Algae Control

Algae is a healthy and natural part of every pond; however it may become excessive and unsightly. Pond owners should understand that algae is a plant that can be controlled by stocking ornamental plants that will compete for light and nutrients. Filters are not necessary however are suggested for ponds with fish.

It is important to distinguish between the two basic types of algae. The first is the multi-cellular or "string-like" algae, which may float freely or grow on surfaces such as rocks, liner, or planting containers. This type of algae is actually desirable in small amounts and is not the type that clouds the water. To prevent excessive growth of these algae, scavengers, such as Snails may be used to consume it. The second type of algae is the uni-cellular type that suspends in the water and causes "pea soup" green or cloudy water.

The ingredients for balancing a pond are floating leaf plants such as Waterlilies, to cover 60-70% of the surface area; Scavengers, 1 for every one to two surface square feet; Submerged Plants, 1 bunch for every one to two surface square feet; a Filtering System (optional); and patience. For those living in states that prohibit the shipment of certain items; seek them locally. The most important factor is patience. A new pond or one just cleaned could turn green or cloudy and have some algae. DO NOT DRAIN THE POND. Your pond needs to go through the natural cycle of balancing itself. The water must age, and the micro-organisms and plant populations must establish themselves. An Algaecide only acts on existing algae, and a treatment will not keep the water clear indefinitely; it is only a temporary control. Algaefix is effective on both green water and "string" algae. Accu-Clear is a flocculator, clumping the algae and suspended particles in the water together and sinking it to the bottom, or into the filter. MuckOff and/or PonSparkle serve to consume the sediment enzymatically. You can also remove the sediment from the bottom of the pond of your pond with a Vacuum. All chemicals available for purchase from Lilypons are safe to fish, scavengers, wildlife, and plants when used according to label directions.

Plants are the real key to keeping the pond clear. They keep algae under control by directly competing with the algae for sunlight, dissolve carbon dioxide, and nutrients in the water. The Submerged Plants are effective in controlling algae since they absorb nutrients directly through their foliage, especially when planted in gravel or sand. Waterlilies and floating leaf bog plants are helpful because their pads provide shade to the water below them, reducing sunlight penetration that encourages algae growth.

Scavengers have already been mentioned as control for multi-cellar or "string" algae. In addition, scavengers will eat leftover fish food and decomposing organic material that would otherwise contribute to a potential algae bloom. For this reason, it is important to feed fish only once a day, and only what they will eat in approximately five minutes. Overfeeding fish is one of the most common ways of upsetting the pond balance.

In addition, you can supplement your pond with Beneficial Bacteria to enhance the existing population of good bacteria which are essential in maintaining nutrient cycles in the pond.

"String" algae can be treated with any of the methods above, but another effective prevention of string algae is the use of Barley Straw Products. When placed in a pond and exposed to sunlight and oxygen, the barley breaks down, releasing by-products that inhibit all types of algae. This does not treat existing algae, but will aide in the prevention of a bloom.

Careful selection of the natural materials above can lead to a clear pond. However, a Filter System may be very helpful in balancing a pond and keeping it clear, especially if your pond has a large fish stock. Filters remove algae, some nutrients, and any suspended particles clouding the water. Because the filter is so efficient in removing matter from the pond, the pond is less likely to become cloudy. U.V. Sterilizers and Clarifers eliminate suspended uni-cellular algae although they do not affect "string" algae.

Sometimes balanced ponds become cloudy. Several factors can determine this, for example, overfeeding, excessive bottom sediment, or a change of seasons. During the spring and fall especially, the plants are not as active and algae growth increases. An Algacide can be used, but if nature is allowed to take its course, a clear pond prevails.