What is pond algae?
Suspended algae and string algae stand out as two of the most common types of algae found in ponds. “Green algae” (another name for suspended algae) are single cell organisms that reproduce rapidly, and due to their size they can easily bypass most filtration systems making them a vexing nuisance for pond owners. If the conditions are right and your pond water is left untreated, suspended algae can turn a crystal-clear pond into something much darker and murkier.
String algae, sometimes referred to as “hair algae,” appears as extended strands that adhere to rocks and plants. When left unchecked for an extended period, these strands have the tendency to form mats and become entangled, leading to complications for your pond’s filtration system.
It’s essential to acknowledge the significant role that algae play in your pond’s ecosystem to avoid being overrun by algae growth. Having a small number of algae in your pond or water feature is perfectly normal and harmless, however, problems arise when algae growth becomes excessive and challenging to manage. In such cases, it’s advisable to consider treatment and prevention measures.
Why is there pond algae?
Before you start treating your pond, it’s essential to understand the causes of excessive pond algae growth. The growth of both types of pond algae can be exacerbated by direct sunlight or by a water imbalance that stems from excess nutrients from overfeeding fish or even stormwater runoff.
In the early spring as seasons and temperatures start to change you might notice more algae blooming across the surface of your pond’s water. This could be attributed to water temperatures being too low for fish and aquatic plant activity but just warm enough for algae. During this phase, algae often become the predominant contributors to the pond’s ecosystem, flourishing without competition for nutrients. These pockets of algae, however, do tend to dissipate once water temperatures rise sufficiently. If the algae persist, there are various solutions to control and prevent future algae growth.
Treatment and Prevention
Establishing a foundation for successful pond algae control starts with simply cutting down the nutrients in your pond water that attract algae. Grass clippings, leaves, fertilizer and other organic debris should stay out of your pond water. Creating a protective barrier of vegetation around your pond is a great method to help keep these additional nutrients out of the water.
Installing and consistently running a pond aeration system can help prevent the accumulation of nutrients too. These systems enhance water circulation and elevate oxygen levels in the water which greatly benefits the whole pond ecosystem. Aerobic beneficial bacteria thrive in water with higher oxygen levels, and since they consume the organic debris and nutrients that algae flock to, this is a great natural source of algae prevention and control!
Adding aquatic plants to your pond serves a dual purpose, as not only do they help shield the surface from direct sunlight, but they also provide gorgeous color and aesthetic appeal. Options like water lilies or hyacinths are beautiful choices. Aquatic plants also compete with pond algae for the nutrients in your pond water, leaving less for the algae.
The main objective of treating your pond against algae is to re-harmonize the relationship between your pond and algae, rather than eradicating algae completely. Water treatments such as an algaecide (like the one by Aquascape) are a perfect solution to an already existing algae problem, its good for fighting both suspended and string algae.
Things to remember
It’s important to remember that some pond algae is a sign of a healthy pond ecosystem. But if your pond water starts turning green and murky, or clumps of algae start clogging your streams, then its probably high time to start considering treatment options and other preventative changes.
A super quick fix to clumps of algae is the hands-on approach — by reaching into your pond and removing the algae by hand or with a tool. This works well for string algae, but the problem can quickly resume. For assistance with algae removal or any questions regarding what to do, contact Aqua Landscapes.