Lime's Effect on Farm Ponds


Agricultural lime, or calcium carbonate, is a beneficial component of farm pond maintenance, with a number of desirable effects.

Fish Production

  • Lime allows the phytoplankton in a pond to grow, which in turn provides food for fish and insects in the pond, and the fish also eat the insect larvae. A fish farm is in business to produce fish. By increasing the amount of food available for the fish, lime aids farmers in reaching their goal.


  • Lime is an alkaline substance. When it is added to a relatively acidic solution, it makes the solution more alkaline, which is reflected in a higher pH. In the case of farm ponds, this increased pH allows for more availability of nutrients for the creatures in the pond.

Insect Repellent

  • Lime added to the water of farm ponds acts as an insect repellent and pesticide because the increased pH of the water creates an environment that is inhospitable to these harmful creatures, without damaging the fish.

Carbon Dioxide and Calcium

  • Phytoplankton need carbon dioxide to conduct photosynthesis and calcium for growth. Lime increases the levels of carbon dioxide and calcium in the water.

Application and Duration

  • Lime is spread throughout a farm pond by way of lime-spreading trucks if the pond is not yet filled with water, or by boat in an older, established farm pond. If administered properly, the agricultural lime should continue to produce positive effects for two to three years. After this, a pond will need to be limed again.

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  • Photo Credit George Eastman House/
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