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#481124 - 10/16/17 10:57 AM FA life cycle
Dam'dWaters Offline


Registered: 10/05/17
Posts: 101
Loc: Iowa
I'd like to understand the life cycle of FA better. The old saying is "know your friends well, know your enemy better." It's my understanding that it grows on the bottom of the pond, feeding off of certain nutrients, forms a mat which traps oxygen/gases, then floats to the surface, we then spend ridiculous amounts of money and sweat only to have it repeat itself. Am I close?

I had a lot of FA in my new pond in July which eventually covered more than half the surface area at one one point in early Aug. I raked and sprayed best I could at the time and it's currently a fraction of the problem it was. I assume some of that happened naturally along with my intervention.

Questions:

Is spraying just a temporary fix since it's my understanding that the nutrients that fed the FA bloom will stay in the pond?

After a bloom, is raking and physically removing the FA the most effective way to remove the actual problem of nutrients?

Are the nutrients that initially fed it coming with the plant material when I pull it out of the water?

I am also working to plant some beneficial plants in hopes of them using the nutrients before the FA does. What other options (if any) can help be added, taken away or used to limit the available nutrients? My runoff/water sources mostly come from outside of my property so I cannot change the topography.

Ewest shared with me on another post that low "P" is typically the limiting factor in most ponds which is why a typical pond fertilizer might be 0-46-0. I'm getting my water tested now to see where I'm at now. Final question, is a water test from October going to still tell the story I need to know from earlier in the yr?

Thanks in advance!!!
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J Waters
Dam'd Waters Farm
2/3 ac dam'd stream pond
BG, HBG, RES, LMB, YP

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#481126 - 10/16/17 11:34 AM Re: FA life cycle [Re: Dam'dWaters]
John Fitzgerald Offline


Registered: 10/27/15
Posts: 2126
Loc: S. end of Elkins, Arkansas
We raked out several hundred pounds of FA over the late summer. It was used as garden mulch and added to the compost pile. Yes, when you remove mats of FA, you remove nutrients from the pond, provided the FA is disposed of outside the watershed of the pond.
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#481130 - 10/16/17 12:11 PM Re: FA life cycle [Re: Dam'dWaters]
Bill Cody Online   content
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Lunker

Registered: 04/18/02
Posts: 12690
Loc: Northwest Ohio - Malinta OH
Pondwater Nutrients are in a constant daily fluctuation of production and use. Every pond has a high and low nutrient concentration over the course of a year - nutrient budget. The overall abundance of nutrients throughout the year determines how much of all types of plant material that grows. The knowledge of channeling the nutrients into beneficial plants is in its infancy stages. More information on this topic is needed.

Floating islands are a step in the right direction and a way to sequester nutrients, while helping grow more fish. A few articles by Bruce Kania about their floating islands have been in PBoss Magazine about reducing nutrients and growing fish.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Floating_island
www.floatingislandinternational.com/products/biohaven-technology

Planting beneficial submerged vegetation, aka Aquascaping and various types of biofilters have been tried.


Edited by Bill Cody (10/16/17 12:12 PM)
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#481136 - 10/16/17 12:57 PM Re: FA life cycle [Re: Dam'dWaters]
snrub Offline


Registered: 10/05/13
Posts: 5362
Loc: SE Kansas
Lots of good questions Dwaters.

Here is an old thread of mine that does not answer all of your questions but at least lets you know some of the journey those before you have traveled. You might find something in it worthwhile.

Anything positive about FA?
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#481140 - 10/16/17 02:01 PM Re: FA life cycle [Re: Bill Cody]
Dam'dWaters Offline


Registered: 10/05/17
Posts: 101
Loc: Iowa
Bill, I had already planned on building one or more floating islands going into next year. Thanks for the suggestion (confirmation). I promise to post my designs and experiences with everyone as I do it. I'd already come across Biohaven as I began my planning. I'm a DIYer though so will probably build something rather than buy a system.
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Dam'd Waters Farm
2/3 ac dam'd stream pond
BG, HBG, RES, LMB, YP

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#481142 - 10/16/17 02:05 PM Re: FA life cycle [Re: Dam'dWaters]
Dam'dWaters Offline


Registered: 10/05/17
Posts: 101
Loc: Iowa
Snrub, I've looked through that thread. Great stuff, but I just couldn't quite get all my questions answered. I have witnessed the benefits of some FA first hand. I can't believe the amount of life I was dragging out of my very young pond along with the algea. 6-8 months in and I found 1000s of crawdads, frogs, fry, etc. I just hope there's some bigger fish down in there somewhere too smile
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J Waters
Dam'd Waters Farm
2/3 ac dam'd stream pond
BG, HBG, RES, LMB, YP

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#481143 - 10/16/17 02:11 PM Re: FA life cycle [Re: Dam'dWaters]
Dam'dWaters Offline


Registered: 10/05/17
Posts: 101
Loc: Iowa
Since this is a young pond, how much should major FA blooms simply be expected? Am I correct in thinking that without a mature base of rooted vegetation in a young pond this must happen, to a certain degree, with every build?

I realize the I'm going to get the "it all depends", but common sense tells me it would get better with time in every pond.


Edited by Dam'dWaters (10/16/17 02:12 PM)
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J Waters
Dam'd Waters Farm
2/3 ac dam'd stream pond
BG, HBG, RES, LMB, YP

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#481153 - 10/16/17 04:25 PM Re: FA life cycle [Re: Dam'dWaters]
ewest Offline
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Hall of Fame 2014

Lunker

Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 19702
Loc: Miss.
Unaddressed FA usually gets worse with time. Brand new ponds ( 1 year) that I am aware of don't have FA problems. It is a nutrient + light + temp situation.
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#481189 - 10/17/17 11:32 AM Re: FA life cycle [Re: Dam'dWaters]
Dam'dWaters Offline


Registered: 10/05/17
Posts: 101
Loc: Iowa
Well, then that's scary for me. I had hoped it would start at given level then get better as rooted vegetation became established. Mine had a very serious FA issue within 9-10 mos of being built. I need to figure out a way to remove and control nutrient inflow. Looking forward to getting my water tests back.

I've done the following:

- at the time of peak FA bloom, I added aeration (double difusers) which I've been running 24/7.
- added beneficial bacteria
- sprayed from the shore
- did and will continue to physically remove FA mats. I could have done better here.
- plan to add planted floating islands in the spring

any other ideas? I've read in here that some people do not run their air continuously. It's my understanding that is done to control water temps for the fish, but what effect does it have on FA?
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J Waters
Dam'd Waters Farm
2/3 ac dam'd stream pond
BG, HBG, RES, LMB, YP

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#481190 - 10/17/17 11:42 AM Re: FA life cycle [Re: Dam'dWaters]
canyoncreek Offline


Registered: 05/07/13
Posts: 1943
Loc: West Michigan
aeration times depend on your pre-existing water quality, volume of water that you have to turn over and how fast your setup turns over the complete water column. Folks on this thread who help set up aeration can help you with the formulas. Basically you calculate total volume of water that has to 'turn over' per 24 hours and shoot for one turnover per day or less. That usually is a calculation that has to be done BEFORE you size your aeration pump and decide how many diffusers you need. The depth the diffusers are placed and where they are placed is part of this 'art of aeration'.

But assuming you have enough capacity to turn over the water, then there is not much benefit from over turnover.

Then many of us have found that keeping water on the cooler side is to your advantage. So some of us run daytime aeration in early spring after ice out to warm up the pond since we can't wait to fish, start feeding, and see the activity of spawning start as water temps warm. But on the other hand, many don't aerate at all in the spring since it isn't needed. Then when surface temps start to climb and the water runs the risk of 'stratifying' then you run concern about having low O2 water below the stratifying line (thermocline) Again, if your pond isn't that deep, or has a cold water source like a creek, or has a lot of wind action to stir it where you are then that risk of water quality stratification is less.

Then as the heat hits most people run their aerator at nights only to try to keep it on the cool side. That seems to help with the FA issues.

I hear a great talk was given on this topic at the last PB conference. The speaker is possibly not on this forum but if she was, she probably should chime in here. Otherwise look for posts from Sue Cruz who is very good at this and could give advice.

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#481191 - 10/17/17 11:52 AM Re: FA life cycle [Re: Dam'dWaters]
John Fitzgerald Offline


Registered: 10/27/15
Posts: 2126
Loc: S. end of Elkins, Arkansas
If FA gets worse with time, then I will have 100% coverage late next summer. It has abated a lot now, from probably 60% coverage at worst to probably 10% now. Would it help if I started treatment in March next year? Is there any recommended treatment besides Cutrine?
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#481192 - 10/17/17 01:17 PM Re: FA life cycle [Re: Dam'dWaters]
canyoncreek Offline


Registered: 05/07/13
Posts: 1943
Loc: West Michigan
can you remove a big nutrient load somehow? Either dredging, raking the bottom nutrient 'sink' or raking FA?

Can you use tilapia to consume nutrients, consume FA and remove in fall/winter?

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#481194 - 10/17/17 01:31 PM Re: FA life cycle [Re: Dam'dWaters]
ewest Offline
Moderator
Hall of Fame 2014

Lunker

Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 19702
Loc: Miss.
FA forms on the bottom and as it nears its life cycle end and as O from its respiration increases in the filaments it breaks loose and floats to the surface. If you can prevent light penetration to the bottom FA will be reduced. Light penetration can be reduced with dye or plankton blooms. Nutrients can be reduced by other plant growth. Also a much more difficult process can be used to make sure that a limiting factor to plant growth can be introduced (for example no P). Chemical suppression is also a possible option.
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#481196 - 10/17/17 02:10 PM Re: FA life cycle [Re: John Fitzgerald]
snrub Offline


Registered: 10/05/13
Posts: 5362
Loc: SE Kansas
Originally Posted By: John Fitzgerald
If FA gets worse with time, then I will have 100% coverage late next summer. It has abated a lot now, from probably 60% coverage at worst to probably 10% now. Would it help if I started treatment in March next year? Is there any recommended treatment besides Cutrine?


John from what I have read and experienced personally for at least one season is that control needs to start early and stay ahead of the game. If a person waits till the FA appears to be a problem, it is mostly too late for much effective control that season. At least for the early cool water FA varieties which is what mostly affects me.

March is not too early for us if it is a warm spring. As soon as the stuff starts showing up on the bottom before it reaches much size at all is when I had the best luck of getting ahead of the curve. Controlled early, then I only had small amounts around the edge later in the season which is ok with me because it provides cover for YOY BG where I lack much rooted vegetation. But I had no problem with floating mats covering half the pond like I did the previous year.


Edited by snrub (10/17/17 02:12 PM)
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#481197 - 10/17/17 02:38 PM Re: FA life cycle [Re: Dam'dWaters]
canyoncreek Offline


Registered: 05/07/13
Posts: 1943
Loc: West Michigan
It may be a particularly daring experiment, but crayfish may be an effective treatment. They for sure stir the water if there are adequate numbers which ends up acting like a 'brown pond dye' for no additional cost. In theory they eat FA but not sure you can rely on that part of the equation.

Can you stock crayfish in IA? There is an unlimited number of rusty crayfish in the lakes north of us that i wish we could mobilize by mail....

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#481198 - 10/17/17 03:25 PM Re: FA life cycle [Re: canyoncreek]
Dam'dWaters Offline


Registered: 10/05/17
Posts: 101
Loc: Iowa
Thanks for the idea Canyon. I have a lot of what I've always called common crawdads right now (not sure of the species). They love the conditions with FA all over the place. I'm not familiar with "rusty crayfish", but I'm guessing they're probably similar.

I could probably throw catfish, carp, goldfish, etc. in my pond to stir up the water, but that's something I'm pretty sure I don't want. I'm hoping for a better way.
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J Waters
Dam'd Waters Farm
2/3 ac dam'd stream pond
BG, HBG, RES, LMB, YP

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#481201 - 10/17/17 04:43 PM Re: FA life cycle [Re: Dam'dWaters]
canyoncreek Offline


Registered: 05/07/13
Posts: 1943
Loc: West Michigan
rusty info sheet

Iowa info about rusty crayfish:
Iowa Fact sheet about Rustys

Iowa has rusty crayfish already, not sure about your area. I found it interesting in the IA article that it says that it is illegal to even put your boat in a body of water that has rusty crayfish in it already. That eliminates the big river systems in IA, all of the Mississippi river and from what it sounds like, more than half the bodies of water in IA.

Certainly you may not be interested in adding these kind on purpose if you have a good supply of 'native' crayfish. Do you have sufficient numbers that they stir up the water? What is your water clarity like? If you desire more crayfish creating habitat for them to survive predation is a win win both for your fish as a forage choice and also perhaps to prevent water from getting too much sunlight to grow weeds.

Don't throw in carp or goldfish... just trust me on that.

How about the tilapia idea is that allowed in IA?

Else it is back to chemicals, boat mounted harvesting or manual shore or wading based 'raking' of the algae.

It is back breaking work, more suited for changing the attitudes of obnoxious adolescents or productive work for prisoner crews who need to do good community service projects.

Removing algae dead or alive is better than killing with chemicals and letting it sink...

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#481203 - 10/17/17 04:54 PM Re: FA life cycle [Re: Dam'dWaters]
canyoncreek Offline


Registered: 05/07/13
Posts: 1943
Loc: West Michigan
If interested, try to catch some of your crayfish in a trap and use this handy guide to identify them. There are good crayfish identification experts on this forum who may want to review this guide for accuracy, or post pictures and we can try to help.

Quick guide to identifying crayfish

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#481206 - 10/17/17 07:14 PM Re: FA life cycle [Re: canyoncreek]
Bill D. Offline


Registered: 10/19/14
Posts: 5753
Loc: Boone County Illinois
Originally Posted By: canyoncreek
If interested, try to catch some of your crayfish in a trap and use this handy guide to identify them. There are good crayfish identification experts on this forum who may want to review this guide for accuracy, or post pictures and we can try to help.

Quick guide to identifying crayfish


Thanks for posting the guide CC. I saved it to my personal pond reference archive.
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#481225 - 10/17/17 11:45 PM Re: FA life cycle [Re: Dam'dWaters]
Dam'dWaters Offline


Registered: 10/05/17
Posts: 101
Loc: Iowa
Canyon, thanks for the awesome crayfish I.D guide. That's really well done. I have to catch a few, but that rusty pic looks like what I've caught in the past.

Don't worry, I'm not putting carp or goldfish in my pond smile

Re: Tilapia, they are not allowed in IA which I don't understand since they cannot survive a winter here. Hell, I don't think they can survive a Halloween for that matter.

I agree with you on FA removal. Should only be a punishment for bad behavior or a lost bet. With that said I'm guessing it does well as an amendment when tilled into my vegetable garden.
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J Waters
Dam'd Waters Farm
2/3 ac dam'd stream pond
BG, HBG, RES, LMB, YP

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#481240 - 10/18/17 08:31 AM Re: FA life cycle [Re: Dam'dWaters]
bassmaster61 Offline


Registered: 06/18/15
Posts: 149
Loc: St. Louis, MO/West Central Ill...
I have had luck reducing FA problems in our ponds by doing the following:

1. In the spring, when water temps reach 48-50 degrees (usually in March) apply 10-12 pounds per surface acre of copper sulfate crystals (small or medium size) by putting them in a double layered burlap sack(s) and motoring around the shoreline of your BOW. Here in the Midwest, that will make your ponds look like a million bucks until late May

2. Once you get into that late May/early June period you will need to spot treat FA and other non-desired weeds every 2 to 3 weeks. We use a combination mixture of diquat/Cutrine Plus/surfactant. If your problem is mostly or all FA use 1 gal. of CP for every 9 gal of water...for smaller batches that translates into 11% CP for your given amount of water, 1.5% diquat for your given amount of water and 0.7% of surfactant for your given amount of water. A 3-4 gallon battery powered sprayer (like the M4 Backpack Sprayer) works great....you can walk along the shore and hit certain spots or easily take it in a boat.

If you have more of a problem with submerged weeds like coontail, sago pondweed, etc. use the same percentages but alter the formula: use 11% diquat, 1.5% CP and 0.7% surfactant. These formulas have worked well for us.

We find ourselves working with the smaller batches. I would highly recommend the battery powered backpack sprayer or something small (8-10 gal tank sprayer) that you can easily handle in a Jon boat. Use pond water to mix more when out on the boat.

Happy spraying! BM61.


Edited by bassmaster61 (10/18/17 08:34 AM)
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#481337 - 10/19/17 05:01 PM Re: FA life cycle [Re: Dam'dWaters]
Quarter Acre Online   content


Registered: 06/10/16
Posts: 894
Loc: West Central Missouri
I can attest to crawdads keeping a pond clear of all vegetation. Even though this was not a controlled experiment, my pond, before renovation, had filled in to only 2 feet deep, but had NO vegetation at all. The water was always muddy with NO signs of fish life, but you could catch a few dozen bait-sized crawdads with a trap in an hour. I bucket stocked some GSF and within two years the crawdad trap couldn't catch any crawdads and vegetation and FA was showing up. The GSF pounded the crawdads who were previously pounding the plant life.

I don't know what a person could do to simulate that as crawdads are land mobile and would likely move on if food was not abundant. I would suggest putting crawdads in the pond at any rate. A dozen or so early in the year prior to laying eggs should boost the population, BUT you will need to have plenty of rock piles to give them a place to hide.

I really don't think the crawdads will solve all you FA problems, however, unless you don't have any fish. They would do some good against plant life and supply your fish with an alternative food source should they take a hold.


Edited by Quarter Acre (10/19/17 05:02 PM)
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#481439 - 10/21/17 10:13 PM Re: FA life cycle [Re: Quarter Acre]
esshup Offline
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Registered: 01/26/09
Posts: 24032
Loc: Grovertown, Indiana
There are different species of Filamentous Algae (FA) and they all have their niche growing season and parameters. Remove any one of those things (light, nutrients) and it won't grow.

Some things that can be done to mitigate the FA problem.

1) Tilapia (where legal) to eat the FA.
2) Nutrient reduction, or at least using underwater plants or using floating islands with plants growing on them to tie up the nutrients so FA can't grow.
3) Minimize sunlight penetration to the pond bottom. That can be done with dye or a phytoplankton bloom, which will also help tie up nutrients.
4) Wave action. Very hard to do in a pond setting. Waves beat the snot out of the floating mats, not allowing gasses to accumulate to make them float.
5) Removing FA as it grows and floats. Very labor intensive as you found out. One pound of phosphorus can grow 500 pounds of Filamentous Algae.....
6) Nutrient reduction using a product like PhosLock or aluminum sulfate buffered with hydrated lime to bind excess phosphorus and tie it up on the bottom of the pond.
and last but not least
7) Using algaecides, be it a a copper based algaecide (chelated copper like Cutrine Plus), non-chelated copper like Copper Sulfate, phycomycin (a Sodium Carbonate Peroxyhydrate based algaecide), etc. With the chemical route, it's figure out the pro's and cons of each product, determine your budget and apply roughly every 2 weeks during the growing season.....

In a new pond, there shouldn't be enough nutrients to cause a FA explosion. Some causes of that in a new pond is using nutrient rich water to fill the pond, having nutrient rich water runoff from surrounding ground into the pond, putting top soil back into the pond before it fills, or fertilizing a new pond before figuring out if it is needed or not.
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