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How Do I Treat for Chara/Algae? – Pond & Lake Q & A


Picture of a bed of chara/algae

Pond & Lake Q & A

Q: How do I get rid of a chara infestation?
– Dave of Ohio

A: During the early beginnings of spring have you ever took that first stroll around the pond and discovered an awful musky smell that filled the air? That smell is chara, and it seems to take off like a wildfire during the early spring. Did you know that if you rake it out before treating it, you risk spreading it even more! So what do you do? The proper way to get rid of chara is the following:

First: Treat the chara using an algaecide
Since chara is a form of algae, using an algaecide such as Algae Defense® or Clipper™ is a great way to treat for the chara. Algae Defense® is best used when there are no koi, goldfish or trout in the pond. All other fish are fine. Also there are no water use restrictions with Algae Defense®. If your pond does contain koi, goldfish or trout then using Clipper™ is the way to go. The only downside with Clipper™ are its water use restrictions. Read more about those restrictions here.

Second: Wait 10 to 14 Days
The important step here is the wait the 10 to 14 days to make sure the chara has died from the algaecide treatment. Like I mentioned eariler, if you rake while the chara is still alive, it can spread.

Third & Final: Rake out the chara
Use the The Pond Guy® Pond & Beach Rake to rake out the chara from the pond. The Pond & Beach Rake includes a 25′ rope so you can throw the rake out into the pond and tug it in. I would rake the same area 2 or 3 times to make sure you removed all of the chara. Chara, fortunately is very easy to rake off of the bottom.

The other hidden benefit of raking chara, is the removal of the black muck on the bottom of the pond. This muck is a nutrient source for weeds and algae so removing it will help you that much more at maintaining the pond. Once finished with the raking, using MuckAway™ Pellets will help breakdown any future muck that may accumulate.

10 Responses

  1. I’ve been using the clear PAC for 2yrs. Now and we have an aerator, but still are unable to get rid of the chara. I’ve been told when it’s real heavy you need to rake out as much as you can so the algae defense or cutrine can reach the bottom. I’ve tried both ways and still we haven’t been able to get rid of it. I’m opened to any suggestions.

    • Hi Donna – When using Cutrine Plus and Algae Defense, you also need to rake out any dead vegetation about 1-2 weeks after application. If left in the pond, the dead vegetation turns into muck and acts as a fertilizer for new chara and weed growth.

  2. Once you rake it up, what can you do with it? It takes several days to “dry” and the strench of the mass is terrible!

    • Hi Warren,

      Many times once chara is dried out it becomes also like chalk and breaks up…you could move it further away from the pond or burn it or if you have a garden it makes great fertilizer.

  3. We have cara in our blackish water canal in Florida,in summer it’s everywhere how can I control it .We have never had this before this year.Thank you ,Charles Dreyer

    • Charles,

      Chara is a form of algae and can be controlled with either a liquid algaecide, like AlgaeDefense, or with a granular algaecide, such as Cutrine Plus Granular, or Hydrothol 191. A granular would be my best suggestion for a moving body of water, but seeing as your is brackish it must be connected to a state waterway, you will need to check with your states governing body for water quality issues and see if a permit is needed, and what chemicals they will allow you to use.

  4. Pam,
    Yep, our treatment service will cover chara as well. As for treating the chara or other aquatic weeds. We recommend to wait until the water temperature is above 50 degrees Fahrenheit because the treatments will become less effective underneath that threshold. Hope that helps!

  5. Robert,
    In a pond your size (5,000 to 6,000 gallons) I would consider this to be more of a water feature than a pond or lake. I would recommend using Tetra Algae Control. This is perfect for smaller water features like you have. Also, it will not harm your koi, plants or snails.

  6. If I sign up for all season treatment with you, will your treatment cover chara? If it appears before the water temp that you use as a guide for first treatments will it do any good for me to treat it or do I have to wait for the water temp to reach 50?

  7. YOU SAY HOW TO GET RID OF CHARA IN A POND WITHOUT KOI IN IT BUT, HOW DO YOU STOP IT IF YOU HAVE KOI IN IT? MY WIFE AND I HAVE MANY VERY LARGE AND SMALL KOI IN OUR POND (APPROX. 5-6 THOUSAND GALLONS) PLUS, LARGE SNALLS AND DON’T WANT TO KILL ANY OF THEM!

    ALSO, A FOOT NOTE: WE HAVE A VERY LARGE HERON THAT VISITS OUR POND TOO! LET ME TELL YOU SOMETHING ABOUT THIS ONE. IT’S NOT VERY FRIENDLY BY THIS I MEAN SOMETIMES IT WILL STAND AND GO ON THE DEFENSIVE AND TAKE US ON! I’VE HAD TO HIT IT TO MAKE IT LEAVE! WE HAD TO PUT UP A FENCE 4FT. HIGH AND RUN STRING ACROSS ALL OVER THE POND ABOUT 8FT HIGH UP ON POLES. NOW HE SITS ON OUR ROOF AND LOOKS LIKE HE IS TRYING TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO BEAT IT. SO FAR SO GOOD!

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