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AlgaeAll ponds should have a nice coating of algae on the sides, rocks and bottom, indicating a healthy environment. This algae (slime) produces 60% of the oxygen in your pond and is one of the pond's stabilizing forces. Fish love it also.
Green water is prevalent during the first 90 days of pond balancing. The length of time depends on many variables such as weather, water chemistry, number of plants and fish, or the richness of your soil.
See Artificial Algae Control below.
Cloudy Water - Algae and other suspended solidsAlgae Types
Free floating algae:
"green water" (e.g., Chlorella) algal blooms. Dense populations of suspended single-celled algae. A sub-category of Chlorophyta below.
Free floating "string algae" or "hair algae" (e.g., Cladophora). Can be beneficial in limited quantities.
Green Algea (Chlorophyta): Most commonly encountered; found everywhere. Occur as floating, attached, swimming forms and seasonal surface blooms.
Diatoms and Dinoflagellates (Bacillariophyta): Diatoms are a form of algae characterized by having cell walls made of silica. These are single celled, microscopic algae, ubiquitous, mostly beneficial in terms of nutrient cycling, oxygen production, competition with undesirable forms. Some commonly found diatoms are Asterionella, Fragilaria and Cyclotella.
Beard algae (Audouinella)
Blue-green algae (Cyanophyta) are composed of hundreds of types of which spirulina, aphanizomenon and microcystis are a few. They are now classified amongst the Bacteria, because they have no nucleus. Cyanobacteria is believed to be the first organism to start using photosynthesis for food production. The presence of this group is a danger sign in marine aquaria; usually something is seriously amiss filtration/circulation wise.
blanket weed (e.g., Oedogonium)
Golden-brown (Chrysophyta): Includes Synura, Uroglena.
Yellow-green algae (Xanthophyta).
Seaweeds are a kind of algae. There are three major groups:
green (Chlorophyta) - Only about 10% of green algae are marine species, most live in freshwater.
red algae (Rhodophyta) -
brown algae (Phaeophyta) - This is the largest form of algae which exists as the seaweed kelp.
See: microscopy-uk.org.uk/pond/algae.html, AquaticConcepts.thekrib.com/Articles/Plant_Pests.htm, WetWebMedia.com/PlantedTksSubWebIndex/algcontags.htm, Robyn's Pond Algae Page, Green Water: Myths, Facts, Theories, AquariumPros.com/faqpro/algae_3.shtml, Types of Algae, Freshwater Algae , algae
Robyn's Algae Information Page
at Van Ness Water Gardens
UV rays strike bacteria, algae and protozoa breaking through the organism's outer membrane. The radiation reaches the DNA of the organisms, causing abrupt modification bringing about their destruction quickly and effectively.
BI-AQUACULTURE is a proprietary blend of all natural biocultures and enzymes which digests/degrades extremely heavy concentrations of organic mass within an aquatic system, reducing nitrogen and phosphorus levels. Info at ThePetStop.com/fish_shop/.
S.A.B. (String Algae Buster) It is fortified with dry bacteria and enzymes; It works by adjusting the micronutrients in the water of the pond resulting in conditions that are unfavorable for string algae. Useful in new ponds until favorable bacteria have time to colonize.
Uberkler, is very effective in eliminating the free-swimming (green water) algae.
Cutrine-Plus is used for filamentous types of algae.
Pond Care® AlgaeFix® [ poly(oxyethylene) (dimethylimino) ethylene (dimethylimino) ethylene dichloride] controls many types of algae including "green water" blooms and filamentous algae that cover the glass, ornaments, plants, and gravel.
Flocculents (clumping agents) (e.g. Aquarem, Crystal Lagoon) are much safer for fish plants and pets.
See: Water Care Products at WaterTropicals.com/, Van Ness Water Gardens
The average pond should maintain a PH of 7.5 to 9.5 with 9.5 giving the least amount of algae growth.
Pond Chemistry - Disolved chemicals - pH etc.
NitrificationNitrification uses bacteria in bio-filters to convert fish waste (mainly ammonia which is toxic) to nitrates. The nitrates will feed the plants, but you need a good volume of plants.
Ammonia is excreted by the fish gills as well as the normal food excrement. In a mature pond a class of bacteria in the biofilter removes the ammonia almost as soon as it is formed. The ammonia (NH3) is converted into other nitrogen chemicals called nitrites (NO2).
Another type of bacteria also present in the biofilter then converts the nitrites into nitrates (NO3), which is less polluting and toxic than either ammonia or nitrites - both of which are poisonous.
However, nitrates are fertilizer for plants and can lead to more algae.
See: Nitrogen Cycle
MaintenanceAquarium safe Silicone Adhesive : I used stuff specifically sold for aquarium use. Others have had no problems using a general purpose silicone. The general purpose stuff is definitely cheaper, but you need to be sure you find stuff that does not have an "anti-mildew" agent like arsenic added to it. The anti-mildew agent is toxic to fish.
Winter PreperationRemove as much organic waste as possible ( leaves, ect. ) from the pond bottom. Organic waste uses up valuable oxegen during decomposition. Change 1/3 of the pond water if necessary. add the appropriate amount of salt to aid slime coat regeneration of the fish and to help prevent parasites. Put a deicer in the pond. These units will kick on when the water starts to freeze and let the gases escape as well as oxygen enter. Cover the pond with a net to prevent leaves from being blown in and the predators from reaching your fish now that your plants are dying down and they have less opportunity to hide. The pumps should be removed from the pond and thoroughly cleaned. Oil filled pumps need to be stored in a bucket of pond or distilled water to prevent seals and gaskets from drying out. Magnetic and epoxy sealed pumps can be stored dry. See:
Old Garden Pond at MSN Groups
SEASONAL POND CARE at WaterGarden.com
Other Chemical measurementspH (acidity or alkalinity) sould be between 6.8 and 9
GH (General hardness) Rrefers to the dissolved concentration primarily of magnesium and other mineral ions.
KH (Carbonate hardness) KH is basically the buffering capacity of your aquarium, a Kh above 80 ppm helps prevent sudden drops in ph.
pH - Alkalinity - AciditypH level between 6.8 to 8.5 are ideal for goldfish and koi.
pH can swing widely during the day, measuring from 6 to 10.
Most aquatic organisms can live in a broad range of alkalinity concentrations. The desired total alkalinity level for most aquaculture species lies between 50-150 mg/L CaCO3
Rocks and cement (which contains limestone) will raise the pH of water. Some people paint rocks with something like Thompson's (r) Water Seal (r) Clear Multi-Surface Waterproofer to avoid
Reducing pH swings:
Test your water hardness before trying to make pH adjustments. If a pH decreaser is added to hard water, it will decrease pH initially, but the pH may swing back dangerously in 24 hours because of the buffering capacity of hard water.
In addition to chemicals to raise or lower pH there are pH buffers to stabalize the swings.
Acid water (pH < 6.8 can be treated by adding agricultural limestone [CaCO3 and CaMg(CO3)2]. Agricultural limestone will not increase pH beyond a maximum of 8.3. The use of hydrated lime (CaOH2) or quick lime (CaO) is not recommended because either of these compounds can cause the pH to rise very rapidly, to levels that are harmful to aquatic life.
Alkaline water (pH > 8.5) can be treated in several ways:
See: Pond Management-Clearing Muddy Ponds - Adding Gypsum at Texas A & M
Uberkler Pond Setup Chart
Van Ness Water Gardens TJB Inc. Landscape Contractor