Pond Algae and Water Quality Control

Water quality and pond algae control  is the key to all beautiful and successful ponds.

Pond AlgaeA pond with the following components should have minor to no issues regarding algae;

  • Pressurized Filter (or filter with bio media and mechanical filtration)
  • UV Sterilizer/Clarifier
  • Sufficient water flow
  • Aerator
  • Beneficial Bacteria
  • Ionizer
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The following chart outlines the major issues with water quality / pond algae control along with the potential causes and solutions.

Issue/Symptoms Cause Solution Products

PLANKTON POND ALGAE/SINGLE CELL POND ALGAE:

Green water

Pond Algae, water quality

Sunlight, nutrient-rich water

1. UV Systems

2. Beneficial Bacteria

3. Pond Cleaner specifically for Plankton Algae

4. Increase aeration

1. ProEco UV Clarifiers & Pressurized Filter with UV

2. Aquascape or Laguna Beneficial Bacteria

3. D-Solv9 Pond Cleaner

4. Aquascape Pond Air

FILAMENTOUS POND ALGAE/STRING POND ALGAE:

Algae that can be physically handled, often grows off of rocks and waterfalls

Pond Algae, water quality

 

Sunlight, nutrient-rich water

1. Ionizer

2. Pond Cleaner Specially for String Algae

3. Increase Aeration

1. Aquascape Iongen, ProEco Ionizer

2. D-Solve Powder

3. Aquascape Pond Air

SUSPENDED DEBRIS:

Murky water, slight brown colouring to water, bottom of pond may not be visible

Pond Algae, water quality

Stirred up debris, runoff into pond

1. Pressurized Filter

2. Flocculent

1. ProEco Pressurized Filters

2. Aquascape Rapid Clear

TEA COLOURED/TINTED WATER:

Water is clear but tea-coloured or has a brown tint

Pond Algae, water quality

Leaves or mulch have settled in the pond and are decomposing, which gives off tannins (brown tint) much like tea leaves

1. Net out leaves/mulch

2. Activated Carbon

3. Partial water changes

1. Aquascape Skimmer Net

2. Aquascape Activated Carbon

3. Use Aquascape Detoxifier when making water changes

SLUDGE/ DEBRIS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE POND: 

A build up of waste at the bottom of the pond

Pond Algae, water quality

Excessive fish waste from overfeeding, break down of debris in pond, lack of filtration

1. Pressurized Filter with Solids handling pump

2. Sludge Cleaner

3. Pond Vacuum

4. Fine Mesh Net

1. ProEco Pressurized Filters

2. Aquascape Sludge Cleaner

3. Pond Monsta Vacuum

4. Aquascape Skimmer Net

FOAMING:

Foam is appearing on the surface of the water and near the waterfall

Pond Algae, water quality

Excessive dissolved organics or waste/debris. Can sometimes occur after using a dechlorinator. 

1. Use a foam free product

2. Clean out filter

3. Potentially too many fish or lack of filtration

1. Aquascape Fountain Foam Free

2. Fix underlying problems it reoccurs after using product ie: filter, too many fish

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Note: Small amounts of algae are of no harm to your pond and are often part of a natural setting for fish.

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Water Testing

Pond Algae, water quality                             Pond Algae, water quality

* Pond Testing Kit is available in store or online

Water testing is most important at the following times: in the spring, when there is a change in fish behaviour, after adding fish or if there is a change in water quality. As maintenance, testing can be done on a weekly to biweekly schedule.

 TEST DESCRIPTION Ideal Level Affecting Factors Preventative measures How to eliminate or stabilize 
 

DISOLVED OXYGEN

(O2)

Amount of oxygen in the water-essential aspect of all pond life. Affects water quality and fish health. Often if fish are gasping at the surface, particularly in the early morning, it is likely oxygen levels are low

Over 7ppm, anything under 5ppm could be harmful to fish

Warm water, drops at night, too many fish, no additional source (falls, aeration) algae sudden kill off

Proper filtration, use of an aerator, keep plankton algae in check. Most ponds should have an aeration system if there are fish present.

Add an aerator 

NITRITES

(NO2)

Nitrites are highly toxic to pond fish. Ammonia (toxic) is converted into nitrites (toxic which are then converted to Nitrates non-toxic

0

Debris in pond, heavy fish load, over feeding, start up of new pond

Gradually add fish, allow cycle to complete, proper filtration, not overstocking with fish, sufficient aeration and beneficial bacteria

25% water change every two days until it lowers/eliminates, feed fish less, Use SAB stream and pond cleaner and/or a pond detoxifier. In Extreme cases pond salt can be added to reduce the effects of nitrite 

NITRATES

(NO3)

Nitrates are non toxic, but are a sign that nitrites (toxic) were or are present in your pond. 

0

Debris in pond, heavy fish load, over feeding, start up of new pond

Gradually add fish, allow cycle to complete, proper filtration, not overstocking with fish, sufficient aeration and beneficial bacteria

Check for underlying problems (excess fish, build up in filter) feed fish less, add beneficial bacteria

AMMONIA

(NH3/NH4)

Ammonia is a toxic waste excreted into ponds by fish, birds and other pond life. Newly set up ponds go through a cycle where ammonia levels will be present until nitrifying bacteria are established.

0

Debris in pond, heavy fish load, over feeding, start up of new pond

Gradually add fish, allow cycle to complete, proper filtration, not overstocking with fish, sufficient aeration and beneficial bacteria

25% water change every two days until it lowers/eliminates, Clean pond filter, remove debris from pond, feed fish less, Use SAB stream and pond cleaner and/or a pond detoxifier

pH

pH is the measure of acidity or alkalinity of water. A pH reading of 7.0 is neutral, a pH higher than 7.0 is alkaline, and a pH lower than 7.0 is acidic

Between 6.8-8.2

Acidic rain, leaching from soil, decomposing plants and animal waste

Proper filtration, not overstocking with fish, sufficient aeration 

Change pH levels slowly, eliminate potential source, Use a ph up or down treatment- Use with caution to avoid spike up or down.

PHOSPHATE

(PO3)

Most of the phosphates are produced by fish waste and plants or occur in tap water. Excess Phosphate may lead to increased algae

0

Tap water, fish waste, decaying fish food or algae

Test tap water for phosphate levels, Proper filtration, not overstocking with fish or overfeeding fish

25-30%water change if the source is not your tap water, Barley, SAB stream and pond cleaner, Laguna phosphate control 

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