Waterscapes 101

Algae Fueling Nutrients

Algae cells populate most bodies of water. Growth of algae depends on nutrient availability. Nutrient inputs include internal sources and external sources. 

Nutrients feed a pond from stormwater run off, streams, animals that visit the pond, and vegetation that falls into the water. Nearby field fertilizing, yard fertilizing, and animal pastures produce nutrient-rich soil that can find its way into a nearby stream or drainage pipe during rain storms. Wildlife may not seem like a major contributor. Waterfowl that spend extended periods of time in the water leading to high amounts of waste released into the pond. Feeding ducks and geese increase the waste exponentially. Ponds that are used as a watering source for cattle experience the same issue. One of the most common sources of nutrients no matter the location of the pond is falling vegetation. Grass clippings that blow in, and leaves that fall in from trees convert to muck.

Muck is the accumulation of decaying pond weeds & algae, fish waste, and leaves. Pond muck is like sewage waste. Muck is rich in nutrients, making it an ideal medium for algae and weeds. Under low oxygen conditions, muck releases nutrients up into the water column. This increases the chances for green water algae blooms. 

Does a pond need nutrients to be healthy?  Nutrients are the food that makes things grow. In farming and hydroponics you need nutrients so that your plants will grow. In most situations, pond owners aren’t wanting an influx of weed and algae growth, which would be the plants that utilize the nutrients in the pond.

Lower the nutrient level and reduce the algae blooms.

How do I get rid of nutrients in my pond?

Aeration-  Increases effectiveness of bacteria treatments, breaks down muck and aerates otherwise anoxic water at the pond bottom. Ponds lacking dissolved oxygen will eventually see a spike in phosphorus. In anoxic conditions, phosphorus releases from muck into the water column. By introducing aeration, the phosphorous stays bound in the muck.

Beneficial Bacteria- Utilize good bacteria to break down unwanted nutrients and muck. Pond Cleanse is used to break down nutrients suspended in water, and Muck Remover is used to break down bottom muck.

Phosphate Eliminator-  Binds phosphate suspended in water. By binding the phosphorus, algae is unable to utilize the nutrients for growth.

Control Inputs- Create buffers for water feeding the pond by planting marginal pond plants that will absorb nutrients as water flows past. Some good pond plants to try – lurid sedge, blue flag iris, arrowhead, pickerel rush

pond-restoration-before-after

Before and After

Algae scum covered the pond surface prior to treatments of Pond Cleanse, Muck Remover, and Phosphate Eliminator

Bog plants add a filtering buffer in areas where run-off is known to occur.

Treatments to Manage Pond Nutrients