The Algae approach to a pond?

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The Algae approach to a pond?

Postby ColinM » Sun Feb 06, 2011 5:22 pm

Hi All,

This subject has been discussed to some extent through the various Water Garden threads, but, because of that, in something of a fragmented way. So, I thought I'd start a thread to bring the discussion all in one place. If I interpret some of your posts correctly, some of you take the 'natural' approach and accept that, even with a good echo/bio system balance, there will always be some agae, to the extent that you a resigned to manually controlling it with fishnets :mrgreen: , sticks etc etc.

I know Annie's ponds are massive compared to my humble effort.

Much of the commentary on the net suggests the best start to minimise algae is to ensure shade over your pond. In fact, some say this is an absolute must. But obviously, if you build lakes like Annie, then constructing shade is not practical.

Another contributing factor is available (especially phosphorous based) nutrients from soil introduced to the pont through the placement of potted plants containing rich organic matter.

Many folk I've spoken to maintain barley straw derived treatments will assist algae control.

Others suggest a 'product treatment' like a general agaecide combined with bacterial pond clarifier to breakl down dead algae.

Then on top of this is the use of a filter with a Ultravvolet Clarifier cell. Of course, this is only good for killing Algae that 'moves', that is, is suspended and mobile within the circulating water flowing through the dirty water pump and through the filter.

MY EXPERIENCE:
I built a 2KL pond back in August, with a Pondmax dirty water pump and a Pondmax filter, incorporating a UV cell. Into it, I placed a few largish pots containing water lillies, dward papyrus and an acquatic plants. These three pots were filled with an organic mix, topped with small stones.

Things were going swimmingly :roll: :D , not just for the fish. Then, over a period of a week we had a string of hotter very sunny weather. At the end of that week, and only that week, I had a substantial filamentatious (blanket) algae problem. To the extent that it had almost clogged my pump.

Various algal treatments, including a barley straw based string algae powder - all to no avail.

In the end, I decided the best approach was to empty the pond, scrub the liner, top the pond back up (I used a anti shock treatment for both the pull out, storage and reintroduction of the fish) and since then I've controlled the algae with a combination of a Pond Algaeside, a string algal powder and a bacterial pond clarifier. Oh, and I've installed a temporary shade over the pond and am in the process of building a permanent one.

OK, there's a fair bit of material there.

What's your thoughts on this? Do you just accept the 'natural' situation of some algae or go for a pond with minimum algae? Can I say that I think that, with smaller ponds, the 'intrusion' of algae is perhaps a bigger issue, because it's more noticeable and can take over quicker?
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Re: The Algae approach to a pond?

Postby Pam » Mon Feb 07, 2011 7:10 am

Bit big for a filter here Colin. The system pretty much has to take care of itself. The combination of part shade, along with the tadpoles and yabbies (along with the nuisance snails, I guess) seems to do a reasonable job of controlling any algae. I am careful that no nutrients go into it though, which can be a challenge with trying to establish plants, but they just have to cope.
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Re: The Algae approach to a pond?

Postby ColinM » Mon Feb 07, 2011 8:39 am

Oh, I forgot - you lot are into building LAKES not ponds :D . You're right Pam, installing a filter/pump on that scale would be very expensive, though I have seen one installed in a 'pond' comparable to that one - it was at a hotel resort in Perth. Definately agree with your comment on not introducing nutrients and pond plants coping - I learn't that the hard way! Especially in a small pond such as mine. What's the (sustained) water clarity like in a 'pond' of that size Pam?

One thing I don't get though, is why pond plant fertiliser tablets contain phosphate - since that feeds algae I would have thought phosphate would be omitted. But then, and you experts will tell me, maybe some phosphate presence is required for the plants, so it's a bit of a trade off.
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Re: The Algae approach to a pond?

Postby Pam » Mon Feb 07, 2011 11:44 am

ColinM wrote:What's the (sustained) water clarity like in a 'pond' of that size Pam?




Hubby had toyed with the idea of throwing in some alum to clarify it, Colin, but if the water was clear it would make our frogs, tadpoles and the like easy pickings for the kookaburras and herons. The 'waterfall' (it's only a waterfall when it's raining) has a pond built in to filter the silt, which it does very effectively, so on the whole the water quality isn't too bad.

What started out as a very small patch of reeds is gradually doing a good job of colonising the whole , so perimeter, so I envisage that before too much longer it will be even better.

I'd love to find a way to get rid of the snails so that I could get some waterlilies in there to provide more shade for the water and shelter for some fish, but that's proving hard to do.
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Re: The Algae approach to a pond?

Postby Sam » Mon Feb 07, 2011 12:53 pm

It's looking fantastic, Pam.
“Tomatoes and oregano make it Italian, wine and tarragon
make it French, sour cream makes it Russian, lemon and
cinnamon make it Greek, soya sauce makes it Chinese, Garlic
makes it good.” Alice May Brock, Alice’s Restaurant Cookbook.
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Re: The Algae approach to a pond?

Postby Waterlily » Mon Feb 07, 2011 2:35 pm

Hi everyone!!! :D Sorry, have too much work last days, so will be back later. :)
Pam, looks Absolutely Great and 1000% Natural!!! (Y) Impressive! You don't need waterlilies. Joking. :) It looks fantastic how it is!
Just WOW Pond, oops Lake! (Y)
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Re: The Algae approach to a pond?

Postby ColinM » Mon Feb 07, 2011 10:29 pm

Hi Pam - LOVE the cascading watercourse! Did you introduce the snails? (Sorry) All I've read is that they are not a thing to introduce.
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Re: The Algae approach to a pond?

Postby taffyman » Tue Feb 08, 2011 7:06 pm

Pam, you've got water in your dam - it's full!!!!!!! :shock: :lol:

Did you finally manage to seal it?
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Re: The Algae approach to a pond?

Postby Pam » Tue Feb 08, 2011 8:51 pm

taffyman wrote:Pam, you've got water in your dam - it's full!!!!!!! :shock: :lol:

Did you finally manage to seal it?


We do! :D We still have to keep an eye on it and act quickly on any leaks, but things are improving.

Colin, It was as good as dry when we came,so I think the snail eggs musthave been in the soil - not sure if that's the way they work, but it seems to have been the case. We've bought and put in a few waterlilies etc, but they demolished them literally overnight. At twenty odd dollars a pop they're expensive vermin food.

They don't eat the reeds fortunately.
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Re: The Algae approach to a pond?

Postby ColinM » Tue Feb 08, 2011 9:38 pm

Pam, well, it's great that you have it where you've reached. I don't envy your problem with the snails, sorry :-?
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Re: The Algae approach to a pond?

Postby Waterlily » Sun Feb 13, 2011 1:42 pm

Hi everyone! Hi Colin!
About your first post. It could be very good to see photos of your pond with algae, your pond before algae, algae sleeping :mrgreen: , algae wake up, algae eating :lol: etc. :mrgreen:
I think you did a big mistake. No. Not "I think". I am sure you did BIG mistake to empty your pond!
I was crying all day after reading it. :cry: :mrgreen:
Colin, you don't empty your pond because of algae or water scorpions attack! It means you gave up. Algae will be back believe me.
As I already told The Algae is the part of Pond Balance. You should learn to live with it.
I was shocking first year I had all pond covered by algae, but second year, I mean now I have less algae because water plants do their job very good. The pond surface should, no, MUST be covered with water plants on 60-70%. So you will have just minimum of algae because your water plants will work.
Water in pond It's like wine :) , it only gets better with age.
Colin, read it please.
http://goorganicgardening.com/water-gar ... d-bacteria
http://www.bukisa.com/articles/281650_g ... d-bacteria
http://goorganicgardening.com/water-gar ... pond-algae
Then, year after year, preventative maintenance becomes second nature and severe algae blooms become less and less of a concern.

So fishnet forever! :mrgreen:

Steps against Algae Growth

1.pond cleaning in autumn and spring (pond net :lol: , pond vac and partial water exchange)
2.gravel as substrate for water lilies and pond plants
3. 5 - 7cm high border between garden and pond
4.calculate amount of fish including breed and young fish
5.water circulation with fountains, pond streams, and pumps, etc.
6.aquatic plants in all plant zones
7.underwater plants and floating pond plants. :!:

Causes for Algae in a Fishpond

1.rotten leaves create mud on the ground
2.dead foliage stay in the water
3.soil instead of gravel was used for pond plants
4.soil from the banks are washed into the water
5.to many fish compare to the pond volume
6.no water circulation and lack of oxygen
7.not enough water pond plants
8.water is warming up by sunshine
9.rain provides lots of nitrates. :!:
http://www.buildyourownpond.biz/pond-ca ... ntrol.html
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Re: The Algae approach to a pond?

Postby ColinM » Sun Feb 13, 2011 2:31 pm

Hi Annie! OK, first off, thanks HEAPS for posting so much information. I'll now try and respond to some of your content :D .

The reason I felt I had to empty and clean the pond was that the filamentatios agae had grown to such an extent that it had just about clogged my pond pump and the sheer amount in the water was in danger of impeeding the movement of the smaller fish (and therefore might have killed them).

Looking at the material that you kindly supplied 8) and the points you raise, I've addressed a number of issues.

1) All pots have now had the rich organic soil removed from them.
2) I remove debri daily from the pond.
3) in a 2000 litre pond, I only have 7 fish, so I wouln't say that there is too many fish.
4) There is shadecloth over the pond now (albeit a temporary structure with a more permanent one on it's way).
5) I don't have any problems with floating algae, it's the carpet/blanket/filamentatious variety that I'm find a pain in the but. (The filter seems to be doing a very good job of keeping the water clear)

Here's a pic with the pond infested with filamentatious(carpet) agae before I cleaned it:

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Re: The Algae approach to a pond?

Postby Waterlily » Sun Feb 13, 2011 6:27 pm

GOOD LUCK, Colin!!! (Y) Do not write anything about algae please in your job application. :mrgreen:
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Re: The Algae approach to a pond?

Postby ColinM » Sun Feb 13, 2011 6:34 pm

Waterlily wrote:GOOD LUCK, Colin!!! (Y) Do not write anything about algae please in your job application. :mrgreen:


Thanks Annie!! :mrgreen:
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Re: The Algae approach to a pond?

Postby Waterlily » Wed Mar 02, 2011 4:45 pm

Hey, Mr. Boss, how many pages your job application had? :shock: Looks like you need 2,5 weeks to fill it. :mrgreen:
Did yoy edit your previous post? So nobody include me knows you was here... :shock:
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Re: The Algae approach to a pond?

Postby ColinM » Wed Mar 02, 2011 5:13 pm

Hi Annie, PLEASE stop calling me boss :lol: :lol: I'm a new age guy, so I know no male is a BOSS of ANY Lady :mrgreen:

Well, didn't get the job , never mind.

Anyway, back on thread track.... :wink: :D , Yes, your post on do's and don't was VERY informative Annie - thanks heaps!
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Re: The Algae approach to a pond?

Postby midgin » Wed Mar 02, 2011 5:19 pm

Your dam looks fabulous, Pam....I am soooooo jealous..... =p~
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Re: The Algae approach to a pond?

Postby Waterlily » Sun Mar 06, 2011 6:31 am

ColinM wrote:Hi Annie, PLEASE stop calling me boss :lol: :lol:

Ok, ok. I will not. Sorry :mrgreen:
I have plenty of algae right now and looking for someone to give it away. :)
Baby fish like to be in this mess so I can't clean it too much at the moment. ((
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Re: The Algae approach to a pond?

Postby ColinM » Sun Mar 06, 2011 9:48 am

:mrgreen:

I have plenty of algae right now and looking for someone to give it away. :)


ER, a very kind offer Annie, but I'll pass :lol:
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