String algae and winter

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I live in northern Indiana and we had a severe drought this years. Some people think that is why the string algae was so bad. My new pond ended up getting severe string algae, even with treatments I could not stay in front of it. I am thinking of taking my fish (all are small, 7" or less into a plastic liner pond in my garage and draining my pond so that the algae would hopefully freeze and die this winter. Then in the spring trying to re-establish the pond and treat it more heavily and stabilize it prior to returning the fish. What are your thoughts on this.... I am so frustrated with my icky looking pond. It was pretty in the beginning
 
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Love to know how people connect drought to string algae. Always fascinating to see the collective creative human mind in action.

Impossible to predict the out come of letting string algae freeze. I can tell you that string algae is a general term for many species of macroalgae and, just by playing the percentages, it's likely you have more than one species in your pond. Without doing the freezing thing it's also impossible to predict an outcome because the specific species in your pond is unknown and even if known we (humans) may not know enough about those specific species.

I can tell you the macroalgae in your pond probably has ways of getting around freezing such as spores. It is possible you could kill the dominate species that would allow another species to dominate next year. No way to know.

I'd say it's a pretty good bet that freeze treatment would not make your pond macroalgae free next year.

If you really want to go nuclear your best choice is chemical. Especially if you're going to remove fish you have lots of options. Without fish you can use a oxidizer which literally burns (oxidizes) organic matter. With high enough doses for long enough periods I don't think even spores can survive. Things may still be able to survive under rocks, in muck and of course outside of the pond which can blow back into the pond. So it still wouldn't guarantee a macroalgae free pond next year, but the chances would be pretty good. The easiest and cheapest oxidizer would be chlorine. Next might be hydrogen peroxide. You need a strong hydrogen peroxide like Baquacil. The stuff from the drug store will work but you'd need a truck load. Next up would be something like potassium permanganate which is fairly cheap but more dangerous to use.

Next year you can use chemical treatments while fish are still in the pond but this requires some serious thought, attention to detail, basic math skills and some common sense. Unfortunately there's a Catch-22 in that people who lack some of these skills are also unlikely to be able to recognize the short coming. So I'll just say every chemical treatment is dangerous to fish and even a small mistake can seriously harm fish or kill them. But it can be done.

Another choice is to weed your pond like a gardener would weed a garden. Remove macroalgae as it appears Like mowing the lawn this is control, not elimination. If a gardener only weeds a garden once a year they're not going to have much of a garden. In the same way if a gardener relies on winter freeze to have a weed free garden next year they're probably going to be disappointed.

Algae species fight each other with chemicals. Removing macroalgae from the pond allows microalgae to grow producing green water. Chemical treatment via oxidizers have little effect on green water because they reproduce so fast they just bounce right back. So normally a UV filter would have to be used. Copper based chemicals can be effective against both micro and macro algae but also harms fish, but not to the point of killing them if doses are applied correctly.
 

callingcolleen1

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I am thinking that a drought may have made the string algae worse, here is why... phosphate feeds algae, phosphate comes right out of the tap water you drink! Now if the river or lake that you may receive your water source from is very low, the phosphates could be more concentrated, would in turn could possibly increase the algae growth.

Next logical reason a drought would cause more algae is the fact that if you are in a drought, that means little or no rain, which in turn would mean more sunny hot days. The hot sun does contribute to the growth of algae as well.

Then lets not forget that during a drought, the hot dry wind would blow more fine dirt into the pond as well, which would also help the algae as well!

Now I get string algae in the winter months and very early spring. But in the hot summer when I should have lots like most people, I have very veRy little. In the summer my powerful sedges are growing very well and they starve out the alage of nutrients. This is why I have next to no sting algae in my pond in the summer. I have seen this in my pond now for over twenty years, and I never shut my pond down in the winter either now for over twenty years, so the big powerful sedges do help big time!
 
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I got string algae in my pond last summer so I started to add more plants to the pond and also added kitty litter but it didn't help. I didn't want to use chemicals and so I fought it all summer. I thought going into winter and the colder temps of the water would kill it but no such luck. I took most of the plants out of the pond before winter but I did leave a few in the pond because they had really attached their roots behind rocks.
 

addy1

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That is one thing I do not fight in the big pond. The lotus tub, the deck pond gets some string. The big pond never gets any string or green water, even at start up. I feel it is the bog and the huge amount of plants I have.
 

callingcolleen1

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Mtpond, it takes a couple growing seasons to get really big healthy sedges that could fight the algae. Also what type of plants did you get? We need very hardy sedges here cause they clean the very very best and they clean when the water is still cold like in the early spring and late fall as they continue to grow long after the tropicals die off. Lillys do not clean pond very well at all, matter of fact they clean very very little and don't count at all as they can't even compete with sedges. That is why on a natural lake you will see wild lillys growing far away from where sedges are, as the sedges tend to starve the Lilly. Seen this at Spruce Coulee lake by Elkwater. Used to camp there as it is just for tents, and would take my rubber dinny and used to just love the very tall rushes that they had growing so beautifully on one end of the lake, and far away on the other end, would grow some wild Lilly. :)
 

callingcolleen1

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Plants make a very very big difference. As soon as my plants all die off hard the algae can start to grow in my pond, and then come spring when the plants start to grow again the algae dies off again. My pond would not be so healthy if I had little or no plants that is for sure!

Pond sedges RuLe!!! :)
 
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Colleen, I had cattails, Louisiana iris, a couple different Siberian iris, ribbon grass, another type of grass (can't remember the name right now), blue madusa rush, corkscrew rush and a yellow flag iris. The yellow flag iris is considered a noxious weed here. The only reason I got one is because someone told me at a couple of our lakes here they were all over. So checked it out at one of the lakes and they were right. I just see that big one in your pond so I'm assuming you don't have a problem with it spreading all over.?
 

callingcolleen1

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No have not seen it anywhere else, but it is possible to spread to lakes but has not happened here yet... I do love my yellow flag as it does a great job cleaning pond and the fish love to winter under it. They sell them at the garden centres here so it has not been declared a weed here... yet!
 

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Yellow flag will spread over the surface of the water, forming a floating mat anchored only by a few of the older roots. In a storm, sections of the mat can break off and drift to other locations, spreading the plant far and wide, They are considered a nuisance and invasive pest in many areas, but do soak up a lot of nitrate in a pond!
John
 

callingcolleen1

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John your my hero! I knew there was yellow flags down in Ontario! Must look great when they are blooming. I tried to tell people that the darn thing floats and I swear that it is so massive I could use it as a raft!! I stepped on it the other day and I think really it could be used as a raft!! No kidding! The thing takes up a lot of middle pond but man does it "lick" the pond bottom clean! :)
 

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