Don’t you feel that ponds have a unique fascination? Every time you cross paths with a pond, you have the urge to stop and look at their subtle magnificence. No matter how much or how good we tend to know about things, coming across a new bit of compelling trivia is always wonderful.
With that in mind, here are 10 fascinating facts about ponds.
Why are ponds so called?
The literal meaning of pond is a “small enclosed space” and refers to natural pools of water. Ponds belong to the family of small water bodies and have a lentic ecosystem. In other words, this means a still-water ecosystem. Moreover, ponds support a diverse range of living beings namely- plants, fish, reptiles, amphibians, birds, insects and certain mammals.
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Varieties of pond
Have you ever strolled down the woods and noticed a big puddle that wasn’t there last season? Well, you just happened to discover a Vernal pond. You may have been led to these ponds by the sounds of crickets and frogs. Vernal ponds or ephemeral ponds are temporary wetlands that are formed during springtime from melting snow or spring rainfall. They dry up after a few months.
They act as the seasonal breeding grounds for several unique insects and amphibians.
On the other hand, Permanent ponds exist the whole year-round. Such ponds acted as life-support systems for the early humans who dwelled in places close to water bodies.
But, not all ponds are naturally created, human beings who once relied on ponds tend to have created one! They are called man-made ponds. Artificial ponds are created for a multitude of reasons like – decoration or gardening, wastewater treatment, for creating wildlife habitats, fish farming, to raise water for livestock, or as a water reservoir.
Are Ponds & Lakes Different?
You must have heard of many facts about ponds and lakes but ever thought what makes them different? Well, a pond should ideally be smaller than a lake, sure, size matters! Interestingly, the world has both “large ponds” and “small lakes”. Therefore, at times the literal difference between a lake and a pond may be contradictory.
Size may not always be a guideline.
Scientific aspects claim that in the case of a pond, light penetrates to its bottom, reaching the sediment below and thereby enabling photosynthesis in the entire water area. On the contrary, lakes are too deep to let photosynthesis occur below a certain point.
Only the top layer of the lake is subject to photosynthesis. Moreover, since ponds are more shallow than lakes, there is less and at times no thermal stratification in it. This means that its water is not deep enough to turn over from season to season. A water body can experience thermal stratification only if it is at least 8 feet deep.
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Healthy Ponds Have Different Wildlife
Ponds are considered healthy if they have plenty of aeration. Such ponds attract an entirely different range of wildlife as compared to a stagnant one.
You may be aware of the fact that healthy ponds have clear water and support a variety of organisms ranging from fish to plants. Besides, the organisms present in a pond directly portray their water’s general health. Species like leeches, black fly, flatworms, lunged snails, poison ivy, spotted knapweed and excess algae indicate the poor quality of water. They live in polluted water with little oxygen.
Whereas salamanders, dragonflies and their nymphs, sedges, stoneflies, bluebirds, and martins indicate good health of the pond water. These species are very sensitive to pollution hence thrive in healthy and aerated water.
However, the presence or absence of such species does not indicate the pond health in man-made garden ponds.
Regularly monitor the water quality of your pond by checking its temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH levels, as well as the nutrient levels in it.
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Nothing lasts forever and neither do ponds
As layers of sediment builds-up over the ponds, they transform into wetlands, and eventually, vegetation starts to grow to turn them into savanna, prairie, or barrens depending on the location and its climate.
Over time, all naturally occurring ponds will undergo this phenomenon which is known as ecological succession. Man-made ponds can be an exception if they are continually maintained. Ponds inevitably build up thicker layers of the substrate with an increase in the organic matter build up. This causes ponds to become some form of a wetland – a bog if the area has a high concentration of acidic soils, a marshland if the soils are rich in minerals, and so on.
Did You Know?
About 50 years ago, there used to exist twice as many ponds as compared to what exists today.
Ponds Help Wildlife
Ponds provide safe dwelling places to wildlife such as waterfowl, mammals, amphibians, and working bees. The sad part is, natural ponds have decreased by an average of 50%. Wetland habitats are constantly diminishing by up to 98% in several countries.Enhancement and construction of infrastructure, roads, and agriculture have led to this. Therefore, your pond can be an important ecosystem for numerous pond animals that otherwise tend to have a tough time surviving.
Did You Know?
Waterfowls, a diverse family of birds comprising ducks, swans, and geese, use ponds as a short stopover point while migrating in winters.
The historical significance of ponds
Here’s some fantastic information about ponds:
- Ponds have been used for ages for food, farming, decoration, spirituality and even to display wealth. The people of ancient China created ponds to stock fish for decoration as well as for consumption. Modern koi ponds are based on this very fashion.
- Ancient Egyptians diverted the water of the river Nile to create ponds where they stocked tilapia fish to feed their ever-expanding civilization.
- Many Buddhist temples used to create their own ponds for meditation and bathing. Some temples still practice this.
- Romans called ponds as “stews,” which they used for stocking mullet, trout, and other species for food.
- In medieval Europe, having a pond by your castle was considered a sign of prosperity.
- Many Hindu temples in India follow the ancient tradition of having a pond nearby. This is considered sacred and is used by pilgrims to bathe and cleanse themselves both physically and spiritually.
It is always so relaxing to sit beside a pond and witness its subtle aura. However, this may not always be the case. Several ponds around the world allegedly have mysterious denizens roaming below its surface. While Loch Ness - the lake monster, has garnered massive attention in cases of lake mysteries, let’s know about the little mysterious creatures that are allegedly said to dwell in various ponds.
There have been several reports claiming that a pond-monster dwells at a place called Fulk lake which is actually a small pond in a rural area of Churubusco, Indiana. The creature was first sighted in 1898 when a farmer claimed to have witnessed a strange creature bubbling out of the pond. He said that it looked like a prehistoric turtle with a large head and thick neck.
In 1948, two men reportedly spotted a giant turtle at the same lake. They claimed that Its shell was the size of a car. This incident got great attention and of the authorities who suspected something dangerous beneath the placid surface. The search for the beast created a lot of curiosity and media attention. This influenced several people from around the world to visit the place. Several efforts were made to find out the beast but in vain. It is still not known whether there was any beast at all in the pond. However, Churubusco has an annual festival dedicated to the mysterious beast called the “Turtle Days”.
Like fiction with an added horror twist? You must read The Witch of Blackbird Pond.
Small & Significant
Despite being small water bodies, ponds account for a significant part of the world. There are more than 100 million ponds in the world, covering 3.7 % of the land surface (excluding Antarctica, Greenland or the Caspian Sea). The size of about 90 million of these is less than a football field.
The Shortline Measure
If added together, the shorelines of all the ponds of the world roughly measure 250 times the length of the equator. The earth’s equator is 7,926 miles long. Do not underestimate the small size of ponds!
Did You Know?
“Great Pond” which is located in Kennebec County, the US is the largest pond of the world with a catchment area of 89.2 square miles.
Ponds are water bodies with accumulated freshwater that gets fed by streams or rivers. Its water is still and does not have currents. Moreover, they have the most diverse ecosystems and provide shelter to numerous species.
We went through some very interesting facts about ponds that must have amazed you for sure. If you are a budding aquarist, these are not mere facts for you. This set of solid information can help you set up a pond of your own. So what are you waiting for? Grab the tools and get started!
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