May 1, 2009

Pond algae bloom. Ugh! How to get rid of algae.

That day after I got up, looked at the pond and my heart sunk! Water in the pond got unclear and amount of pond algae got scary. Maybe it sounds to you unreal, but this is usually how it happens: Suddenly algae appears.

The story below will tell you in short how I managed to get rid of algae without using any chemicals in the short period of just 2 weeks. This method doesn't harm plants, nor fish.

Like every spring pond algae attack again. This year it looked pretty bad and situation was getting worse almost every day. We gardeners love flowers, right? Pond algae bloom is one of the worst views in the garden. Ugh! Algae problem is number one problem in the garden pond, if you didn't manage to establish bio-balance in the pond, that becomes self maintaing equilibrium. Isn't it life-long task? It may take years to achieve it. My pond is 3 years old and didn't manage to get the fish friendly, self-maintaining pond.

Usually during 'pond-despair', the first thought comes to my mind is 'let's fill it up with soil and plant something nice'. Second thought.... 'this is FOR ME most important part of my garden, so lets help it'. 'Algae will not win!'

My husband who dug this pond with his musician's hands, so you may imagine how big place this pond has won in his heart, after examining the situation first said 'let's fill it up with soil'. I know, after being his wife for 8 years, that he doesn't mean it. I need to survive that period, then it gets only better.

Here at 'Ewa in the Garden' very, very rarely we use any chemical weapon. We believe, that there is always better cure, but only we are not aware of it. What you need to do is search for better, more friendly solution.
Why to search for radical solutions if basics are not done properly - this was our conclusion.

What basics you will ask.... Basics for how to get rid of algae in the pond are covered by
3 P = Peat/Pump/Plants

P1. Peat - Acidic peat in the filter - vital component of the filtering layers, because it contains humic acids that algae is allergic to. Looking into the filter showed that peat is old, from previous season. It turned into soil in last few months, so definitely stopped working. I had to search for acidic peat, but special one: clean and without any extras inside. One available in garden shops, lets call it 'generic peat' for garden usage, can't be used for filter, because it usually contains also fertilisers that can only make the situation worse. I found in pond section proper peat and placed it in such way, that it makes 5-8 cm thick layer, so all filtered water can flow through.

P2. Water pump - has to be strong enough to pump through all water in the pond in 1-2 hours. We new, that the pump we have bought at the beginning was only on the edge - turning water in the pond during 3-4 hours. Considering all problems we have with the pond, we have decided to buy proper one. The best choice was was atman ph4000, turning 5000 liters in 1 hour, able to pump the water up to 3,40 m, consuming 81 watt, priced 70$.

P3. Plants - I finally decided to plant pondweed (Elodea canadensis) - it grows fast enough to help to establish bio-balance in the pond. I made serious mistake at very beginning to let in grass carp - a fish that is a weed in the pond. I found in aquarium shop pondweed's seedlings and bought 2 of them - do you think it is enough?

After making all these improvements, we were looking forward to see whether anything is changing there or we need to improve something more. There was no change in first week, but in the second, water started to get more clear. Situation is getting better every day. It really works. Look by yourself:

after acidic peat treatment .......................................................... 2 weeks before treatment

Have a nice long weekend!

Similar topics:


vicki archer said...

This is brilliant - thank you Ewa. I have an algae situation myself, xv.

Sarah O. said...

This is a really helpful post, Ewa! I always go looking for advice and just find someone saying "wait for it to clear" but it never does (And the local garden centres sell pond supplies, but don't really know much about ponds!).

Aquamog said...

The aquatic weeds will do a great job of sucking up the nutrients in the water and take the place of the algae.

IlonaGarden said...

Submerge little bales of barley straw - it really works.

Anonymous said...

Great advice -- my Dad has a little pond and even with an aerator, he often has algae problems. I'll pass this along.

GettingRidOfPondAlgae said...

I love helpin people take care of the pond algae. Barley Pads work great also fountains help.

dave said...

get something called a uv clarifier its a small box that the water from the pump passes through that contains a UV light source, all algae that passes through it gets killed by the strong uv light and breaks down. my parents got one for their pond and its so clear now. NO chemicals needed! brilliant solution they use it in water treatment plants to kill any bacteria

Unknown said...

I like your fish, beautiful fish