Thermal Lakes

Free time / Nature / Thermal Lakes

The idea of creating thermal lakes on Spa Island supposedly popped into the mind of the big nature   lover and Bulgarian ex - tsar Ferdinand I Coburg, who was a frequent visitor of Piešťany. This occurred during one of the walks with Imrich Winter. The headquarters of the spa adopted the ex - tsar’s idea and began to implement it in 1934 - 35. There are three bigger lakes situated closely to each other. However, each of them is arranged in a different way. (Originally the fourth lake was dredged as well but gradually it was entirely shaded by high, surrounding trees, which is why there are no fish or thermophilic plants in it nowadays.) Thermal water, which also contains a large amount of sulphur flows into the lakes. As for plants, there are various kinds of water lilies and lotuses, Victoria amazonica, Acorus, Typha, Equisetum and Iris in the lakes. Bamboo grows in the immediate surroundings. The edges are embellished with various decorative flowers. A tall Gingko and other exotic trees stretch high into the sky not far from the lakes. A guideboard, which is situated nearby provides information about the flora around the lakes in detail.

There are not many kinds of fish due to the high amount of mineral substances dissolved in water. Only guppies, mollies, swordtails, koi carps and Crucian carps permanently live in the lakes. There were more guppies in the past. Over time aquarists have evidently released mollies into the lakes, which can adapt to the high amount of salt in the thermal water better than guppies.

Nowadays we can see mainly small black fish in the lakes. They are generally called Black Mollies due to their colour. All the fish which have been living in the lakes for a longer time are showing signs of a return to nature. If you caught a guppy and looked at it in a glass in detail, you would find out that it is different from the fish in your aquarium at home. The return to natural colouration is registered more significantly in these fish. Their shape and behaviour has also changed. Guppies turn into real rainbow fish, mollies lose their black pigment, swordfish are not so garishly and strongly coloured.

Sometimes you can see other kinds of fish which have been thrown into the lakes by people who no longer wanted to breed them at home. Those who know fish well can sometimes spot Convict Cichlid with their young as well as Tilapia Mossambica or other aquarium fish. Red-eared sliders are a special case as they are put into the lakes by people who just want to get rid of them. The lakes do not provide a good ecosystem for turtles, especially in winter and definitely not in such large numbers as there were from about 2000 to 2005. Fortunately, the popularity of turtles has come to an end. Even people from our country have learnt that a tiny turtle will grow into something big and very predatory. It is definitely not suitable to experiment and put something that we do not want any more into the lakes.

As for other animals, common frogs also appear here. Dragonflies and hawker dragonflies fly over the lakes mainly in spring. Wild ducks are also becoming unwanted inhabitants at the lakes. Although they look nice, they can literally eat all the rare and maintained water flora on the lakes. That is why the lakes have been protected with nets from late autumn to spring in recent years.

The thermal lakes are beautiful in each season of the year as well as during each part of the day. Proof of this is in the large amounts of people who permanently come by to enjoy the surroundings. These are not only visitors of Piešťany but also local inhabitants who consider the lakes to be the best place for their walks. These water areas, which are so full of life, became one of the symbols of our town a long time ago.

Thank you for a good tip, Your Majesty!

Author of the text and photos: Peter Kaclík