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What is an ecosystem?

An ecosystem is a community of plants and animals in a particular place. This can be meadows, forests or oceans. Or lakes and ponds. The word ecosystem consists of the parts eco, the Greek word for "house" or "household", and system, which means that something is interconnected. The natural science associated with ecosystems is ecology.

Pond ecosystem

Ponds are therefore special ecosystems. They are still waters created by humans, usually with an inlet and outlet. They have always served a wide variety of purposes. On the one hand, they were used to operate mills, on the other hand, they were always indispensable in their function as fire-fighting ponds. However, fish farming also plays a particularly important role in human history, as fish were already an important foodstuff in the past, especially during Lent. Find out in the following articles how a pond is constructed, how it works and why healthy ponds are so important.


As you have already learned, a pond is an artificial, standing body of water. In addition to a natural inlet, there is usually also an outlet. This outlet regulates the water level. The pond dam causes the water to build up in the basin. The water can be drained at the lowest point of the pond. This is necessary to clean and desilt the pond and, of course, to fish it out.


Ponds fulfill many different functions. On the one hand, they serve the pond farms as breeding grounds for fish, on the other hand, they hold back precipitation and are therefore also important for flood protection.


Ponds are important for nature conservation. Together with their surroundings, they serve as a habitat for a variety of plants and animals. Without appropriate maintenance measures, the ponds would silt up over time and the habitat created would be destroyed again.

Care and maintenance

Appropriate and effective pond maintenance includes many different points, for example 

  • Preventing the spread of reeds and reed beds
  • bank protection
  • Construction of drains and dams
  • desilting

And what happens in winter?

When the cold season sets in, the turbulent pond life gives way to a calm and unagitated still life. Many animals go into hibernation or migrate to warmer regions of the world, such as swallows, cranes and storks. They only return in spring when the sun's warming rays have worked their way through the blossoming trees, fields and meadows.

But what do the fish and other pond dwellers do during this time? As very few fish can fly south, they have to spend the winter in their pond. But that's no problem for them as long as the pond is deep enough. This is because a pond with a minimum depth of ~ 0.8 - 1m usually never freezes completely. The warmer water sinks to the bottom of the pond. Here it is still quite cold at around 4°C, but as fish are cold-blooded (i.e. they adapt their body temperature and heartbeat to the ambient temperature) they can survive the winter, even if the top of the pond is frozen over.

In the graphic from our friends at the Saxon Anglers' Association, you can clearly see how the frozen pond cover prevents the water below it from cooling down any further. This means that the pond remains a safe home for fish even in winter.

If you have any more questions about ponds, fish and the like, why not take a look at our friends from the Saxon Anglers' Association?