Organisms used in water purification

Organisms used in water purification
A flowering water-purifying plant (Iris pseudacorus)

At present, several species of water-purifying plants, bacteria, and fish are used in water purification, improving efficiency and/or ecosystem support.



Plants perform multiple roles in water purification. They provide shade, a refuge for fish, oxygen for aerobic bacteria.[1] In addition, fish can limit pests such as mosquitoes.

The choice of organism depends on the local climate different species and other factors. Indigenous species usually tend to be better adapted to the local environment.


A water-purifying plant (Iris pseudacorus) in growth after winter (leaves die at that time of year)

Different plant species are necessary in each of four depth-zones.[2]

  • 0–20 centimetres (0–7.9 in)
  • 40–60 centimetres (16–24 in)
  • 60–120 centimetres (24–47 in)
  • Greater than 120 centimeters (47 in)

Water purifying

Plants purify water by consuming excess nutrients and by de-acidifying it by removing carbon dioxide.


  • Stratiotes aloides, for temperate climates, depth 40-60cm, is one of the best options.
  • Hydrocharis morsus-ranae, temperate climates, depth 40-60cm is one of the best options. Extremely invasive and is listed on the Washington State Noxious Weeds list.
  • Acorus calamus, for temperate climates



Different species required for each of 3 depth-zones. The fish need to be herbivores.

  • Surface
  • Middle
  • Bottom


  • Leuciscus leuciscus, for temperate climates.
  • Leuciscus idus, for temperate climates.
  • Scardinius erythrophthalmus, for temperate climates.


  • Rutilus rutilus, for temperate climates.


  • Tinca tinca, for temperate climates.


Indigenous bacteria are preferred to ensure that good adaptation to local conditions. Bacteria can be grown by submerging straw (or other plant material) in water for several days. The bacteria automatically populate the material.

Extra considerations

For ecologic/self-purifying ponds, de-nutrified soil needs to be taken for the plants to prevent the possible growth of algae. Coconut fibre growing medium is best used to prevent soil from being spread around and to sometimes to let the plants root in.

Example system

The following choices occupy all depth-zone niches and are mutually compatible in the same pond.



  • Surface—Leuciscus leuciscus, Scardinius erythrophthalmus, ...
  • Middle—Rutilus rutilus
  • Bottom—Tinca tinca

See also


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Water purification — This article is about large scale, municipal water purification. For portable/emergency water purification, see portable water purification. For industrial water purification, see deionized water. For distilled water, see distilled water. Water… …   Wikipedia

  • Portable water purification — devices – also known as point of use (POU) water treatment systems and field water disinfection techniques – are self contained units that can be used by recreational enthusiasts, military personnel, survivalists, and others who must… …   Wikipedia

  • water — waterer, n. waterless, adj. waterlessly, adv. waterlessness, n. waterlike, adj. /waw teuhr, wot euhr/, n. 1. a transparent, odorless, tasteless liquid, a compound of hydrogen and oxygen, H2O, freezing at 32°F or 0°C and boiling at 212°F or 100°C …   Universalium

  • Water quality — A rosette sampler is used to collect samples in deep water, such as the Great Lakes or oceans, for water quality testing. Water quality is the physical, chemical and biological characteristics of water.[1] It is a measure of the condition of… …   Wikipedia

  • Water reclamation — is a process by which water used in houses and businesses goes down the drain and becomes wastewater, which is then cleaned using biological and chemical processes so the water can be returned to the environment safely to augment the natural… …   Wikipedia

  • water-supply system — Facilities for the collection, treatment, storage, and distribution of water. Ancient systems included wells, storage reservoirs, canals and aqueducts, and water distribution systems. Highly advanced systems appeared с 2500 BC and reached their… …   Universalium

  • Heavy water — Not to be confused with hard water or tritiated water. Deuterium oxide IUPAC name …   Wikipedia

  • UV water disinfection — Ultraviolet water disinfection is a treatment of drinking water that uses ultraviolet radiations in order to inactivate microorganisms.UV Disinfection of water The disinfection process Ultraviolet disinfection of water consists of a purely… …   Wikipedia

  • Drinking water — Tap water Drinking water or potable water is water pure enough to be consumed or used with low risk of immediate or long term harm. In most developed countries, the water supplied to households, commerce and industry is all of drinking water… …   Wikipedia

  • Spin column-based nucleic acid purification — Silica on a minicolumn with water and with DNA sample in chaotropic buffer Column based nucleic acid purification is a solid phase extraction method to quickly purify nucleic acids. This method relies on the fact that the nucleic acid may bind… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”