Archive for the ‘Pond Algae’ Category

The SPRING Algae Bloom

March 26, 2009

feed3What causes algae blooms? Sometimes natural causes, runoff of nutrients from around the pond after a storm or rain. Most common culprit of Algae blooms is the pond owner him or her self.

Algae is the result of nutrients, sunlight, and water. As pond owners I never recommend algae products as it is a vicious cycle. A balanced ecosystem of plants and fish can lead to a simple pond to enjoy rather than fool with. The number 1 problem with water gardening is feeding the fish. Read on my friend…

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Feeding fish before the water temperature is above 55 degrees is always a bad idea, in the winter fish go into a hibernation like stage. Their stomachs are inactive. Pellet or processed foods are dry and if fish eat them too early in the spring you can actually rupture a fish stomach as the food expands quickly inside the stomach and shortly after feeding your fish can go belly up.

Also before you plant plants in the spring you will foul the water by feeding the fish. Pond fish “NEVER” need to be fed. Yes every fish-food container will tell you to feed fish 2-3 times per day but take a second to figure out where they make there money. Fish can eat 10 times a day if you wish, they do this at fish farms. However this is normally too much waste for a pond and the extra waste produces a quick bloom of algae.

String Algae

String Algae

Fish including koi and goldfish naturally eat string algae and bug larvae and eggs keeping mosquitoes and nats to a minimum. Supplementing their natural diet not only stops that part of the natural ecosystem but adds to the nutrients for algae. Adding Submerged plants can highly reduce algae, hornwort, red star ludwigia, lemon bacopa, and anacharis all help starve algae and can even work in cooler water before floating plants like hyacinths and lettuce can takeover on the surface.

Water Hyacinths #1 Selling Pond Plant in America! (Eichhornia crassipes)

December 16, 2008

Water Hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) are truely an amazing species. They are extremely easy to grow. I have talked to a few people who have managed to let these  plants not perform well or die, but it’s rare. They grow so well and so quickly that they cannot be shipped to 11 states.  You can still have these plants in many of these states,  just keep them in private waters. The trouble comes when plant loving people take the extras to waterways and release their excess into no native waterways. The good news,  in more than 90% of the united states gets a hard freeze each year, one hard freeze zaps these wonderful plants and they will no longer be a problem. This means they are annuals and must be replaced each year. Not a problem for most as they cost about $2-$3 and if you buy in quantity, can be as low as $1.50 each.

These plants are amazing filters of the water, in Europe in fact huge vats and greenhouses of Hyacinths are used as primary water treatment tanks. They grow and multiply so quickly and absorb almost all nutrients in the water.

Water Hyacinths Growing, To Flower let them grow in clucsters, fertilize with miracle grow, and they like sun and heat 85*+

Water Hyacinths Growing, To Flower let them grow in clucsters, fertilize with miracle grow, and they like sun and heat 85*+

 These plants like still water, they like to grow in clusters, do not break old foliage apart only new if you must. They enjoy sunshine but will do well in shade. Add them only after wether is warm, cold night will prohibit growth for up to 6 weeks and cause yellowing! They love nutrients, you can add a granular fertilizer like regular old miracle grow to a pond. Fish wont notice anything and plants will thrive. Add a few tablespoons per week anywhere in the pond, THERE IS “NOTHING” SPECIAL ABOUT POND PLANT FERTILIZER. (it will contain no iron but thats it, most fertilizers dont contain iron which is a cause of algae).

Below is how a water hyacinth looks normally upon arrive. If too tall it may lay on its side for a few days but all new growth will be upright.

Water Hyacinth at arrival when ordered or bought from store. Buy in quantity for quicker blooming.

Water Hyacinth at arrival when ordered or bought from store. Buy in quantity for quicker blooming.

KEEP AWAY FROM SPLASHING WATERFALLS AND FOUNTAINS! A wet plant is an unhappy plant, they need to exchange oxygen through the leaves and water inhibits this process.

Water Hyacinth Farm

Water Hyacinth Farm

 

This plant will prevent algae and keepwater crystal clear once 30-40% of the pond has coverage by plants (lilies, lettuce, or hyacinth).

The roots are a great place to hide from herons and raccoons. An all around wonderful plant.

Anacharis (Egeria densa) Submerged Oxygenating Pond Plants

December 14, 2008

     The most popular and easiest growing under water or submerged oxygenating pond plant is anacharis (Egeria densa) though followed closely by a wonderful hornwort which shall be discussed soon.  More info below the big picture.

Anacharis picture taken indoors.

Anacharis picture taken indoors.

     Contrary to popular belief you probably do not need these plants in your water garden. A single pump of almost any size running even a spitter or tiny waterfall will add probably a million times more oxygen to the pond than the plants in an hour. HOWEVER there are numerous other benefits from this plant and I do suggest you having plenty of these plants at the bottom of your water garden. This plant is one of only about five that should be in your pond and not be planted in soil. A basket with pea gravel should be fine if you have no large koi  (14″+) that will shred them.

     Anacharis come in small bunches about 6-8 stems rubber banded together. Many on-line companies offer these with optional weights so they sink straight to the bottom and no planting or baskets are required. The weights are a malleable (bendable) heavy metal that you simply wrap around the area where the rubber band is already located at the bottom of the stems. These plants rob the water of excess nutrients rapidly and that is a great thing, they are a super filter and suck up fish waste like it was nothing. The second benefit, a superior hiding place for adult fish and baby fish fry. Baby fry grow up around anacharis and hornwort and stay hidden from larger fish that would eat them. The larger fish hide between anacharis clusters when Hawks, Raccoons, Possums, neighborhood kids with nets, or the big daddy pond nemesis the Heron come around. Having enough submerged grasses and also surface plants (water lettuce, water hyacinths, and water lilies) keep your pond from becoming the daily buffet. Anacharis should be added 1 bunch per 10 gallons of water in ponds under 5000 gallons, or 1 bunch per 20 gallons for ponds over 5000 gallons. Thats many bunches but this product is sold in quantity and is generally a one time investment. If you have enough surface plants in your pond and submerged plants you will never add a drop of chemicals to ward off algae saving you 1000’s of dollars over the years, 100’s per season so just do it right the first time.

     Anacharis is winter hardy, sometimes fish nibble on it late or early in the year making it look like theres less in the spring butit quickly rebounds in generally days once thespring water temps are in the 60s. Hornwort can be used as an alternative also winter hardy.

Picture of weights to sinch submerged plants, 4" long they bend easy

Picture of weights to sinch submerged plants, 4" long they bend easy

Though they soak up fish waste remember the #1 cause of algae is feeding your pond fish. One or two meals per week is plenty. Theydont even need us to feed them as they live off algae and any bugs or larve inthe water. When we substitute their diet we upsetthe balance and cause an excess of waste. Waste + Water + Sunlight =Algae. If you dont feed your fish and have the proper balance of fish, you dont get algae and have clean water. The one or two meals a week are enough totrick the fish into never knowing whenit is you will feed them and they will meet you at the surface everytime you walk by the pond.