Gardening Tips: Garden Pond Algae Control0
Algae control is something every backyard pond owner needs to address at some point. Using algaecides are not a solution since they will also kill aquatic plants and animals. How do you algae? First you need to know just what you have growing. Pond algae come in many different types and even different colors, but there are two main types that plague backyard ponds. The first type of algae commonly found is string algae. It tends to grow along the bottom and sides where there is less water circulation. They are often found in high ph levels. A pond should have levels between 6.8 and 7.4. Commercial testing and balancing kits can be purchased at pond supply stores.
Gardening Tips: Garden Pond Algae Control
Common Problems and Solutions
There are few commercial products that work on string algae that won’t harm aquatic plants and animals. One possibility is organic barely straw. Although it takes anywhere from three to eight weeks for the algaecide properties to work, it is completely harmless to fish. While barley straw will prevent new algae from growing, it will not kill existing algae, so you need to start with a clean pond.
Green water algae, or plankton, is a small single cell plant that makes water look murky, giving it a pea soup appearance. This type of algae needs both sunlight and nutrients to survive. Using aquatic plants can cut the amount of sunlight that reaches the water. The nutrients come from fish waste, decayed fish food and dead and decaying leaves, so it is very important to keep your water free from debris.
As with string algae, a high ph can promote green algae growth, so it is important to check and balance your pond’s ph levels. With the ph balanced, you can introduce beneficial bacterial. Beneficial bacteria can be bought in dry, granular, and liquid forms. A colony of beneficial bacteria will eat fish waste, ultimately converting ammonia to nitrogen, which acts as a fertilizer for aquatic plants. Since a colony need a place to grow, many owners opt for a biological filter. In this case, an essential part of a successful colony is the pond’s filtration system. If the filter is too slow, not enough pond water will pass through the colony. If the water runs too quickly, the bacteria are ineffective. It can take as much as six to seven weeks for a colony to grow large enough to handle all the waste generated. It’s important to remember when using a biological filter that you do not use chlorinated tap water to clean your filter as this will kill bacteria, beneficial or not.
Besides beneficial bacteria colonies, there are a few other solutions. Flocculants are an immediate, but short-term solution to green algae and can be purchased at a supply store. This chemical causes algae to clump together, trapping them when the water is run through the filter, but is harmless to pond plants and animals. It’s important to remember when using flocculants that you clean you filter often. Yet another solution is a ultra-violet clarifier. This is a device that uses UV light in conjunction with a good pond filter to eliminate green algae for good.