5-Step Plan for Algae Control in Water Gardens
String algae. It seems to just grow and grow, leaving a tangled mess in streams and water gardens. Like other types of algae, string algae thrive on sunlight and excess nutrients like fish waste and decomposing organic matter in the water. Here is a five-step plan designed to get string algae under control.
- Add Plants:
Water lilies, water hyacinth, water lettuce and other floating aquatic plants look much nicer than algae. These ornamental plants will also feed on excess nutrients that algae also consumes, so plant away! A simple rule of thumb is to have 60% of your pond covered with submerged, floating and marginal (bog) plants. Algae utilize nutrients and sunlight (photosynthesis) to grow. The shade that floating and potted plants provide keeps sunlight from penetrating the pond and helps slow down algal growth.
- Ration Fish Food:
Those fish food pellets are necessary to feed koi and goldfish, but keep in mind that fish food adds nutrients to the water in two ways: as wasted food that the fish don't eat, and as waste after the fish digest it. Monitor how much the fish are actually eating and cut back if possible. A general rule is to feed what can be consumed within a 5 minute period.
- Boost Filtration:
Algae grow when there are excessive nutrients available to utilize as food sources or an over-abundance of sunlight is hitting the pond. We have already learned that plant coverage can assist with sunlight but how do you remove nutrients that you can't see? One way is to install a larger filter or you can use thicker replacement filters to help catch more contaminants. Many filters on the market are rated for ponds containing no fish or minimal fish, so get a filter that is rated for at least two times the water volume of your pond to handle all that extra waste.
- Turn Up Aeration:
Beneficial bacteria populate ponds everywhere, on filters, in rocks and at the bottom of the pond. By adding oxygen to the pond with diffused aeration like a PondAir™ or KoiAir™ Aeration Kit you can add massive amounts of oxygen to the water that the bacteria use to grow and reproduce. Adding a natural bacteria product like BioClarifier™ will ensure you always have a strong population of bacteria to remove those nutrients before algae can utilize them to grow and proliferate.
- Use AlgaeOff® & ClarityMax™
Even well-maintained ponds can sometimes have an algae outbreak so sprinkle on some AlgaeOff to remove the algae immediately. Then use ClarityMax as your routine treatment to remove algae stains and prevent debris buildup on and around waterfalls, streams, rocks in the pond and filtration systems.
String algae may seem like a never-ending battle, but it can be managed with these tried-and-true methods. Good luck!