Algae is the penultimate example of the “the good, the bad and the ugly.” (Cue the ominous music now). A certain amount of some types of algae are beneficial for your pond or small lake. However, when algae start to alter the balance of your pond’s water, it’s time to take action and start working on algae control.
But before we talk about taking action, lets talk about the different types of algae that people typically find in their ponds:
Planktonic Algae – Sometimes this is referred to as green water algae, basically, because it turns your pond water, well, green. If your pond water looks more like a bowl of split pea soup than a healthy pond, you probably have too many planktonic algae in the pond.
It’s important to note that a small amount of this type of algae is beneficial to the water in your pond. If you have fish and other creatures living in your pond, they derive oxygen and nutrients from planktonic algae. However, once you start noticing that pea soup color, this is a sign that you have too much planktonic algae.
Filamentous Algae – Just as with planktonic algae, a little goes a long way. A small amount of this algae can provide essential oxygen for your pond, but once it starts to cover a large amount of your pond’s surface, it’s time to get those stringy little suckers under control.
Basically, these algae will float to the top of your pond and when it spreads, it kind of looks like a mossy green blanket. A few patches here and there probably aren’t an issue, but when it really begins to take over the surface of the water, this can block sunlight and greatly reduce the water quality and water oxygen levels. Of course, it also isn’t particularly attractive to look at either.
While you might simply be tempted to just rake it out, it’s best to work on improving the water quality so that this type of algae is limited to small, beneficial amounts. How much is too much? If it appears as though about 20 to 25% of your pond is covered with filamentous algae, it’s probably time to act.
Blue-Green Algae – As with other types of algae, in very small amounts, blue-green algae can be beneficial. However, while excessive amounts of filamentous and planktonic algae aren’t awesome, excessive amounts of blue-green algae can be very harmful.
Blue-green algae can be toxic to the fish in your pond as well as other animals and it also can make people sick as well. If you do have blue-green algae present in your pond, keep your pets and livestock away from the water, as well as humans.
Algae Prevention & Maintenance
In general, using natural products is always the best option for ponds and lakes. Products that contain beneficial bacteria can be a great option that may keep your pond water clean and ecologically balanced without the use of harsh chemicals that could impact fish, wildlife, livestock, pets and the humans who enjoy using your pond. The beneficial bacteria basically consume the excess algae and help restore a healthy balance.
Here are a few other steps you can take to keep pond water healthy:
1. Agitation – Installing a pond aerator or agitator can help prevent water from becoming stagnant. While these can be pricey, they definitely can help keep your water cleaner and more balanced, and a feature such as a fountain also enhances the look of your pond or small lake.
2. Cleaning – We also recommend giving your pond a good spring cleaning to remove the debris and fish waste that might have accumulated in your water. So, grab that rake and go for it. You also can use a pond vacuum, of course. Just remove all those excess leaves as well as any dead plants or weeds in the water.
3. Consider Your Fish – Often the number of fish in your pond will affect the water quality. When a pond has too many fish, the oxygen levels can drop and too much waste can accumulate. If you have a large fish population and your pond can’t really handle this amount of fish, it’s time to consider relocating some of them, and this may help with algae control.
Whether your property has a small lake, a pond or a water feature such as a koi pond, Healthy Ponds has products that help you maintain healthy water, reduce algae and even reduce odors and improve the water color. To get started, click on the Ponds & Lakes tab or Small Water Features tab on our homepage, and this will help you decide which products will be the best fit for your situation.