As the temperature rises, your water feature begins to wake up and come to life. Fish become more active and water plants begin to grow. But not all plant growth is welcome – with the sunshine and warmer weather comes algae. Algae represents excess nutrients in the water and can appear unsightly and foul up your pumps.
What is algae?
Two common types of occur: 1) Small single celled algae that remains suspended, turns your water green, and is too fine to be caught with a net, and 2) string algae, long and seaweed like, that attaches itself to underwater surfaces such as rocks and the liner. No matter the type, it is important to deal with algae before it becomes a real problem.
Adequate circulation and filtration, appropriate for your pond size, should help to prevent algal growth in the first place, but nature provides the best solution.
What to do about it?
Water plants are TERRIFIC for naturally removing excess nutrients from your water feature and form the backbone of any wetland filtration system. Happy, healthy plants will ‘out-compete’ the algae and result in clearer water.
Lilies are good, as they shade the water with their big leaves to prevent algae growth. Water hyacinths are also great. These pond scrubbing powerhouses feed hydroponically, with their roots dangling in the water, and take nitrogen out of water like no other plant (they have a very high capacity for uptake of heavy metals, as well). Be warned, they reproduce and expand quickly, you may have to “cull” the population once or twice over the summer!
In addition to plants, and proper circulation & filtration, there are a few other measures you can take to ensure water quality. Beneficial bacteria, essentially a preventative vitamin for your water, can be added throughout the Spring and Summer months, and mechanical options, like UV lights and Ion Gens, can be installed to maintain the balance.