View Full Version : How to clean

wurkn with amish
12-08-2009, 09:16 AM
Anyone have an idea on how to clean up algea in a pond and not kill the Koi in it? I built a waterfall into an existing pond (lake). I routed a natural spring pipe into it. The natural spring is turning the falls into a nasty looking mess, but its how they keep their pond filled.:cry:. Is there anything I can use or do short of discontinuing the pipe( which will never happen). I had lettuce and water hyacinths floating in the koi part didn't seem to matter. Anyone ever use the sonic solutions thing in the above ad?


12-08-2009, 11:25 AM
If I am reading your post correctly, the pond and waterfall are fed by natural spring water. If this is the case and you have a severe algae problem, the problem is in the spring water. A simple Nitrate test and possibly a Phosphate test will tell you exactly what you are up against. Make sure that your test sample is taken as close to the spring head as possible. If you show high test reults, treatments and/or devices will not really help much as the spring is constantly resupplying the nutrients to the pond and waterfall. The addition of a sufficient number of aquatic plants will help in reducing the nutrient load. Like I tell all of my customers, either they can add the plants of their choice or nature will in the form of algae.
It sounds like the spring has been contaminated. Is this pond located in an heavy agricultural area or near a large industrial site?

wurkn with amish
12-08-2009, 05:56 PM
There's a neighborhood on top of the hill behind the pond. I always wondered if their nitrogen worked its way down to the water supply. Would I get the tests at a pool supply place?

STL Ponds and Waterfalls
12-08-2009, 06:06 PM
My buddy that quarantines hid Koi uses potassium permanganate to clear up his water. The downside is it will kill the beneficial bacteria, but clears up the water.:confused: I haven't tested this stuff yet or did any real research on it yet. Maybe Tadpole will have some better information on the use of potassium permanganate.

12-08-2009, 08:08 PM
You can find basic water test kits at most pet stores.

Potassium permanganate is used primarily in the aquatic business as an anti-bacterial, anti-parasite treatment. A side effect is it also will clear the water. HOWEVER, it is very dangerous to use around fish and must be applied very accurately. It alos needs to be deactivated after a period of time. I won't go into unnecessary details for, in your case, you should stay away from using it.
You have a unique problem in the fact that, not only is the pond receiving the normal nutrient load from the usual sources (fish waste, plant decomposition, wind blown organics and run-off), it appears that it is also being constantly supplied with additional nutrients from the contaminated spring water.

You have not said whether or not the actual pond water is clear. Even if it is, the Nitrate level is evidently high enough to support 'String Algae' on the Waterfall. String algae, by the way, only occurs in moving water. It also prefers a high pH.

Let me know, either on the Forum or by PM, what the test results are. You might as well test all of the basic chemical parameters----pH, Ammonia, Nitrate, Nitrite and water temp.

At this point, I really do not see any permanent remedy given the apparent condition of the spring water. Chemical treatments are never a cure, they only treat the symptoms and not the cause. If this were a recirculating system like the ponds that we install, the problem could be corrected in a short period of time.

wurkn with amish
12-08-2009, 08:59 PM
you cant read my thoughts. But the pond and falls does have a 10,00gph pump so it is recirculating. We just put the spring pipe at the top to help fill the pond up. I do think they want it left though. The stones that the falls is made of is sandstone. let me try to post a pic of when the falls was first put in.

wurkn with amish
12-08-2009, 09:06 PM


170544first pic is of the pipe. I really wish in hind sight we just rerouted and ran it all the way to the pond instead of cutting it off... Second is the finished falls, third is before falls but shows the dividing point. By dividing point I mean we installed a fence under the bridge to keep the Koi in the smaller section up by the falls. The water is clear, but there is alot of the bottom algea.

12-08-2009, 09:29 PM
your only answer is here www.koiphen.com

12-08-2009, 09:49 PM
That's a good link. Koivet.com is probably the overall best. I think that you will find that the overall emphasis on reducing algae growth, besides controlling the nutrient load, is aquatic plants of which I don't see any in the photos. Like I said before either you add the proper number of plants or nature will in the form of algae.
A few questions: How old is the Pond? How deep is the Pond? Is the Pond lined or earthen bottom? Does it get any shade? What do you estimate as total capacity (gallons)?

wurkn with amish
12-09-2009, 07:15 PM
The pond is year old, earthen bottom, no shade, 30ft wide x 120ft long x 11ft deep i think. Aquatic plants were added after the pic was taken. I had some in the Koi part and one of the pools in the falls. I had one of those floating islands also( 30" x 60").

12-09-2009, 07:37 PM
A little off topic, but I'm curious how you have the pump hooked up. I assume you have a submersible pump in some kind of cage. I'm just wondering how that works for you as far as maintenance on the pump. I built a similar water feature and the client insisted on using an external pool style pump which has turned out to be a pain in the neck for maintenance.
Very dramatic looking landscape, I like it a lot.

12-09-2009, 07:53 PM
As far as your actual question I actually might be able to help. I don't have a whole lot of experience with algae control in ponds this large, but there are a couple products we use. The one which I've found works very well on smaller features is Algaway, which would probably be an incredibly expensive for a pond this size. It sounds to me like trying to control pH, nitrates, or any other quality of the water is a losing battle with the stream coming into it so you need to look at other avenues. I believe your best solution is going to be sufficient water plants with the addition of water dye, the idea being reduce the amount of light to the bottom and reduce the plant growth. The dye would be a much easier answer than adding chemicals to control the algae, and the lightly blue tinted water actually looking quite nice. Aquashade is the product we use, though you must calculate your total volume to a reasonable degree, since one gallon of dye treats over a million gallons of water. Look into it, I think this is your answer.

wurkn with amish
12-09-2009, 08:52 PM
170643 we installed the pump on a stainless steel frame to keep it about 18" off the ground. Ran the hose along the bottom and brought it up out of the pond under the gazebo overhang.

STL Ponds and Waterfalls
12-09-2009, 11:44 PM
Bruce, how is that pump working out for you?

STL Ponds and Waterfalls
12-10-2009, 05:21 PM
Bruce reading your original post on another forum with the golf course being right there your algae problem might be from all the ferts they put down???? Can any of the Golf course water run into your waterfall and the spring?

12-10-2009, 06:58 PM
Is the entire perimeter of the pond walled like what is seen in the photos? What is the water depth around the perimeter? The reason I ask is, as has been previously stated, you need to add a fairly large number of aquatic plants of various species. (Diversify much as nature does) And I would add these plants to the larger pond area, not to the area with the Koi. Koi are notoriously destructive and will uproot or try to uproot any plantings in their environment.

Although water dye (AquaShade,etc.) will control the pond algae by inhibiting sunlight penetration, it may also hide the Koi.

As to what I thought was the reason behind your original post, the only true way to control string Algae is to STARVE it. Active controls of the nutrient load in the water column along with periodic manual removal of the String Algae is the only way to maintain any aesthetic appeal. There IS NOT at present a complete chemical control for String Algae on the market, no matter what the ads say.

wurkn with amish
12-11-2009, 07:56 PM
@ Keith it could have something to do with it. The customer is stopping fertilization above the pond also.
I like the pump so far, we'll see what this year does to it.

@ tadpole
I will see if I can talk them into plants in the larger part. I'm probably going to add another floating island this year also, the koi loved it for the shade. As for the concrete walls they are only on about 1/6th of the perimeter. Let me try to get an entire pic of the pond in for you guys.

wurkn with amish
12-11-2009, 08:01 PM
Pond before the plants.
Water depth around perimeter is probably a few inches ,sloped pretty quick in most areas.

12-11-2009, 09:08 PM
Really a beautiful pond. The first posted pics gave no hint as to overall appearance. Some marginal Aquatic plants grouped randomly around the grass perimeter would be the final touch to a fantastic view.

05-04-2010, 04:40 PM
Hey Wurkn-

How 'bout an update on this.

wurkn with amish
05-05-2010, 05:50 PM
I finally got aound to ordering my test kit, should be here by friday. I haven't forgotten about you' all lol. If it is contaminated I think I've got him convinced to shut the upper feed off.

Stay tuned....

wurkn with amish
05-14-2010, 08:31 PM
Ok I finally tested in three places: I tested in order; hardness,alk, ph, NO2, NO3

1st 2nd 3rd
upper pond waterfall main pond 120 180 120
180 180 180
7.0 7.0 7.0
0 0 0
0 0 0

So apparently everything is good to go. Maybe talk them into more plants like said before? A bubbler aerator? beneficial bacterial to eat muck and suspended particles?:confused::dizzy:

wurkn with amish
05-14-2010, 08:38 PM
man that post didnt turn out how I wanted it to.....
upper pond ---120, 180, 7.0, 0, 0
waterfall----180, 180, 7.0, 0, 0
main pond----120, 180, 7.0, 0, 0
I used Pentair test strips

05-14-2010, 10:49 PM
You should have also tested for NH4 (Ammonium). The other results seem OK except for the NO3 (Nitrate). I can't believe that you show a '0' reading for this compound. The complete absence of Nitrate in an aquatic environment is very rare in even heavily filtered & planted lined ponds, and practically unheard of in an earth-bottom. Just the normal run-off from rain and/or irrigation will create an organic load in the water column. I would definitely test for Ammonia and retest for NO2 and NO3 in about 4 weeks. Check the expiration dates on the Test Strips.
Muck is normal in an earth-bottom, not usually a problem causer.
Turbid water can be easily cleared with Gypsum.

05-14-2010, 11:02 PM
Im going through a similar situation with a 1mil gallon pond only my wonderful algea is brown.....i would kill for green algea. I will tell you though, my lab sent back many more readings than what you tested for and they were far more accurate than what had been tested locally.

05-15-2010, 12:13 AM
Lab conducted tests are by far the most accurate and they can test for many, many parameters that are not possible with a hobbyist Test Kit. However, THEY AIN'T CHEAP!! Most clients won't pay that kind of fee. I invested in a Bench Photometer and charge for water testing; less than half of what a lab would charge and the customers still fuss.
An interesting fact about algae, at least to me, is that the dominant specie of algae in a pond, especially larger ones, may change from year to year. This is also true, in many cases, of pond weeds.
Nature is amazingly intricate and dynamic and will befuddle and bewilder anyone who tries to outguess it, even the experts.

wurkn with amish
05-15-2010, 09:14 AM
tadpole thats what I thought when I saw the reading to......
My kit said it was unecessary to test for ammonium because its a by product of NO2??

05-15-2010, 10:21 AM
That is completely false! Ammonium is considered the base of the Nitrogen cycle.

Ammonium > Nitrite > Nitrate as indicated in the graphic below.

wurkn with amish
05-15-2010, 09:40 PM
Ha ha ha, we had that same pic in our science book back in school!

on a different note:
my neighbor has a pond about this size, his pond guy told him bottom aeration will cure problems like this and reduce muck. His reasoning, the sediment will float toward the overflow pipe and work its way out that way. get rid of that and the algea goes away. Does this sound feasible or is he just trying to sell an unecessary product?
I'm going to put in marginal plants..... any suggestions on good ones? Use some type of algecide on the falls itself

05-16-2010, 11:22 AM
Bottom aeration's only purpose is to live up to it's name; aerate the bottom of the pond by creating a vertically rotating current of water which will continuously expose new water to the pond surface to be oxygenated by natural gas transfer. If you are looking to remove 'Muck', the pond should be dredged by a professional. Removing muck the way you described will only cause erosion of the bottom which will eventually advance to the edges of the pond causing collapse.

Most any marginal plants will work. Try to put in a good diversity. Stay away from the common Cattail!!!

Your test results still have me baffled. Algae feeds on Nitrates. Your test results show "0" Nitrates. How can you have algae? It's like growing a vegetable garden in the barren desert without any fertilizer. It can't be done. If you have algae, you have Nitrates at a fairly decent level. The more algae you have the higher the Nitrates. The only other possibility would be that you have a high Phosphate level. Have you observed any 'Foaming' around the base of the waterfall. This is usually a sign of Phosphates.

I can't suggest an algaecide because I don't use them.

wurkn with amish
05-16-2010, 12:30 PM
there is foaming at the base.

05-16-2010, 02:18 PM
It appears that your customer is getting nutrient influx from commercial fertilizer applications somewhere uphill from the Pond. He can't control what the neighbors do but if he eliminates the use of fertilizer within 30 feet of the pond, it will help. (Note; He can use slow-release closer).
I mentioned the possibility of Phosphates in my first post in this thread and it should be tested to determine the present level. The addition of sufficient aquatic plants should, in time, correct the problem. (It may take a full seasonal cycle). Alum based Phosphate binders are available, but are not cheap, and should be used only as a last resort because, not only will it starve the algae, it will also starve any other planting, and without eliminating the source of the contamination will involve retreating the pond on a regular basis.
Is the algae and murkiness problem seasonal or continuous, or does it present itself more strongly after a heavy rain?
I apologize for being excessively 'wordy', but there could be a combination of several factors causing the problem. Just trying to Zero-in. I also have to keep in mind the difference in climatology between your location and mine.

wurkn with amish
05-17-2010, 03:18 PM

no apology needed. Your extremely helpful and I really appreciate it. When I was there the other day it was nice and sunny and the algea was about gone.... on the surface. On the falls its still nice and green and orange.

05-17-2010, 04:57 PM
Looking back over the entire thread brought a question to mind. Is there a particular reason that the Koi are confined to on small area of the Pond? Carp (which despite all of the ballyhoo is what Koi really are) are notorious for eating algae and pond weeds and most anything else that they can find. They absolutely love Watermelon. Giving them free run of the entire Pond may, at least, help with a solution to the problem.
Where, geographically, is this Pond located?

wurkn with amish
05-18-2010, 06:06 PM
Zone 5 ohio.
See thats the part I never really understood myself about the Koi. They said its easier to watch them this way I guess. When i was there the other day I saw a lone koi out in the main pond....
The algea isntbad in the koi's part,

05-18-2010, 06:35 PM
If the Koi spawn and some of the fertilized eggs drift out to the main pond area, they will have all the Koi needed to keep the algae in control, especially if you do the aquatic plantings....the fertilized eggs will stick to the plants.

06-12-2010, 05:00 PM
Can copper sulfate be used to control the algae? We used to use it in ponds when I was in the golf business and it seemed to really help.

06-12-2010, 07:13 PM
Yea, if you want to kill all of the fish!..Copper is highly toxic to not only fish, but many other aquatic organisms. Golf courses do not care about ecology. if they did, they couldn't stay in business.

wurkn with amish
06-13-2010, 10:10 AM
they tried a tiny bit last year and killed alll the amurs. So its out of the question.

wurkn with amish
07-03-2010, 01:48 PM



year 2 and the plants are growing and nice makeover this week for the 4th!

STL Ponds and Waterfalls
07-03-2010, 02:02 PM
It looks really good Bruce! I'm still waiting for my project of the year to come in, but I like multiple little projects.:)

07-03-2010, 02:22 PM
Yea! Baby! Now that looks a h*ll of a lot better than the bare perimeter in the original photos. This is something that the client can really enjoy. Real 'Eye Candy'.
You said 'make-over'. What did you change recently?

07-03-2010, 03:52 PM
Also, I did not notice any algae in the latest photos. This was the original thread topic. Share with us what steps you took to control it.

wurkn with amish
07-03-2010, 05:57 PM
We added probably 30-40 more plants in the landscape and new mulch.
The actual pond itself is algea free because I think its so "cloudy" from sediment pond. We spent about an hour yesterday cleaning the algea off the falls itself. It will be back but we are not going the chemical route. They will eventually allow the Koi to go over the whole pond so that will help too. I put in 50 waterlettuce, 50 hyacinths and a floating island. Got the chem app guy to not spread fertilizer within 30-40ft all the way around, so bi- monthly maintenance will be our solution for now with what algea does grow......

07-03-2010, 06:11 PM
Hyacinths and lettuce are probably two of the best plants for reducing NitrAte levels. Unfortunately, both are outlawed in Florida as an invasive species. Once the additional plants get established, it should help with the algae.

Read a disturbing article the other day, claims that the reason String Algae is so hard to control is that it has the ability to pull nitrogen from the atmosphere when no other source is available.. Sounds fishy (no pun intended) to me, but who knows, could be.