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Three Beneficial Fish for Pond Maintenance

Imagine, if you will, a group of highly skilled workers whose only job is to routinely perform specific maintenance tasks on your HOA or golf course ponds.

Now imagine that they will work for free, won’t ask for a raise, and you won’t catch them slacking off on the computer watching funny cat videos on YouTube.

Seems too good to be true, right?

There are certain species of fish that can add immense value to your golf course or HOA ponds.

Whether they’re chomping down on nuisance plants and algae or helping remove excess nutrients from the bottom, these fish live to clean your pond.

We’re going to look at a few species of fish that you can add to your ponds who will do their part to help keep it clean!


If your ponds are in an area that suffers from mosquito outbreaks, you can help control the population by adding some mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis) to the water. They’re a relative of the common guppy, and mosquito larvae make up the main bulk of their diet. They view a mosquito in quite the same way you and I view a juicy T-bone steak.


In fact, the appetites of mosquitofish are so insatiable that a single fish can devour hundreds of mosquito larvae every single day. They’re extremely low maintenance—keep them away from any pond cleaning chemicals you may use, and they will grow to a naturally-sustaining population.

Mosquito fish bear live young, this means within a few hours of being born, the babies are already on the hunt for a meal of mosquito larvae. A healthy population of mosquitofish can significantly put a dent in the overall population of mosquitos. That’s a massive benefit for both homeowners and golfers alike.

Grass Carp

True to their name, the grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon Idella) live to eat nuisance aquatic plants. Originally from Asia, grass carp were imported into the U.S. to help keep plant species from overtaking a pond.

They have a wide tolerance of temperatures, and this has allowed them to proliferate. In some states, they are considered an invasive species, so check with your local fish and game office before stocking these vegetation-eating machines in your golf course or HOA ponds.

Grass carp love moving water, and if your ponds are connected to a local lake or river system, there is an excellent chance they can escape. Some fish stores will sell grass carp that have been genetically sterilized, thereby reducing the chances they will breed out of control.

If you have nuisance plant outbreaks in your ponds, grass carp might be a good way to keep them under control without the usage of potentially toxic and harmful chemicals and herbicides.


Tilapia (Oreochromis aureus) are native to African and Asian countries and are highly prized as a food source for tens of millions of people. Many HOA’s and golf course managers will stock their ponds with them as a natural way of controlling such nuisance plants as duckweed.

Some pond experts say that they will even help improve the dissolved oxygen levels and water quality of a pond. Tilapia love to eat vast quantities of detritus and muck on the bottom of the pond. They’re not actually consuming the muck, but rather the bacteria that reside in it.

This helps reduce the amounts of oxygen that are consumed during the decay process of fish waste and other organic materials. It also ensures that healthy colonies of beneficial aerobic bacteria can thrive, which will help speed up the breakdown of the harmful organic materials on the bottom.

If your ponds are in a geographical area where the water temperature gets below 45 degrees in the wintertime, you will most likely see a Tilapia die-off in the fall time. These fish prefer warmer waters since they come from the Cichlid family.

Cleaning Your Ponds Without Chemicals

The above three fish species can significantly help improve the overall health of your HOA or golf course ponds. However, they are not a substitute for regular pond maintenance.

Annual pond dredging will help remove the organic muck that resides at the bottom and prevent nuisance algae outbreaks and cloudy water. At American Underwater Services, we specialize in dredging ponds, lakes, and rivers of all sizes.

You can also use the organic muck that we dredge as a rich natural fertilizer for your grass, trees, or plants. Now is the best time to dredge your ponds in preparation for the upcoming fall and winter seasons. To learn more, give us a call at (817) 377-8512.



Anthony Di Iulio the founder, president and co-owner of American Underwater Services, Inc., started his business in 1999 with only three employees. Today this commercial diving company employs nearly 30 people and handles over 500 projects annually. Anthony moved to Fort Worth from Louisiana with his family in 1976. He worked summers during high school welding underwater for a marina on Benbrook Lake. Eventually he took scuba lessons after almost drowning on the job. Those lessons led him to training at a deep sea diving school in Houston, which included training on offshore oil rigs. Anthony spent several years in Louisiana working on offshore rigs and on inland jobs at power plants and dams before starting American Underwater Services, Inc.


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