The String Algae Blues...
Now that Spring is upon us and things are coming
back to life in your pond with the warmer weather, many of us
are battling with string algae. String algae is caused primarily
by a combination of the buildup of organic nutrients in the
water, and sunlight.
What happens is that during winter, when things
slow down and many of us turn off our filters, decaying leaves
and other organic matter (including fish waste) begin to break
down in the pond.
The result is an excess of organic nutrients in
the water, which is essentially food for algae growth. Add
sunlight and some warmer weather to these conditions, and you
have an ideal environment for algae growth, both the green water
and string algae varieties.
The green water, or 'pea soup' algae is easily
eradicated with a properly sized UV sterilizer, which we highly
recommend. String algae, on the other hand, is a bit more
complicated and difficult to get rid of.
Because it is usually attached to the walls and
rocks of the pond, it becomes more difficult to get rid of and
unfortunately, there aren't and easy solutions. But we are
going to outline a few remedies here that will help.
First, we recommend a pond cleaning - if
possible. For those of you who don't clean your pond at
least once annually, there are many good reasons to do this. By cleaning out your pond, and removing as much
of the decaying organic material from the bottom, you are also
removing much of the 'food' for the algae.
Another good thing to do is to cut back on
feeding your fish, until you get your string algae under
control. The fish food, both eaten and digested, and the
uneaten food, will both also contribute to this algae growth -
so don't worry about the fish, just stop feeding for awhile.
There are several products available which can
and will 'help' with the string algae problem, like barley bales
and/or barley pellets. The idea is that by adding these to
the pond, they will also start to decay in the water, and the
resulting natural 'humic acids' will actually oxidize the algae,
and help keep it under control.
Farmers in the 13th century noticed that lakes
with bales of barley straw in them, had much less muck and
string algae in them. So, now we use them in fish ponds.
Barley pellets are a newer version of the same idea, but will
generally start working faster. Barley straw needs several
weeks before it starts working, and only after it starts to
'rot' in the water.
Another way to help with string algae is to
raise your salt level in the pond. Anything over .3% will
help control the algae, but is best for KOI ponds, as the salt
may also affect water garden plants.
One last recommendation - we really like the
Microbe Lift line of products. They also seem to help
control string algae, by adding millions of beneficial microbes
and beneficial bacteria that will feed off of this algae and
also help to decompose any other organic waste in the pond.
You can find out more about these products here:
Algae Fix (This Really Works)
(After 2 weeks using barley & Microbe Lift)
Hope this helps..
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