Troubleshooting Common Pond Issues: Algae, Weed, and Clogging Problems

A pond is undoubtedly one of the best additions to your landscape. It can give your space an unmatched charm and picturesque look that’s both understated and beautiful. On top of this, it’s also a great way to attract beneficial insects to your garden, such as the dragonfly, and build a healthy ecosystem in your space.

Of course, this is only possible if you have a proper pond maintenance routine in place. If you don’t maintain your pond, it can quickly become riddled with germs and bacteria that will end up doing more harm than good. This is why, before getting a pond for your garden, you must assess whether you can maintain it well and only get it if you can ensure a proper maintenance routine.

Pond maintenance can be preemptive in which case you will be cleaning it before any problems arise. You can also have a troubleshooting approach in which you deal with problems as they appear. These problems can range from eliminating pond algae to safely removing pondweed and dealing with clogs.

In this blog, we’re going to discuss some common pond issues and how you can troubleshoot these problems.

Understanding and Eliminating Pond Algae

Pond algae overgrowth is one of the biggest nuisances that you may face when maintaining your pond. In moderate quantity, algae is actually good for the aquatic life in your pond as it can produce oxygen in the water. However, it can grow out of control and take over your entire pond and affect the fish and plants in there.

The best way to eliminate pond algae is to first understand how they grow and only then you can come up with effective ways to remove it. Let’s learn more about it.

How Does Pond Algae Grow?

The presence of excessive nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphate is the primary driver of algae growth in ponds. This usually comes from fertilizer runoffs or phosphorus-based cleaners that enter the pond from surrounding areas.

In addition to this, algae also needs sunlight and carbon dioxide to grow and bloom so it isn’t until the excessive nutrients are exposed to these that algae begins to grow.

Close up shot of algae.

How to Prevent Algae Growth

When it comes to algae, the best course of action is to prevent it from growing in the first place. Here are some tried and tested ways in which you can prevent algae growth in your pond.

  • Minimize fertilizer runoff by being careful with the fertilizer you apply to your grass and plants. Make sure to follow the instructions on the package so you don’t use more than what’s needed and sweep all the extra fertilizer back into the plants and grass. You should also avoid fertilizing on windy days when the fertilizer may get scattered.
  • Use phosphorous-free cleaners to wash your car, especially if you’re cleaning near the garden.
  • Discard your pet’s waste carefully and don’t feed anything out of the ordinary to the fish and waterfowl in your pond.
  • Add plenty of deep-water and floating pond plants that absorb the excessive nutrients, organic matter, and carbon dioxide before they turn into algae. The plants will also add shade to the pond which will prevent the sunlight from reaching the water surface where algae grow.
Lilly pads floating on the pond’s surface.

How to Eliminate Pond Algae

Sometimes preventative options aren’t enough, and you may end up with excess algae growth in your pond. This is important because algal bloom can be harmful to the pond fish and plants that may ingest the toxic algae. In this case, you’ll have to work out ways to eliminate the algal bloom. Here are some ways you can do it:

  • Chemical control: You can use algae controlling chemicals such as chelated copper or copper sulfate to kill the algae. Copper is an effective alga killing agent however it can harm fish so you must use this option with caution.
  • Physical removal: As the name suggests, you can simply remove the algae from the pond by running a rake on the pond’s surface. You can also add algae-eating fish, such as triploid grass carp and Mozambique tilapia, to the pond.
Koi fish in a pond.

Removing Pondweed and Preventing Future Growth

Pondweed is another major problem that you may face when maintaining your pond. Like algae, pondweed can be harmful to the plants and fish in your pond, and it can also ruin the appearance of your pond. Here are some tried and tested ways in which you can remove it and prevent it from growing in the future:

  • Chemical Control: An easy way out is to use weed-controlling chemicals in your pond. However, it’s likely to ruin the water quality and load the water with more nutrients that may worsen the algae growth.
  • Inversion-Oxygenation Systems: The inversion-oxygenation system can aerate the pond and process the excess nutrients to prevent the growth of weeds. The aeration also adds oxygen to the water which supports the survival of the aquatic life and creates a sustainable ecosystem.
  • Water Draining and Replacement: You can manually remove the weeds by draining the water, pulling out the weeds, and filling up the pond with clean water.
  • Weed-Eating Fish: Koi, grass carp, and goldfish can be added to the pond. These fish eat weeds that grow in your pond and are an effective way of removing this nuisance as it grows.
Long-fin fish in a pond.

Dealing with Clogs in the Pond

Dirt buildup, algae, and weed growth can quickly clog your pond. If you don’t practice thorough maintenance, you’ll have to deal with these clogs quite frequently. Thankfully, there are some tried and tested ways for you deal with them without much hassle. Here are some effective methods of dealing with a clogged pond:

  • Ensure a clean and well-maintained pond that has good water quality.
  • Add a pump to your pond and keep it running.
  • Introduce good bacteria into the pond with appropriate pond plants and fish.
  • Periodically remove the sludge from your pond.
  • Get algae and weed eating fish for your pond.

In addition to all these pond maintenance techniques, always remember that preventing problems is better than troubleshooting. This is why it’s always a good idea to have a proper pond maintenance routine in place that preemptively deals with the issues.

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