Pond Algae Remover
When it comes to removing pond algae, you have some options. You can use a chemical treatment or choose a natural solution. I prefer to go the natural way. While chemicals are perfectly safe when applied correctly, a natural treatment allows more room for error and is less likely to kill your fish.
Certain strains of algae such as string algae can become extremely problematic for pond owners. Chances are that as a pond owner, you’ll have to deal with algae blooms from time to time. So far I’ve only had to deal with string algae, which is bad enough. I’ve yet to deal with blue-green algae which can completely destroy the ecosystem of your pond. You need to know what to do if an algae bloom occurs.
What are algae blooms and where do they come from?
Algae is a single cell plant of many species. An algae bloom is when algae grow at an excessive rate to which it interferes with the rest of the pond’s ecosystem. This starts when the algae begin to strangle the beneficial oxygenating plants of the pond. Eventually, this will affect the entire ecosystem in a negative way. Ponds that are out in the open with little tree cover are most susceptible to algae blooms.
While the sun takes most of the blame, I’ve found algae blooms to develop from an imbalanced ecosystem. In pond lingo, there’s something called “nutrients”. Nutrients are excess leaves, grass, and dirt that may end up in your pond. This occurs by the wind, heavy downpours, erosion and sometimes when fertilizers and herbicides leach into the pond. With improper bacteria levels and no quality plants such as hornwort or anacharis, these nutrients can quickly build up. Add direct sunlight to this formula and you’ll get a really nasty algae bloom.
Algae can also be beneficial
Not all algae are bad. Just like bacteria, there is beneficial algae and destructive algae. Certain fish (especially fry), tadpoles and some aquatic turtles feed on different strains of algae. In minuscule amounts, even string algae are beneficial.
For an estimation, I would say a healthy pond should only contain about 2 to 3% string algae. Most of the benefit of string algae goes to certain fish and tadpoles. Diatom algae is an example of a beneficial strain. More about the importance of diatom algae later.
An algae bloom forms, what next?
Let’s say you have a new pond. The beneficial plants we talked about earlier haven’t taken yet. Now you have an algae bloom (this always seems to come soon after the bacteria bloom is over.) You notice that the algae are starting to grow at an alarming rate. It’s beginning to suffocate your pond. Now the algae are blocking out the sun for the beneficial plants anchored at the bottom of the pond. It has also attached itself to the plants at the top of the water, constricting them. It’s getting to the point to where progress is absent. Not good. You’re going to need to take action.
There’s a couple of ways you can go about this. First, you want to continue to add your beneficial bacteria (according to the label’s instructions). This alone will not solve the problem but it has its place in the process. Now you’re left with two choices. Chemical treatment, or natural treatment. Which method are you more comfortable with?
Natural pond algae remover treatments
Small bundles of barley are a natural treatment for algae. You must place barley in the pond before the algae bloom occurs. It’s a preventive treatment and won’t solve the problem in the case of a major bloom. It’s a popular method so I thought I would throw that out there first.
The idea behind barely use is simple: When exposed to sunlight and oxygen is available, barely produces a chemical that inhibits algae growth. Believe it or not, the chemical produced is hydrogen peroxide. Don’t add large amounts of barley to your pond because it can cause a fish kill. Just follow the instructions on the product label. The idea of having any amount of hydrogen peroxide in your pond may make you uncomfortable. When using barley in a non-excessive way, it’s perfectly safe.
My choice for algae reduction and elimination
I have used a natural product called Nualgi with much success. Nualgi works by introducing diatom algae (the good kind of algae) to the ecosystem. Diatom algae will starve out the bad algae. While this is not a process that will happen overnight, you could start to see some improvement after three or four days. You’ll be adding the product once a week.
After about three days, more and more algae will start to die off and float on top of the water. At this point, you should manually remove the dead algae with a dip net. This will speed up the progress. Remove the excess algae at least twice a week, or as needed. It can take six weeks or more for complete control. It depends on how bad the algae bloom is and how advanced the ponds ecosystem is.
Chemical pond algae remover treatments
There are some chemicals on the market that are effective. Be very, very careful when adding any kind of chemical to your pond. Too much can kill your fish and plants. With a chemical treatment, it’s better to go slightly under the recommended dosage than over even though many people promise it’s 100% safe for fish and plants. I lack experience in the chemical department. No pond algae remover is 100% efficient in twenty-four hours.
Whichever method you choose, don’t expect anything to work completely overnight. The longer algae have time to grow, the longer the treatment takes. Continue treatment according to the product label until the problem is solved. It probably wouldn’t be a bad idea to treat your pond for algae throughout the year. Preventive maintenance is the key.
The key takeaways:
- Treating an algae bloom is not fun. It spreads very quickly in a short amount of time. Especially in a new, unbalanced pond. An algae bloom is likely to occur in the early spring even in established ponds.
- The best way to avoid an algae bloom is to prevent it from happening in the first place. This comes with knowledge and experience and sometimes, trial and error. Treating a pond with a product like Nualgi and a quality beneficial bacteria product can decrease, if not completely stop the problem before it happens. Once you go through it once, you won’t want to go through it again.
- Dealing with major algae blooms requires patience. Don’t allow it to get you frustrated. No product works completely overnight. Still, you may start seeing some progress after three or four days. Note that it can take anywhere from six to ten weeks for complete control. That’s even with a quality pond algae remover product. Be sure to remove the dead, floating algae as needed. Getting the excess nutrients out of the water helps speed up the process.
- Always follow all products (both chemical and natural) by the label. Remember, the label is the law.
- Be sure that you know exactly (or very close to) how many gallons of water your pond holds. Treat so exactly by the directions of whatever pond algae product you choose to use.