Nitrogen and phosphorous are the two most important nutrients in aquatic environments, and algae needs both in a specific ratio, Smith said. Natural sources for these nutrients include rainfall, decaying plant matter and weathering of soil and rocks. Sources mainly from humans include fossil fuel combustion, fertilizers, soaps and detergents and animal waste.

Without nutrients, there is no algae in the ponds, Smith said. With no algae, the fish can’t survive.

However, too many nutrients can lead to excess algae growth, which creates a pea-soup color for the water. Surface scum, dead fish and a foul bad are other consequences.

Smith said controlling phosphorous levels is the key to keeping the water quality top notch. One way to do that is limiting the amount of fertilizers used in a yard that could eventually wash into a pond.

For anyone living near a pond, one of the biggest concerns is the presence of mosquitoes. With spring just around the corner, the Georgetown County Public Services Department offered tips on how to keep the insects to a low number.

According to the department, residents should replace all standing water at least once a week. Mosquitoes aren’t particular about a water source and it can range in quality from rain runoff to sewage.

It is also recommended that pond owners introduce mosquito-eating fish such as gambusia, green sunfish, bluegills and minnows.