Aqua Eden

Algae-eater fish/snails and monitoring water quality.
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Author:  oubrekm [ Thu Jul 19, 2007 8:40 am ]
Post subject:  Algae-eater fish/snails and monitoring water quality.

I do have a fair amount of green algae forming on some of the rocks and I think some of it is string algae. What do you recommend I do about this?

Are there any algae-eating fish or snails you would recommend or caution me against?

Should I monitor water quality for anything periodically?

Author:  Jake Langeslag [ Mon Jul 23, 2007 11:47 pm ]
Post subject:  String Algae in Pond

Hello again oubrekm!

Pond Algae. The number one concern for many pond owners, and it does not really need to be. String Algae is one that can be controlled. I will explain how in the following paragraphs.

It is important to note that new Ponds need time to develop into a full functioning system. Aquatic Plants need to grow and your beneficial bacteria need to colonize your filter and rocks.

I have also learned that ponds in the SPRING go through this same cycle. As the water temps begin to warm up the String Algae always seems to get a jump start on everything else :evil: (which makes sense, Algae has been around for millions of years and is still going strong!)

String Algae really takes off when there is an excess of nutrients in the pond. Many new ponds do not have aquatic plants growing at full speed. I always like to think of String Algae as a "plant" - it feeds off of nutrients as well. It is better to have the nutrients go directly to the pretty plants vs. the Algae. Plants like Cattails and Water Hyacinth are very efficient at taking nutrients out of the water and away from string algae.

One area that is prone to string algae is the waterfall rocks. If you are lucky you can simply spray the rock with water or scrub it off with a brush. The removed string algae will then collect in your pond skimmer or can be removed with a fine pond net to scoop it out. Whatever algae sinks to the bottom will have to be taken care of by BENEFICIAL BACTERIA.

Sometimes the String Algae will stay stuck to the waterfall rocks and may not come off easy. In this case I use our SCUM SCRUBBER to help kill the String Algae and release it from the rocks. I recommend this formula for it is oxygen powered, dissolvable formula, that is fish and bird safe.

To treat my pond using the Scum Scrubber I perform the following steps.

1.) Unplug my pump and stop the water from running (this allows me to easily spread the String Algae Treatment on the problems areas without being washed away by the moving water).
2.) Remove the longer strands of Algae by hand or tool (such as a toilet scrubber attached to a pole) It is usually easier to get the algae out at this stage then to try and scoop it out after it dies. *Note - As excess dead String Algae falls into the pond it may create a shortage of oxygen while. Beneficial bacteria will be hard and work breaking the Algae down and the Bacteria require oxygen to perform this process. So your pond may experience a limited amount of oxygen for awhile. If you have a lot of splashing water from a waterfall this should not be a problem. If you have a relatively still pond you may want to insert a aerator to help add oxygen*
3.) Let the treated algae sit for 10 minutes (I fill my bird feeders, empty my skimmer net, backflush my filter, feed my fish or other pond hobbies during this time). You will hear the Scum Scrubber at work.. it makes little bubbling sounds as it attacks the cell wall of the algae.
4.) Turn pump back on and remove any dislodged algae with a net or frequently empty your skimmer net, pads or brushes.
5.) Treat pond with beneficial bacteria to help remove the dead algae.
You will notice that the color of the algae will turn from a bright green to a more tan color. Some algae will start to come off instantly, however most of it will die after a day. It will then be a lot easier to scrub the algae and remove it from the rocks.
One treatment usually puts the algae into submission, however, sometimes numerous treatments may be required. Always wait 48 hours between treatments.

Additional String Algae Notes -

- I have found that String Algae likes to attach to larger rocks. I have used all sorts of rock sizes inside of my pond from pea rock, 3/4, 1 1/2 and larger. I have found that pea rock and 3/4 inch rock never really seems to get a large colony of string algae to grow on it.
- I use the String Algae I remove to help fertilize plants. String Algae is wet and packed with nutrients. I stick chucks of it under the roots of ground cover that I am trying to get established along the pond.
- Goldfish and Koi will often EAT String Algae. Especially larger koi over 12 inches. I have been able to capture images from my UNDERWATER POND VISION VIDEO CAMERA of my larger koi eating string algae. I will do my best to post that footage on my website soon.
- String Algae is a great medium for fish and frog eggs. If you plan on breeding fish or other pond life, you may want to leave some patches.

I will try to round up pictures I have of my pond as it went through the String Algae Cycle. I was once very concerned too the first time I had a string algae outbreak. I have since learned that it is just a phase in a pond. Your pond will eventually reach equilibrium, but the use of pond treatments will help you reach equilibrium faster. Also remember to have plenty of aquatic pond plants! :lol:

Author:  Jake Langeslag [ Tue Jul 24, 2007 12:22 am ]
Post subject:  Snails and Algae Eating Fish in Ponds

I forgot to touch on this question in my last post.

Snails do eat algae, but probably not enough to keep up with string algae. Also I have had some customers say they have had snails in their ponds and the population took off and they were everywhere. This can be a pain in minnesota when most of them die over winter. The smell next spring can be pretty ripe! :shock:

I also thought an Algae Eating fish that most people put in aquariums might be a good idea, but after I saw the fish sucking on my Koi I decided it might not be the best idea. I had them in my indoor office 150 gallon aquarium and noticed the fish would suck on the koi and goldfish. One even developed sores from it. This may be due to the fact that the algae eater was having a hard time finding food.

They may work in an outdoor pond but I have not tried one yet. I would also have to try and catch the algae eating fish each fall before the pond develops ice and colder water.

Bullheads and catfish may also eat algae but they will also eat your koi and goldfish :shock:

Water Quality - It is always good to monitor water quality. I always check my aquarium and pond for excess ammonias.

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