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How Do I Combat String Algae in my Water Feature? – Water Feature Q & A

Picture of String Algae

Water Feature Q & A

Q: I have a 1,000 gallon pond and already the string algae is starting. I am sick of constantly cleaning it. Any ideas? – Steve of New York

A: Like Steve many of you find yourselves in this same situation, where it seems like you are battling algae year after year with no end in sight. The thing I want you to know is that in order to fully understand how to control algae, you really have to understand how it develops in the first place.

The Key Ingredient:
One of the key ingredients for algae to grow is a food source (aka Nitrates). And I’ll have to say in almost every water feature that has a bad algae problem, it is the abundant fish load that is causing the issue. So why does an abundant fish load cause algae? When fish eat they over time, like every living creature, will have to excrete the waste (aka ammonia). This ammonia, when filtered properly, will breakdown into nitrates (aka food source). Make sense so far? This food source is then eaten by algae. From there some of the algae will be eaten by the fish and thus the cycle, the nitrogen cycle of life, begins again.

So the bottom line here is: If we have control of the food source (aka Nitrates), we have control of the algae. I have mentioned this before in the past, but it bears repeating.

Keep Fish Loads to a Minimum:
I know you love your fish and this is a touchy subject. But if you plan to have sixty 12″ koi in a 1,000 gallon pond, your going to have an algae problem and it won’t be inexpensive to get a hold of. When calculating your fish load think of it in pounds of fish or total inches. For example, one 6” fish can weigh as much as four 4” fish. The number of fish will affect the overall fish load, although 10 small fish may only produce the waste of one large fish. With this said, remember that your fish are growing and in many cases multiplying. Always plan for the future and be careful not to overstock your water feature.

Proper Filtration:
The size and type of your filtration system will depend on your total fish load. If your filter is not properly sized for max potential, your fish will outgrow the filter. When this happens, ammonia levels can reach to lethal levels. In most cases filters on the market are rated for ponds containing no fish or a minimal fish load. It is always best to get a filter that is rated for at least 2x the water volume of your pond.

Aquatic Plants:
Aquatic plants and algae will compete for the same food source in order to grow. I don’t know about you, but I would much rather see a few beautiful water liles then green slime. A simple rule of thumb is to have 60% plant coverage. This should consist of submerged, floating and marginal plants. Floating plants, such as Water Hyacinths & Water Lettuce, are fantastic at pulling nitrates from the water. I recommend putting a few into your waterfall filter box if you have one. Rooted plants, such as water lilies and marginal plants, create a great place for your fish to hide from predators. Please note when aquatic plants are not present, algae will take their place. See our selection of aquatic plants here.

Beneficial Natural Bacteria :
I’m sure you hear this a lot nowadays as to why you should be adding beneficial natural bacteria to your water feature. The reason is because it is another reducer of nitrates. One  product to check out for this is called the DefensePAC. It is a combination of five products that provide beneficial bacteria, trace minerals, and a fish and plant safe pond cleaner. The DefensePAC works to breakdown fish waste, leaves or other organics that accumulate in the pond. These are essential to maintain a clean, clear and healthy ecosystem. The best of all, one DefensePAC lasts up to 6 months for a 2,000 gallon water feature.

Season-Long Control with the DefensePAC – Water Garden Q & A

DefensePAC - Treats up to a 2,000 gallon water garden for 6 months

Q: There are so many different products on the market and I don’t know what to use. The other day I tried something new for green water and had some of my fish die. I don’t even know if what I am using is fish safe? I want my pond clear although I have plants and do not want to harm any more fish. Is this possible? – William of Ohio

A: We know exactly how you feel. It seems whenever you look on store shelves or search online there is an overwhelming selection of water garden products that can confuse even the most seasoned pond guy or gal. Well, I think I have your answer with one easy-to-use product called the DefensePAC by PondLogic. The DefensePAC is not only a customer favorite but it has won the Green Thumb Award and was awarded the Member Tested Seal of Approval from the National Gardening Association. The DefensePAC consist of the following:

Oxy-Lift Defense – The Pond Cleaner: Sprinkle over areas affected with debris and this pond cleaner will simply”lift” and detach these debris from rocks, streams and waterfalls. Use as needed to make cleaning a breeze.

Nature’s Defense – The Pond Balancer: This natural bacteria is designed to go to work to break down organics in your water garden. These organics, if left alone, are a food resource for algae. Comes in an easy-to-use water soluble packet that you just toss in. We suggest using Nature’s Defense every two weeks throughout the season when water temperatures are above 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Clarity Defense – The Pond Clarifier: This product is very unique and will do quite a bit to help your pond along. Clarity Defense will lock up excess nutrients making them unavailable as a food source for algae as well as settle suspended particulates out of the water column to clear the water. It will also stimulate natural bacteria growth and buffer pH levels.

Muck Defense – The Muck Reducer: This natural bacteria accelerates the decomposition of organic matter caused from rotting leaves, algae and fish waste. This is great for water gardens that were constructed
with rocks and gravel that are difficult to vacuum. Comes in a tablet that sinks to the water garden’s bottom to go to work immediately. We suggest using once every 4 weeks throughout the season when water temperatures are above 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Seasonal Defense – The Autumn, Winter & Spring Prep: For the cooler months of the year, this cool temperature natural bacteria will work to decompose leaves, scum and other sediment that accumulate during the fall and winter months. It is best when used during late fall and early Spring. In the Spring, Seasonal Defense will replenish winter bacteria loss to help jump start your filters. Comes in an easy-to-use water soluble packet. Use Seasonal Defense every week for 4 weeks in late fall and in the early Spring.

The DefensePAC is a great way to keep your water garden, clean, clear and healthy. Its safe for people, pets, fish & wildlife. It is very easy to use and is satisfaction guaranteed. This package will treat a 2,000 gallon water garden for up to 6 months. Don’t forget all Pond Logic products are satisfaction guaranteed.

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