Algae in a rather unusual pond.


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Hi All, I am Joey and I am new to this forum.

I have a small issue with my fishpond I would like to discuss. Maybe one of you have some ideas of how to deal with this. I am located in Thailand. It's always hot with a lowest temperature expected in December of around 19C at night, but even than it is still about 25C during the day. The fishpond itself is a single poor of concrete, about 4m long and 1m wide. Please note that there is a wall build of terracotta stones towards the end to create a swampy area. This is filled with a mangrove tree and some other plants and is also the outlet of the filter. i.e., the filtered water flows over the swamp and back into the pond. The whole back of the pond is surrounded by rocks over which a river/waterfall runs and eventually ends in the middle of the pond through half a tree trunk.

It is absolutely amazing to see this micro climate in my garden. I have various birds coming on a daily basis to take a bath, I got frogs, dragon flies and a family of lizards dat have done their baby thing. Unfortunately, I also had snakes snacking on the fish, but I think I got this under control now...

All in all not a bad result for someone who knows absolutely nothing about gardening. Now, as the title suggests, I am starting to have some issues with algae. Not so much in the pond, but more in the swamp area and on the rock where the water falls down into the pond. I have looked at various solution suggestion by people, but since my knowledge is rather limited and I worry that the combination of swamp, tropics, waterfall and wood may make things a little more complicated, I figured I should ask before I start experimenting myself.
20220812_152530.jpg


The attached picture is about a month old, I will take a new picture tomorrow when it is light again.

Does any of you have an idea how to attack the algae here? If you have any questions before you can say something, please let me know and I will try my best to answer you.

Edit: In case you wonder what the small canal is made out of terracotta bricks? My roof does not have a rain gutter. I need to get that sorted, but this was just a quick fix for this. The little canal you see allows for the rain to flow away through the canal from top to the bottom corner. From that corner there is a slightly larger drainage pipe that takes excess water to the corner of the garden where there is a proper water sewer system bringing it in piping that runs under the street. You also see a small section of 'Canal' running from the fishpond to the bottom corner of the canal. This is to make sure that if the fishpond overflows in heavy rain, this too will be drained into this same canal. The reason I have done it as simple as this is simply because it overgrows very quickly. And the end result will be that the canal is overgrown for the most part, but the water can still flow away.

And for those wondering, yes, all this makes this a high maintenance fish pond, but that is fine. No complaints there.
 
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And as promised yesterday, here some updated pictures I took this morning. This better shows the algae issue I am dealing with.

Any suggestions?

Note: Difference between yesterdays picture and the 4 pictures of today is 41 Days, slightly more than a month.
 

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JRS

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Welcome to the forum Joey! Very nice setup you have.

The algae growing on the rock is normal and not necessarily a bad thing. Normally the fish will graze on it if they can get to it but any constantly wet area tends to grow it. Is it just a matter of appearance or is it growing so much it is clogging areas? I see a few fish, how many do you have? Do you feed a lot?

Besides reducing nutrients, manual removal or perhaps finding a type of trailing plant that would grow in that area and cover the algae is what I am thinking of.
 
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Welcome to the forum Joey! Very nice setup you have.

The algae growing on the rock is normal and not necessarily a bad thing. Normally the fish will graze on it if they can get to it but any constantly wet area tends to grow it. Is it just a matter of appearance or is it growing so much it is clogging areas? I see a few fish, how many do you have? Do you feed a lot?

Besides reducing nutrients, manual removal or perhaps finding a type of trailing plant that would grow in that area and cover the algae is what I am thinking of

Hi JRS,

Thanks for the compliment.

What you see is about 2 weeks after I removed about 1kg (2lbs) of algae. I can see that the carps are munching on it all they can, but they can only stick their heads out of the water so far, can't they. There is 4 carps, some 25 guppies + 10 Neon Tetras, and 10 more of something else similar in size.

The reason I do not like the algae is because it changes the sound of the water a lot. It seriously dampens the sound. It also stops the mosses from growing and I love mosses. So basically it is not soo much the pond itself, but more the surroundings that are all drenched in water where the algae start growing.

I am glad you point out the nutrients. I had actually not given them any food for a year. The pond was not finished and they seemed to be doin' ok. But now that you mention it, it seems that the algae problem more or less started when I started feeding them. This was also the same time when the carps really started to grow. To be fair though, there was a little water running over the back-end where the mangrove tree is, but the waterfall has only been running for several months now.

And it is not just appearance, it is actually clogging areas as well. I have carefully designed where the water flows. And this is being impacted now by the algae. A little maintenance on my part is ok, but this is getting too much.

Anyways, for now I think your comment on the food makes a lot of sense to me. So I am gonna try to put them on a diet again. lol. Poor fish.

Thanks JRS,


Joey
 
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I try to think of the algae as another green plant and not be bothered by it. I also scoop it out when it seems like too much.

I have heard that adding aeration can help algae, and adding other plants to compete for nutrients.

What a cool pond and waterfall set up you have!
 
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Hi Laaf,

Thanks.
I do not see how aeration would help. I mean, there is only so much air I can mix into the water. I have the actual waterfall and I have water running over more than half the rocks you see. In addition to that, there is also quite a bit of aeration in the filter. Details below in attached.
20220922_151307.jpg


However, that also brings me to an other point. I did not used to have an algae problem in my old set-up. Back than I used normal pebbles in the filter. This time, however, a friend advised and gave me these volcanic rocks. They kinda float when they're dry. May this have an impact on the algae growth as well? And just ibn case you wonder. Below the dirty filter matt there is a layer of 15cm of these spiky plastic thingies and below that an other 15cm of activated carbon. The bottom is yet again 15cm of these lava rocks. Many pipes, yes. Looks more complicates than it is. Allows me to fill and reverse flow to clean and overflow in the pond and overflow in the sewer. So I can go any way I want to if needs be. lol. Also, can fill with city water, can fill with tank water by gravity and can fill with tank water by pump. But that is not the issue at hand here.

For now I am going to watch the amount of food the fish will be getting and I will try and think of more greenery to reduce nutrients for the algae.
 
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cas

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Nice pond! Very unique!
I also consider string algae as just another plant and only remove it if it stops or redirects the water flow or becomes unsightly.
 

mrsclem

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Agree- very different pond! Looks beautiful. Please do not add any chemicals to get rid of the algae! You said you did not have this problem with your old setup. What has changed? Has there been a major change in weather? Did you add any fish? Those carp are beautiful but if they are what we call koi, they will get big and produce a lot of waste. Maybe add some more plants to the pond itself and tuck some in to the rocks on the waterfall
 
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Hi Cas,

I'm gonna try to contain it a little bit but will let it grow as you and others suggested.

Took a look at your pond. Amazing. I love it. I wish I had the space to create those surroundings as well, but this will have to wait a few more years when I move north in Thailand.

You listed the 'specs' of the pond. I am afraid I am not able to do that in terms of plants. I have no clue as to what is in the it. I do know that I have a mangrove tree and water lilies. one weird thing about the water lilies is that they bloom at night and not during the day. They open about 1 hour after dark and close again about 09:00 in the morning. Weird, but normal I've been told by people that know more about it. But the combination of the climate with all the moisture of the pond makes it maintenance intensive. Good for me, gives me something to do.

One aspect I love is all the plants. Many of them I never bought, they just 'appear' out of thin air it seems at times. I mentioned to my wife that I was thinking of getting some ferns. And though I never bought 1 or planted one, I have 6 different ferns growing in this pond.
 

addy1

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One aspect I love is all the plants. Many of them I never bought, they just 'appear' out of thin air it seems at times. I mentioned to my wife that I was thinking of getting some ferns. And though I never bought 1 or planted one, I have 6 different ferns growing in this pond.
All your visitors and the winds bring in a load of seeds. They take off if they like the environment!
 
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Hi Addy,

Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. I actually have 2 trees growing in the pond (besides the mangrove tree). Though still very small, I know they are trees, because I have a big one on the other side of the garden. But this is not where it came from because these 2 trees' flowers have a different colour.
Every afternoon there is a bunch of birds that come and visit to take a shower, I am sure they have brought along some seeds and the likes. And I also have some lizards that made my garden their home. They're actually really pretty, I will try to make some pics of this for you guys. Less amusing are the snakes that pay us a visit. And sorry for all the snake lovers, but I have a 3 year old walking around, so I do not take a chance with them. There is some nasty ones here such as the banded krait. Anyways, more pleasant subjects.

Also have some frogs. They frequently make a concert in the evening after a few rainy days and sure enough a week later there is lots of little frogs in the garden again. Some asked about the fish earlier. I know I am a little naïve here with plants and fish, but I thought I bought goldfish before and they turned out to be carps. Believe it or not, that's exactly what happened this time as well. Got 4 of them and will have to pass them to others with more space in a few years. Last time they grew to 5-6kg (11-13lbs.) and I think my pond is to small for them then. Is not fair for them.

Just out of curiosity. I see many pictures of ponds, fish and plants. Would it be appreciated if I try to catch some pics of the other living beings in the pond such as the lizards I was talking about? I will checkout what the showcase is all about, my guts tell me that this may be the right place for that instead of here in the forum.

Thank you all for the very kind feedback. I did not expect that at all. Thank you.
 
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Welcome :).

What a charming pond, absolutely love it ! I agree with what the others have said, add no chemicals.....you can manually remove algae, reduce feeding of fish and add more plants to compete for nutrients with the algae.
 

JRS

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Would it be appreciated if I try to catch some pics of the other living beings in the pond such as the lizards I was talking about? I will checkout what the showcase is all about
Yes, I would very much like to see other aspects of your garden. Helps us understand your environment better, provides a ready reference to your set up through a link on your profile, and would be nice to look at as us northerners head into the cold winter.:)
 

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@JoeyJoystick
A clean toilet brush is a good way to wrap that algae up and outta there in area's where you don't want it to be.
 
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Neat looking pond and surrounding landscape! How many gallons is it? Seems a bit small for so many fish and that could be the problem...Glad you joined our forum...It is great to hear from ponders in other countries with such diverse habitats:)
 
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Neat looking pond and surrounding landscape! How many gallons is it? Seems a bit small for so many fish and that could be the problem...Glad you joined our forum...It is great to hear from ponders in other countries with such diverse habitats:)

I never really thought about it, but done a little counting just now and I think it will be in the order of 500 - 600 gallons.

And regarding the number of fish, here too I never really give it much thought. I used to have 8 large carps, but when they started to grow big I started to give them away. I felt sorry for them. Now I only have 4 and will keep it that way. And since I only have 4 I just added a lot of small fish as well. Having has a fish tank when I was young I figured that with 500 gallons I need not to worry. Coming to think about it, this may indeed be an issue. All there droppings contain a lot of nitrates and this helps algae growth? Is that correct? I can reduce that drastically, I do not care about this too much. So there is a bout 4 large fish and some 40-50 small ones (guppy size, many of them guppies indeed, but also neon tetras and an other small kind of fish)

I probably come across pretty naïve when it comes to fish and plants, and you are correct. I am. And it is actually really embarrassing because my sister had a flower shop in Holland and my dad had won prices with his garden. I should have picked up a few things you'd think. My sister loves what I do with the garden, but she is also always laughing at me because of how I get things done.

My approach is very simple. I have an idea. I try to get what I need. I put it in the garden or pond where I want it and if it does not start to look happy after a week or 2, I move it somewhere else in the garden. Sometimes they don't make it. Other times it works out just fine. And yet other times it grows way to quick and I either have to regularly cut it or it really is too much and I have to completely remove it. This is obviously not the right approach, but it seems to work for me. What puzzles me is why I do not use the same scientific approach that I use with everything else in life and work. Can't answer it myself.

Also, some made comments saying to please not use chemicals. I can promise you all that I will not do that. If I was a fish, I probably would not like it either. I did use chemicals once though. My overflow was blocked with a snail that I could not get out. Reduced the water level in the pond for about 5 cm (2"). Blocked the overflow at the end. I then poured some diluted acetic acid in the overflow and waited for 1 hour or so. After this I rinsed it all out with caustic soda and all was clear and clean as if it was new again. But obviously nothing in the pond!
 
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If your pond is only 500 to 600 gallons then you are way overstocked and this is contributing to your algae problem...too many nutrients...As you have probably read on this forum, optimally, a single carp should have 1000 gallons and every extra one another 500 gallons...It would be to their benefit (and yours) to rehome them and stick to the guppies and goldfish...You write beautifully and I was swept away to Thailand and enjoyed hearing about all of the lizards, plants, ect...Sounds like you found your piece of heaven!
 
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If your pond is only 500 to 600 gallons then you are way overstocked and this is contributing to your algae problem...too many nutrients...As you have probably read on this forum, optimally, a single carp should have 1000 gallons and every extra one another 500 gallons...It would be to their benefit (and yours) to rehome them and stick to the guppies and goldfish...You write beautifully and I was swept away to Thailand and enjoyed hearing about all of the lizards, plants, ect...Sounds like you found your piece of heaven!

Thanks for pointing that out. And no, I had not read that yet. That's a bit of a bummer though, isn't it? No I do not mind not having carps, because I think they get too big for my pond. But surely I am not gonna settle for guppies. They were a leftover from when water was first introduced and I had to do something to make sure it was not a mosquito breeding ground.

So here's what I'm gonna do.
- The guppies have to go. Now there may be 20-30 of them, If I do not do anything there will soon be more than a hundred of them.
- I will keep the Neon Tetras and the other ones.
- I will let the carps grow a little more and than give them to a friend of mine.
- When the carps are gone in a couple of months, I will replace them with real gold fish. That gives me some time to figure out where to get these as well.

At present, the carps are less than 100g (3oz.) so I am not too worried yet, but the last time I had a few they grew to 5-6 kg. I can see how that is an issue.

Wife not looking too happy now, but hey; it's give and take right? So I quickly reminded her of the time she put crabs in the fish pond! Not a joke! When I asked my wife why she (or anyone else for that matter) would put crabs in a fish pond; she told me that they stay fresh longer like that. About 5 years longer that was. lol. You can not argue with that. And that's what makes my life so beautiful here!
 
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You are on the right path - smaller fish means less waste which will automatically reduce your algae growth. Removing string algae by hand is really effective and doesn't take all that long to do. When you pull it out, toss it in another area of your garden - it's full of nutrients your plants will love!
 
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You are on the right path - smaller fish means less waste which will automatically reduce your algae growth. Removing string algae by hand is really effective and doesn't take all that long to do. When you pull it out, toss it in another area of your garden - it's full of nutrients your plants will love!
We just spent more than an hour taking out guppies. And I thought we only had 20-30 of them. We already took at least 60 of them out and we can still see lots of them swimmin' about. oops. Glad I took this step. And where I would have recycled them, my wife had a much better idea and repurposed them. She is growing caladiums in her greenhouse and they all stay in water, so a few guppies will definitely help keeping down the mosquitos. :)
 

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