Algae is a common term for the ‘pond scum’ you often see floating on top of your water body, but algae is a lot more than just these floating mats. Algae are the simplest forms of plants which can range from individual cells on the microscopic level to large plant like structures called macro algae. Algae does not have a true root system, which allows it to be anywhere in the water body. Algae is generally classified into 3 different groups: Filamentous algae, planktonic algae, & Chara.
Also known as “pond scum” or “scum,” this type of algae can form dense, hair-like mats on the water’s surface. If left untreated, the mats can cover the entire surface of the pond. There are many species of filamentous algae and often more than one species will be present at the same time in the pond.
Other names for Filamentous Algae are: Horsehair algae, Stringy algae, Algae mats, pond moss, and spirogyra.
Also known as “blue-green” algae, this type of algae is actually millions of microscopic plants that give the pond a “pea-soup” appearance. If left untreated, natural die-off in the fall may cause a fish kill.
Other common names for Planktonic Algae are: pea-soup, green water
Chara /Muskgrass is often mistaken for a vascular plant, but is actually a form of algae. It grows most commonly in shallow water where the nutrient levels are high. Its rough texture and strong, musty odor, almost garlic-like, easily distinguishes it when pulled from the water.
Other common names for chara Algae are: muskgrass
Algae is a common term for the ‘pond scum’ you often see floating on top of your water body, but algae is a lot more than just these floating mats. Algae are the simplest forms of plants which can range from individual cells on the microscopic level to large plant like structures called macro algae. Algae does not have a true root system, which allows it to be anywhere in the water body.
Algae can grow where ever there is ample amounts of nutrients and UV rays. Pond Scum grow slow moving mountain streams and creeks in Colorado, drinking reservoirs in Ohio, irrigation lakes in Kansas, drainage ditches in Alabama, marsh lands in Florida, watering tanks in Texas, Fire ponds in California, retention ponds in Indiana, and even backyard ponds Pennsylvania. Algae will grow as long as it has food and sunlight.
Algae is generally classified into 3 different groups: Filamentous algae, which are those floating mats you often see on top or below the water. planktonic algae, which are small individual algae cells that can infest your whole water body and turn your water green. The last group is Chara, Chara or muskgrass looks more like a weed than an alga and is often confused as such. See our algae Id pages to better identify the scum growing in your body.
Algae is both beneficial and harmful depending on what type of algae you have and at what volume.
You can kill algae with an epa registered algaecide like Captain, SeClear, SeClear G or Pak27.
Yes, you can manually remove algae by hand from your waterbody, however you will want to make sure to haul all of the biomass as far from the pond so it does not wash back in. Many planktonic types are very difficult to physically remove. A draw back to physically removing the algae form the waterbody is that no one can get all of their algae from their waterbody, no matter how much time and energy they put forth. So it is good to supplement manual removal of algae with a treatment like SeClear which will not only kill the algae you can not reach but also improve your water quality.
There is no perfect way to prevent algae (aka pond scum, moss) from forming in a natural waterbody. However algae needs two key things to thrive, nutrients and sunlight. So this means that if you take a few of many different actions one can take to minimize the growth and accumulation of Algae. Try to be proactive, remove as much biomass in the form of leafs, sticks and other yard debris from your waterbody. Use a colorant like SePRO Total Pond – Blue or SePRO Natural Reflections to help minimize the light penetration of the sun. Another great step is to improve your water quality with the use of products like Phoslock and SeClear to remove nutrients.