How Does The Ecosystem Of A Pond Work?

Hint: ecosystem ponds are a living system!

One of many complete and beautiful ecosystem ponds

Ecosystem Ponds Are Made Of Many Parts

Ponds are alive and all the components making it up rely on each other. Aquatic plants, fish, bacteria, algae, wildlife, even the filters are part of this living system. You can find out more about the pieces of ecosystem ponds further down the page.

Infographic of the different parts of an ecosystem pond

Components Of An Ecosystem Pond

Waterfall Filter

For explanation purposes, this will be the beginning of the ecosystem. Water passes through the filter mats which remove sediment and other particles. The beauty of having a biofall¬†is it’s hidden as a waterfall.

Biofalls as part of of an ecosystem pond

Rocks & Gravel

Ecosystem ponds aren’t complete without a nice rocky bottom. Rocks and gravel hide the liner, making the pond appear more natural and provide a nicer look. They are also home to beneficial bacteria which help filter the pond water. Maintenance can be a little harder, but an annual cleaning can clear it right up!

Ecosystem ponds with rock and gravel bottoms like this look natural and amazing

Aquatic Plants

Aquatic plants are one of the best parts of having a pond. As far as ecosystem ponds go they are one of the most important aspects. Adding them to a pond brings more natural beauty to it, making it seem more like you built your house around the pond. They also filter the pond water by using nutrients before algae can.

Ecosystem pond with different types of aquatic plants


The most fun part of ecosystem ponds is the fish! You can hand feed them and watch them lazily swim by or dart around when they get excited. They also help filter the water by eating algae and other pond scum,

Ecosystem pond with fish and a yellow lotus

Skimmer Filtration Unit

Skimmers are the filter that “skim” the water as it passes through and collects larger debris like an MLB catcher. It has 2 parts- a plastic basket for larger debris and a filter mat to catch sediment. Skimmers are the final step in the ecosystem because it’s where the pond pump is, recycling water back into the pond.

Pond skimmer basket and filter mat

Ecosystem Ponds Are Amazing!

They can bring life, beauty, and excitement to any yard. Since they are fairly easy to maintain day-to-day ponds don’t take much energy to look after, so they can be good for anyone (even those with busy schedules). You could also take a look at some pondless water features if you want zero maintenance.

See the differences between ponds and pondless features >>