WHAT IS ALGAE?
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 here in Phoenix 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 several functions:
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 (we call it pond patina) 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 a lot 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 cheapest 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!
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 indeed 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? 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 more of a hobby than the water gardening, and you’ve created a chemically-dependent water feature.
So you must ask yourself….Did I get into this hobby for the love of aquatic plants, amphibians, dragonflies, and fish?……or for the love of practicing water chemistry?
In summary, algae is a fact of life in the world of ponding. It's part of the ecosystem. If this is not something that you wish to deal with, then a non-living system is going to be more to your liking. The more you know...
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