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Properly Getting Rid of Chara (Algae) – Pond & Lake Q & A


Picture of chara, an erected form of algae.

Q: I have been treating for Algae/Chara about every two months throughout the summer although with fall approaching (and cooler temperatures) should I still be treating it or should I wait until spring? – Paul of Michigan

A: In general we suggest that you wait until water temperatures are above 50°F: Although the real answer is that you can treat Algae/Chara anytime it is actively growing. In most cases (in the Midwest) you can start treating algae as early as March or April and continue treatment through the month of October.

Treating for Algae/Chara: Chara, although it looks like a plant is actually just an erect from of Algae.

When treating for Chara and/or floating algae always take in to consideration the following:

  • Benefits of Chara: Chara unlike planktonic and floating algae is not always an eyesore and can benefit your pond in many ways such as: naturally filtering the water, providing fish habitat, and preventing more aggressive plant grow. Chara can be selectively treated in swimming and fishing areas in larger bodies of water.
  • Treatment Area: Only treat 1/3 of your pond at a time, waiting 7-10 days between treatments to minimize oxygen depletion caused by rotting vegetation.
  • What Product Works Best: In almost every case we would suggest using liquid Algae Defense due to its cost and effectiveness. Although if your pond contains Trout, Koi or Goldfish you must test for hardness before any treatments. If the water hardness is not above 50ppm then Hydrothol 191 should be used to reduce the chance of a fish kill.
  • The Best Time of Day For Treatment: Treat early on a calm sunny day; this will give you optimal conditions for your treatments to work.

Preventive Tips:

  • Removing and/or raking dead Algae and Chara after a treatment (wait 5-7 days) can help prevent it from coming back in the future by removing excess nutrients.
  • Always consider a proactive solution over a reactive one when possible consider aeration, natural bacteria and other alternatives for a long-term solution to your problems.

8 Responses

  1. I have tried Algae Defense, copper sulphate, and Cutrine Plus for Chara, . I also apply four times the amount recommended of pond dye.all without success.My only success is with a rake or cutter.
    I am thinking that I am waiting for the water temperature to get to 60 F and that is too late. I also have tried a fountain and aeration.
    Will Hydrothol 191 be any better?

    • Hi Bruce – Are you sure have chara? You should’ve seen some results with any of the products you mentioned. How often are you running the fountain or aerator? Fountain AerationIs it properly sized? Many customer have had success with Hydrothol but it does carry more water use restrictions than the other products.

      • Yes it’s Chara. It smells awful and when pulled out of the pond it turns white almost to dust after a week. I ran the aeration for two months in the spring then switched to fountain in the summer. Fountain drags water up from four feet down. Pond is 1/3 acre and varies from 13 feet deep in early spring to 8-9 feet deep in late fall (depending on rainfall.) Fountain runs 10 hours per day (during daylight hours). I have no other algae, just the Chara.

      • When does your chara typically begin to start growing? You can respond through the blog or give our Pond Techs a call at 866-766-3435 to discuss your pond.

      • chara can be seen shortly after the ice melts

      • What is your pH and water hardness? In cases of very hard water, Chara takes off. In very hard water conditions, copper products can be almost ineffective on chara infestations. Are you using any bacteria products in addition to the pond dye?

      • using “clear pack” each year.

  2. Great advice. In the past I have had a lot of trouble keeping algae out of my pond. I have tried all sorts of things, but there are some good ideas I will have to try. Thanks for the help!

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