How To Remove Algae From Koi Pond – Have you ever noticed green gunk floating or clinging to the rocks at the top of your waterfall? It’s probably stringy algae, an organism that normally moves around in the water and picks up extra nutrients in the water.
We don’t like it, but string algae are a natural, normal, expected and beneficial part of a balanced pond ecosystem.
How To Remove Algae From Koi Pond
You may still have a small row of algae in your pond. But this does not mean that we should leave the best of us. There are a few simple steps you can take to keep this sticky green mess to a minimum.
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The green stuff growing in your pond goes by many names: string algae, filamentous algae, and fuzzy-type algae, just to name a few.
For the sake of simplicity, we will refer to all these varieties as string algae, which are basically most of the green pond algae that you can physically catch. (This is different from single-celled green water algae, which turn your water green and require a different treatment).
String algae can grow anywhere in your pond. It can grow on the surface; It can go deep. It can grow in a pond with full shade; It can grow in a pond with the sun. It can float on water or stick to rocks.
Rope algae enters your pond through airborne spores. So it is the excess of nutrients, especially nitrates, that accumulate in the water during biofiltration.
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Biofiltration is the process by which beneficial bacteria keep your water clean and healthy. Leaves, pollen and fish waste add additional nutrients to your pond. These nutrients break down and produce dangerous ammonia. Beneficial bacteria and enzymes break down the ammonia, keeping your fish happy and healthy. This process produces nitrites, which other bacteria break down into the rope algae’s favorite food: nitrates.
One of the most common questions we get about string algae is “Is this normal?” and “Is it safe?” The answer to both is yes. String algae is completely normal, and almost never poses a danger to fish. We see this type of algae in every ecosystem and in goldfish ponds.
String algae is not necessarily bad. In fact, it helps balance your pond’s ecosystem by removing nitrates and phosphates from the water. It also provides breakfast for fish and other aquatic animals.
Stringy algae outbreaks come and go throughout the year and are usually nothing to worry about. Although some sources warn of fish drowning from algae, you need an extreme case – and many other problems with your pond – to be a real danger. (And you’re more likely to suffocate your fish with liquid algae than to let stringy algae grow!)
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However, we know that filamentous algae is not the prettiest thing to look at. Fortunately, we can work with the natural biology of our pond to prevent it from getting out of control.
The best way to get rid of rope algae in your pond is to plant more. The plants remove the excess nitrate, starving the algae before they start to degrade.
What types of plants remove algae? Everyone! And the wider variety you have, the better.
Each type of plant you add to your pond collects a different type of nitrate. String algae, on the other hand, will eat whatever is available. Then add as many plants as possible to remove different types of nitrates.
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Variety comes in many forms: leaf shape and color, flower color, bloom time, hardy vs. tropical, etc. The trick is to find what your pond is missing and add it. So if all your plants are green leaves, plant something with red leaves. Or if you only have hardy plants, try some tropical plants. Are there floating plants? Plant some watercress or watercress lettuce and let the long roots soak up as many nutrients as possible.
Having a variety of plants will not only help reduce stringy algae; It makes your pond look amazing!
No matter what plants you plant, you’ll know they’re doing their job if they develop large leaves and flowers—meaning they’re getting plenty of nutrients—and have a minimum of filamentous algae on their undersides. You won’t see immediate results, but you will see significantly less stringy algae in the long run.
Your pond will always have some filamentous algae. This is natural and normal. Feel free to leave it as is, or use the remedies listed below to add some finishing touches.
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If you try other treatments, be sure to add the plant first. While many products kill algae, adding plants is the best way to remove excess nitrate from the water and treat the problem at its source.
The first product we recommend to get rid of string algae is a contact powder such as SAB or Ecoblast (available at Splash and through our online store).
These products kill string algae on contact and pose less of a risk than liquid algae. However, if you have a lot of algae, we recommend treating the pond in sections – waiting a few days between each treatment.
Contact algae and algae control products often work better in warmer weather, so you may have to wait longer to see results in early spring than in summer.
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(By the way – EcoBlast and SAB will work well against string algae. EcoBlast is a little less expensive, but I generally prefer SAB because it contains beneficial bacteria and phosphates that help improve the overall health of the pond.) Let’s do it.)
Automatic dosing systems for ponds automatically add a continuous drop of water treatment to your pond, eliminating the guesswork and routine of manually adding product.
If your pond already has an autodoser, try changing the maintenance bags for clean bags every two weeks during the season. (If you have anXT system with a controller add-on, use both treatments together). Clear contains a small amount of algaecide, so be sure to follow the dosage instructions on the container.
Administer your Autodose only when the temperature is above 40 degrees. You must turn off the autodoser in winter to avoid damage to the system.
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If your pond does not have an autodozer, they are easy to install. Contact our service team, or find it in our online store.
If you are up to the task, sometimes removing the algae by hand is the easiest and most effective way to deal with it. Just don’t be overzealous with cleaning your pond rocks; You want to keep as much of the natural ecosystem as possible. This means no cleaning products, and no dishwasher.
Some ponds contain more nutrients than the plants can consume. If you have persistent algae problems that don’t get better with vegetation or other treatments, consider installing a larger skimmer and/or biofilter.
You can also reduce the nutrient load in the pond by reducing the amount of food you throw away, keeping fish numbers low, and using leaf nets in the fall. Check out our guide to purifying water for more tips.
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Barley straw extract creates water conditions that prevent the growth of new rope algae. It won’t kill existing algae and won’t work for every pond, but it’s safe and inexpensive if you want to try it.
Some pond owners choose to install IonGens in their pond pipes for ongoing prevention of stringy algae. These devices release copper ions into the water through a probe, creating conditions that stringy algae do not like.
They are a powerful tool if you don’t mind the initial cost, as well as the cost of replacing the probe every one to three years.
Contact our service team if you would like us to install an IonGen on your waterfall or choose one from our online store for a DIY installation.
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String algae are a natural part of your pond’s ecosystem. If it’s not excessive, and it doesn’t bother you, you can skip it.
Avoid adding liquid algae to any water that may contain fish. The use of algaecide depletes the water of oxygen, causing the fish to suffocate if given the wrong dose. If you use herbicides, maintain your waterfall at all times, install an additional aerator, and err on the side of low dosage. Never use herbicides on hot days.
You should also avoid UV filters. A UV will not harm your pond life, but it is not designed to treat this type of algae. For UV work, the algae must pass through the device and be directly exposed to the light of the algae. Rope algae is usually attached to your stone – meaning it is never exposed to UV. When dosed correctly, algae control is a safe and effective way to rid your pond of stringy algae. Since algae control is essentially a weed killer, there are a few things you want to keep in mind when watering your pond.
While UV lights are effective at removing algae from the water column, they have no effect on algae attached to the pond walls. Although it presents no problem,
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