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Winter Algae In the Pond

     Winter Algae?
  PondStuff! Monthly Pond & Water Gardening Newsletter

Winter Algae?
 

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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