This year we have had an unprecedented
algal growth in ponds that normally are dormant during winter.
Itís no wonder with all the mild weather and sunny days that our
fish are up swimming and algae are growing. Those of you who
gave in and fed fish have also fed your algae. But donít beat
yourself up. Algae isnít the worst thing that can happen to a
pond. It was going to come with spring anyway, right? What is
algae doing in the pond? There are pros and cons about algae in
a pond with some hobbyists being more fanatical than others, but
the bad news is: there is no way to be absolutely algae-free in
a healthy pond system.
The negatives of algae are that it can be
unsightly and constrict water flow (string algae) if not removed
from time to time. It can compete with plants for nutrients and
may even win, leaving your pond with fewer blooms from those
beautiful lilies. It also can carpet the once-wonderful rocks
you hand picked for their color and texture, leaving you with
nothing but green weedy growth. Not what you had envisioned.
And algae can play havoc with oxygen, carbon dioxide and pH from
day to night with its cycle of photosynthesis.
But there is also a positive side to
algae. It is a primary food source for small animals in the
pond, part of the food web. (Even your koi will enjoy the
algae.) These animals are an integral part of your natural
water clarification process. It is perhaps the most natural
occurrence that you could wish for your pond. Even the good-guy
bacteria are found in this web. This is why many people say
their water is crystal clear but they have an algae problem, and
wonder how that can be so.
Algae removal is generally simple. If the
fish have access to the algae, they will remove it for you. If
not, please remember, it is still winter. You will have time to
take care of the algae before it is out of control once spring
arrives. The good news is: more plants, more shade, and the
reactivation of natural bacterium in the pond will once again
restore balance to the unwieldy green in your pond!
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