Aquatic Plant Management

Freshwater Aquaculture May 17, 2013 Print Friendly and PDF

Micheal Masser, Extension Fisheries Specialist, Texas A&M University

non-native alligator weed, Alternanthera philoxeroides(photo courtesy of David Cline, Auburn University)

Aquatic plants can be problems in both aquaculture and recreational ponds. In private impoundments, almost any aquatic plant can be invasive because of the pond’s shallow water depths and accumulation of nutrients over time (i.e., high fertility). In all ponds, excessive algae blooms and aquatic macrophytes (rooted vegetation) can cause low dissolved oxygen problems that can lead to fish stress and even mortality. In aquaculture ponds, macrophytes hinder feed access, prevent seining activities, reduce water circulation, and may harbor pests such as snails, snakes, etc. Many macrophytes significantly increase water loss from the pond through evapotranspiration. Aquatic macrophytes are efficient utilizers of available nutrients, especially phosphorus, and may therefore make it difficult to establish a healthy phytoplankton bloom. The physical presence of aquatic plants may slow water movement within the pond allowing suspended sediments to settle. This reduction of turbidity may lead to increased predation by birds and otters and further exacerbate vegetation problems. In recreational ponds, macrophytes can reduce access to forage (i.e., food) by desirable species (e.g., largemouth bass), leading to poor fish growth and stunting. Total control of aquatic vegetation is often impossible, but with a well-designed integrated pest management approach to the problem, reasonable control of nuisance plants can be achieved.
Edited by:
Greg Lutz, Extension Professor, Louisiana State University

One of the most useful websites for identifying aquatic plants is AquaPlant

For more information please visit your Regional Aquaculture Center

Center for Tropical and Subtropical Aquaculture
North Central Regional Aquaculture Center
Northeastern Regional Aquaculture Center
Southern Regional Aquaculture Center
Western Regional Aquaculture Center

Aquatic Plant Management Publications

Algae Blooms in Commercial Fish Ponds (pdf)

Managing Algal Blooms and the Potential for Algal Toxins in Pond Water (pdf)

Aquatic Plant Management Purdue (pdf)

Aquatic Plant Management: BMPs in Support of Fish and Wildlife Habitat (pdf)

Aquatic Weed Management: Control Methods (pdf)

Aquatic Weed Management: Herbicide Safety, Technology, and Application Techniques (pdf)

Aquatic Weed Management: Herbicides (pdf)

Controlling Filamentous Algae in Recreational Ponds (pdf)

Field Guide to Aquatic Plants of Alabama (pdf)

Managing Iowa Fisheries (pdf)

Plankton Management for Fish Culture Ponds (pdf)

Use of Copper in Freshwater Aquaculture & Farm Ponds (pdf)

Using Grass Carp in Aquaculture and Private Impoundments (pdf)

Using Grass Carp to Control Weeds in Alabama Ponds (pdf)

Weed Control in Florida Ponds (pdf)

Weed Management in Lakes and Ponds (pdf)

Weed Management in Small Ponds (pdf)

Aquatic Plant Management Websites

Advantages and Disadvantages of Aquatic Plant Management Techniques
Aquatic Weed Control Mississippi State University
Plant Management in Florida Waters


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