I recently bought a microscope hoping to learn more about algae and bacteria and stuff. I've collected a few samples of pond water and found tons of algae and stuff, but I have no idea what to call the things I have found. I am wondering if there is a list of every known algae with a picture and some characteristics that would help me identify what I am looking at. I've looked around on the internet and haven't found much. Thanks

  • $\begingroup$ So you're looking for maybe a book or list with some common microorganisms that you would find in water so that you know what it is? $\endgroup$
    – L.B.
    Commented Feb 22, 2018 at 1:32
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ that is exactly what i'm looking for $\endgroup$
    – Lane_01
    Commented Feb 22, 2018 at 4:38
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    $\begingroup$ It sounds like what you need is an identification key. The most common form of a biological identification key is a dichotomous key. In such a key the sequence and structure of identification steps is fixed by the author. At each point in the decision process, multiple alternatives are offered, each leading to a result or a further choice. Key can be very region-specific so I suggest to search for a key that focusses on the group of animals you wish to identify and the region/country you live in. $\endgroup$
    – Johnny
    Commented Feb 22, 2018 at 9:28
  • $\begingroup$ Where are you from? I've got a good suggestion, but apparently it has not been translated in English... $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 22, 2018 at 23:07
  • $\begingroup$ This website will probably provide you with more information than you need at this stage of your investigations but is it one of the most complete and free resources for microbes of various kinds. microbe-canvas.com $\endgroup$
    – Rein Nomm
    Commented Feb 28, 2018 at 22:41

1 Answer 1


I do not know how complex of a key you want, but this one is a good identification guide for beginners. It contains a lot of common freshwater pond algae, what they look like, and some basic characteristics. From here, you can identify your specimen and then be able to look them up further. Hope this helps!


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