Summers come and go; right now, you might even be dreaming of your next swimming destination.
If you’re getting bored with the beach and pool, you might be thinking of lakes or ponds—but can you even swim in a pond?
The answer is yes and no.
It depends on the condition of the pond. A visually dirty pond is a hard pass, but even the pristine-looking ones may have dangerous secrets deep down in the waters.
From microbial infection to dangerous animals and physical hazards—swimming in a pond entails a lot of implications. Know more of their details below:
The most dangerous threats to human health are unseen by the naked eye.
Microscopic organisms that cause sickness are the number one threat in ponds. They’re present even in clean-looking ones and can affect our bodies in many ways.
See the most common microscopic organisms that thrive in ponds below:
Ponds have different sources of water. Regardless of whether it’s natural or artificial, the chances of human or animal waste being incorporated into the water are likely.
Fecal waste can carry a lot of pathogens that cause sickness in humans. The notorious ones are fecal coliform bacteria, e-coli, salmonella, listeria, and clostridium.
If you have a garden pond, bird droppings or even the fish’s fecal waste can be a source for these pathogens.
Natural ponds are even riskier to swim in as they’re exposed to different wildlife.
Some microscopic organisms can cling to our skin and cause itchy rashes. Parasites are organisms that need a host to thrive.
They can survive in the water for a few days to find their next victim. They’re often found on birds, snails, and other mammals but can live on human skin too.
Parasitic rashes are caused by the body’s allergic reaction to the protein and feces of the parasite.
However, parasites like giardia and cryptosporidiosis, when ingested, can also cause fevers and stomach and muscle aches.
Like parasites, fungi are well dispersed in animal waste and stay on human skin. Its enzymes activate spores that reproduce its population in the contaminated area.
Its common manifestations are fungal keratitis, otitis externa, and tinea pedis, characterized by inflammation, scaling, and itchiness.
Algaes are the blanket of a green substance commonly seen in ponds.
They’re formed when ponds have excess nutrients. These nutrients are the perfect food source for planktonic algae cells, making them thrive in the pond.
Though relatively harmless, algae in large amounts may produce microcystin—a toxin that affects the liver. It can also irritate the human eye, throat, and skin.
You might think again if you’re in the wild and are enticed to swim in a pond.
Some of these animals are territorial and would be alarmed by the slightest movement in their environment.
The chances of these animals swimming in an artificial and private pond are low, but snakes, especially in the summer, might be likely visitors to cool down in ponds.
One of the threats to swimming in ponds is its physical environment.
Algae form on the water’s surface and at the bottom of the pond. It can make the base you’re stepping on slippery.
Moss can also cover the edges of the pond, which further increase slipping accidents. In the wild, many tree branches fall, and some might be sitting under the murky waters.
Together with sharp objects, these can be stuck in the crevices of rocks under the pond and can potentially wound someone.
Can You Swim In a Koi Pond?
The answer is yes, but it’s not recommended.
There are ponds specifically designed to accommodate Kois and humans. These recreational ponds are wide, have fish accustomed to humans, and an advanced cleaning system.
Unless you’ve consulted a pool developer to build a pond of the right size and cleaning system, it’s better not to swim with your own Kois.
Kois get disoriented with consistent movements in their environment. This could stress them out and lead to sickness and death.
You can also potentially get bacteria and parasites from the fish’s waste.
Even with the implications above, you can still make your dreams of swimming with your Kois come true.
It entails a lot of preparation and consistent maintenance to keep it safe for humans. If you’re planning to make one, here are some of the things that you have to consider:
If it’s meant to accommodate humans, the depth of the pond must be between 3-5 ft. It would allow enough space for children and adults to swim comfortably.
If you put fish on it, make sure that it’s bigger to give enough room for the fish to swim and hide away.
Think of your garden pond as a big fish tank—which you’ll be diving in. Pools usually use chlorine and high-powered filters to keep the water safe from harmful pathogens and debris.
However, a pond can’t use chlorine, as it can kill other life forms like fish and plants.
In turn, you must invest in a much more advanced filter system that can vacuum the dirt in every corner and reprocess it back to the pond.
Cleaning and sampling the water in your pond are non-negotiable. It’s a process of taking foreign debris off your pond and checking the water to see if it’s safe for swimming.
This process helps avoid excess nutrients and ammonia in the pond. It also checks if your filter system is in its top shape.
This way, you’re aware of any growing population of pathogens or carcinogens (like microcystin).
If you plan to swim with fish, ensure the species are friendly enough for humans.
Most fish get easily stressed out when there’s too much movement in their environment. It may cause them to eat less and get sick.
To give enough space for humans and fish to exist harmoniously, swimming ponds usually buy small to medium fish.
Ponds are exciting and beautiful creations of nature that we now manage to make in our homes.
As enticing as it looks to swim in, there are various factors that we have to consider before taking the dip.
The most important are the potential pathogens and carcinogens in the water, dangerous wildlife, and even the hazardous debris beneath it.
Ben has a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering. When not constructing or remodeling X-Ray Rooms, Cardiovascular Labs, and Pharmacies, you can find him at home with wife and two daughters. Outside of family, He loves grilling and barbequing on his Big Green Egg and Blackstone Griddle, as well as working on projects around the house.
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