What’s that green stuff? Algae can take a pond from incredible to icky. Not only does it look kind of gross, but algae can also ruin your water quality and make life more difficult for your fish.
At Good Earth Water Gardens, we can treat algae, but it’s easier to prevent it in the first place. Here’s how.
Types of algae
This gunk can have two sources. The first is too much organic material, like fish waste or leaves. The second is previous algae blooms. Combine either of these with excessive sunlight and you have a recipe for green goo.
There are two types of algae:
- Planktonic algae – This floating microscopic vegetation is what makes some ponds look like pea soup. It turns water shades of green blue-green, brown, or any color in between. Planktonic algae are the start of the food chain, so small amounts in your pond are helpful. They feed fish and help shade the bottom of the pond. But when planktonic algae get out of control, they can deplete the oxygen in your pond. This can be fatal to your fish.
- Filamentous algae – Also called string algae, these plants are made of single-cell plants. They then connect to form long chains. These threads can grow at the bottom of shallow water, on rocks, or on other plants. Filamentous algae intertwine to form mats that look kind of like wet wool. When the mats rise to the surface, they’re what we call pond scum. Sure, the mats make great homes for bugs and worms, but they detract from the beauty of your pond.
How to prevent algae
Make sure your pond ecosystem is healthy. These five factors can keep algae in check and help you enjoy a beautiful, balanced pond.
- Fish – Overpopulation can be problematic for any neighborhood – including your pond. If your fish reproduce and the pond starts to get a little crowded, it’s going to contain more fish waste, too. What you feed your fish and how often can impact the amount of fish waste. And algae love fish waste. Try to keep your fish population at one or two koi or two or three goldfish per 200 gallons.
- Plants – Like algae, plants chow down on the nutrients in a pond. The more plants you have, the less food there is for algae. Plants can also help shade your pond from direct sunlight, which can also keep algae at bay. Keep in mind that you’ve got to remove dead plant material from the pond. Otherwise, you’re offering up a buffet of organic material for algae.
- Filtration – This is the secret to a clean, healthy pond. The right filtration system helps keep the water clean and keep the yuck out. Filtration is especially important for ponds that have lots of fish or tend to attract a lot of debris. If you’re not sure if your filtration system is doing its job, we can help.
- Beneficial bacteria – Consistent treatment with beneficial bacteria can keep algae at bay. These tiny microorganisms break down excess nutrients that thrive in highly oxygenated water. These nutrients include nitrogen and phosphorus, and they’re the stuff algae love to eat. When you consistently add beneficial bacteria to your pond, you’re establishing and strengthening an ecosystem that limits the dining options for algae.
- Aeration – They live underwater, but fish still need oxygen. And a fountain or waterfall might not do enough to oxygenate your pond. An aeration kit will get more oxygen into your pond. Plus, these kits are cheaper to run than pumps. Aeration is also a big hit with beneficial bacteria. These bacteria will be more active and do their job better.
When bad algae happens to good ponds
Despite our best efforts, algae can get out of control. If that happens, boosting the beneficial bacteria can make a difference. And there are many treatment options that can get your pond back to its sparkling self.
Our team at Good Earth Water Gardens is happy to give advice and help get your pond back into shape. Give us a call at 913-749-8090 or connect online today.