Understanding Algae and Balancing Your Pond Fall into Three Basic Categories 80% of the Time!
Understanding Pond Algae seems like a daunting task to most pond owners, so first let me tell you; You’re not alone! Finding a balanced growth of healthy pond algae is really quite easy once you have a general understanding of a few basic principles and water treatments. Before we get into the meat and potatoes of helping you understand pond algae, let me begin by saying, “There is no such thing as an algae free pond!”
Pond Algae is not the Enemy and in all fairness, algae is a sign of a healthy eco-system. Typically a new pond, say twelve months or younger, may experience a couple of stages where algae is much heavier than on that of a mature pond even with a good water treatment routine. Be patient as your pond matures. Brace yourself because even on mature ponds, it is not uncommon to experience algae blooms during the change of seasons from winter to spring or during the dog days of summer when we get extreme triple digit heat waves. Have no fear because on balanced ponds these undesirable pond algae blooms are usually short lived. Now on the other hand, pond algae that is truly out of control can be a symptom of an underlying problem, that is occurring in your pond. We will certainly take the time to review the symptoms in detail. 80% of the time, out of whack problem ponds fall into these three very basic categories.
1. The improper usage or complete lack of natural water treatments promotes pond algae.
2. Ponds that are overstocked with too many fish certainly promote pond algae.
3. The frequency, quantity and quality of food offered to your fish can promote pond algae.
The other 20% of unbalanced pond issues fall into pond design and construction related problems like; poor circulation, troublesome leaks, low pump turnover rates, improper installation & maintenance of skimmers, property drainage running into the pond, ultra-violet sterilization maintenance, and improperly sized filters. We will tackle “Understanding Pond Algae” and balancing your pond at a couple of different levels. For starters, let us begin with the three, 80% of the time, problems.
1. Improper usage or complete lack of natural water treatments promotes pond algae.
Whether you have a large lake, a small pond with zero filtration, a water garden or a traditional Koi pond with all the bells and whistles that technology has to offer, a consistent routine of water treatments is the foundation to balancing pristine water quality. When you get into a good water treatment routine it is important to use the pond water treatments even when your pond is in perfect condition! A common mistake pond owners make is they stop adding the water treatments because their pond looks so perfect. The pond is perfect because you are adding the water treatments regularly and as soon as you stop adding the natural treatments, your water conditions begin to decline. Staying on track is the best thing you can do for your pond and your fish. We take a natural approach to balancing ponds with organic professional strength water treatments like powdered beneficial bacteria & enzymes, concentrated liquid bacteria, oxygen based rock, waterfall & Pond Debris Scrubbers, and super strength Barley Straw Extract, rather than harsh chemicals and algaecides like copper sulfate!
Beneficial Bacteria & Enzyme water treatments will help manage SLUDGE and debris that typically builds on the bottom of your pond. By controlling the sludge that builds up in the bottom of your pond with water treatments, you are taking a proactive move to balancing your pond! You will not find beneficial bacteria with the SLUDGE eating ability in a liquid formula like you will with a dissolvable powdered variety. Dry formulas of bacteria water treatments can be packaged and loaded with enzymes that are extremely helpful in breaking down leaf debris, uneaten fish food, and fish waste.
It is important to know that it is not financially viable to package liquid bacteria loaded with enzymes. So if you are ONLY using a liquid bacteria in you pond; that is a potential problem. It is important is to use a dissolvable powdered pond bacteria that is fortified with enzymes. Don’t use a pond bacteria that does not dissolve upon contact with water immediately. You can find less effective pond bacteria on bran flake or ground up barley straw, but that only adds more nutrients to the pond during your bacteria application. Which makes absolutely no sense because you are adding beneficial bacteria water treatments to your pond to manage nutrients! A Weekly Treatment of Dissolvable Powdered Bacteria is Recommended to Keep Your Pond in Balance. Think of the dry bacteria as something you add to the pond to manage sludge, on the bottom of the pond.
Liquid Bacteria plays a VERY IMPORTANT role during the initial cycling process of new ponds, especially while stocking your pond with fish for the first time. Liquid Bacteria is an extremely effective water treatment for removing ammonia from your pond. Ammonia is a byproduct of fish waste. Ammonia, can be extremely toxic to fish. Also understand; several different varieties of Pond Algae, actually thrive when there are traces of ammonia in your pond! Once your pond has matured and is managed properly with conservative livestock levels, it is rare that spikes in ammonia will occur, however there are a handful of cases where it happens and there a couple of things to be cognizant of.
Contrary to popular belief; Koi and goldfish do not grow to the size of their environment and 90% of pond owners do not stock their ponds conservatively with fish! Let’s face it, fish are fun to buy and even more fun to feed! When you have lots of fish, you will undoubtedly be feeding plenty of fish food which means your pond will have plenty of fish poop! Fish poop will turn into ammonia and Liquid Bacteria will help you manage ammonia spikes. Overstocking you pond is nothing to be ashamed about! You are not alone. Just understand that with heavy fish loads it is all the more important to have a water treatment routine that includes adding Liquid Bacteria to your pond on a regular basis. A Weekly Water Treatment of Liquid Bacteria is Reccomended to Keep Your Pond in Balance. Think of the liquid bacteria as something you add to your pond to help manage ammonia spikes and keep your biological filter in top working conditions at all times.
Pond Debris Scrubber is an oxygen based contact treatment that can be used on a regular basis to manage stubborn sediment and clingy debris in waterfalls, streams and shallow shelves on the perimeters of your pond. Manage pristine conditions in your waterfalls and streams with Pond Debris Scrubber. The oxygen scrubber will break loose sediment that accumulates on the rocks and gravel while it breaks free stubborn debris that sticks to the rocks in your waterfalls, restoring the beautiful natural color of the stones in your water feature.
Use Pond Debris Scrubber on a regular basis and you will see huge improvements in the overall appearance of your water feature. Not only will the color of your waterfall stones be restored to their original color, but by breaking free unwanted sediment and debris from the rocks and gravel in your water feature but something else begin to happen. You allow the filters in your pond the opportunity to capture the unwanted debris and sludge. A Bi-Monthly Water Treatment of Pond Debris Scrubber is Recommended to Help Maintain Pristine Water Quality. Think of the pond debris scrubber as something you use to manage the original color on your rocks, waterfalls and gravel; breaking free sediment and clingy debris, so that your filters can grab it.
Barley Straw Extract is an effective, fish safe and eco-friendly way to maintain balance in your pond. Barley Straw Extract Concentrate has been proven to support a natural balance in not only water gardens, & in Koi ponds but in lakes and larger commercial water features to help prevent unwanted floating debris from forming on the ponds surface. A highly concentrated natural organic Barley Straw Extract can have a major impact on the clarity of your water features.
We have many customers that use Barley Straw Extract twice monthly as a part of their preventative maintenance program while others use the extract on an as needed basis. A Bi-Monthly Water Treatment of Barley Straw Extract is Recommended to Help Maintain Pristine Water Quality. Think of barley straw extract as a preventative maintenance water treatment but also see fast acting results on dirty, gross, problem ponds with this product, of course, when coupled with beneficial bacteria and pond debris scrubber treatments.
2. Ponds that are overstocked with too many fish certainly promote algae.
We said it once and we’ll say it again. Almost everyone, and that means everyone, overstocks their pond! When ponds are overstocked, by default these ponds are overfed, putting strain on pond filtration systems and ultimately, promote pond algae. Buying fish for your pond is downright fun and borderline addictive, you don’t need to tell us! When stocking a pond for the first time, it is typical for pond owners to start off with smaller fish. Before you know it you have a fair quantity of fish and everything seems fine. The serious pond algae problem may not arrive for a couple of years. If you want to stock your pond conservatively, imagine each of those small fish, full grown at the time of purchasing them.
Here is one way to look it. Let’s say you have a dozen, 13″ Koi fish in your pond and everything is perfect. Your water quality is fantastic, water clarity is crystal clear to the bottom of the pond and all of your fish have a healthy disposition and appetite. Take into consideration that Koi fish can easily attain 26″ in just a few years. NOW, imagine all twelve of those 13″ Koi fish full grown at a whopping 26″! Most people simply wonder why their pond’s water quality seems to be slipping, the water clarity isn’t what it used to be and their special Koi are not acting like they normally do. Never realizing the underlying issues, can become a serious problem and lead to an unbalanced and ultimately unhealthy pond.
A 13″ Koi fish weighs in at one pound while a 26″ fish weighs in at a serious eight pounds! Your fish only doubled in size yet have put eight times the strain on the eco-system and filters. Ammonia is usually present at times under these conditions, excess food and fish waste clogs filters, sludge builds in the pond and quite frankly, Pond Algae Thrives Under These Conditions! Many times people in this situation turn to algaecides to combat algae in their pond. Algaecides are not a solution to the problem. In fact, when you use an algaecide to kill algae, it will die out, fall to the bottom of the pond, clog up filters and become the next nutrient source for the next phase of algae! Instead of shocking the algae every chance you get, understand that if you find an ecological balance in your pond you will be able to appreciate the wonderful properties that a healthy layer of peach fuzz algae has to offer.
The solution to the, Overstocking Your Pond With Fish, epidemic, is to build a larger pond, with more filtration, than you think you could ever possibly need, build more ponds on your property, give fish away to friends and family members when you reach the overload levels of your pond’s load capacity or show some willpower: Don’t Overstock Your Pond To Begin With. Remember that pond algae is a healthy part of the eco-system and fish love to graze on a fine layer of string algae fuzz. Stocking your pond with appropriate numbers of fish will help you control water quality, clarity and balance in your pond.
3. The frequency, quantity and quality of food offered to your fish can promote algae.
The specific nutritional needs of your Koi & Goldfish change seasonally, so don’t leave their nutrition up to chance. Choose a fish food that will boost the immune system of your fish, enhance brilliant colors naturally, deliver stabilized vitamins & minerals and even help balance your pond. Much too often, pond owners fall into a routine of feeding too frequently, in large quantities, and use the same fish food for their pond year round. Let’s just pause for a second in case you’re wondering what in the heck does this have to do with Understanding Pond Algae?
If you feed your pond and not your fish you could stimulate undesirable pond algae! Take that literally; Feed Your Pond and Not Your Fish. If you feed your fish more than they can eat in just a few minutes you are actually feeding your pond, or should we say pond algae? Make sure you are feeding your fish and not your pond algae. If you are leaving for a long weekend, DON’T feed your fish, extra portions before you leave and then extra servings when you get home. It’s simply not necessary. Take a proactive role in balancing your pond; feed your fish, not your pond algae.
If you feed a low quality fish food it can actually lead to out of control pond algae. Let us help you understand. You like cheese puffs, right? Seriously, they just melt in your mouth. Who doesn’t like cheese puffs?! Well, there is a fish food similar in texture and design of the cheese puff, available at the popular large pet store chains and it’s even orange! These Koi & Goldfish food sticks melt in the mouths of the fish and then squirt right out their gills and sink to the bottom of the pond. You see the obvious problem with this now, right? Pond Algae loves this fish food!
Your fish actually get very little nutritional value from this food. First because it is baked so long in the cooking process that most of the vitamins and minerals have been cooked right out of the food and secondly when the fish crush the food in their mouth it mostly squirts out their gills and instead of feeding your fish you are feeding your pond algae! Choose a higher quality fish food that will actually benefit your fish instead of benefit your pond algae. Let’s be conservative and say that your pond is moderately stocked with beautifully graceful koi that are always hungry. Feed a quality fish food designed for your season, once in the morning and once in the evening as much as they can eat in just a few minutes and you will promote happy, healthy koi and NOT POND ALGAE!
The secret to The Pond Digger Professional Line of fish foods is not only ingredients, but VARIETY! We have a specialty developed GROWTH FORMULA fish food packed with protein for younger fish and a totally natural COLOR ENHANCING FORMULA loaded with spiralina, beta carotenes and proteins for the summer months. We have formulated a perfectly balanced ALL SEASON fish food that should serve as a staple solution for your fish nutrition and a COLD TEMPERATURE FORMULA that is lower in protein and higher in carbohydrates. This Cold Temperature Fish Food is ultimately designed to prepare your fish for winter and to bring your fish out of their winter slumber each spring. For optimal pond water quality, use premium fish foods and water treatments in your pond.