Last Updated on February 28, 2021 by Cooper Fulton

Tides in Ponds and Lakes

Do ponds have tides?

So, tides, what are they? Usually, when people refer to tides they think of the water rising and falling on a beach. Tides in Ponds and Lakes

Some people may ask if these tides happen to a pond or lake. 

The answer is yes, but on a very small scale.

Small tides can be found in lakes and ponds called tidal ponds or tidal lakes.

For any back yard pond or local lake, the impact is way too small to measure. The largest lakes in the world only move about two inches during high and low tide.


What causes tides?

The gravitational pull between the earth, the moon, and the sun causes tides. So, the gravitational attraction of the moon and sun cause the ocean to bulge out, thus creating tides.

When the sun and the moon line up, it creates a super high tide and a super low tide. The gravity of the sun and the moon pull the water towards them. 

The water is being pulled from areas that have less of a gravitational pull on them creating a low tide in that area.

tidal lakes

Difference between high tide and low tide

High Tide

When the body of water is in a bulge, the water is being pulled onto shore creating a high tide. 

At high tide, the water is the highest it will get. At the beach, this means the water will come up about 2-5 feet (.5-1.5 meters).

 For a pond or lake, you will barely be able to see a difference. The Great Lakes, which are a few of the largest lakes, don’t move more than two inches (5 centimeters). 

Low Tide

Low tides occur when you are outside of a bulge. The water is being pulled away from where you are.

Ponds and lakes are microscopic compared to oceans, you can’t see the effect tides have on them.

Different size of a pond

Depending on the size, depth, and slope of a pond will determine how much of tide is visible.

A pond has to be extremely large to see any change in height due to tides. Only the world’s largest lakes such as the Caspian Sea (which is a lake) and Lake Superior only see a few inches in tidal change.

A tidal lake would also have to be very deep to have tides. The higher the volume of water the more of a tide a body of water will have.

The slope of a tidal lake or pond also determines the height of the tide. When you think of the beach, the shore is at a very gradual incline. 

This allows the water to flow up onto the shore and create a tide, the same is for tidal lakes. The less of an incline the slope is the higher the tide will rise.

tidal pond

Are tides important?

Tides are very important for many reasons:

Navigation: Tides, believe it or not, cause changes to the depth of the sea. This will create a tidal stream, making the prediction of tides extremely important to navigation.

Fishing: Fishermen follow the tides and learn to fish during levels of high tide and low tide to improve their economic investment and to make more efficient use of their time.

Tidal Zone Foods: Edible sea life such as crabs, mussels, seaweed, snails, and urchins live in the tidal zone. The sea life in this region is most commonly harvested for food. Without the tides, these creatures would die off and food resources would lessen.

Weather: Tides in conjunction with tidal currents affect the weather by stirring up water currents in the ocean. The stirring up of the currents creates more habitable climate conditions and also balances the overall temperature of our planet.

Tidal Energy: If you didn’t know, there are 2 high tides and low tides each day (24 hours). Hydroelectric plants have been created to capture energy from running water into usable electricity. 


Effects of tides

Tides have a large effect on coastal regions. High tide is able to push sand and sediments up onto beaches to shape the shorelines.

As the earth rotates daily, the coast is dragged through the bulge, where the water level rises and falls with each new day.

High tide can bring in not only sediment but also aquatic life such as fish, urchins, and plant life.

It is always high tide somewhere on earth.

Bulges in tidal ponds or tidal lakes are very tiny and not noticeable. 

Of course, when compared to the ocean.

So, therefore, there is no noticeable rise and fall tides in ponds and lakes.

This is also the reason the Mediterranean has less noticeable tides because it is a small ocean and more enclosed than the others.