- . Phosphorus budgets were prepared for channel catfish Ictalurus punctatus ponds at Auburn, Alabama, that received one of five diets ranging from 0.60 to 1.03% phosphorus. Fish production did not differ (P > 0.05) among diets. There were few differences among treatments with respect to soluble reactive phosphorus, total phosphorus, and chlorophyll a concentrations or gross primary productivity. Phosphorus loss in effluents when ponds were drained for harvest did not differ among treatments (P > 0.05). Phosphorus removed from ponds in fish at harvest and the amounts of phosphorus adsorbed by bottom soils increased as dietary phosphorus concentration increased (P < 0.05). Low-phosphorus diets did not decrease phytoplankton productivity or improve effluent quality. Uptake of phosphorus by bottom soils is a major factor controlling phosphorus concentrations in pond water. Low-phosphorus diets can be beneficial in catfish pond management by reducing the phosphorus load to bottom soils and conserving their ability to adsorb phosphorus.