July 18, 2011

Foam Problems / Fighting the Algae Battle

Today's Pond Q&A

In this issue:

- Foam Problems

- Fighting the Algae Battle


Question #1>

Hi Carolyn,

We have a very large pond with three very large rock filters, with
a four inch return pipe back to the water while we are working on
our waterfall.

Our problem is when the water returns back to the pond and falls
in, it creates foam on the top of the water! What can we do for
the foam? It is very difficult to see the fish!



Answer #1>

Hi Pat,

A skimmer should solve the foam problem. If not, there are products
out there to remove foam from the water.

Now, I would ask what color the foam is. If it looks "clean" then
it isn't anything to necessarily worry about. If it looks brownish
and dirty, then you need to do a lot of water changes.

The presence of foam on the water generally indicates excess
dissolved organic carbons in the pond. Sometimes it comes from
fish spawning. Other times the water needs changing. Perhaps the
water is simply turbulent and not allowing the carbons to settle
out. This time of year my guess is spawn.




Question #2>

Hi Carolyn,

I have two ponds, an 800 gallon formal pond and a 1,500 gallon
circular pond and I can't seem to get rid of the floating algae. I
had string algae in both ponds and seem to have gotten that under
control with cutric plus but the floating algae and the algae
growing on the sides seems to be coming back despite my use of
cutric plus on it.

The big circular pond isn't as bad, since it largely on the shade
and I have used cutric plus on it, having moved all my fish to the
front pond, the formal pond (after losing my one koi to even a
small dose of cutric plus even after I rinsed out the pond

I finally gave up on the big circular pond and put blue dye in it
since I have no fish in it to see anyway and have focused all of
my attention on the small formal pond which gets a lot of sunlight.

I have planted several water lilies - a few years old now, but they
don't seem to grow very fast. I put in water lettuce and those
apple like things, but the fish eat the roots off so fast that I
can't seem to get them to grow very fast. I put in anachris, but
the algae seems to cover it with a dusty powder or something and it
won't hardly grow either.

I have installed a small fishmate unit for a 1,000 gallon pond
(and this one is only 800 gallons!) and have also added a Turbo
Twist Pond UV Clarifier also intended for a 1,000 gallon pond, and
I have added Algaefix every few days, and have pumped oxygen into
the pond with a wet dry vac when the fish started gulping for air
and I get a lot of sludge, but nothing seems to be affecting the
algae for long. I didn't add any enzymes or sludge remover, if
that would have any impact.

I am so desperate that I am thinking of draining the pond and
scrubbing everything down with bleach if that would do any good.

What are the potential dangers of that to my plants and goldfish if
I rinse the pond out thoroughly?

I've been thinking of setting up a canopy over the pond to cut down
on the sunlight, but what effect would that have on my water
lilies? Do you have any other suggestions.

My ponds were completely clear of algae until I got that string

Please help.
Going Crazy in Montana


Answer #2>

Hi, you aren't alone!

This has been a bumper crop year for algae across the US and
Canada. Those algaecides you've been using have probably killed
80% of the culprit each time but with a terrific proliferation rate
it will always bounce back.

The only way to really control algae growth (and there are over 600
varieties out there!) is to deprive it of sunlight (yes, very
good), nutrients (could be fish poop?) and/or lower the temperature
of the water.

With water lilies, you will be shading the pond and lowering the
temperatures a bit. You need to cover about 2/3 of the pond
surface to make a difference. Oh, and do not feed the lilies. Let
the plants "eat" the nutrients (nitrates and phosphates) from the

Water changes are a must and should be done weekly, 25%. This will
reduce the levels of nitrates and phosphates also. You can use
Barley Straw Pellets (or Barley straw Extract if you prefer) to tie
up these nutrients between water changes.

And then, let the microbes in the water do the nutrient balance for
you. You just need to keep the system clean in the meanwhile. Get
a bigger filter.


========== @SK Carolyn =================
Have a pond question? Just send it in
to: Carolyn@macarthurwatergardens.com
and our own in-house pond expert will
try and answer it for you! Write POND
in the subject line for quick response!

Happy Pondkeeping!

Brett Fogle
MacArthur Water Gardens

MacArthur Water Gardens
PO Box 3628
Alpharetta, GA 30023-3628

Posted by bfogle at July 18, 2011 02:20 PM