As North Texas endured its 17th consecutive 100-degree day on Monday, the earlier-than-normal onset of triple-digit temperatures and a lingering drought are sucking the water out of ponds, tanks, and small lakes across Texas, making it difficult to keep the fish in them alive.
“Most of our clients are homeowner associations,” said Bill Wingo, a pond consultant with Magnolia Fisheries in Coppell. “They have fish in their ponds that are dying right now.”
Wingo said fish can be in trouble long before a pond dries up, describing weather effects that attack from above and below the surface while fish still have plenty of water to swim in.
“As the water gets more shallow and the sunlight hits the bottom it causes noxious native pond weeds and algae to grow prolifically,” Wingo said. “Anything more than 20 percent coverage of weeds and algae is detrimental. These are problems we deal with every summer, but this is the worst one in five years.”
Rafe Brock, a fishery management biologist for the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department Dallas-Fort Worth district, said records haven’t been kept on the many fish kills that private pond owners have reported this summer. but most involved a lack of oxygen in the water.
“As the temperature increases, [water's] ability to hold oxygen decreases,” he said. “We’re getting surface temps close to 90 degrees, when it shouldn’t be this warm until early August.”
An increase in algae complicates matters, Brock said.