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Barley Vs. Chemical Algae Control – Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Barley Vs. Chemical Algae Control

Barley Vs. Chemical Algae Control

While you don’t enjoy seeing algae in your pond you may also not be to enthusiastic about adding chemicals to remedy the problem. Fortunately you have another option when it comes to algae control additives before you resort to chemical treatments.

Simply put, the decomposition process of barley straw releases a byproduct that inhibits algae growth. When used proactively barley straw can prevent algae blooms from establishing in your water feature. One of the main drawbacks of using Barley Straw was that you had to wait 6 to 8 weeks for the decomposition process to start. It was also a bit messy and consumed a considerable amount of space. Over time products like Barley Straw Pellets and Barley Extract were developed to improve results in a shorter amount of time. Barley Extract contains the beneficial components of barley straw decay, which means once you add it to your pond it immediately goes to work against future algae growth. Barley Straw products are a great first resort in water garden maintenance because they are natural eco friendly products that are safe for your fish, plants and pets.

Barley Straw products are an excellent first step in the fight for a crystal clear pond, but they are by no means a guaranteed solution in every situation. There are always cases where using an aquatic algaecide like PondCare® AlgaeFix® or TetraPond® Algae Control. A prime example of such instances are in scenarios where your pond already has an established algae bloom. Using an algaecide will provide dramatic results in a short time which makes them highly desirable. Chemicals designed for use in water gardens are typically friendly for fish and plants but you should always read the product label before you make your purchase.

Both barley products and chemical products are effective means of fighting algae. Having the knowledge to choose the appropriate product for your unique situation will help keep more green in your wallet and less in your pond. Think of barley straw products as more of a proactive approach to algae prevention and your chemicals as a reactive treatment.

Pond Talk: Do you use barley? If so, how have your results been?

Keep your water crystal clear!

12 Responses

  1. My pond is green…. I don’t see green algae on my rock . what is the best treatment for this? I do use algae fix but I either not using enough or that isn’t the right stuff to be using…. Help

    • Hi Tina,

      First would be to evaluate your pond situation. Be sure you have sufficient plants for shade and to remove nutrients. Check your fish population and feeding habits. Fish that are feeing more then what they can eat in a few min each day will produce excess waste that can be difficult for the pond to remove in a timely fashion. I would also do a 25% water change just to get some fresh water into the pond and continue with the algae fix. Do you use any natural bacteria? Added bacteria will help to remove excess nutrients and fish waste. Last and possibly most important is your filtration system. Customers are always confused and clean their filters out as often as possible thinking a clean filter is more efficient. In reality you need the filter pads only to colonize bacteria to clean the water for you. You want to clean these as little as possible and only give a quick rinse when necessary if they become plugged. Start with these steps and if you are still having issues feel free to give us a call or send an e-mail.

  2. Watermeal!! How to get rid of watermeal on a farm pond! I’ve tried Cutrine. I’ve tried Pro-Skim! Is there a better and more complete removal available???

    • Hi Kim,

      Cutrine is actually designed to kill algae will not make much impact on watermeal. For a quick fix solution you can use Pond Weed Defense or Red Wing whch will remove the weed already growing. Other customers have had some success with whitecap as well however you need to be sure you are applying the proper dose. If you give us a call or send an e-mail we can try to get your pond measured on sattelite make some further recommendations.

  3. During this realy hot summer here in Chattanooga my koi pond has developed a sever algae problem which the powder type barley has not been able to overcome. This week I went back to the straw and hope it will do the trick! What is the main cause of algae forming in small ponds? Water temp, sun light etc. Thank you for any suggestions you might send my way.

    • Hi Bob,

      Unfortunetly it is a little of everything. Nutrient source from fish waste or runoff is usually the source. Lack of filtration, excess sun and lack of plants usually amplify the situation. Be sure not to over clean your filter system. Make sure you are not over populated with fish and have plenty of plants to provide shade and help absorb nutrients. Barley straw works best when added early in the season because it take up to 6 weeks to decompose before you receive benefits. Have you tried Barley Extract? In this form you already have the beneficial by product without the wait or the mess.

  4. I have used the barley extract and for the first time in over a year I now have a crystal clear pond. It took about 3 weeks of treatment with the barley, plus vacuuming out the muck. At first, I was cleaning the filter twice a day but within a week it was down to every other day. Now, I can clean the filter pads weekly and today the pond was crystal clear for the first time. Thank you so much for your suggestions as to what to use to clear up this problem.

  5. This year I have added 16 oz. of regular hydrogen peroxide every week to my small 1000 gallon pond. This has kept the algae away and the water clear while also not harming the fish or plants. It is much less expensive that barley extracts or algaecides.

    One of the components released from Barley decomposition is hydrogen peroxide, so it just speeds the process. Add it slowly along the edges and into the center. Only a large concentration in one spot will potentially burn the gills of a fish. As long as it is well diluted, there is no problem.

    In addition I add powdered beneficial bacteria every couple weeks. The water has been perfectly clear this year. Last year I used the extracts and algaecides and had a battle. Hydrogen peroxide has been an inexpensive, effective alternative for me and I will never go back to the other way.

    • How much peroxide solution do you use per volume of water?

      • I realize this is an old thread but for anyone else who comes across this the answer is that Rob used 16 ozs in 1000 gallons = .016 ozs (or 1.5 milliliters) per gallon.

      • Sorry, I correct myself. .016 ozs is .5 ml not 1.5ml as I stated in my first comment. Since Rob had effective algae control with that concentration it should be a reasonable starting point. The nice thing about using peroxide is it degrades quickly into H2O and oxygen.

  6. Here in northern IL near WI border I was doing fine with little algae problem in 250 gallon pond/waterfall. Adding TetraPond Algae Control every weekend–when everyone else was having problems this year. Now all of a sudden BLOOM! Also have added barley extract recently and have always had a barley bail sitting in top filter. Go figure—its a hot summer though. Best advice is to use chemicals early before problem and steadily. Had to empty water last weekend while spray cleaning and refilled. Following weekend—has yellow tint.

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