catherinet11

Algae on my waterfall stones

catherinet
11 years ago

I finally built my little waterfall this year. My 300 gallon stocktank doesn't have any algae in it, but now algae is completely covering the main rock on the waterfall, right before it goes into the stocktank.

Why is that? Do I just scrub it off if it gets too thick?

Thanks.

Comments (47)

  • mikemerk
    11 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    If your waterfall is in the sun, then you will get algae. You can either scrub it off or what I do is on a weekly basis pour some Hydrogen Peroxide on your waterfall. You can get bottles very cheap at the local drug store. The Hydrogen Peroxide will kill the algae but you must stay on top of it. I use a quart in my 1800 gallon pond. The Hydrogen Peroxide will add extra oxygen to the pond as well which will help the fish on very hot sunny days.

    -Mike

  • missa7
    11 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I pull it off mine & toss it in the yard, LOL. But some always falls off into the pond, which I don't like ... I don't have a bottom drain. So last time I shop vac'ed it off, LOL. Needs it again already.

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  • catherinet
    Original Author
    11 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Its almost like having carpeting on the stones, and the sound is muted. Plus, the water seems to slide, inside of flowing.
    haha

  • ron_a_nj
    11 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I usually rake it off and fling it on the lawn. This year, it all died off on its own in a week after I turned on the UV.

  • catherinet
    Original Author
    11 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Its not the stuff I can pull off. I'll take a brush to it later today and see if that works. Maybe I shouldn't fight it and just see what evolves.

  • billinpa
    11 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Shut your pump down. Put some peroxide in a spray bottle. Spray liberally, wait a few minutes then turn your pump back on. Algea dead and gone.

    If there is alot I would clean it off so it doesnt clog your pump. Stiff bristle brush will mowrk just fine. But still use the peroxide. The 3% stuff you can get at he drug store a qt is less then a dollar.

  • catherinet
    Original Author
    11 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I'm wondering why it likes it there so much. Any ideas?

  • buddyrose
    11 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    catherinet, I asked my local water garden nursery about the algae in my pond. They just said the sun grows plants. And it would go away once my garden plants started growing.

    He also said to use either bleach OR hydrogen peroxide and that would also take care of the problem. My waterfall and rocks have plants growing around them and over them so maybe that would help you.

  • drh1
    11 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I would advise against using bleach in your pond. Bleach is sodium hypochlorite and will leave a variety of residuals (hypochlorous acid, hypochloride ions, chloramines as well as a few chlorinated organics) in your pond that are toxic to fish and other plants. Using hydrogen peroxide sprayed or sloshed on you rocks when the waterfalls is turned off will work without any toxic after-effects. Turning the water off for a brief period (15-30 minutes) is important otherwise the running water will rinse the hydrogen peroxide off the surfaces you are trying to treat before any reaction can occur. But don't leave the water off too long or your biofilter will run out of oxygen and do a number on the nitrifiers in there. The attached algae will grow on the rocks in the streaming water because the water moves the most amount of nutrients past the algae compared to what occurs just sitting off to the side of the pond.
    ---David

  • horton
    11 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Where have I seen those initials [DRH] before? LOL
    Welcome back Prof!
    Hope you intend to stay around.
    "Horton"

  • catherinet
    Original Author
    11 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Thanks everyone,
    don't worry.......I'd never use bleach. I'm even a little nervous to use peroxide.
    That's interesting....about the increased nutrients feeding the algae on the waterfall rocks. Thanks for that explanation David.

  • drh1
    11 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    One additional comment: some folks have swimming pools and use the Bacquacil system. As part of that system you periodically use hydrogen peroxide (if I recall correctly!)..while you can use this instead of the stuff you buy in the grocery store BE CAREFUL...it's usually a much stronger solution 10-12% so you'd use a lot less. It will do the same thing, however.
    ---David
    P.S. Hey Horton! Just out and about for bit. Pretty soon the planting begins...assuming you quit sending us rain every day!

  • catherinet
    Original Author
    11 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I feel sort of stupid. I was out there watering some lilies I had just planted around the top of the stocktank watergarden, and decided to spray the waterfall rocks.......and the algae came right off!

  • sleeplessinftwayne
    11 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    David, I didn't catch this thread right away but I am glad to see you posting again. You have been missed as much as your advice and I hope you stick around for a while. Sandy

  • drh1
    11 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Hey Sandy, you know me! Old, forgetful; website? post? Huh? But I'm glad you and Horton are holding down the fort!
    ---David

  • ademink
    11 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Hi Catherine. :) Yes, you can spray it off. I actually leave it. It's good for a coat of algae to get on stuff - it's like a normal pond and if you get obsessed w/ having something that looks more like a clear, clean swimming pool...you'll start to hate your pond. lol

    You will also get string algae - now that's fun stuff. Most people go ballistic trying to fight it but I've found if I leave the string algae, it is a MAJOR filtration warrior. It sucks mega nutrients out of the water and all of my suspended algae goes down to zero. It eventually starts to die and I pull it out w/ a cheapo, new toilet bowl brush.

    Just like eatin' spaghetti. ;D

    Andrea

    PS I throw it all over the yard LOL

  • ronaye
    11 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Holy crow, I haven't been here for years and look who I see! How the heck are you?? How's that beautiful Vermont Pond?
    Ronaye

  • catherinet
    Original Author
    11 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Thanks Andrea,
    I didn't mind the looks of it, but it almost completely silenced the sound of the water on the falls! It was like having all the rock carpeted.
    Its funny, but I haven't had any string algae since my whiskey half-barrel pond many years ago.
    I do have lots of floating algae in my above-ground stocktanks, but as soon as the lotus and lilies start growing, it all seems to disappear.
    The toilet bowl brush is a good idea for that string algae!
    So you're saying you eat your string algae, just like spaghetti? ;)

  • drh1
    11 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Hey yourself, Ronaye! No sting algae (just to keep the thread "official")! Haven't even had to break out the toilet bowl brush!

    I haven't been out on the boards until just recently myself...been busy for few years/months, etc.
    ---David

  • sleeplessinftwayne
    11 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I think I have died and gone to heaven. Horton, David and Ronaye back together again.
    Ronaye, I got here just about the time you vanished but your name on the FAQs and mentions of you have kept you a part of the forum. Thanks for the pond education. You and David and Horton have been great teachers. Sandy

  • sleeplessinftwayne
    11 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Oops. Sorry about the hijack Catherine. Glad the algae problem is solved. Sandy

  • catherinet
    Original Author
    11 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    That's okay Sandy! I'm glad everyone found each other again!

  • omayard
    11 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Interesting comments. Thanks. I have a (I think) related situation. Not string or floating algae, but all my stream pathway and waterfall rocks are coated with what I'm guessing to be an algae. Or is it? My water is clear, but the stones are darkly discolored. I'm reluctant to use chemicals as I have a number of plants in the water feature, and the birds like to bath and drink in the small pools. BTW, I empty the main and small ponds and do a thorough cleaning each spring. Maybe that's the time for the H2O2 treatment. Any suggestions? Or comments?

  • catherinet
    Original Author
    11 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I just hate putting anything unnatural into the water. So I guess I'm compromising. I just have a small waterfall, so it might be worse for you if yours is alot bigger.
    I bought a long-handled grill brush and scrubbed the rocks. it helped a little, but I think the algae is probably going to grow back quickly, just because the rocks are constantly bathed with the nutrients in the water.
    My rocks are very dark and not very attractive with that algae on them.

  • mantorvillain
    11 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    My lowest flat stone at the 'foot' of my waterfall seems to 'cycle' with periods of being covered with green algae then it almost seems to wash away and eventually start up again.
    Will

  • JillyWillyCT
    6 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Resurrecting a way old string on the topic of string algae... oops, no pun intended! :-)

    Read about Barley Straw bales floating to prevent algae in ponds and am wondering if this would be a solution for our pondless water fountain. We have had a major case of string algae this year and last. Have just tried the hydrogen peroxide treatment (too early to see if it has fixed it) but it seems like floating a barley bale in the water reservoir well of the fountain might work? Anyone try this on a waterfall/water fountain installation instead of a still pond? Thanks in advance for the help!

  • waterbug_guy
    6 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    History of the barley myth.

    Hydrogen peroxide kills algae on contact and the string algae turns white or lighter color. It's an oxidizer like bleach. It doesn't remain in the pond very long, minutes. So if you didn't see any change when first applied that's about it. It takes a lot of hydrogen peroxide to effect algae. There are high concentration hydrogen peroxide products specifically for algae.

  • ljs8510
    6 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Is this algae on the rocks or moss? Do you have photo?
    Just my opinion but I like moss.

  • JillyWillyCT
    6 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    @waterbug_guy: thanks, didn't realize barley was a myth! if it seems too good to be true, it probably is...right!?!?

    @LJS8510: Love my moss, too! I wish it were all moss...this is definitely the string/spaghetti algae :-(

    I appreciate the replies.....too early to see if the hydrogen peroxide keeps it from coming back. We hand pulled out the big blobs, and poured in the peroxide after.

  • waterbug_guy
    6 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    @waterbug_guy: thanks, didn't realize barley was a myth! if it seems too good to be true, it probably is...right!?!?
    Probably. But really if think everything anyone ever says about ponds is a myth you're going to be right almost all of the time.

    Here's my experience with hydrogen peroxide. I didn't learn much, algae is tricky. It can kill at least some species of string algae but that isn't generally too helpful because it comes right back. So to actually control it takes a lot of hydrogen peroxide.

    The problem with understanding algae is when one species seems to go away another appears. Then you're left wondering if what you're doing is responsible or did killing it once just make room for another species which is actually responsible for the disappearance of the other species. Trying to come up with experiments to figure it out is frustrating. Complicated little world they have.

  • ljs8510
    6 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    There is a product called Pond Balance that works well
    I am unaware of any downsides of this product, except cost. But I'm sure like most there are some, maybe someone else could speak to that?

  • waterbug_guy
    6 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Interpet Pond Balance aka Blagdon Blanket Weed Buster aka Interpet Pond Balance.

    There's no way way to tell if there are any downsides to the product because the company doesn't say what's in the product, even on the MSDS which makes me very suspicious. The MSDS is the one place where companies are required to disclose dangers. A product that kills algae and stops it from growing imo should be disclosed in MSDS because it kills stuff. Killing stuff is fine as long as it's used properly and the way we know how to use it is the MSDS. The one thing their MSDS does say is the product should not be allowed to enter any water way. But they don't explain why.

    Sellers say this product works many different ways, many say it removes a key nutrient, some say plural nutrients. Some say it has bacteria that kills the algae. Some say bacteria is in there to remove sludge (they call it Sludge Buster).

    Lets take the easy one first...bacteria. These types of products imo are virtually all scams. They work if you want to believe they work.

    The more interesting claim is the nutrient claim. It's interesting to me because this type of thing has been well tested and document for a long time in lake management. The nutrient I'm thinking of is phosphorus.

    There are several chemicals that will make phosphorus unavailable to plants and given the directions for Pond Balance and expected results I'm guessing the chemical they're selling is alum (aluminum sulfate).

    Alum effect on fish has been tested in several studies and seems to have no effect on fish. In low pH water there was some risk in theory but in practice no harm to fish has been seen.

    Backyard ponds can have more extremes than lakes so pH risk could be higher. Alum could drive pH down, but I'm not sure what the risk is. If used in a pond with very low KH the risk to fish might be high, depends on the health of fish. Many times fish will go thru a pH crash with no obvious signs, owner doesn't even know anything happened. But if fish are already stressed a pH crash can be a tipping point. In lake management water is often pH buffered first if needed.

    Whether alum works in a person's pond depends on a few things, like pH, your water source, how clean you keep the pond bottom and plants in the pond (soil/fertilizer). In lakes when alum is effective in algae control the results lasts for more than 5 years. In backyard ponds that kind of long term control is less likely because of pond cleaning and water sources, but can still be effective for a long time.

    However, Pond Balance MSDS says the product is a pink color and alum is white. But they could just color it or mix in some other stuff.

    Why doesn't Interpet disclose what's in the product? Well, if it is alum they sure don't want you to find out because their product is 6 to 30 times more expensive than alum (aluminum sulfate) which you can buy in any decent garden supply.

    That's very typical for many pond products. Take a proven chemical used in waste water treatment and/or lake management and box it up, add some color or "bacteria" and sell it like it's something they invented and hide what the product actually contains. They have to do zero research or testing because it's already been done.

    Anytime you can resell something for 6-30X mark up you're doing good.

    Is that a scam? That's a personal opinion.

    IMO, it isn't a scam if it is alum, it's capitalism. It has at least the potential of doing at least one of its claims. Where they get into scam territory imo is claiming it's perfectly safe. Nothing is perfectly safe. If it's alum I'd say it's safe for 99.9% of ponds. The unlucky 0.1% aren't going to make enough noise to hurt sales. I'd prefer companies be more clear about what is in a product and in what cases, even if extreme, the product becomes dangerous.

    Perhaps someone who uses Pond Balance/Blanket Weed Buster could confirm if it's alum.

  • ljs8510
    6 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I did do research trying to find out what is in PondBalance because like many I also was very much against putting anything in the pond, especially if I don't know what it is.
    But never found anything conclusive. We had string algea problems in our first smaller pond but just did the work of removing it for several years.
    But when we replaced the smaller pond with a larger one 5800 gallons, it became impossible for us to keep clear. My wife heard of Pond Balance & tried it.
    For us it has worked extremely well since 2005.
    Yes it is expensive, but well worth it, we never have string algae anymore, but I would still like to know whats in it.
    We did have a problem this spring with young fish die off but I don't think its related but do not know.

    This post was edited by LJS8510 on Sat, Aug 16, 14 at 7:29

  • threedamdogs
    5 years ago

    Hello everyone. I see there has been no activity on here since 2014 but I have to give it a shot. I also have this algae on my rocks. It is short haired and very very thick. I can pull big chunks off the rocks like it is carpet. Is that a good algae? Also I have found a way to get rid of the pea soup in the pond. I have a small filter with a small pump on it. Not sure how much it pumps but it is a pump that runs a water feature. I bought blue filters from Lowe's for your home air filter. They are washable. I cut them to fit box I put the pump on the outside of the box and put the inflow part thru the box. I use the tube that holds the filter(but do not use the filter that goes on it, filter that looks like a cylinder with a hole mine is black it comes with the water feature pump.) I then layer 4 pieces of the blue filter on top of the pump that is sticking in the box. After a week or when I see the water not moving from the small pump I pull it out and clean it. I Have a 1200 gal pond and it is clean within 2 days. No chemicals. I have also used the stuff you get around Christmas the white blanket looking stuff to make fake snow, or blanket batting. Water flows through and it catches all the green particles. That is not the only filtration I have. I have a 100 gal stock tank that holds small squares of those blue filters to catch the big stuff. Also I have read I can use plaster of Paris in my pond for the gypsum. You make small hockey puck like things so the resolve slowly. Has any one heard of this and what is the draw backs? Have a great day!

  • Theresa Strobel
    5 months ago

    Wow I’m so glad I found this thread .. the pond store wanted to sell me some thing expensive .. I will try the HP .. I agree the brown algae is like a carpet and muffles the sound of the water fall and I use algae fix .. keeps my water clear and string algae under control !!

  • Jill
    5 months ago

    Worth a try on the HP...we event had to buy the atomizer :-(.

  • Theresa Strobel
    5 months ago

    What’s a atomizer

  • HU-59334721
    3 months ago

    Hi all. Just found this thread. Excellent advice throughout so thank you all.

    I built a pondless waterfall last October. i kept it running through the winter (i live in Ontario, Canada so it gets cold) in the spring I started getting a lot of string algae. Love the look but was getting to be too much. I turned the pump off for a day and pulled what I could off. The sun seemed to kill the algae. It never came back. But now I’m constantly getting a brown algae on all the rocks. It comes off easy. Spray with a hose or during a heavy rain it’s gone. But then it comes back. Frogs seem to like it and the ph seems fun. But it doesn’t look very nice. I prefer the string algae. Any ideas what this isand how to get rid of it?

    thanks!

  • Janette Riddell
    3 months ago

    I pull it off occasionally, when it starts to look messy. But my fish nibble it from the pond. What I do pull off is great food for my cannabis.


  • HU-721834529
    last month

    I have 2 fountains, a bird bath and a larger statuary style, and a small pond. I have had green algae problems with all of them. I have tried everything from bleach, peroxide, vinegar, and several types of algae removers like the Algaefix and other brands. My husband is a golfer and asked the maintenance guy at one of the courses what they use for the course ponds. Now their ponds are very large, anywhere from a ½ acre or more, and these products don’t come in small sizes, but I decided to split it with my neighbor and give it a try, and the important thing was it is safe for fish, birds and won’t damage your equipment. I also had to reduce the dosage of product to accommodate smaller fountains. For example, for a gallon of the enzymes, I use only an 1/8 of a cup per fountain or pond. So, this is going to last probably all year, even when splitting it with my neighbor. So this is the recipe, and I wish I had taken a before and after picture, because it actually worked so well.

    1/8 cup of F-50 Bio-Pure

    1/8 cup of F-55 Bio-zyme

    1/8 cup of F-10 Foamkill

    It is necessary to use the Foamkill, because when you treat the water with the bacteria and enzymes, the reaction creates the foam. That is when you know its working. But when you pour in the foamkill, it gets rid of the foam immediately. I found a fairly good price here. https://discount-pumps.biz/algae-control-lakes.php I will be doing another treatment on our fountains this weekend. I posted a before picture and you can see a lot of thick green stuck to the fountain and also floating around in the water. I will post an after picture next week just so you can see. It’s kind of fun.

    pond algae control

  • HU-721834529
    28 days ago

    So I took a few more before pics of the algae just so you can see the difference after adding the beneficial bacteria and enzymes.


  • HU-721834529
    28 days ago

    Here is a picture of the brush I used to clean the sides. Keep in mind you won't have to do this if you keep it up regularly.


  • HU-721834529
    28 days ago

    Adding the dry beneficial bacteria


  • HU-721834529
    28 days ago

    Now adding the liquid enzymes and defoamer. Tomorrow I will post a picture of how clear the water is. Pretty amazing!!


  • HU-721834529
    22 days ago

    This is what is looks like after adding bacteria and enzymes. It is foaming, like scrubbing bubbles.


  • HU-721834529
    22 days ago

    This is what is looks like a few days later. The water has no more algae. When you do this treatment on a regular basis, the algae doesn't build up. I usually try to remember every Saturday just every weekend and incorporate it into my gardening chores to get rid of algae naturally .