Oh yeah! This is my favorite part of pond maintenance. Not! That darned pond algae, I just hate it. It is always a mess to deal with. Fortunately there are some ways to control it so that during your pond maintenance phase, the task of cleaning it up will be much easier.
By the way, did you know that there are thousands of species of algae? Though you may never notice, over a period of time you may never have the same dominant species of algae in your pond more than twice.
Do you know that long, thin algae that is referred to as string algae? That type, along with black algae is a filamentous type of algae. You will find them attached to something in the bottom of the pond. They usually float to towards the surface where the process of photosynthesis can occur.
Sometimes you might notice floating particles in the pond water. While some of those particles can simply be dirt or pollen, some of them can also be planktonic algae. This is the type of algae that actually changes the color of your water. You know what I mean. Has your pond water ever turned pea soup green before? That is caused by planktonic algae.
Some algae will be attached the walls of the pond, small rocks and even your waterfall. This periphyton type of algae will resemble a slimy, green layer on those surfaces. Of course all of these algae have one thing in common. They all thrive very easily in a pond environment.
Your task is to keep their growth in check so that they do not overwhelm the filtration system of your pond. Here are six ways you can make the task of controlling algae in your pond much easier.
Physical Removal – You can easily remove filamentous algae (string algae) with a small algae rake or fork. Just like twirling up spaghetti on a fork, your twirl up the algae. Pull it out and throw it away.
UV Lighting – By sterilizing the returning water after it has been through the main filtration process, you can effectively disrupt the reproductive process of planktonic types of algae. This will help keep the water crystal clear.
Lighting – If you have the ability to control the amount of sun light your pond gets, you can effectively retard the growth process of algae too. Using trees, or some sort of shading mechanism will not only be a deterrent in algae growth, but your fish will enjoy it too.
Nutrient Rich Water – This is about the hardest way to control algae growth. The problems is that your pond water is almost always nutrient rich and algae loves nutrient rich water. They thrive on it. Well in reality, they thrive on the phosphorus portion of those nutrients. That is the part you can attempt to control. If you use phosphorus removing agents in the water, you will deny the algae one of its main supplies of food.
Barley Straw – This is a good organic way to prevent algae in your pond too. Floating a bag of barely straw will help increase the oxygen level in the pond and we all know algae is a plant and plants do not like oxygen.
Algaecides – In my opinion, these are the last resort in algae control. I only feel this way because you are in essences adding a chemical agent to the pond that will kill the algae, and if you are not careful, you can kill other plant life in the pond as well. Of course the downside of a chemical treatment is every time you change water, the algae can bloom again because the chemical has been dissipated.