Fish Fauna 1993

Map Description

Thirty-three species of fish were found in 151 bodies of water in Berlin in the period of this survey. Seven of them belong to the non-indigenous category. The frequency of the recording of an individual species within each type of body of water is found in Table 2. The most frequently recorded species of fish is the roach, found in 102 bodies of water. Perch was found 100 times. Pike, bream, crucian carp and eels were recorded in more than 80 of the sampled bodies of water. Carp populate every second body of water sampled. They are the most frequently appearing non-indigenous species of fish, explained by their importance for commercial and sport fishing. The least number of verifications were for spined loach and brown bullhead, each with 3.

No fish at all were found in 6 sampled bodies of water. Only one species was found in 11 waters. As expected, the lake-like lowlands of the Havel and Spree rivers are the Berlin bodies of water most rich in fish species. The great wealth of fish species in small bodies of water is conspicuous. They usually accommodate more species of fish than would be expected under natural conditions. The majority of imported species are not capable of reproducing under prevailing conditions. Their stock is constantly renewed.

The number of tested bodies of water is almost 3 times the number in the Environmental Atlas of 1985, due to the expansion of the area to be investigated. The number of rivers and lakes investigated increased especially. Thirteen bodies of water of this category were tested in 1985. This time 63 were tested. This is probably why roach and perch – typical lake fish – are the most frequent species found. The crucian carp is a typical small bodies of water fish and occupies fifth place. It was the most frequently found fish species in the surveys of 1985. More small bodies of water were investigated at that time, in relation to other bodies of water categories. The results of 1985 and 1993 cannot be directly compared with each other for this reason.

Two new species, rainbow trout and goldfish, were included in the current survey map because their population sizes and frequency of appearances have increased over the last 5 years.

Brief Characteristics of Selected Berlin Bodies of Water

River Lakes

About 30 km of the Havel river and its lake-like broadenings run through Berlin. Beginning at the Spandau locks, the Havel can be divided into the Upper Havel, including Niederneuendorfer and Tegeler See (see = lake); and the Lower Havel, including Scharfe Lanke, Stößensee, Jungfernsee and Großer Wannsee. The Kleine Wannseekette (Lesser Wannsee chain of lakes) flows through an ice age channel and is comprised of Kleiner Wannsee, Pohlesee, and Stölpchensee. These bodies of water are similar both in morphology and hydrology, and can be termed lakes with outflows or river lakes. The entire area of the Havel lakes is more than 2,000 ha. Pohle and Stölpchen are the smallest with 10 ha; and Tegeler See is the largest with about 400 ha. All bodies of water mentioned were tested in the course of the Berlin fish fauna survey, with the exception of Jungfernsee and Niederneuendorfer.

The Havel lakes are among the Berlin bodies of water with the highest number of species of fish. Each was found to have more than 20; the maximum was 25 species. Griebnitzsee is connected to the bodies of water system of the Havel but was found to contain only 14 species. This is due to the influence of the Teltow canal waters, but all the species living in it were probably not found.

Eleven of the fish species are Red Data Book Species. Two of them are endangered by extinction in Berlin. The large spectrum of species of fish has several causes. For one, there are both still water and running water areas, so that both lentic and lotic fish species find suitable habitats. For another, relatively diverse structures are to be found, despite strong anthropogenic damages. There are large-area constructions of every type (sheet-pile retaining walls, gangways, docks, etc.) and also flat, herbaceous bays and reed areas, which fish use as spawning areas and the brood as shelter during growth. There are also regular restockings with eel, pike, and wels.

The barbel was once widely-distributed and the characteristic fish of this flowing water region. The use of dammed-up bodies of water led to its extinction in the middle of the century in spite of diverse habitat conditions. Euryöke fish prevail today.

Havel bodies of water are first class navigation waters which are used for shipping. They are also used by commercial and sport fishers and heavily frequented by water sport and recreational visitors.

There are also river lakes along the Spree and Dahme. Langer See, Zeuthener See and Große Krampe are located along the course of the Dahme. Seddinsee is supplied with Spree water by way of the Gosener Canal. The Spree flows through all other investigated bodies of water (Rummelsburger See, Großer and Kleiner Wannsee, Dämeritzsee, and Die Bänke). These latter lakes together comprise an area of 952 ha. They range from the 15,8 ha Kleiner Müggelsee to the 770 ha Großer Müggelsee.

A total of 27 species of fish were detected, 13 of them Red Data Book Species. Three of them, bitterling, weatherfish, and burbot, are threatened in Berlin with extinction.

Eleven (Rummelsburger See) to 22 (Seddinsee) species were found in individual bodies of water. It is very probable that other small fish species exist in the Dahme lakes and will be documented, but the relative impoverishment of species in Rummelsburger See can be traced to strong anthropogenic effects. The increasing pollution of the urban Spree is responsible for this lack of more critical species of fish, and the unnatural structural condition of the shoreline, which is detrimental for fish. Rummelsburger See is almost completely closed with retaining walls, mostly of steel. This leads to a further lack of higher water plants and an extremely monotonous shore structure. It can be assumed that the lake serves the existing species solely as a feeding or retreat area.

River lakes located more to the east at the edge of the city demonstrate diverse habitats. Long zones of floating aquatic plants (Die Bänke) and even larger, non-built-up, natural shores exist (south and west shore of Großer Müggelsee), as well as relatively long belts of reeds (east shore of Seddinsee).

These bodies of water are used like the Havel lakes, but the impact of sport boats is clearly smaller. The Dahme is strongly frequented by river navigation (the Spree-Oder-River navigation channel).


This group is defined as still bodies of water without currents, with an area usually more than one ha. These lakes are differentiated between natural lakes, resulting from the Weichselian ice age, and manmade lakes; excavations, sand pits, clay or peat removals, etc.

Natural Lakes

Thirty of the sampled lakes were classified in this category. Their sizes range from the 1.2 ha Möwensee to the 70 ha Groß Glienicker See. A total of 30 fish species were verified in them. The number of species in individual lakes varied from 1 in Schwarzwassersee to 23 in Heiligensee. All the endangered species of fish in Berlin were found there, except for burbot and spined loach. The appearance of dace and chub, as rheoic species (flowing water), in Heiligensee must be characterized as atypical.

The flat, polytrophic Bogensee in Bucher forest has a long belt of reeds. Sewage farms operated around the lake until the mid-80’s. They led to strong nutrient impacts which resulted in mud sedimentation of the lake. Oxygen levels in summer often reach a critical value for fish, resulting in fish-kills, as in the summer of ’92. There is a pipeline connection from the south shore of the lake to Bucher Teichen. The lake appears very natural. It has been provisionally secured as a nature reserve. Four species of fish were verified. One of them, the three-spined stickleback, is endangered in Berlin.

The Grunewald, Hundekehle, Nikolas, Schlachtensee, and Krumme Lanke lakes are part of the Große Grunewaldseenkette (Greater Grunewald chain of lakes). They are located in a side channel of the Havel lakes, created by post-glacial meltwater. Almost the entire length of the long, stretched-out shores are lined with trees. The small bodies of water have only a few, small reed beds, with the exception of Nikolassee, which has a long, herbaceous shallow water area with reed beds. Fish which spawn in herbaceous areas find insufficient conditions for reproduction. Plantings of reed beds might help, as has been practiced since 1991 along sections of shore at Schlachtensee lake. Further protective and preservative measures include removal of sludge and mud (Hundekehle and Grunewald lakes), and introduction of de-phosphorized water to sink nutrient levels and maintain water levels.

A total of 19 fish species were surveyed in these lakes. Seven of them belong to species endangered in Berlin. The number of species in individual lakes ranges between 11 and 14. Bitterlings were only captured in Nikolassee, and asp only in Krumme Lanke. The asp is not a typical still water (lentic) fish and most probably entered the lake in restocking programs. Its long-term viability seems at least questionable. Regular restocking measures are conducted to maintain fish stock levels of species interesting for fishers, such as eel, pike, tench, zander and wels.

The Groß-Glienicker See (Greater Glienicke Lake) is the largest Berlin lake with an area of 70 ha. It is a stratified, eurotrophic to hypertrophic lake, whose outflow is temporarily connected to Sacrower See. This would theoretically provide at least temporary possibilities for fish migrations. There are no submerged macrophytes. The lake deepwater is without oxygen in summer, fish-toxic hydrogen-sulfides form. That prevents the bodies of water bottom (profundal zone) from being used by fish as a feeding area.

The Berlin portion of the lake is commercially fished by its owners. Restocking measures are mainly pike, tench, carp and eel.

A total of 10 fish species were verified by fishing samples, three of them endangered. Species verified in 1948 could no longer be found, such as bleak, spined loach and wels. Bleak and spined loach are native to Sacrower See, so their presence, even temporary, would be possible in Groß Glienicker Lake. It remains to be seen how the bodies of water ecosystem reacts to the chemical dephosphorizing begun in December 1992. The expected increase in water transparency could support a populating of underwater plants and thus to an increased structural diversity of the lake.

Heiligensee is connected to the upper Havel by a lock outlet. This minimizes water exchange to the extent that Heiligensee cannot be considered part of the river-lakes. The north shore is very near-natural, with reeds and is a spawning protection area. The remaining shoreline has grass or is stabilized with planks. Heiligensee is used for recreational fishing.

The link to the upper Havel makes Heiligensee one of the richest in fish species. A total of 23 species were verified here, including dace and chub. Ten are endangered species in Berlin. It should be noted that dace and chub are fish fauna of the upper Havel. As pure river fish, their presence in the lake is not typical and is limited to the lock outlet area. It would thus be expected that ide and burbot would be at least sometimes present. This supposition could not be verified by captures.

The long Hermsdorfer See is the northernmost lake in Berlin. It is fed by Tegeler Fließ. But this flow is too small to class it as a river lake. Its shore vegetation has a variety of structures: there are reed areas, and other with bushes and trees. There are flat, herbaceous areas in the water which serve fish and their broods use as spawning areas and shelter. The bodies of water bottom is muddy.

The lake was verified to have 14 species of fish, four of them endangered. The presence of other, small fish species is very probable, especially endangered species.

The Kleine Grunewaldseenkette (Lesser Grunewald chain of lakes) includes Herthasee, Halensee, Dianasee, Hubertussee, and Koenigsee lakes. Like the lakes of the Greater Grunewald lake chain, they are located in a side channel of the Havel lakes, formed by meltwater in the post-glacial period. Their shores are filled with bushes and trees, and sometimes with wooden fascine works. All areas also have flat, herbaceous areas and reed growths. The shores are accessible to the public only at a few locations, for they are mainly private property. They are used for recreational fishing, like most Berlin lakes, and as such are regularly restocked. The number of fish species varies between 13 at Herthasee and 15 at Koenigsee (among others). These differences should not be too heavily weighed, for the lakes are connected with each other. Six species are endangered in Berlin. Of them, the moderlieschen is especially frequently found in these lakes.

Köppchensee is at the northern periphery of Berlin, in Blankenfelde, and eutrophic. It makes a very natural impression. But pollution has probably percolated from the waste disposal site operated until 1967, as well as the massive use of herbicides along the border between the GDR and West Berlin. There was a fish-kill in April and May, 1991. The causes are unknown. The lake was found to contain 12 species of fish, one of them, the spined loach, is very endangered.

Lietzensee is located in the middle of a park in the Charlottenburg borough. The lake consists of two connected basins. The shore of the northern basin is artificially reinforced, or built-up with houses. The southern shore has a few reed beds and trees. The lake has 13 fish species, 4 of them endangered. Almost all the fish come from stocking measures.

The hypertrophic Malchow See is in northeast Berlin. It is managed by recreational fishers. Its maximum depth is 1.5m, the water transparency only a few centimeters. The east lake shore is partially lined with thick willow bushes, and there are trees on the north and northwest shoreline. Few water plants grow here due to nutrient inputs from the surrounding area. The western part of the lake is muddied. There are thick mud deposits almost to the surface of the water, 10-20 cm below it. Oxygen loss and the formation of hydrogen-sulfides led repeatedly to fish-kills between 1974 and 1988.

A total of 14 fish species were found, 5 of them endangered in Berlin. The observed drop of gudgeon in the lake is alarming. A lack of spawning substrate is assumed to be the reason. A successful reproduction could only be verified for perch and moderlieschen.

Möwensee is located in the Lange Fenn in the Wedding borough, and it also has trees on the shore. The yearly input of leaves forms a thick layer of mud on the lake bottom. Lack of oxygen and fish-kills in summer result from the decomposition of these organic substances. Such extreme situations are only tolerated by fish who have low oxygen demands. This lake is almost only populated by crucian carp. How long the other verified species, brown bullhead and three-spined stickleback, have lived in the bodies of water could not be determined, nor how their populations are produced.

The hypertrophic Obersee in the Hohenschönhausen borough is a park lake. It is a lake poor in structures, except for an island. It is lined by a monotonous concrete bank which offers fish neither shelter nor spawning habitats. The sewer is an additional burden. It discharges mixed waste and rain water overflows during strong rainfalls.

The lake was strongly herbaceous previously, but there are no macrophytes today due to the bank structure and stocking of grass carp in 1986. Nevertheless, 14 species of fish have been verified from 1978 to today, among them 4 endangered species. More than half the fish have been stocked by recreational fishers. Grass carp and carp are regularly stocked, also zander, roach, bream, tench, and, previously, often eels.

Several fish-kills, poor reproduction conditions, and an imbalanced stocking of carp allow larger populations only of crucian carp, gibel carp, tench, and carp to be found today. The decline of gudgeon is alarming. Pike and bream are seldom found. Pike, bream, and zander do not reproduce naturally in this lake because of the lack of spawning refuges.

The eutrophic Orankesee is also in a park in the Hohenschönhausen borough which is managed by fishers. The lake shores are reinforced with steel sheet piling and honeycombed concrete plates. It no longer possesses its original, richly-divided structures. The lake still has long water curltop stocks, which afford fish spawning areas and shelter. Another area biologically valuable for fish is the bathing beach at the north shore of the lake. Its sandy sediments also serve as a spawning refuge. The lake is fed by a deep well and is clearly less muddied that the neighboring Obersee. It also has better water quality, in spite of the frequent swimming and recreational users.

Fifteen species of fish have been verified here from 1978 to today, among them bitterling, gudgeon, and moderlieschen. The bitterling is threatened by extinction in Berlin. A total of 6 of the verified autochonic fish species must be viewed as endangered.

Plötzensee in the Wedding borough is used for swimming. Trees line its shores.There are few submerged macrophytes. Ten autochtonic fish species, 3 of them threatened in Berlin, were verified. The capture of a single asp does not indicate that a population of this species exists here. Its presence in a closed still body of water is atypical and is probably due to stocking.

Plötzensee is one of the few bodies of water in Berlin that have not been stocked with non-indigenous fish in the course of fishing management. This circumstance is held to be worth maintaining.

Schwarzensee is located in a hollow in Blankenfelde. Its shores are tree-lined. The northern and southern portions of the lake have flat bays with reeds. Submerged macrophytes were not determined. The lake appears very near-natural and is not used for fishing.

In spite of its near-natural appearance, the lake only accommodates a single (environmentally tolerant) species of fish, the crucian carp. Stocking of liquid manure caused a fish-kill in 1987 and is possibly one cause for the lack of species. The southern part of the lake would be suitable as a spawning area for other fish, including crucian carp and pike. A natural population is not possible, for the lake is isolated and there are no other waters in the vicinity where fish can reproduce naturally.

Steinbergsee has a size of 0.9 ha and is one of Berlin’s smallest lakes. It is differentiated from ponds and sinks by inflow from Lübars and Waidmannslust, and outflow to Nordgraben. The shores are thickly lined with trees. It is managed by fishers and is stocked. Stock measures resulted in the verification of 19 fish species, 9 of them endangered. Fish populations seem small, in spite of stocking. The possibility that the lake has regular low levels of oxygen cannot be ruled out, nor that fish may wander here by way of Nordgraben. The gudgeon was the fish most often verified.

Teufelssee in Müggelheim was stocked with fish by the German Angler Association before their management was discontinued. The presently verified 11 fish species are mainly due to that. Their population is relatively small because of repeated fish-kills due to low oxygen levels. The shores are largely lined by alder trees. Their shadowing and leaf inputs led to a muddying of the polytrophic lake. They are also responsible for the lack of water plants. Oxygen deficits occurred during summer stagnation in connection with a lowering of the groundwater table by extractions for drinking water of the Friedrichshagen waterworks.

Teufelssee in Grunewald is located in a nature reserve, but is nevertheless one of Berlin’s most frequented lakes. Its shores are lined with trees and some reeds. That gives the lake a multiplicity of structures and it appears near-natural.

A total of 13 species of fish were found in the lake. Five of them are Berlin `Red Data Book Species’, including the bitterling, a species threatened by extinction. The population development of the bitterling must be estimated as declining. Mussels are required by bitterlings. Studies would have to determine if sufficient mussel species exist.

The shores of Waldsee (Hermsdorf) are not accessible to the public. This lake seems near-natural. Herbaceous areas are suitable habitats for broods and young fish and spawning grounds for fish who require aquatic vegetation. The lake appears very natural and is managed by a recreational fishing club. A total of 12 fish species were found, 5 of them endangered.

Waldsee (Zehlendorf) is not open to the public and also seems quite natural. The shores are thick with trees, with stabilized walkways in some places. Submerged aquatic vegetation is rich.

Eleven fish species were verified, 3 of them endangered. The moderlieschen is frequent here, as in Waldsee in the Reinickendorf borough. This lake does not have fish stocked by fishers, such as carp and zander. The same is true for fish preferred as bait, like gudgeon and ruffe.

The hypertrophic Weiße See (Weißensee) is a park lake managed by recreational fishers. The shoreline of old facines is monotonous and has few structures. Cyprinus species (carp) have hardly any spawning substrate, because strong eutrophication hinders higher water plants. The lake bottom is very muddy, except for the bathing area on the east shore. The water fountain in the middle of the lake introduces much oxygen in the summer months and is thus evaluated positively.

A total of 18 species of fish were verified, 6 endangered. The high number of species is mainly due to management. Carp, tench, eels, pike and zander are regularly stocked. Grass carp, bream, gibel carp, roach, crucian carp, and rainbow trout are stocked irregularly.

Manmade Lakes

This group contains 16 of the sampled lakes. Their areas vary from the 0.5 ha Körner See to the 30 ha Flughafensee (Airport Lake). 26 fish species were verified. Individual lakes had at least 3 (Elsengrundbecken) to a maximum of 19 species (Flughafensee). The high number of species is due to stocking; mainly of fish preferred by recreational fishers. This is evidenced by the presence of rainbow trout in more than 1/3 of these lakes, zander in 1/2 of them, and pike and carp in 3/4.

The Arkenberger See in north Berlin (Blankenfelde) was previously used as a sand pit. The lake, today eutrophic, was created in 1979 in the course of freeway construction and has been managed by recreational fishers since then. A building rubble dump is operated on the west shore. Another source of anthropogenic bodies of water pollution is the extremely heavy swimming use in summer. The shoreline of this artificial lake is poor in structures. Long stretches of submerged macrophytes are worth mentioning. All of the 16 verified fish species, 5 of them endangered in Berlin, are from stocking.

The BUGA-bodies of water (federal garden fair) in Neukölln, where the federal garden fair was once held, was created during landscaping of the park. The lake is maintained with water and is relatively low in nutrients and clear. The shore region is landscaped in some areas very naturally, is planted, and accommodates a vegetation of many species. Thick stocks of submerged macrophytes grow in the water.

Although numerous fish species were stocked here, including bitterling, only 7 could be verified. The presence of other species is uncertain; further studies are desirable.

Flughafensee is the deepest lake in Berlin with 30m. It was created as a sand pit for the construction of Tegel airport and is managed today by recreational fishers. There are near-natural shore vegetation at places not frequented by recreational visitors. Some of the reed beds are endangered by lowering of the groundwater table. The herbaceous bays at the southern part of the lake serve fish as spawning areas and the brood as growing shelter. The 19 verified species are mainly due to management.

The Tiergarten park has a range of lakes; some of them are connected by trenches. They were constructed and are supplied with water. They are park lakes with artificially stabilized shores and landscaped with vegetation. There is a connection to the Spree which is not conducive for fish. Spree river fish cannot use the Tiergarten lakes as alternatives during events such as sewage water releases, or as spawning refuges. These bodies of water were tested by Doering and Ludwig in 1989. They found up to 18 species of fish (in Neuer See). This large number is probably due to stocking. A connection to the Spree River which all species of fish could use would raise the value of these water for Berlin fish fauna.

The Kaulsdorfer Seen lakes in the Hellersdorf borough is a very recently created area containing 5 manmade lakes. Butzer See and Habermannsee lakes are the oldest of the group. They were built in 1942 in connection with the construction of the Reichsbahn-Umgehungsbahn (= railroad section) in Wuhlheide. The "Kiessee" gravel-lake was excavated in 1970. Sand excavations have been made at the Elsengrundsee lake since 1980.

The lakes have sandy sediments, except for Elsengrundbecken, where foul sludge from hydrogen-sulfides were determined. Elsengrundsee has been completely fenced by the Tiefbau industrial company that excavates sand here. All the other lakes are managed by fisheries and heavily visited by up to 30,000 recreational users a day in the summer. Recreational use was most responsible for the decline of the previously flourishing reed beds. Only remainders are present today and shores are strongly eroded. A near-natural shore vegetation worth preserving exists in areas where trees or bushes grow and there are no sunning spaces for visitors. Various species of submerged aquatic plants form valuable structural elements in the other lakes, except for Elsengrundbecken.

The Kaulsdorfer Seen lakes accommodate 17 species of fish, 4 of them endangered in Berlin. The highest number of species, 15, was verified in Habermannsee. Natural reproduction of pike was observed in flat, herbaceous areas of large lakes. The pike is primarily maintained by stocking because of the loss of spawning areas. The few remaining spawning areas are particularly deserving of preservation.

The near-natural Laßzinswiesen lake in Spandau forest was once a sand pit. It has been fenced-off and protected because of its importance for birds. Shore structures have a wide belt of reeds and trees. There are thick stocks of submerged macrophytes in clear water, relatively low in nutrients. Two of the 8 verified species are endangered, pike and gudgeon.

The "Kiesteich" Spandau on Spekteweg is used for fishing and recreation. The shoreline has some reeds, bushes and trees. A lowering of the watertable resulted in the drying out of herbaceous areas in the western part. These areas are no longer available as spawning grounds and shelter for broods. The 7 fish species verified are stocked. The types of species are those for recreational fishing.

Ziegeleisee in Hermsdorf is in north Berlin. Its flat, sandy areas on the north and northeast shores are used for swimming and water recreation (Freibad Lübars). Other edge areas have reeds, the shoreline has trees. The water is relatively low in nutrients. Two of the 11 verified species are endangered in Berlin.

Retention Basins

Retention basins are manmade bodies of water. They are constructed as collecting basins for surface waters and are not usually managed by fisheries. The shores are mostly reinforced.

Precipitation water collected in these basins from roofs, courtyards, street and other sealed surface are heavily contaminated with nutrients and pollutants, particularly PCB. The transported and sedimenting matter cannot enter open bodies of water. Rainwater reservoirs contribute to the frequently demanded reduction of nutrient and pollution inputs in surface bodies of water.

Existing fish stocks are often stunted, a phenomenon often observed in small bodies of water and retention reservoirs where predators are lacking. The absence of predators leaves nutrients as the limiting factor for population size. Environmentally tolerant and highly-reproductive fish such as roach, bream, crucian carp and others, often react by becoming capable of reproduction at ever smaller sizes.

The Klötzbecken is located in the Lübars community. It was built in 1968 in the course of planning an industrial area. The shores are monotonous. Grass exists only above the reinforcements. Submerged macrophytes and other structures that could be used by fish as spawning or shelter areas are lacking. The verified 9 species of fish are stocked by recreational fishers who manage the reservoir. There seems to be no natural reproduction of fish here, except for the three-spined stickleback.

The rainwater retention basin on Osdorf Straße. in the Lichterfelde borough is completely fenced-off. The shores are thickly grown with bushes and trees. There are thick stocks of cow lilies in shallow areas. Five fish species were found here, including bitterling. Roaches are stunted. The bitterling were probably stocked shortly before capture. The mussel species required for reproduction are missing.

The 1.8 ha large Seggeluchbecken is in the Märkischen Viertel. The shores are artificially stabilized and mostly without vegetation. The verified 11 species are stocked. It seems to be an unsuitable habitat to have so many fish species, because of its small size and lack of structures. That seems to be confirmed by the fact that natural reproduction was observed only by gudgeon and three-spined sticklebacks.

Small Bodies of Water (pools, sinks, ponds, etc.)

Ponds are artificial, dischargable bodies of water. The other bodies of water were usually naturally created as a result of landscape processes in the glacial ages, such as ‘dead-ice’ lakes, sinks, or resulting from decomposition, such as peat bogs. These bodies of water are differentiated from ponds in that they are not dischargable. Berlin practices no pond economy, which means the ponds are almost never emptied (except for restoration work). It seems legitimate to classify both types of bodies of water together.

No further differentiations of small bodies of water are necessary from a ichthyo-fauna point of view. Their quality of inflow waters, anthropogenic impairments (mainly by fish stocking), and their areas (usually less than 1 ha) are all similar and make them comparable.

A total of 43 Berlin small bodies of water were verified to accommodate 25 species of fish, 19 of them indigenous. The numbers of species in individual bodies of water ranged from 0 (pond in Volkspark Lübars) to 18 (carp pond in the Charlottenburg borough). The average number of species per small bodies of water was 5.

Many small bodies of water in Berlin have stunted stocks of fish, such as the Blanke Helle, located in a crater-like basin in the Schöneberg borough. The shores have grass and few trees. The bottom of this shallow body of water is covered with a thick layer of mud. Moderlieschen and crucian carp were verified. The crucian carp are stunted from lack of nutrients, as often occurs in small bodies of water.

The 3 Bucher Ponds are connected and are located in the north of Berlin in the middle of a discontinued sewage farm operated until the mid-80’s. It is managed by recreational fishers.

Pond III is completely surrounded by trees, but there are almost none at Pond I, which is mainly populated by large sedges. Pond II is the transition form between I and III. Pond I is clearly less used for recreational fishing than the other two, which are frequently used. This can be recognized in the undisturbed and full vegetation on the shores. Shores of Ponds II and III are trampled and eroded at accessible areas.

Submerged macrophytes are lacking and the bodies of water are all muddied. Severely sunken water levels led to the drying out of the first pond in summer, 1992, and to oxygen deficits in the other two. There are 12 fish species in the Bucher ponds, which are stocked.

The Eckernpfuhl pool is in the middle of a park in the Tempelhof borough. Its shore structures are a monotonous, regularly-formed reinforcement. Six species of fish were verified, all euryeco types.

The Erlengrabenteich pond is connected to the Upper Havel by a trench. Its shore is grown with reeds and trees, and it makes a near-natural impression. The 11 fish species present are primarily stocked, 3 are endangered. The morphology of this type of small bodies of water makes it unsuitable for fish species like asp, wels and zander. These 3 were verified. Their habitat requirements make a long-term survival in these bodies of water questionable.

The polytropic Faule See is in a nature reserve of the same name in the Weißensee borough. Originally without outflow, the area was connected in the previous century with a trench to the Panke bodies of water system. That caused the water level of the pond to sink more than a meter. The pond bottom is strongly muddied. There are oxygen deficits in the summer, resulting in repeated small fish-kills. There once were 10 species resident, but only 2 could be verified.

The shores of the Hufeisenteiches pond (Hufeisensiedlung in the Britz neighborhood) are partially stabilized by concrete plates. There is no shore vegetation nor water plants. This bodies of water must be termed as excessively anthropogenic formed and unnatural. Only stunted crucian carp stocks exist in the pond.

The Karower Teichen ponds are 4 hypertropic former fish ponds on the grounds of the discontinued Buch sewage farms. They are connected by pipeline. The ponds have some long areas of reeds and seem natural. They were managed by fisheries until 1990 and are presently provisionally secured as nature reserve. They are one of the most important water bird breeding areas in Berlin.

The ponds accommodate 5 fish species which are stocked, except for three-spined sticklebacks. Repeated fish-kills occur during the summer.

The Karpfenteich Schloß Charlottenburg (carp pond of Charlottenburg palace) is linked to the Spree river with a trench, but no migration of fish is to be expected, for the gate at the entrance to the Spree is impassable for fish. Eighteen species of fish were verified in these body of water, 6 of them endangered in Berlin.

Bream, white bream and three-spined sticklebacks were observed spawning in the trenches. The worth of these bodies of water for Berlin fish fauna could clearly be increased if the gate was made passable for all fish species. The construction of the Spree river in the inner city areas is monotonous: the Spree would be one important structural element richer, and the fish living in the Spree would be able to use the ponds and trenches as retreat areas and reproduction refuges.

Nine small ponds and kettle-ponds are located in the Malchower Aue wetlands, north of the Malchow lake. Shores have wide reed belts or are lined by alder swamp forests. Almost all ponds accommodate rich stocks of submerged aquatic plants and seem natural. Five ponds regularly dry out in summer and have no fish. The remaining 4 ponds accommodate both stickleback species, the three-spined and the nine-spined, which are endangered in Berlin, and gibel carp. Pond IX showed roach, tench, crucian carp, and carp, probably stocked by fishers.

The Malchow Aue is deserving of preservation as wetland and as habitat for sticklebacks. It is also important for the reproduction of indigenous amphibian species.

The Roetepfuhl pool in Britz is a relatively natural appearing body of water. It has thick stocks of reeds and underwater plants. Five fish species were verified, 3 of them non-indigenous. The pool is significant for fish and as an amphibian spawning body of water.

Completely without fish is the Rosenthaler Teiche. These ponds are located west of the Blankenfelder Chaussee avenue. Pond I is on the grounds of the Institute for Special Botany of the Humboldt University. They are fed by Zingergraben. Shores have grass and trees. There are large mud deposits on the bottom of the shallow ponds. Both ponds dry out each year for months at a time, making permanent populations of fish impossible. The thick shore vegetation makes this temporary body of water suitable for amphibian reproduction.

The Rothepfuhl pool in Mariendorf is shallow, with hardly any vegetation. The lowering of the groundwater table also sank the water level in the pool continually in recent years. The three verified fish species are stocked.

Surrounded by lawns and some trees, the Rückertteich is on the grounds of the Freie Universität Berlin. The bottom is muddied. There are small stocks of reeds on the shore, and submerged macrophytes. Large numbers of goldfish are stocked, and smaller numbers of tench, crucian carp, and gibel carp.

The Teich im Stadtpark Steglitz (pond in the Steglitz borough city park) is typical of these small bodies of water. Shoreline edges have bushes and trees, but they are not structurally effective as aquatic habitats for the pond. The contact zone to water, the true shore, is artificially stabilized and monotonous.

Fish stocks are also typical for these small bodies of water. Moderlieschen, crucian carp, and gibel carp were verified. These 3 species are characteristic for pools.

The Südende pond is similar to the Steglitz park pond. Here too the shores are mainly reinforced and monotonous. The bushes and trees around the shoreline strip cannot be used by water inhabitants as shelter, spawning, or nutrient areas. The only fish species verified were crucian carp and gibel carp, which could indicate that the pond has suffocated at least once. The capability of these carp to endure anaerobic conditions for short periods in extreme cases often makes them the "sole survivors".

The shore of the Türkenpfuhl pool in Mariendorf is lined with bushes and trees. The body of water is heavily polluted with household garbage. Of the 4 verified species of fish, 2 are endangered in Berlin.

Running Waters

This category includes smaller tributaries flowing into the Havel and Spree rivers, the upper streams of the Spree at its entrance into Berlin, and inflows of larger lakes. These 7 bodies of water still show lotic (running water) characteristics of near-natural habitat structures, such as pools, meanders, back currents, turbulences, and different bottom sediments. All of these structures have been eliminated almost everywhere else in these manmade landscapes by water construction measures and projects. The diversity of life found in running waters has also been severely reduced. The strict protection of those running water habitats still existing, and the restoration of destroyed habitats would be a very valuable contribution to the protection of fish species.

Other running waters have had their character changed very strongly, and are burdened by discharges from sewage treatment plants. They are described in the category sewage treatment plant discharges.

The Fredersdorfer Mühlenfließ originates in northeast Berlin on the Barnim flat upland. It has a watershed of about 230 km2. The 27.6 km long river course actually begins after flowing through the Kesselsee, Fangersee, and Bötzsee lakes, to later flow into Müggelsee lake. Its last 3 km runs through the Berlin Köpenick borough.

There are 4 gates. One gate at the Rahnsdorferr Stau prevents the immigration of fish from Müggelsee, and another gate, Wehr Bruchmühle, prevents the migration of fish into Bötzsee lake. The stream is also impaired by drinking water production. The start of operations of well gallery B of the Friedrichshagen waterworks in 1983 causes wide areas of the stream to regularly dry out in summer.

Fredersdorfer Mühlenfließ fish fauna have been surveyed sporadically since the 60’s. A total of 19 fish species were verified. Two of them endangered in Berlin, the weatherfish and burbot; one, the spined loach, is very endangered; and 4 others are endangered. All verified species in this water reproduce naturally, except for a seldom allochthone, the zander. In order to secure reproduction and survival, particularly of the fish species named above, it is necessary to maintain the flow of water all-year-round, and to make the existing barriers (gates, overpour edges) passable for fish.

The Western Abzugsgraben trench divides over a weir away from the Zitadellengraben and enters the Havel river below the Spandau locks. Directly under the gates is a relatively strong current, and sediments are sand to gravel. Rheophillic (current-loving) lotic (running water) fish find suitable habitats here, such as chub and dace. The bottom is muddied in areas of lower current further upstream. The banks look very near-natural and are lined with trees almost the entire length.

A total of 12 species of fish were verified, 6 of them endangered in Berlin. Havel fish, especially those preferring currents, can use the trench as spawning area.


Canals are manmade waterways with monotonous, reinforced banks of rock-fill, concrete or steel sheet pilings. They usually have a trapezoid profile. Berlin has more than 100 km of canals, if the canal-like construction of the Spree river in the inner city areas are included. Fish make only seasonal visits or migrations, because of the lack of structures important for fish, such as spawning, shelter and feed areas. The number of fish species present is thus dependent on the fauna of still bodies of water with which they are connected.

The Gosener Canal was completed in 1936 and connect the Dämeritz and Seddinsee lakes. Most of its banks are still rock-fill. The average depth is currently 3m, the width 35m. Construction work to widen the canal has begun, starting from the south bank.

The Gosener Canal is used by recreational fishers. Water plants are seldom found. The probable cause is the continual wave impact produced by ship navigation.

13 species of fish were verified in the canal, 8 of them endangered. Verified small fish use the canal for spawning and/or compensatory migrations. It is to be expected that other fish (like smelt) also use the canal, since they are present in the surrounding lakes.

Canals in the inner-city area, such as the Landwehr canal and the Kupfergraben trench, are generally even more monotonously constructed than the Gosener canal. The banks are perpendicular and smoothly joined for reasons of space. In contrast to the rock-fill of other canal banks, there is not even usable space for hard substrate spawners, such as ruffe.

A particular problem of inner-city canals is fish-kills resulting from overflows of the mixed sewage and rainwater sewer systems after strong rainfalls (as in the Landwehr canal). The biological decomposition of discharged feces and other organic substances consumes oxygen. This leads to oxygen deficits in further sections and that can result in fish-kills.

Trenches, Amelioration Trenches

This group is composed of small, manmade, mainly straightened running waters. They were mostly used in sewage farms as inflow and outflow trenches, but also for dewatering, such as at the Gosener Wiesen in Köpenick. Their profile is trapezoidal. The discharge trenches of discontinued and still-in-operation sewage farms are usually heavily contaminated with nutrients and pollutants. Pure amelioration trenches (water improvement) used for watering or dewatering are usually only impacted if the surrounding area was, or is, intensively used for agriculture. The discontinuance of sewage farms and the lowering of the water table has dried up many of the trenches located in the previously used Buch sewage farms in the north of Berlin.

The Grosse Sprintgraben is a thickly herbaceously overgrown amelioration trench connected to the Lübars pond. Both species of stickleback were verified in it. It can be placed equal to the sewage field trenches in terms of its fishery biologic value and protection. Maintenance measures may be necessary to prevent a total overgrowth of vegetation and the disappearance of this water.

The feeding of mechanically purified Havel river water into the Kuhlake enabled the renewed populating of submerged macrophytes such as featherfoil, starwort, and water yarrow. The plant stocks, very thick in some places, promote rudd growth. Natural reproduction of pike takes place here. Although only 8 species of fish were verified, other species are to be expected.

The source of the Lietzengraben is in the state of Brandenburg, west of the Schönow village near Bernau. The Lietzengraben dewaters the sewage farms at Hobrechtsfelde, flows west past the Bogen lake chain, and into the Panke at the Karow Teichen. Both stickleback species were verified at different areas, crucian carp and gibel carp as well.

The extremely monotonous, mostly straightened Prisengraben dewaters parts of the Hobrechtsfelder sewage farms into the Lietzengraben. Macrophytes and other structural elements are completely missing. No fish were verified.

The Zingergraben flows through the Buch sewage farms and enters the discharge flow Stiller Don in the vicinity of Blankenfelder Chaussee. From here it divides away, feeds the Rosenthaler Pond and enters Nordgraben. Its banks are monotonous. The Zingergraben dries up regularly in summer above the Stille Don. It is extremely polluted with domestic waste at the height of Rosenthaler pond. The banks are misused as garbage dumps. This water represents an extreme biotope. It is only populated by dwarf sticklebacks, in shallow waters.

There are many discharge trenches around the discontinued Buch sewage farms, remainders of 100 years of such use. They are dry during the summer today because of the lowering of the groundwater table.

Both stickleback species were found in almost all sewage farm trenches. They are the species most adapted to this kind of extreme biotope and find here their last retreat areas. The number of small trenches is continually being reduced. Those remaining must be especially protected. Otherwise the sticklebacks must be classified into a more endangered category. It would mean extinction for the dwarf stickleback.

SewageTreatment Plant Discharges

In order to better discharge the often considerable amounts of purified waste water from large sewage treatment plants (such as Schönerlinde), small streams were straightened to increase their discharge capacities. They were stripped, and their banks reinforced with rock-fill or concrete plates, as at the Neuenhagener Mühlenfließ, Panke, and Wuhle. This construction resulted in monotonous channels detrimental to fish. Their waters are severely contaminated with nitrogen compounds and pollutants.

The Stille Don is about 5m wide, a discharge flow of the Nord sewage treatment plant in Schönerlinde. Its cross-section is trapezoidal, the banks reinforced with rock-fill packing. The presence of fish could not be verified. Causes for that could be a lack of migration possibilities from surrounding bodies of water, or temporary waves of waste water toxic to fish. The degree of organic pollution alone is not high enough to account for the lack of fish – euryeco fish species have been verified in comparable bodies of water.

The Nordgraben goes away from the Panke north of Heinersdorfer Teiche, courses through northern Berlin and flows into Tegel lake. The trench is very unnatural, with artificial bank reinforcement, a straight-ahead course, and lack of structures. Only three-spined sticklebacks were found, although Nordgraben is theoretically reachable for other species of fish, such as from Steinberg lake.

From its source south of the city of Bernau, the Panke courses through north Berlin to finally flow into the Spree river. It was once a popular place to visit, but today only a few original areas and the section in Pankow Bürgerpark recall the original waters. The Panke was straightened at the end of the 60’s, transformed into a discharge channel, and its banks were stabilized with non-natural materials. Larger sections of the Panke were piped in the Mitte borough from 1985 to 1987. This now subterranean runoff does not allow fish to climb from the Spree river. The high organic pollution is decomposed and causes oxygen deficits in still water areas.

Both of the stickleback species found here are listed in the Berlin Red Data Book: the three-spined stickleback as endangered, the dwarf stickleback as threatened by extinction.

The Wuhle flows on the periphery of the city through the boroughs of Hellersdorf and Marzahn, and flows into the Spree in Schöneweide. It is a mostly straightened, constructed discharge trench with a trapezoidal profile, and mostly banked with rock-fill, with concrete in some areas. The Wuhle is used as a recreational fishing body of water from the reservoir in Biesdorf to its entrance into the Spree.

The Wuhle had relatively many species until the end of the 70’s. Between 1984 and 1986 it was impacted so strongly with waste waters from the construction of the new residential areas in Marzahn that repeated fish-kills occurred. The result was a complete lack of fish. The waste water impact is currently somewhat lower. Long stocks of underwater plants can now sometimes be found.

The Wuhle is divided by the Wuhle basin (the dam impossible for fish to cross) into two different fauna areas. A migration of fish from the Spree is possible in the downstream areas. Thirteen species were verified here which represent the species spectrum of the Spree. Upstream of the basin, and within it, there were a total of 10 species – only species primarily stocked by fishers.