Monday, August 25, 2008

Algae in Your Pond?

Those of us who have water gardens know that algae can be quite the problem. Green water is not what we want to see when we head out to our pond to check up on our plants or our fish.

Algae are simple organisms that feeds off of sunlight, producing oxygen and food that is good for plants and fish. However, when there is too much algae we start to get a problem – most commonly known as an algae bloom – in the form of bright green water.

While this is a completely natural occurrence, it can have dangerous consequences if it is left unchecked. The oxygen that algae produces during the day can quickly be used up by the algae itself over night if there is a lot of algae. I’m sure you can imagine how this might be a problem for your plants and fish.

But what causes these algae blooms?

There can be a number of things that cause this. Firstly – too many nutrients in the water, such as phosphorus, nitrogen and carbon. Fish waste, dead plants, fertilizers and decaying fish food all product the nutrients when they are decomposing.

Secondly – too much sunlight makes for overactive algae.

Thirdly – not enough oxygen in the water.

And how can you prevent it?

You can prevent the decomposition of too many nutrients by skimming the top of your pond every so often to remove any dead plants and leaves. You can also reduce the number of fish that you have in your pond, and therefore creating less fish waste in your pond.

Add more plants to your pond. This will help by providing more competition for the oxygen that the algae produces, as well as providing more shade to your pond – remember, algae needs sunlight! If you can add other items that would block sunlight, that’s a great idea too. There are products that you can add to your pond’s water that claim they actually do this, but I am not completely sure how these work as I haven’t really ever tried that method – but I may in the future as it sounds really easy!

In order to create more oxygen in your ponds, you can also increase the amount of oxygen in your pond. You can do this by adding a small fountain or waterfall in your pond. Not only will this help eliminate algae, but it will also help your fish be healthier. If you don’t want to add a small fountain or waterfall, there are pond pumps that have been created specifically to oxygenate your water.

While there are things you can add to your water to eliminate algaecide, it’s not always a permanent solution. You can, however, find this usually at your local garden center. If you want to go with something a little bit more organic, usually barley extract or barley straw works just as well as a man-made algaecide.

You also have the option to add a filter with a UV clarifier in it. Keep in mind, if you choose this option, that the filter must have a UV clarifier, otherwise you won’t eliminate the algae. The UV light that the clarifier produces causes the algae to clump together, and then allows it to be caught in your filter.

Any of these solutions should help to keep your pond clear and algae-free, so you can enjoy it more fully.

1 comment:

Gerry said...

We recently installed a UV clarifier in our pond, and within weeks, our algae problem had dissapated!