5 Easy steps to control an overabundance of pond algae

An overabundance of pond algae can be the bane of farmers, golf course managers, councils and anyone who has one or more ponds on their land. In general, pond algae control is fairly easy in well-established ponds, it’s when ponds are new that problems can become overwhelming.

Taking the right measures and initiating the correct steps at the initial setup however, will reduce the likelihood of an algae problem in the future. Many of these same steps can also be used to bring pond algae under control in more established ponds that require remediation measures.

  1. Install a pump & filter: A solar pond aerator will turn over the water in the pond, oxygenating and improving the water quality, as well as reducing the number of algae. The size of your pond and the ratio of fish to plant life will determine the size of the solar pond aerator you require, but don’t forget to install a biological filter system to enhance the quality of your pond water as well.
  2. Reconfigure the pond: A properly constructed pond needs 40% of its surface area covering the deeper zones (min 60 cm in depth) to allow for proper aeration and pond algae control. In addition, the surrounding area needs to be landscaped to avoid runoff that contains debris and nutrients from entering the pond, both of which feed the algae. However, if your pond is already constructed, your only option is re-engineer the surrounding landscape to prevent runoff from entering the pond.
  3. Remove debris and sludge: Despite your best efforts, some debris will always enter your pond and whilst you don’t need to remove all of this debris, minimising it is an important step in pond algae control. You can install a surface skimmer that will remove debris on the surface of the pond and use a pond vacuum to clean the sludge from the bottom of the pond.
  4. Add aquatic plants: To keep pond algae under control you need a certain biomass of aquatic plants in a pond, but not just any plants. You need to have both underwater plants to remove any excess nutrients from the water that can feed the algae, as well as floating plants to reduce the amount of sunlight entering the water, breaking the algae’s growing cycle.
  5. Other controls: In an immature pond you can add beneficial bacteria and enzymes to reduce pond algae and improve the water quality, and in a more mature pond you can use an algicide if the problem is severe.

For professional pond algae control, contact BioRemedy on 07 3889 8250 or send us an email.

Tips on algae control in lakes and ponds

Algae control in lakes and ponds is usually an ongoing process and is necessary to maintain the water quality and the health of the fish and other wildlife that rely on these ecosystems. If left alone and ignored, algae can quickly overwhelm these water bodies, which is why water treatment with some sort of algae remover is essential.

It’s important that you don’t confuse algae with weeds, because whilst they might appear similar in the water, they require different approaches for containment. Algae are single or multi-celled organisms that make energy using photosynthesis, but they don’t have roots, leaves or stems like plants and weeds. Sometimes duckweed is mistaken for floating algae and Stonewort algae for bottom hugging weeds, so it’s important to identify the cause of your problem, before initiating a water treatment plan.

Short term solutions for algae control in lakes and dams

If you have just noticed an abundance of algae in your lake or dam and it looks like pea soup or the bottom is covered in string algae, you can use a chemical algae remover to hit the problem quickly. The issue with a chemical water treatment however, is that it will kill goldfish and Koi, and trout can also be affected if the carbonate content is less than 50 ppm. If you can’t use a chemical solution, then you need to look at long term control immediately.

Long term solutions for algae control in lakes and dams

A chemical algae remover is a short term solution to a crisis situation, but you need to move on from here and initiate a longer term approach to controlling the algae issue. The easiest and most successful long term plan is to tackle the overload of nutrients that feed the algae, creating the population explosion you have just attacked with chemicals.

Nutrients usually come from runoff and can be difficult to control on the land, so you need to tackle the problem another way. One of the most beneficial solutions is to make sure that you maintain a decent size fertilizer buffer around the lake or dam, so that runoff is less likely. Then install an aerator in the water to keep oxygen levels high and reduce the build-up of organic debris on the bottom.

For more information on algae control in lakes and ponds for your property, call BioRemedy on 1300 798 022 or send us an email.

Pros and cons of dam aerators

Whilst there are many plants that help with pond aeration, anything above a small pond can benefit from using dam aerators to maintain the health of the pond. A lack of aeration can lead to low oxygen levels, fish kills and even algal blooms in severe cases, and the pond will look and smell unhealthy. At this point some form of water treatment is necessary and a dam aerator is the ideal dam cleaning solution.

Pros of using dam aerators

Essentially, aerators are designed to keep your pond healthy by circulating air throughout the water column. Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen naturally with most of the oxygen remaining in the surface layers of the water. Stratification then becomes a problem with organic matter collecting at the bottom, using all the oxygen and resulting in a build-up of toxins in the water. Dam cleaning then becomes necessary to remove the toxic sludge and some form of water treatment to remove the overgrowth of algae that can also occur.

Bottom dam aerators prevent this damaging cycle in its tracks, keeping oxygen levels as high as possible throughout the water column, circulating water from bottom to top; bottom sludge is minimized, toxins are circulated to the surface water and released into the atmosphere, and water quality and fish life are healthy.

Aeration also prevents fish kills that happen in large lakes when the lake water naturally turns over as the weather starts to cool down in the autumn. As the surface water temperatures drop to match the cooler bottom water, the whole water column mixes or turns over, bringing up the toxic sludge from the bottom and causing fish kills. Water treatment with aerators stops this build-up of sludge, so even though the lake still turns over, the fish remain healthy.

Cons of using dam aerators

The main problem with dam aerators is the initial cost of  purchase and set up, followed by on-going maintenance. The costs will depend on the size of the water body and number of aerators needed, but for the practicalities of dam cleaning, they tick all the boxes. You need to remember however, that even with an aerator you might still have a fish kill or an alga bloom. This is because an overly productive lake with lots of bottom sludge can quickly become toxic due to the rapid decomposition of so much organic debris. It’s this toxic sludge, rather than a lack of oxygen that can result in the occasional fish kill.

For more information on water treatment for your lake, pond or dam, call BioRemedy on 1300 798 022 or send us an email.

Will algae control in lakes and ponds lead to a new environmentally friendly fuel?

Algae control in lakes and ponds is necessary to maintain the health of the pond and the wildlife in and around the pond. Too much pond algae and the water becomes anoxic, the pond becomes stagnant and the wildlife no longer have access to fresh water and either die or leave the area.

Pond algae control is therefore a vital part in keeping our ecosystems healthy, but some researchers now believe that pond algae could also have a completely different role to play in our future. This role is as a carbon neutral fuel, because algae already convert sunlight into their own energy, as well as converting carbon dioxide from the air into oxygen.

Even better, some pond algae already store this energy within an oily substance that could be farmed and used as fuel for our vehicles. This brings a whole new meaning to algae control in lakes and ponds, as it might be possible to grow as much algae as we need on a continual basis. Just imagine a carbon neutral fuel that is also a renewal resource!

Does pond algae fuel have legs?

Well, in 2011 United Airlines actually flew a passenger plane from Chicago to Houston fuelled by algae biofuel and Japan is hoping to replicate this flight in a few years. Japan has even gone so far as to create a fleet of buses that run on an algae biofuel, whilst elsewhere in the world, funding into biofuels has only recently been considered as a viable option.

Some future thinkers believe that one day we could use our knowledge of pond algae control and have algae ponds located next to power plants. The pond algae could convert the carbon dioxide released by the power plants into energy that could be used as a biofuel, reducing our carbon footprint and creating a low cost fuel at the same time.

Compared to plant based biofuels, it’s thought that pond algae would be far more cost-effective, as algae are potentially capable of producing up to 100 times more fuel per acre. The only stick in the mud is a lack of funding to identify the best strains of algae to produce the most biofuel for the least cost. Who knew that algae control in lakes and ponds could be so interesting?

For more information on pond algae control on your property, call 07 3889 8250 or send us an email.