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What Kind of Algae is in Your Water?

August 9, 2018

What kind of algae is in your pond or lake?

In most aquatic ecosystems, algae is a common occurrence as part of a healthy body of water. However, the overgrowth of algae can cause issues in your pond, not to mention the not-so-great appearance and foul smell algae can bring.

Algae can form rapidly, leaving your pond very green, and possibly leaving you stuck on where to start getting rid of the mess. Warm temps, excess nutrients, and lack of water movement can really accelerate algae growth quickly, and before you know if, your water is overtaken by it. The good news is, when algae gets out of hand, control can be taken back by using an aquatic algaecide.

Most of our copper algaecides, like our Mizzen® algaecide, can treat almost all forms of algae. The first step is to identify the type of algae you have so you know how much product you are going to need to control it. Below are a variety of algae species commonly found in ponds or lakes.

Planktonic algae

Planktonic algae is often described as looking like paint or a green oil slick on the water. It is millions of microplants and can make all of your water look green and pea soup-like.  Like a lot of the other algae species, it can be beneficial to a healthy pond in small amounts. When it overtakes the water, you risk having fish kills from lack of oxygen entering the water. In very hot weather, you may notice larger amounts of planktonic algae in the water, and it can come back within days of treating. It can look blue-green, green, brown or variations of this.

 Filamentous Algae

Filamentous algae, sometimes referred to as pond moss, is a mat forming algae that can float on the surface of your water in slimey, green clumps, or be found submerged under the water clinging to rocks or other plants. Filamentous algae can make your pond look “scummy,” and this algae can also reproduce quickly in ponds or lakes with little water movement, or in very hot weather. Like planktonic algae, it can be beneficial to water ecosystems in normal amounts. The issues arise when it grows too much, depleting the water, and other plants and animals, of sunlight and oxygen.

Chara

Chara is a submerged algae plant that often gets confused with a submerged weed. Chara smells almost like garlic; foul and musty. The green plant has 6 to 16 whorled branches and is crunchy and grainy to feel. Chara provides some food source for some aquatic life. They thrive in water that is hard and has little oxygen. Chara will require high rates of a copper-complex algaecide to control it.

Starry Stonewort

Perhaps the most invasive algae on our list, starry stonewort is a fast growing plant that can outcompete native plants or ruin fish spawning habitat. Not only does it wreak havoc on aquatic life, but it can make fishing, boating, or any other aquatic recreational activity near impossible. Its sporadic branches that point upwards at a slight angle. It has a small, cream-colored "star" bulbil. It can float up near the surface in extremely thick mats. The spread of starry stonewort is prohibited. High rates of a copper-complex algaecide will control it.

Blue Green (Toxic) Algae

Toxic, or blue-green algae is not actually algae at all. It is a photosynthetic bacteria called cyanobacteria, that is the result of an extreme algae overgrowth. It can form a layer of scum or some mats on the surface that can look blue, green, purple, brown, or red. Blue-Green algae smells foul. It is often found in slow moving waters with warm temperatures where algae growth is excessive. This algae can be very harmful to aquatic life, livestock, pets and humans. Do not go near toxic algae, and always call local authorities if it is spotted in a public body of water.

Mizzen® Algaecide can help you get rid of algae you need controlled. Visit our website at LakeRestoration.com for Mizzen® and other aquatic herbicide and algaecide products.

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