Updated: November 28, 2022

Water Management Summary

The two sources of oxygen to a pond are:

  • Diffusion: direct exchange of oxygen at the water/air interface
  • Photosynthesis: process by which plants manufacture food (oxygen is a waste product)

The amount of oxygen in a pond and the ability of water to retain oxygen is influenced by time of day, weather, altitude, and water temperature.

Signs that might indicate there is an oxygen problem in the pond include:

  • Fish congregating at the surface gulping for air
  • Fish stop actively feeding
  • Animals crawl out of the pond
  • Water turns gray or brown in color


Mixing of temperature stratified water layers in a pond.

Turnovers naturally occur and can become problematic in warmer months when large oxygen poor bottom layers are mixed with fairly shallow oxygen rich surface layers resulting in total pond oxygen levels that are too low to support aquatic life = fish die.

Turnover events can be triggered by heavy winds and thunderstorms.


More helpful information...

Pond Water Quality PDF

Management of Water Quality Problems

Aeration of Farm Ponds

Liming Aquaculture and Farm Ponds in Maryland

Farm Pond Management: Increasing Production through Fertilization