Your backyard pond is more than just a hole filled with water and fish. It’s a living, breathing ecosystem. From the animals we can see to the microscopic bacteria we can’t, our ponds host and invite a plethora of wildlife to live in and off of their contents. These aspects of a pond depend on each other for food, growth and survival. Learn more about how these parts of your ecosystem require a healthy balance in order to thrive.
We’ll start with the top of the chain first. Each group typically feeds off the groups below them.
Birds, Turtles, Reptiles and Mammals
These animals often visit our ponds as they are “passing through.” They don’t always stick around, and often times we don’t want them to! Predators like these might eat your fish and amphibians, not to mention scare you off from wanting to be near your pond. Items like pond protection netting or a Blue Heron or Alligator decoy help to keep these pesky intruders away.
Goldfish, koi fish and other backyard pond fish are a common part of many ponds. They eat their fish food but might also eat other fish or tadpoles. It’s important to check the compatibility of your pond life before letting them cohabitate.
Amphibians include frogs, toads, lizards and more. Frogs are probably the most commonly found amphibians in backyard ponds. Amphibians may eat the smaller members of the food chain.
Insects, Snails, Worms and More
These creepy crawlers will eat the Zooplankton below them in the food chain.
Zooplankton eat up your algae and protozoa. These organisms drift through your pond and are usually microscopic, but visible jellyfish do fall into this category (and likely NOT in your backyard pond).
Bacteria, Protozoa, Plants and More
These decomposers help to recycle the nutrients in the ecosystem by breaking down dead and decaying organisms found in the pond.
Every living thing feeds another. Keeping your pond healthy is important to a successful ecosystem.