than happy to share their knowledge, so give them a call.