Why is there algae in my Phoenix Pond?
Algae (Life Sciences & Allied Applications / Biology): unicellular or multi-cellular organisms formerly classified as plants, occurring in fresh or salt water or moist ground, that have chlorophyll and other pigments but lack true stems, roots, and leaves. Algae, which are now regarded as protoctists, include the seaweeds, diatoms, and spirogyra. [from Latin, plural of alga seaweed, of uncertain origin].
What can I do about the algae in my Phoenix Pond?
Well, okay, but not everybody is excited about its presence in their backyard pond, right? If you have a living pond, with plants and fish, algae is going to insist on being a part of your ecosystem, especially in the “winter” months when the other plants are dormant. The fact of the matter is, when the growth rate of algae is controlled, algae is a beneficial part of your ecosystem and helps maintain healthy water quality through a several functions. It consumes nitrate from the water, it acts as a forage for your Koi and goldfish, it softens the look of the rocks in the pond, and it acts as a condominium for a healthy zoo plankton culture which ironically competes with the algae for nutrients in the water column. That is just a list of pond ecosystem benefits. Have you heard about our universities making biological jet fuel using algae grown in test tubes? Maybe soon we can power our cars with it.
In all seriousness, we know it can grow out of control and make our ponds and streams unsightly. Once it starts growing beyond just fuzzy rocks and becomes more of a filamentatious algae that exceeds a couple of inches in length, many people prefer to take action to stop its growth. Of course, once your plants start growing aggressively, they’ll take up much of the nutrients in the water and effectively starve out the algae into submission. However, there are a couple of more aggressive methods of ridding yourself of this aquatic weed. The cheapast method is to simply hand-weed it out and use it. That’s right, it has uses: you can compost it or even use it directly as a natural mulch around plants such as roses. It’s very nutrient-rich. If you don’t want to hand-weed it, you can use a water treatment product to break it up, or starve it out — just make sure you clean your skimmer basket often during this process! We have several natural choices listed on our water treatment page, and even a place to purchase on-line that will ship it right to your front door.
Can I just use an Algaecide in my Phoenix Pond?
PLEASE don’t run out to the pet store or pool supply and buy an algaecide! This chemical will kill the algae, which seems like a good idea at the time, but what happens is that it dies and sinks to the bottom of your pond. Now, what do you suppose happens to dead plant material on the bottom of your pond? That’s right: it becomes food for more algae and other, less desirable anaerobic processes that fowl your pond water. Once you resort to chemistry to control your algae problem, chemistry will become the hobby to a larger extent than water gardening, and you’ve created a chemically-dependent water feature. So you must ask yourself….Did I get into this hobby for love of aquatic plants, amphibians, dragonflies, and fish?……or for the love of water chemistry? The choice is yours.
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Barbi Holdeman, co-owner of The Pond Gnome, enjoys sharing their 15+ years of education & experience with you! She writes about Phoenix Ecosystem Pond Installation, Pond Maintenance, Wildlife around the Pond, Koi and Goldfish in the Pond, and the Pond Lifestyle. If you enjoy what she writes, please share it!
Disappearing Pondless Waterfall or Stream