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slimy algae floats then sinks

coastal_ponder
May 15, 2008

I have some type of slimy algae (i assume its algae) that clings to my plants and pretty much everything in the pond. it seems to come to the top during later in the day then is gone by the next morning. i scoop it off as best as i can when it is present. it is pretty much choking my plants out. even my parrot feather is not doing so well. it seems to collect on the parrot feather the worst. if i move the plants it comes off and floats suspended in the water. by the next day or so it is right back on the plant. i recently had a tadpole invasion that helped clean it up some but they are disappearing and the slime is comimg back.

i have an external biofilter with a uv that keeps the water pretty clear of the green water type algae, a small water fall and a water feature to help aerate. Pond is about 1000 gallons with 6 or so goldfish. what is this stuff and how do i rid my pond of it? thanks in advance.

Comments (10)

  • basilbird

    I had some similar stuff show up last month. We had an unusually warm April and the algae took off before anything else had a chance.

    Anyway... I used barley extract for the first time and it cleared everything up in two weeks. The water is crystal clear now. Still a little algae on the pond walls and string algae in the stream but the slimy stuff is gone.

    Be aware.... I learned that the downside of perfectly clear water before the plants fill in is that heron can see the fish much better! I should have realized this becaise *I* was enjoying watching them from the bedroom window!

    BasilB

  • missa7

    I fought that last year & it had started this year, very frustrating stuff. It seems scooping it off/out is pointless to me, it just keeps coming back. Others say they keep scooping & eventually get it all.

    We broke down & got a skimmer, the kind that sits in the pond & your pump attaches at the side, & it has helped alot. I don't have any floating anymore or if I do, it's a very tiny amount & I think it is eventually skimmed off. Water looks great, clear.

  • koilady

    Hi Ponder. I've seen this in ponds that I visit that are having the same trouble as yours is. From my experience, it comes from stagnant areas in the pond. Let me ask you a few questions.
    How many gallons is your pond?
    Does your pond have a bio-filter?
    Is it inside or outside of your pond?
    How many fish do you have in your pond?
    Do you make water changes?
    If so, how much and how often?
    How often do you feed your fish?
    What type of food do you feed?
    Do you have gravel at the bottom of your pond?

    I can probably help you with your trouble after I find out more about your pond.

    Yours Koily, Lorraine

  • coastal_ponder

    hello koilady, here are the answers to your questions.
    How many gallons is your pond? approx 1000 gal
    Does your pond have a bio-filter? yes
    Is it inside or outside of your pond? outside
    How many fish do you have in your pond? last count about 6 or 7. they are rather shy
    Do you make water changes? no, only top up when rain is scarce.
    If so, how much and how often?
    How often do you feed your fish? never have at all
    What type of food do you feed? na
    Do you have gravel at the bottom of your pond? no

    i have a 2000 gal per hour pump located in middle of the pond that serves a small water fall in one corner, a water fountain feature in the middle and pumps to the bio-filter that returns water not sent to the falls back into the pond via a hose layed on the bottom.

    i also have some plants. a couple of water lilies, pickerel weed?, parrot feather, and i just added a few hostas today after reading another post on here.

    thanks

  • drh1

    There are dozens of different variants of algae. Some are single cell, some are multi-cellular, etc. In general they don't harm your fish or plants with some exceptions. There are types which in high concentrations are toxic to fish - I believe this to be extremely rare and have never heard of this in the typical pond such as mine or yours. A more likely problem is simply too much algae which when it dies off may cause an oxygen depletion problem as the dead algae decays. In spring time conditions this too is unlikely since water temperatures are usually cool and as a result dissolved oxygen tends to be high given any decent amount of aeration (you can always use an aerator and aeration stone to drop in you pond in case this is a concern).
    Having said that, what you see in the spring is algae starts growing (usually at significantly lower temperatures than your plants either in or around the pond). During the daylight hours it produces a great deal of gas mostly in the form of oxygen bubbles. As more gas is produced it forms very small bubble that attach to everything - including dead leaves and that slimey, stringish algae (how's that for an "official" classification?? :-)). When sufficient number of bubbles are attached this causes leaves, algae, etc. to float. You will probably see this happening most often in the afternoon on a sunny day, less often in the early morning or on really cloudy days. As to what to do about it: some folks swear by barley straw which may or may not work based on what little, objective literature is out there rather than anecdotal statements. Hydrogen peroxide will do a fairly decent number on string-type algae but not much on the suspended types. You can use a wide range of doses: 1-2 pints per 1000 gallons of 3% is typical although I know some have used doses as high as 1 pint per 100 gallons with no ill effects on their fish or vascular (i.e., non-algae) plants. Hope this helps.
    ---David

  • lsst

    Last year I got the same type of floating-sinking algae. It was the first spring with my new pond. I added quilt batting to my skimmer filter and it took care of quite a bit of it.I had to rinse it out once a day.

    Once my water lilies covered enough of the surface and my pond became balanced with enough plants, It has never come back.

    The funny thing about this algae is that the pond water is quite clear in the evenings and by noon the next day, all this crud would start rising from the bottom.

  • larryl

    There are more than dozens of different kinds of algae. Actually there are over 100,000 kinds of algae, each with its specific requirements for growth. With over 100,000 kinds of algae it is risky to generalize about the requirements for algae growth, but here goes anyway. Most kinds of algae that grow in freshwater like phosphate. If your pond has a steady phosphate content you can just about count on some kind of algae growth. Phosphate comes from fish excrement, which comes in turn from fish food. The best way to reduce the phosphate load in your pond is to have lots of healthy fast growing floating plants, since plants like phosphate too. If you do not have healthy plants there are few natural processes that will remove phosphate, and algae is the likely result. Algae is nature's way of providing your pond with plants.

    You can UV, and filter all you want to clear the water, but as long as you have phosphates, you will likely have some algae.

    Put in some water hyacinths, watercress, hornwort, or some other fast growing plants to use up the phosphate. Potted plants won't help because they get their nutrients from the soil, not from the water.

    If your floating plants get puny and pale in color, add some potash, and some iron, to keep them growing. Hyacinths and watercress use enormous amounts of nutrients, which will, in theory, deprive the algae of phosphates.

  • koilady

    hello koilady, here are the answers to your questions.

    How many gallons is your pond? approx 1000 gal

    Does your pond have a bio-filter? yes

    Is it inside or outside of your pond? outside
    How often do you clean your filtering system?
    Is it an upflow or downflow?

    How many fish do you have in your pond? last count about 6 or 7. they are rather shy

    Normally, I find that if fish are shy, it has to do with poor water conditions or a predator. Anytime we go to our ponds, the fish are on top of each other trying to get our attention. LOL Mostly for the food. :)

    Do you make water changes? no, only top up when rain is scarce.

    It is so important to make water changes from the bottom of your pond. Try to make your pond as close to what Mother Nature would provide and water changes are one of those things that is very necessary. We suggest that you remove 1/3 of the water from the bottom of your pond and replace it with fresh water using a conditioner if necessary.

    If so, how much and how often?

    How often do you feed your fish? never have at all
    What type of food do you feed? na
    Do you have gravel at the bottom of your pond? no

    How many plants do you have in your pond that are planted in dirt?

    i have a 2000 gal per hour pump located in middle of the pond that serves a small water fall in one corner, a water fountain feature in the middle and pumps to the bio-filter that returns water not sent to the falls back into the pond via a hose layed on the bottom.

    Does your filtering system have a mechanical part to it. A place where debris is trapped so that it goesn't go into the bio-filter.
    How often do you clean your filter?

    I have a great diagram if anyone is interested. It's easily made and maintained and existing filtering systems can usually be changed over to this type. Upflow filtering systems normally do not work as well as downflows.

    i also have some plants. a couple of water lilies, pickerel weed?, parrot feather, and i just added a few hostas today after reading another post on here.

    Good, it doesn't sound like you have too many plants in your pond containing dirt. Many bog plants can be placed into containers with holes in them, placing the plant inside the container and placing a stone or rock on the roots so that as the plant grows, the roots grow out of the pot, removing nutrients right from the water to help with filtering.

    Yours Koily, Lorraine

  • coastal_ponder

    thanks for all the replys. all of my plants except 1 lily are planted in pea gravel, no dirt. i bought the one lily already potted in dirt and just set it the pond that way about six months ago. it looks the best of all the plants. i added 2 water hyacinth about 2 weeks ago and i'm not sure if it's going to survive this crud even though they have bloomed. it has a lot of roots but they are caked in this algae. how many of those are enough?

    i did have another frog orgy a few nights ago and i saw some eggs in there today wrapped around some anacharis. last time the toadpoles cleaned up a lot of algae. my parrot feather looks to be on its last leg too.

    i tried the hydogen peroxide Thursday (3% 1 pint to approx 1000 gal) but i can't see that it has done anything yet.

    Our water here is treated with cloramine. I have no way to remove that from the amount of water it will take to change out 1/3 of the pond. I have heard of someone rigging up some type of water filter they could attach to their hose to accomplish this.

    on top of all the gook i am now having a mild algae bloom with some green water. no tell how bad that would be if not for the uv. i'm getting somewhat discouraged.

    koilady, i would be interested in seeing the type of filtering system. are they something you can post here?

  • larryl

    When water hyacinths bloom it is usually a sign that they have plenty of phosphate. When they have long and bulky root systems it is usually a sign of a potash deficiency. Try adding some potash (AKA potassium). You can add potassium chloride or potassium sulfate. A handful would be a good amount to start with for 1000 gallons of water.

    One hyacinth for 1000 gallons isn't enough. Ten would be better. Eventually you will have a hundred, but eventually doesn't help you right now.

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