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Algae Growth During the Winter – Pond & Lake Q & A

Picture of Algae in Ice.

Q: That isn’t algae growing under the ice, is it?

A: A common question that we receive in the winter pertains to winter algae and what to do with it. In the northern climates, there are strains of algae that do thrive in temperatures down to freezing. The good news is that typically these strains do not reach nuisance levels in ponds or lakes. They tend to hang out in warmer locations, usually around an inflow of water, where it is nice and sunny. In optimal growing conditions, these algae can generate enough biomass to put your fish at risk. A sudden die-off caused by a sudden swing in temperature, overcast weather, etc. can deplete the dissolved oxygen levels under the ice which leads to unnecessary fish stress.

Solutions: Nutrient management in your watershed as well as your pond will slow down the growth of any algae or plant all season. Typically phosphorus is the key nutrient for algal growth, so try switching to phosphorus free fertilizers if you fertilize your lawn. Our PondClear™ Packets and MuckAway™ Pellets eat away at the muck/nutrients found in the pond. Our EcoBoost™ bind up any excess nutrients flowing in from the watershed. These are things to do in the summer, but what about winter? With the pond frozen over, your options are limited. Dying the pond a deep blue with Pond Dye will reduce the amount of sunlight that passes through the water column. If you can safely do it, I would suggest adding an extra dose through the ice to slow down growth.

9 Responses

  1. I have excessive algae growth on sides and bottom of pond. I can barely see my fish. Wat can i do in winter time to get ris of alhae and is algae growth in winter bad for my koi and goldfish?

    • Hi Loretta – In the fall, you will want to remove as many leaves and debris as possible. This will help the sludge and algae growth during the winter time. You can use Pond Logic’s Seasonal Defense in the fall and spring to help decompose anything left in your pond. You can also use Barley Extract year-round to help reduce algae growth. If you have additional questions, please feel free to give us a call to discuss your algae problems!

  2. I wonder why, when I have a lot of algae in the summer, I don’t get any blooms on my water lily? I assume that that the sufficient light to grow algae would also be enough tgo help the lily bloom? Ideas?

    • Hi CJ,

      Algae, like water lilies, takes nutrients from the water. There are fewer nutrients available for the plants when algae is also taking nutrients for their own food source. Also, algae will act as a sun block on the pond, depriving the lilies of necessary sunlight. Excessive algae blooms can suffocate fish and plant life by using up the oxygen from the water.

  3. I have a small above ground brick and mortor pond. Circular diameter about 6 feet across and about 18-22 inched deep. Before I laid the electricity it rained a few days and collected about 4 inches of water which turned green and mucy. I was told to use “Algeafix”. That seemed to clear up the 350 gallon pond but at the bottom there is small pieces of natural trash. How or what do I use to get this “Natural Trash off the bottom of my fountain? After I get it cleaned I would like to put color in the water for the time being until I decide what types of plants if any I am oing to use next spring. BTW I live in a warm(hot) state..Louisiana and the frozon water is not going to be a problem but amybe a hinderenss. I also have a 3 tier water spot shooting into the air and back into the water fountain. Back to question. What can I use to clean the natural trash to clean the stuff at the bottom of the fountain?

  4. […] Posts Algae Growth During the Winter – Pond & Lake Q & A – Week Ending November 8thBe Aware of “Super-Cooling” Your Pond with Winter Aeration? – Pond & Lake Q & A – Week […]

  5. JK West,

    As the temperature continues to drop, some of the algae will die off but not all. In some cases, like in the above article, some types of algae can continue to grow underneath the ice throughout the winter.

    One suggestion I have, before the ice begins to accumulate on the pond’s surface, is to rake around the edges of the pond to remove as much nutrient-rich muck that you can. This is a great way to immediately get the muck off of the bottom, especially if you are nervous about larger algae blooms in the spring.

    If the algae is allowed to sink and die off, then yes, as it decays it will become part of the nutrient source that will feed future algae and pondweeds.

    Hope this helps.
    The Pond Guy

  6. I recently purchased one of your aerationsystems,primarily in response to a huge algae bloom and a desire for a healthier pond. So large in fact,that I couldn’t see the fish swimming in the pond any longer. I added nutri-defense when the H20 temp. was still above 50 degrees and pond dye as you suggested. Will this growth die off and become the nutrient base for next spring or will I still have this ugly yuck coming up from the bottom when the ice melts?
    Thanks for any help or suggestions you can give.

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