Algae Fueling Nutrients
Algae Fueling Nutrients
Algae cells are present in most bodies of water. Algae growth however, depends on the availability of nutrients and sunlight. The primary nutrients that supply food for algae growth are phosphorus and nitrogen based. These include phosphate, nitrate, nitrite, and ammonia. Nutrient inputs come from both internal and external sources.
Internal nutrient sources can include organic muck, decaying vegetation, and aquatic life. Examples of external sources include stormwater run-off, streams, agricultural drainage/run-off, livestock, dead leaves & vegetation that fall into the pond, waterfowl, etc. While there are many sources of algae-feeding nutrients that accumulate in water, muck is often overlooked as a primary concern.
Muck is the accumulation of decaying pond weeds & algae, fish waste, leaves and other decaying organic material in existing ponds. Pond muck is like your pond's sewage waste. Muck is rich in nutrients like phosphate and nitrate, making it an ideal growing medium for algae and weeds. Under low oxygen conditions, muck releases unwanted nutrients into the water. This nutrient release increases the likelihood for green water algae blooms and reduced water clarity.
Does a pond need nutrients to be healthy?
Yes. Nutrients are the food that makes things grow. In order to maintain a complete and balanced food chain, there needs to be some nutrients for life to thrive. Excess nutrients in a pond create an unwanted influx of weed and algae growth that throws the pond's ecological balance off.
How do I get rid of excess nutrients in my pond?
- Gauging water quality with water testing prior to treating
- Beneficial bacteria treatments
- Phosphate management
- Control external nutrient inputs
Nutrient management is the best long term algae control. Nutrients reduction starts with baseline testing of water quality. Each of these parameters (nitrate, nitrite, ammonia, phosphate, total hardness)tell a story about the pond. These elements can shift the management plan and timeline of treatments.
Targeted treatments to tackle excess nutrients include Pond Cleanse, Muck Remover, and Phosphate Eliminator. These 3 treatments reduce algae blooms by starving algae of its food source. Muck Remover targets organic waste that settles to the pond bottom. Pond Cleanse breaks down nitrate, nitrite and ammonia in water. Phosphate Eliminator targets phosphate suspended in water.
Installing bottom aeration, or surface aeration for shallow ponds increases the effectiveness of nutrient-reducing treatments like Muck Remover and Pond Cleanse. These treatments consist of oxygen loving bacterias. Internal loading of nutrients from muck often occurs when oxygen levels are low. By increasing dissolved oxygen less nutrients release from sediment. This helps with overall control of new food sources for algae.
Many of the excess nutrients in a pond run in from stormwater or other natural drainage. Managing surface water that runs into your pond can reduce unwanted nutrient additions. Creating "buffer" zones with plant life near areas of impact can absorb nutrients as they flow through.
Pond algae control is often a multi-step approach. Most water bodies have more than one contributor of nutrients. Proper planning can ensure that all elements are considered for effective and efficient control of excess nutrients.