Algae removal


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Hi there, new pond owner here. My pond has algae at the bottom and on the surface. See picture below. What's the best option to remove the algae? I thought that I could empty the pond (don't know how to do that yet) and use a pressure washer to wash them out. Are there algae killing chemicals that I can use?

Thanks!

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Mmathis

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Hello and welcome! Lovely pond!

Well, algae is a hot topic and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer.....because it’s going to depend..... In general, algae isn’t a bad thing unless you want a meticulously pristine pond. Algae is part of the pond‘s ecosystem. An excess of algae usually means there are excess nutrients in the water, but the algae is also helping your pond. We don’t advocate the use of chemicals, nor do we encourage “pressure washing” to remove the algae. We do encourage ponders to work at understanding what is happening in their ponds....and work at correcting a problem instead of putting a bandaid on it. You can add chemicals, or power wash the pond, but the algae is going to come back.

If you could give us more information about your pond, we might be able help with your particular circumstances. For one thing, adding plants will help as they will compete with the algae for nutrients.

Do you have fish?
How old is your pond — how long has it been up and running?
Where do you live — what is your climate?
 
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Agreed with the above. I’ll add that if you have fish, draining and pressure washing it could kill them, as that will kill the beneficial bacteria which break down fish waste into less toxic forms, and the algae then remove the final product from the water, leaving it fish safe. If no fish, it’s using up what ever nitrogen that came in from source water, leaves and bugs, and dust that end up in there. If you can add plants, especially fast vigorous growers, it will out compete the algae. The fine algae that grows on the sides and such is no problem for fish, in fact gold fish and koi will eat on it, and the only thing about the free floating pea soup kind is that it inhibits our ability to see and enjoy our ponds. If you really want to remove it, read through the various posts about it. Plants and reducing the source of nutrients are a start to fighting either form, a pond only toilet brush can be twirled to scrub hair algae off the sides, and is good plant food if tossed out away from the pond, and a set up where the pump moves water over a polyester quilt batting will filter out free floating algae. Just be sure on that last set up that it’s set up for the water to spill only back into the pond.
 
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brokensword

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agree with all that's been said; if you have algae growing on surfaces of your pond, it's only beneficial to the pond's health. I'd worry if my pond didn't have such a coating. Now, free floating algae is another story...still benefitical but not necessary as this type can be replaced with plants which don't cloud your view of the fish.

Pressure washing, changing water in large amounts; these can upset any balance you have and affect your fish/inhabitants negatively.
 
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Thank you for the inputs Mmathis and JamieB.

To give some more background: I don't have fish. The pond is at least 10 years old. I live in Oregon, where it rains a lot.

Yes I understand that algae might be helping the ecosystem. We never had a pond before. Our only experience with water bodies in the backyard was from a swimming pool, for which looking green means it's not well maintained (which happened to the pool at a friend's house :)). So we'd prefer to have clear water in the pond - or at least to have less algae. And yes my follow-up question would be how to keep the pond algae-free (I was thinking something like adding chemicals - well it doesn't have to be chemicals - to keep the pH at a certain level, but maybe it should be to control the nutrient level).

So sounds like adding plants would help. Speaking about nutrients, for a pond that uses circulated water, what are the sources of nutrients? Leaves and
 
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brokensword

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Thank you for the inputs Mmathis and JamieB.

To give some more background: I don't have fish. The pond is at least 10 years old. I live in Oregon, where it rains a lot.

Yes I understand that algae might be helping the ecosystem. We never had a pond before. Our only experience with water bodies in the backyard was from a swimming pool, for which looking green means it's not well maintained (which happened to the pool at a friend's house :)). So we'd prefer to have clear water in the pond - or at least to have less algae. And yes my follow-up question would be how to keep the pond algae-free (I was thinking something like adding chemicals - well it doesn't have to be chemicals - to keep the pH at a certain level, but maybe it should be to control the nutrient level).

So sounds like adding plants would help. Speaking about nutrients, for a pond that uses circulated water, what are the sources of nutrients? Leaves and
adding plants won't stop the algae from growing on surfaces, even if you cover the whole pond. Though, it would lessen the amount. I think chemicals is about your only choice here if you want no algae. The water is clear already but you're not liking the green layer underneath.
 
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adding plants won't stop the algae from growing on surfaces, even if you cover the whole pond. Though, it would lessen the amount. I think chemicals is about your only choice here if you want no algae. The water is clear already but you're not liking the green layer underneath.
Lessening the amount will be good too. What plants do you recommend? And if I do end up using chemicals, any recommendations? Thanks.
 

brokensword

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Lessening the amount will be good too. What plants do you recommend? And if I do end up using chemicals, any recommendations? Thanks.
others might chime in re chems as I don't believe in using them, but I like a natural, fish-turtle-frog pond. I imagine pool chems should do the job. For me, seeing the algae covering my liner and any rocks that have fallen in just looks natural and healthy.

Plants to use, though, would be the floaters as they out-compete the free-floating algae (if you have any). They'll shield the pond and thus, cut down on the algae, though if they cover your pond, you wouldn't see the algae cover anyway, right?

Floaters; water lettuce, water hyacinth, parrot's feather, pennywort, water poppy, obviously you can also plant some water lilies as their wide leaves do a great shading job, though lilies are less aggressive in sucking up the nutrients in the water column (unlike the w lettuce and w hyacinth). But lilies have great flowers! I have 12 or so in my pond just for that reason as well as the w lettuce and w hyacinth (which I have to harvest every few weeks or so because they propgate so quickly).
 
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Without fish and plants, you don't have an eco-system. You really just have a water feature - and a very pretty one at that! So you could use an "algae fix" product if you really aren't a fan of the algae. There are plenty of products available to rid a water feature of algae.

Orrrrrrr... how about adding a couple of goldfish and some plants? THEN you'd have an eco-system that would find it's balance and the algae would go away the natural way!
 
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TheFishGuy

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Without fish and plants, you don't have an eco-system. You really just have a water feature - and a very pretty one at that! So you could use an "algae fix" product if you really aren't a fan of the algae. There are plenty of products available to rid a water feature of algae.

Orrrrrrr... how about adding a couple of goldfish and some plants? THEN you'd have an eco-system that would find it's balance and the algae would go away the natural way!
you sound like me trying to convince my parents I need more fish :LOL:
 
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Pool chemical stuff could harm the plants, I’d recommend you stick to plant safe pond alternatives which tend to be either peroxide or barley extract based. You can buy dollar store peroxide and dump it in to fight a bad algae outbreak, but honestly, it will just come back. It’s part of a water feature. Plants that cover the surface, and that out compete it for nutrients is the only sure fire way to keep it in check, unless your in an area your pond stays warm enough for things like shrimp which would eat it. Not suitable for cold water, and plecostomus fish ( aka algae eaters) move on to plants once they get bigger.
Why do you want to change your ph? Stable is better for the pond, especially if you get fish, unless it’s way high or way low, or unless you get a delicate fish that needs very specific ph.
 
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j.w

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Sedge plants are good for sucking up extra nutrients. They need to be potted w/their roots in the water and the rest of the plant above the water line. Plants are not going to like chemicals tho.
 

addy1

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Very nice pond, if you don't care about bugs, frogs, etc, add chlorine.
 
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@brokensword @Lisak1 @TheFishGuy @JamieB @j.w @addy1 Thank you all for the suggestions. I guess we'll try the goldfish and plants approach.

It's funny that as soon as we told our parents that we've got a pond, the first thing they said was "why not having some fishes", and we were like :unsure:. Didn't realize that people do like having fishes in their ponds :D.

Also our kids have always wanted to have a dog, and my wife and I don't like the extra responsibility. So we told them the only pet they could have are fishes...
 
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How old are the kids? Get a floating pool thermometer, keep it on a line by the edge of the pond, and when the water is steadily over 40, you can feed the fish. Once the fish are used to you, you can get them to a point where you can hand feed them. If you have energetic little ones, that’s a great time to read a short story to them as the fish eat, if they are bigger like 10 years old or so, it’s a great time to read a chapter in a book. Or you can all sit there reading on this forum, which is mostly kid safe, but occasionally we do forget kids get on here, so people argue about things like politics or covid, or use less than child safe words. Our youngest member just turned 13, I’m so proud of him getting hooked on ponds early, he’ll never be able to afford a bad habit!
 
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I was just laughing about my above comment, hubby said forget that, tell them to come get a puppy! We’ve got plenty! ( just had three litters born, didn’t get big male fixed in time) so looks like if you want a good dog, you’ll just have to make a road trip to Oklahoma! Free husky mix puppy! Good outside in cold weather, smart, tough, good at keeping kids playing hours on end, and will protect the kids and pond from pesky thinks like raccoons, snakes, skunks, possum, beaver, will chase away scary things, and are currently good with cats.
 

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Welcome and nice pond!
A lot of great information given already.
If you decide to get some fish, read up on the nitrogen cycle. It might sound complicated, but it's just nature's way of filtering the water.

Start out with a few feeder goldfish from your local pet store. They are cheap and very hardy. I started out with some over 12 years ago and most of them are still swimming around in there.

Once you are satisfied that your fish are doing well, add a couple shubunkin. They are a variety of calico goldfish with beautiful colors and long flowing fins. Don't get too many fish because they will multiply and it can get overpopulated real quick.

In a very general layman's term...
The fish poop, the poop turns into excess nutrients, the plants feed on the nutrients (algae is a plant too), beneficial bacteria colonizes all over the place and that's how nature purifies the water.

By adding more plants, as suggested, they will compete with the algae for the excess nutrients.

There are also seasons where algae will bloom, such as hot summer days, but it will eventually die back. Especially with the help of other fast growing plants.

Floating plants not only compete with algae, but they also provide shade, preventing sunlight from getting to the algae. Algae, being a plant, needs sunlight to thrive.

A pond with fish and plants is not meant to be hospital clean. I like a coating on my liner. It gives it a natural look. There are times when that coating is very prominent and other times when it dies back. It's the free floating algae that most don't like. That's when your water turns a solid pea soup green and you can't see your fish. That's no fun.
 
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One of the best ways to set up a new pond is to wait on introducing the fish give the algae and the microbes water bugs water spiders etc to get established. Sounds like your there Algae is a direct result of dissolved organics in the water , dead leaves ,plants including algae live and die and if the balance drifts toward one side or the other then you get an imbalance. Making a vacuum using a siphon and trying to remove the leaves and any heavy sludge can go a long way in lessening the algae in the long run it's not a magic potion for every action there's an equal and opposite reaction, But it would change over night more like over a week or two if you remove that much from the water column. Adding some gold fish from what i can see in your pond MANY wish there ponds looked so good. From what i see there's no huge amounts of hair algae and only a little 3 inch or so fibrous algae. so add some fish DO NOT FEED THEM AND WATCH THEM SEE IF THEY PICK AT THE ALGAE AND THE ROCKS. don't add to many start with a half dozen and see what there actions are the fish are the best at telling you if your water is healthy or not.
I would start with a couple lilies for shade and color and then try some water crest that you can get at the grocery store it grows very fast it's easy to grow and easy to control and remove from the pond.
 

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