Inherited pond. First year with bad algae problem


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Can anyone help? Three level pond. Fish only in lower pond. Having issues with string algae in top and middle pond. Middle pond is more like a stream and the whole bottom is covered in rocks…not fun. We’ve lived here for 5 years and this is the worse I’ve seen it. It sits in the sun all day. Not a lot of shade except for the lower pond. I’ve used sodium percarbonate before and that seemed to do the trick but I didn’t have this much. For 4000 gallons would I just throw in 4 lbs? Also, do I need more plants in the top pond? The middle pond is a stream, what would I put in there?
 

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Jhn

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Nice looking pond….Agree with @mrsclem and @Mmathis, more plants are always good, as you don’t have much in there in the way of plants. Any plants will help, but in particular as mentioned watercress, also water celery, parrots feather, forgetmenots, creeping Jenny are great nutrient consumers and will grow in slow moving and fast moving water. Put them in bare root wedged between rocks or in gravel.
 
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Nice looking pond….Agree with @mrsclem and @Mmathis, more plants are always good, as you don’t have much in there in the way of plants. Any plants will help, but in particular as mentioned watercress, also water celery, parrots feather, forgetmenots, creeping Jenny are great nutrient consumers and will grow in slow moving and fast moving water. Put them in bare root wedged between rocks or in gravel.
Thank you. How/what to plant was my next question. I’m going to go to our pond supply place this weekend. Btw, I do have creeping Jenny and water mint that drapes into the upper level pond that you can’t see.
 
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Are there any plants that I can root right into the gravel in the stream pond? I can’t have floaters in the top or middle because they are all just pushed into the bottom. My dogs like to wade in the middle pond and I get in it a lot to clean it, if that makes a difference.
 

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@Beaglebutts
Sedge plants in pots are great for sucking up extra nutrients in your water. They won't float out in pots. They like their feet in water. I used Sweet Flag in a big pot also and boy did it grow big! I have tons of Parrots Feather and you can anchor that in between rocks on the edge of the pond. I have some tho that has so many roots that it just floats and stays put by the side of the pond.

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I sent a video to Nualgi to ask which of their products could help with my algae problem. The response was:

“To get string algae to fall back, use microbelift phosphate remover, Nualgi Pond Patrol bacteria, temporarily use an organics digester and perform 25% weekly water changes.”

Do I need all this? I think I trust your help more.
 
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Mmathis

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I sent a video to Nualgi to ask which of their products could help with my algae problem. The response was:

“To get string algae to fall back, use microbelift phosphate remover, Nualgi Pond Patrol bacteria, temporarily use an organics digester and perform 25% weekly water changes.”

Do I need all this? I think I trust your help more.
IMHO, no, you don’t need any of it. They want you to spend money on their products.

It’s just basic science (the nitrogen cycle): Fish create waste which is ammonia. Bacteria (that is already in the pond — there’s no need to add any), convert the ammonia to nitrites, then more bacteria convert the nitrites into nitrates.

Ammonia and nitrites are harmful to the fish. Nitrates, not so much, but too high nitrate levels will lead to an overgrowth of algae — because plants use the nitrates for food, and algae is a plant.

Add more plants to the ecosystem, and they compete with the algae for the food…..in a natural way. It’s a balance system…..and Mother Nature has been doing it her was for a looooooooong time.
 
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Short answer, no.

Some people have come here because they have used an algicide and killed all their fish. That's one reason it's not recommended here.

Your pond has an excess of nutrients. The algae is there to eat those nutrients. Enough plants will stave out the algae.

You didn't say how many fish you have or how much you are feeding them. I'm sure those fish have grown in the last five years, contributing more waste to the system. You might need to add more filtration to handle that increase.

You might also consider cutting back on feeding
 
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IMHO, no, you don’t need any of it. They want you to spend money on their products.

It’s just basic science (the nitrogen cycle): Fish create waste which is ammonia. Bacteria (that is already in the pond — there’s no need to add any), convert the ammonia to nitrites, then more bacteria convert the nitrites into nitrates.

Ammonia and nitrites are harmful to the fish. Nitrates, not so much, but too high nitrate levels will lead to an overgrowth of algae — because plants use the nitrates for food, and algae is a plant.

Add more plants to the ecosystem, and they compete with the algae for the food…..in a natural way. It’s a balance system…..and Mother Nature has been doing it her was for a looooooooong time.
Thank you. I didn’t think so. He’s a Nualgi guy and the only product he was selling me was the Pond Patrol. The others were from difference companies.
Short answer, no.

Some people have come here because they have used an algicide and killed all their fish. That's one reason it's not recommended here.

Your pond has an excess of nutrients. The algae is there to eat those nutrients. Enough plants will stave out the algae.

You didn't say how many fish you have or how much you are feeding them. I'm sure those fish have grown in the last five years, contributing more waste to the system. You might need to add more filtration to handle that increase.

You might also consider cutting back on feeding
I’m not sure how many fish we have. No koi though. They are constantly hiding. We don’t feed them.
 
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This was slightly touched on....
You might have reached what we call a tipping point.
You may be getting more algae compared to past years because your fish have grown and also multiplied. Meaning there may be more waste (nutrients) in the water and your filter and plants are now having a hard time keeping up.
 
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This past weekend I went to our local pond place and got some plants. I wasn’t able to get any of the plants talked about. I already had creeping Jenny and water mint. I first cleaned out the string algae as best that I could and then used sodium percarbonate to clean the rest. So far so good with the plants added. I don’t see any new algae forming. Last time I used the sodium percarbonate, I saw it within a couple days. Still looking for more plants to add. I will get some pictures later.
 

YShahar

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Can anyone help? Three level pond. Fish only in lower pond. Having issues with string algae in top and middle pond. Middle pond is more like a stream and the whole bottom is covered in rocks…not fun. We’ve lived here for 5 years and this is the worse I’ve seen it. It sits in the sun all day. Not a lot of shade except for the lower pond. I’ve used sodium percarbonate before and that seemed to do the trick but I didn’t have this much. For 4000 gallons would I just throw in 4 lbs? Also, do I need more plants in the top pond? The middle pond is a stream, what would I put in there?
Wow! That's one beautiful pond!

As others have said, you definitely need more plants. You've got enough rock and gravel in there that nitrifying bacteria won't be a problem, so now you just need something to outcompete the algae in eating up the resulting nitrates. If you can't find plants at a water gardening store, try your local nursery; a lot of common house plants are actually marginals. Think calla lilies, cannas, hostas, peace lilies...the list is endless. You can just tuck their roots into the gravel and let them do their work.

If you really want to get ambitious, you could turn the upper pond into a bog filter, probably fairly easily. In fact, it may already be set up with that in mind (hard to tell from the photos). Looks like a professionally built pond, one way or other!
 
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Came back to say I bought Graceful Cattail, Thalia, Mares Tail and water lettuce. They were out of a lot of plants I was looking for. I probably am going to be doing more next year. I want to see how these do but I have a lot of reading to do first. I’m shocked right now that the string algae seems to be gone. All are in pots. I’m so grateful for suggesting that I needed more plants.
 
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