How do fish survive when a lake freezes?


Quick Answer

Fish survive when a lake freezes by receding to the lower depths of the lake where the water is not frozen. In the winter, the water still holds a sufficient supply of oxygen and food for active fish.

Continue Reading

Full Answer

In the warm months of the year, it is natural to find cooler water at the depths of a lake; the exact opposite is true in winter. Due to the way that molecules arrange themselves in the water, warmer water stays at the bottom of the lake and cooler water stays at the top. Fish tend to swim to the warmer areas when lakes freeze over, and some even go to the very bottom and burrow into the mud there for added warmth.

As winter wears on, levels of oxygen in the water, leaving fish in a vulnerable state. When oxygen is low, fish may reduce their activity level and shut down feeding until conditions are more optimal. Persistent levels of low oxygen can result in freeze out, which is also known as winterkill, causing fish to die off due to lack of oxygen in the water. This is a natural phenomenon that is seen in harsher winters or winters that are particularly long and extreme.

Learn more about Fish

Related Questions

  • Q:

    Can fish drown in water?

    A: Fish can drown in water if there is not enough oxygen in the water. Water can run out of oxygen if fish overpopulation uses up the oxygen. Fish require a c... Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is the function of kidneys in fish?

    A: Fish kidneys, like human kidneys, regulate the ratio of water versus salt within the body. Fish kidneys have a more complicated job, however, as fish live ... Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Where do fish live?

    A: Fish live in almost every available body of water, including rivers, lakes, oceans and streams. The species of fish determines whether it lives in saltwate... Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Do fish get thirsty?

    A: Fish, like nearly all living organisms, need to consume water in order to survive. However, fish do not feel thirsty in the same way that humans do. Instea... Full Answer >
    Filed Under: