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The Negatives With Using Copper Sulfate

Posted by Heather Newhart on

The use of copper sulfate to manage algae was once a common practice. Copper sulfate successfully killed algae in ponds. Although copper sulfate provided a successful short term solution for pond owners, the long term situation grew worse. Copper sulfate reacts quickly, leaving contact time to the day its applied. 

Copper settles to the bottom of the pond, where it remains in the muck as a heavy metal. The result of copper accumulation is toxicity to aquatic life. This creates an inbalance the pond ecosystem. 

A disruption in the pond ecosystem not only leads to many more algae blooms, but also eventually affect the growth of the fish population.

A much safer alternative is a copper complex or chelated copper. Treatments like Algae Defense and Cutrine Plus are examples of these. These treatments contain only 7-9% of elemental copper, versus 25% in copper sulfate. 

These alternative treatments are safer because they release the copper ion more gradually, making it less harmful to fish and other aquatic life. 

With all chemical treatments, we recommend using only as needed. Chemicals disrupt the natural balance in the pond. Algaecides kill good bacteria. Using pond dye after an algaecide treatment will help to limit the frequency of algae blooms. 

Proactive treatment practices including pond dye, and beneficial bacteria will provide better long term results for your pond. Using these in conjunction with bottom aeration limit the amount of algae-causing nutrients in the water and muck. Over time this will yield better results than chemicals.

  • algae bloom
  • copper sulfate
  • algaecide

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