White fuzz in barrel pond?

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Hello, all. My first post here.

I recently bought an old half whisky barrel, lined it with pond liner, and filled it with plants (Iris, marsh marigold, water lily, and oxygenating hornwort), all of which were potted correctly — acquatic compost, etc. I filled it with freshly collected rainwater from my waterbutt and sited it in a part of my garden that is sunny for about half the day.

I thought I’d done everything right, only to return home after a few days away to find this — the pond liner and all the contents of the pond covered in a fuzzy, grey-white growth. I was worried that still water would lead to algae build up, so I installed solar-powered water pump to guarantee a little water movement.

Can anybody tell me what went wrong, and if I need to worry/start again? Or is this build-up just what happens when a new pond is finding its equilibrium — I.e., will it naturally dissipate after a short while?

Many thanks in advance for any advice you give.

Matt
 

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Welcome! It looks like white hair algae which is actually a type of mold. Normally, it occurs in new tanks such as yours. Yes, aeration will help but I would aerate the water 24/7. Please don't add any fish. There is a nice link in the forums sections on pond cycling. I like fishless cycling. Please feel free to contact us about any of your pond questions. Especially if you intend to keep fish in that small tank. Again, welcome!
 
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Many thanks for your welcome, and the advice!

Gah; as I feared. I suppose that, if left untreated, this will kill the plants and render the water unfavourable to any other creatures (fish aside; I’m thinking of frogs, etc) that might want to make use of the pond?

And by 24/7 aeration, do you mean I should aerate by means of a pump that is plugged in and always on? (Sorry that these are elementary questions — I’m new to water gardening!)
 
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Your fear is unfounded. People hear "mold" and assume deadly. It won't kill anything. Give the plants time to get growing and they will out compete anything in the water. Without fish you will need to fertilize the plants. These small volumes of water can be very difficult to maintain, so expect lots of fluctuations and changes as you go.

What exactly is "aquatic compost"? In gardening terms that means literally decaying organic material which eventually becomes soil. If you added some kind of planting material that is still rotting that would explain the growth of mold. That's how things decompose.
 

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Maybe it's just this (see below)? White fuzz is a common (and to my understanding harmless) phenomenon in new aquariums and generally goes away after a little while.
 

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