A few years ago a book called The Secret hit the shelves and everyone was talking about it. If you haven’t read or heard about it, it involves something called the law of attraction. Or simply, you attract what you think about.
Now, I know what your probably thinking…he’s going to tell me to think about having a clear and clean pond in my mind and my algae problem will go away.
Uh, no…that’s not quite where I’m going with this, but you’re welcome to try that and let me know how it goes.
Actually I wanted to address the word “secret” and how it creates this mystery in the mind. What’s funny is that in the secret, they talked about some pretty obvious things. Things that have been written about for thousands of years, such as those found in the bible and other scriptural text.
In some ways, “the secret” wasn’t really such a secret after all. And I’d suggest that the same thing applies to pond algae control in your pond.
Sometimes the secret can be pretty obvious, once you know what to look for.
Here’s a couple examples from some conversations I had with pond owners this week.
One gentleman had a very large pond, nearly 9 acres in size, and had algae develop around the edges and the shoreline. This wasn’t a constant problem, and the pond usually stayed very clear, but the algae problem had come up only recently, after an unfortunate incident involving his septic system for his home.
A lady also emailed me with an algae problem in her small backyard pond. Normally she had never had a problem but algae has been terrible this year, and came up after they fertilized their yard this spring.
In both of these cases, I explained that algae, like any other plant, needs certain things to grow well. Sun exposure helps a lot, but above all things, nutrients in the water help algae grow more than anything else.
The issue of high nutrient loads in a pond can be traced to many things and sometimes they may have a singular primary source, but most often they come from a number of things in and around the pond’s environment.
In the examples above, we can specifically identify a leeching septic system and run off into the pond from fertilized ground. Both of these things, when added to pond water will definitely help algae grow.
So here’s the big “secret” to pond algae control.
Identify the root cause(s) that are helping that algae grow well.
When you do this, and then attack this root cause in some way, in many cases, algae will go away after a time.
So rather than treat the present algae with a chemical or spend a ton of time and money on other treatment options, it makes more sense to spend the money and fix a leaking septic system or look for another way to help your lawn grass grow rather than to treat it with fertilizer.
If you have green water, and you suspect that maybe you have too many fish in a pond for it’s size, be sure to work at reducing the number of fish in the pond. Here’s a helpful ratio by the way that I’ve probably mentioned before…plan on needing 10 gallons of water for every inch of goldfish and up to 25 gallons of water for every inch of Koi. If the total fish load in a pond is above these ratios, then your fish could very well be the leading cause of your algae problem.
If you find a lot leaf debris in the pond, do your best to minimize this if you can. Covering the pond with netting in the fall may help with the leaves are flying off the trees. A good skimmer system in smaller ponds can help keep them cleaner.
Does your pond get a lot of sun exposure? If you can add some floating plants to help shade the pond a bit more or research the use of aquatic dyes for larger ponds as these can sometimes prove helpful.
And of course, I’m often in favor of using good, common sense solutions like beneficial bacteria or good filtration to help a pond recover it’s balance or to help it stay that way.
But above all things, rather than looking for the quick fix, secondary solution to your algae problem, take some time to really think about why that algae might be there in the first place. What could be it’s root cause? If you can apply a bit of detective work combined with the knowledge of what algae needs to grow, you can likely pinpoint the very specific reasons why the algae is there to begin with.
And when you do, you’ll have the secret…if there really is such a thing, to true and lasting pond algae control.