Algae is natural in your pond. And it is beneficial, as it provides a food source; in fact, pond owners who desire to raise trophy bass sometimes fertilize their ponds to keep planktonic algae production high. But algae poses several problems, too. For one thing, too much of certain kinds of algae is plain ugly. For another, too much algae is unhealthy. Photosynthesis requires sunlight, and algae blocks it. If your pond has too much plant life, the oxygen levels can decrease to the point that large fish struggle to live.
The Problem of Algae Blooms
An algae bloom is a rapid reproduction and spreading of algae when conditions are right. Algae blooms typically occur during the hot, sunny, calm part of the summer. When an algae bloom occurs, your pond can be covered with algae in a very short period of time. The major problem with an algae bloom is the algae die off. Often even quicker than the bloom itself, the algae die off can create major problems. A die off of an algae bloom can be caused by a cloudy day and lack of sunlight, a cold front, storms, etc.
When the algae bloom dies off, it adds a large amount of dead organic matter to your pond. This organic matter is decomposed by microorganisms at the pond bottom. With the added organic matter load on the pond, the total amount of decomposition occurring in the
pond increases and the decomposition process uses up oxygen and gives off carbon dioxide. This causes two problems. The first is lack of oxygen. The second problem with a large die off and increased organic matter is nutrients. When the algae die off and are decomposed the carbon dioxide and nutrients are released back into the
pond and is available for the next generation of plant material. The carbon dioxide and nutrients help to begin the cycle all over again.
How to Help Your Pond
There is hope for your
pond, though. Aeration can protect your pond and your fish during an algae bloom and die off. Adding an aeration device, such as a Kasco Pond Aerator or other brand of aerating fountain, will provide added oxygen to the water and help buffer the effect of an algae die off. When the algae die and are being decomposed, the added oxygen allows the decomposition process to occur properly and also provide oxygen for the fish and other aquatic organisms. By splashing the water in the air, the aeration device is not only adding valuable oxygen, it is also helping to vent gases such as carbon dioxide which is being produced in large amounts from the decomposition process.
Using a pond aerator or aerating fountainwill also help prevent an algae bloom in the first place if it is installed before there is a major problem. As stated above, algae and algae blooms typically occur in the hot, calm, sunny times of the year. The agitation at the surface that eliminates the stagnant areas decreases the areas algae have available to them to thrive. Just simple movement of the water will help limit the amount of algae present in the pond. Just think, when’s the last time you’ve seen a lake that always has ripples or a river covered with algae? Algae do not like moving water or surface agitation. The agitation also helps to destratify the pond by mixing up the water and limiting the negative effects of turnover. With water that has been thermally destratified, the pond is now more hospitable for desired plants and algae species and creates a better pond ecosystem.