I was having a discussion the other day with a friend who said he was having a hard time training his employees. I always tell people that 90% of training is in the hiring itself. Why am I telling you this? Because it also relates to the topic of ‘how to get rid of algae in a pond.’ The dreaded green pea soup.
The three common types of algae are green algae, filamentous algae, and string algae. While you may think maintenance is common sense, it might not be. Simply pulling string algae for example out by the hand can exacerbate the problem. Did you know that whenever string algae is pulled out of the pond it releases millions of spores which cause more algae?
One of the first things that you must do is pick the right location. Location is as important for real estate as it is for proper pond placement. The difference can be thousands of dollars in maintenance costs.
Pick a location that gets the most shade. Direct sunlight will speed up the growth of string algae which is common for koi ponds, farm ponds,goldfish ponds and many other ponds that are supposed to be visually appealing. The clearer the water, the more enjoyable it will be for you and your guests. However, try to avoid placing it directly under tree leaves that shed.
Leaves can be a nuisance requiring you to constantly use your skimmer net and remove them. Your pond will be trashed along with the fish in it if this is not done on a regular basis. Tree sap is also acidic so try to avoid that getting into the pond. Which brings us to the next tip… Sometimes all you need to do is add a net above the pond to catch the leaves or to cut a tree branch here and there.
Create your pond base so that you have a sturdy wall on the inside of the pond liner. You don’t want any exposed pond liner (EPDM) because it can dry up, leak, or crack after some years go by. Cover it up by setting the right stones on the inside and along the walls. If you have access to it, use the matrix box provided by Aquascapes. If you do not know how to do this then talk to a pond contractor who does. Done right you should be able to step on the rocks upon completion and not have the rocks give way and fall into the pond. A strong foundation goes a long way.
There is nothing better than to kick back on a hot day with your feet in your pond listening to the sounds of your waterfall. Just make sure you don’t fall in!
You must add constant aeration to the pond to slow down the process of algae blooms. Adding movement to the water using a fine bubble aerator (usually to the deepest section of your pond) will do the trick. Your fish will love you for it. There is NO harm in over-aerating your pond. Add submerged aerators to your little heart’s content.
Using floating plants such as water lilies, lotuses or water hyacinths are not only beautiful but serve a useful purpose as well by keeping sunlight off the surface of the water. You can cover a good percentage of the waters surface using this method and giving the pond more coverage from the sun.
A nice hack is to also use submersible plants that use up nutrients that algae require to grow. Plants that work well include daylilies, waterlilies, water hyacinths, water celery, siberian iris, louisiana iris, yellow loosestrife, sweet potato vine, and coleus.
Snails helps as well. Not escargot! Add these to your pond as they will feed on the algae. Better to add them not not add them.
If you aren’t a fan of snails then try tadpoles. They not only eat algae but mosquitoes and other insects as well.
Don’t over feed your fish. If you can imagine what happens to leftover fish food it just floats to the bottom to rot and decay which also leads to more algae.
Make sure to regularly clean ALL of the filters in the system on a regular basis. You will know how often this is required over time as you monitor your pond. If it is green and funkyup then you need to give it a good rinse. Cleaning filters helps to promote beneficial bacteria which hinders the growth of algae. Clogged filters and green pea soup go hand in hand. And by the way, if you’ve ever had a fish go ‘missing’ and blamed it on the racoons, try checking the filtration system. If you don’t have a filtration system that is fish friendly, your favorite fish can easily get sucked in and die.
Consider using an ultraviolet light sterilizer. These help to break down cell walls and destroys algae.
Vacuum the algae from the pond with a pond vacuum. Make sure no fish are in the pond.
Barley straw plants are beneficial as they add hydrogen peroxide to the pond when they decompose.
A cool hack is to add pond dye to the water. The dye makes the water darker and harder for sunlight to reach the bottom. Not recommended in some cases.
Have the water moving at least once per hour through the filtration system. Speak to your pond contractor for advice on what type of pumps and filters you should be using.
If all else fails, or you just like buying products, give beneficial bacteria and algae water treatments a go. Find them at your local pond store.
Do a local search for a contractor in your area or talk to a friend who has had a good experience with their landscaper to see if you can get some professional help. It is possible to construct a quality pond on your own but it will take some time.