How to collect samples and observe pond microbes

[Global] Youtuber GeekJoan shared a video of using microscope to observe pond life. The video is produced by GeekJoan, filming through Amscope T490B with Sony camcorder.

In this video, several pond microbes such as rotifers, blue-green algae, diatoms, paramecium, and other protozoa are observed using simple microscopic technique.

Music background:
Sovereign – Kevin MacLeod (

In order to identify the types of microorganisms, the Microscopy-UK web site at published a guideline on how to identify fresh water microorganisms.

One of the most rewarding subjects for study with a microscope are freshwater organisms. Simple collecting methods include squeezing water plants into a jar and for free swimming species, a fine-meshed plankton net is recommended. For simple tips see how to collect microscopic pond life.

The table and linked pages are a guide to some common groups of smaller freshwater organisms (microscopic to a few millimetres in size). If not familiar with an organism, see what drawing and features it most closely resembles in the table and then follow the links.




Key features 

Micscape links


single celled, dots or strands, just visible with strongest magnification, cyanobacteria are larger 

Introduction to bacteria


single celled, with tiny hairs or pseudopodia 



Go to protozoa overview: e.g. ciliates, amoeba, heliozoa, euglenoids



single celled, mostly green, sometimes yellow-brown 



Go to algae overview: eg. flagellates, diatoms, desmids, filamentous algae



wheel-like, hairy appendages, transparent, free swimming or attached 0.2 – 1 mm

Smallest page on the web’ – rotifers


two tails, hairy, round mouth opening
0.1 – 0.5 mm

No Micscape resources. (Articles welcomed!) 


long thin body, many non related forms 



Go to worms overview: e.g. flatworms, annelids, nematodes



plant-like or jelly-like colony, crown of tentacles
individuals: 0.25 – 5 mm

Pond fairies – Plumatella repens


green brown or colourless, body and tentacles contract and stretch 
extended: 20 mm

Introduction to hydra
Hydra in 3D
Hydra oligactis
Video clips of a hydra

Water bears

8 stumpy legs, slow moving
<1 mmSee gallery links on the right for some of the finest video clips on the Web of these cute critters!

Hunting for ‘bears’ in the backyard
The incredible water bear
Water bear video gallery I
Water bear video gallery II


jointed limbs; many groups e.g. crustaceans (‘water fleas’), mites 



Go to arthropods overview: e.g. ostracods, copepods, water fleas, mites etc.


other Arthropods:
Insect stages

wide variety of forms



Go to insect stages overview: e.g. caddisfly larvae, dragonfly nymphs, water beetles, etc.


For more information, please visit A simple guide to small and microscopic pond life.


Exclusively reported by Algae World News

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