Coontail: The Positives and Negatives of an Aquatic Plant

Aquatic vegetation is the proper name for the “moss” seen in ponds and other bodies of water. Unfortunately, many people do not view aquatic vegetation in a favorable light, with coontail (Ceratophyllum demersum) being a species that is often viewed negatively. In truth, coontail has both positive and negative attributes, and methods are available to control its growth.

Rotenone Can Remove Undesirable Fish From a Pond

Sometimes a pond manager wants to change a fishery in a pond by removing existing fish and restocking other fish. This commonly occurs when a pond with fish will be stocked with small fingerlings or when a pond is dominated by bullheads, common carp or stunted bream. Stocking small fingerlings into an existing fish population often gives poor results because existing fish out compete or eat small fingerlings. When overabundant, bullheads and common carp increase clay turbidity of a pond and reduce sport fish production. When bream are overabundant, they interfere with largemouth bass recruitment by eating too many bass eggs and fry, and their small size makes them inappropriate for human consumption and undesirable for angling. A pond manager basically has three options to remove existing fish: drain the pond, stock plenty of large predatory fish (adult largemouth bass primarily are used for this purpose) or treat the pond with a piscicide (chemical that kills fish). Rotenone is the piscicide most often used to kill fish.

A Secchi Disk is Used to Measure Water Clarity

Appropriate water quality is fundamentally important for fish and aquatic plants, and muddy water limits production of both. Ideal clarity for largemouth bass and bluegill production in ponds without substantial vegetation is 12- to 30-inch visibility, with primarily phytoplankton turbidity. Turbidity is cloudiness caused by suspended or dissolved material. Sport fish also perform well in clearer water when substantial aquatic vegetation is present. Ideal clarity for aquatic plant production is generally greater than 36-inch visibility.