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Pond Facts : Pond Facts

Pond/Fish Facts

January, 2007 

February, 2006

February, 2004 


February, 2003 

Algae Information

Is algae bad for my pond?
Some algae in a pond is good, and plays a vital role in pond ecology. Limited amounts of green algae become part of the food chain for trout and other large predators. 

How does this work? 
Zooplankton, use the algae as a food source, and aquatic insects such as water boat-men eat zooplankton. Larger predators such as trout eat aquatic insects, and the trout waste becomes a nitrogen source for the algae. 



Thus the process starts over again. The problem starts when too many nutrients accumulate into your dugout. The nutrients come from animal waste such as birds, cattle sheep, and trout. 

What is the best way to get rid of undesirable amounts of algae?
First, we must stop the nutrients at the source of the problem. This is accomplished by controlling the amount of animal wastes and soil nutrients entering the pond. We should plant grasses in the waterways leading to the pond. 

Cattle or other farm animals should not be allowed to drink directly from the ponds. Pumped water should be supplied in a trough away from the pond. 

Fertilizer should not be used in close proximity to the pond, especially anhydrous ammonia. 

The second method of algae reduction is to use a natural algaecide. The best method I've seen to date is using barley straw in a barrel. 

Barley straw releases a natural algaecide when it decomposes in the water. To use barley straw, a barrel should be modified to hold the straw. A 45 gallon plastic drum that has never been used for harmful chemicals should be drilled with many 1" holes. Weight should be added to the bottom of the barrel to help it sink. 

The barrel should then be filled with clean barley straw. Close the lid, and tie a strong rope around the barrel. Tie the other end of a string to a floating jug (rinsed bleach bottle), and toss the barrel in the pond. 

The straw should be replaced 2-3 times a year depending on the size of pond, and severity of the algae problem. 

Aeration & Algae
Another method that can be used in addition to the above methods is aeration. When a pond stratifies during the summer an area with low or no oxygen is created at the bottom of the pond.

This anoxic zone can be many feet deep, and aids in the release of nutrients such as phosphorus and iron. The breakdown of ammonia, nitrite, and dead plant matter is 40 - 80 times slower without the presence of oxygen. Thus the anoxic zone is creating favorable conditions for faster algae growth. 

An electric aerator works best if turned on during the night when oxygen levels are lowest. This also aids in keeping the entire pond cooler by exposing more pond water to the cool air at the pond surface at night. 

Be careful when first aerating with fish though. The anoxic zone should be mixed slowly. To do this drop your air stone or end of the air line about 6 feet the first time, and drop it an additional foot each day or so after that. 

If your pond has good wind exposure on the bank, a windmill aerator can be used to take advantage of wind instead of using power. 

How do I set up the air line so the bottom mud is not stirred up?
You should us a 5 gal plastic pail to place the air stone in. Place cement or sand at the bottom for weight, and place the pale at desired location. 

A rope should be tied to the pail, and then to a float so you can raise the pale up and clean the air stone when air flow is reduced.

How do I help prevent winter kill?
The most inexpensive method is to keep the ice clear of snow. This allows some photosynthesis in the pond during the winter to create oxygen, and allows some exchange of oxygen from the air. Oxygen can be tested during the winter by drilling a hole in the ice and using an oxygen test kit to test for oxygen levels. 

If levels are still to low, an electric aerator can be used to pump air into the pond. Alternatively, if your pond has good wind exposure a windmill can be set up to pump air into the pond.

If you wish to be on the mailing list for publications on pond or fish facts or to order or for more information your trout contact:
Lorne Louden, B.Sc. Ackenberry Trout Farms
RR 2, Camrose, Alberta  T4V 2N1
(780) 878-3839  Fax: (780) 878-3769
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it '; document.write( '' ); document.write( addy_text51109 ); document.write( '<\/a>' ); //-->\n This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Ackenberry Trout Farms management and staff are there to 
support you with information on your pond and fish

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