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Question about chara life cycle
#132821 09/18/08 10:01 PM
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I recall that back in March Cecil posted some terrific pictures of algae in his pond -- I believe he mentioned they were mats of dead chara rising to the surface. Hope that's what I have happening in this picture. It's been one tough summer for my pond. Missed one dye treatment when we were gone most of July, and the chara really took off.

I've managed to rake in a lot that is close to shore. This "mound" just seemed to well up in the middle of the pond about three weeks ago -- and thus far has been resistant to the granular copper product I sometimes use.

Anybody know if these are the "death throes" of a chara bed? ... or does it look like I'm going to have to row out in my leaky jonboat and haul the stuff in?

-- Mike in Lexington, VA



Re: Question about chara life cycle
ML Smith #132823 09/18/08 10:10 PM
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Hey mike, good looking pond. how are your trout doin?
I don't know anything about chara, but I'm sure someone who does will chime in.



Re: Question about chara life cycle
adirondack pond #132824 09/18/08 10:16 PM
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ML,

I've never had Chara rise to the surface. Typical algae yes. If you can get it out I would remove it.

I just raked out most of the Chara from my trout pond. I have blisters on my hands to prove it. I would have gone inside to get the gloves but I was afraid I would be tempted stop and not complete the job.

And you know I just raked it out a month and a half ago!


If pigs could fly bacon would be harder to come by and there would be a lot of damaged trees.






Re: Question about chara life cycle
Cecil Baird1 #132826 09/18/08 10:55 PM
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Cecil and AP --

Many thanks! I keep hoping this stuff will sink of its own accord when cold weather arrives -- but our winters have been so mild in recent years, it just may keep on growing (as it did two winters ago). No, I guess I better launch the jonboat (it has about 15 minutes of flotation time before its fills and swamps) and see what I can haul in.

Cecil, as you know, this stuff is incredibly heavy -- one hay fork full is like lifting a cubic foot of water.

But on the plus side, my trout have made it through another Virginia summer. Some seem a bit skinny; but most appear to be healthy. Over the past week or so, the trout have begun to crowd out the sunfish and catfish I had been feeding during the latter part of summer.

I'll start fishing my trout again in a week or two. It will be interesting to see if any of the brookies made it through. -- Mike

Re: Question about chara life cycle
ML Smith #132835 09/19/08 07:11 AM
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Mike, good to hear your trout made it thru another summer. Mine are doing ok, the rainbows have grown from 6" to more than 10", and tigers are more than 14". I get a few brookies locally every week so they're various sizes. Now I'm trying to get everything ready for winter.
Is there any correlation between the ph of the water, and chara ?
I have lower ph 5.5 - 6, and don't have chara. Also are you still building a cage for raising brook trout, and what size will it be?

Larry



Re: Question about chara life cycle
ML Smith #132836 09/19/08 07:27 AM
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 Originally Posted By: ML Smith
Cecil and AP --

Many thanks! I keep hoping this stuff will sink of its own accord when cold weather arrives -- but our winters have been so mild in recent years, it just may keep on growing (as it did two winters ago). No, I guess I better launch the jonboat (it has about 15 minutes of flotation time before its fills and swamps) and see what I can haul in.

Cecil, as you know, this stuff is incredibly heavy -- one hay fork full is like lifting a cubic foot of water.

But on the plus side, my trout have made it through another Virginia summer. Some seem a bit skinny; but most appear to be healthy. Over the past week or so, the trout have begun to crowd out the sunfish and catfish I had been feeding during the latter part of summer.

I'll start fishing my trout again in a week or two. It will be interesting to see if any of the brookies made it through. -- Mike


ML,

I pull mine out with an aquatic weed rake up onto the shore. Not that bad as long as you don't lift up. Once on the shore I use a pitch fork to throw it into a wheel barrow or trailer.


If pigs could fly bacon would be harder to come by and there would be a lot of damaged trees.






Re: Question about chara life cycle
ML Smith #132844 09/19/08 08:22 AM
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I found an article by Bob Lusk on chara, and water ph. apparently chara will not grow in water with lower ph, at what point it doesn't say.
Mike, have you checked the ph of your water, and would it be possible to lower your ph without damaging your pond, or costing alot of money.
Cecil said because of the water exchange rate in his ponds treatment would be prohibitive, but It looks like you don't have a big water exchange.






Last edited by adirondack pond; 09/19/08 08:27 AM.


Re: Question about chara life cycle
adirondack pond #132845 09/19/08 08:46 AM
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I was also told by a fish farmer that Chara thrives in ponds that get a lot of groundwater.


If pigs could fly bacon would be harder to come by and there would be a lot of damaged trees.






Re: Question about chara life cycle
Cecil Baird1 #132847 09/19/08 08:53 AM
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How about putting oak leaves, or pine needles in mesh bags in the pond to help lower ph.? I can,t take credit for that idea I read it on another site.



Re: Question about chara life cycle
adirondack pond #132849 09/19/08 09:11 AM
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The last time I had the ph checked, it was almost 7.8; and the total hardness was very high. I don't recall he exact figure, but it was in the low 400's. So, indeed, this is pretty hard spring water; and from what I've read about chara, my pond is just about as good a home as it could want!

Over the past few years, I've sort of arrived at a "truce" with it. I can't really eliminate it, so I just try to keep it in check. I was fairly successful at that approach in 2005; a little better in 2006 and 2007. Chara won this year.

My normal containment regimen is to start early in the year (March or April) with a light application of granular Cutrine Plus at hot spot areas. I usually start applications of a dye (Aquashade) in early May, adding about a quart every 10 days or so. This worked well for almost three years. The chara was pretty much restricted to close-in areas.

There were still extensive chara beds throughout the bottom of the pond, but the reduced sunlight probably served to keep it in check.

One good thing I will say about chara -- it appears to serve as great habitat for aquatic insect life. A minor downside is that it may provide a bit too much escape cover for young-of-year bass and sunfish (also permanent residents of my "trout" pond).

I have an aerial photo of my pond that my son-in-law took last winter. In our family, we've dubbed it "the chara monster." It shows just how complete the chara coverage is in my pond.

By the way, AP, my local building supply has everything I need for the cage I will build ... except the key ingredient, those three-way corner pieces. I was told they are "on order."

I'll post that aerial picture in just a moment. -- Mike

Re: Question about chara life cycle
ML Smith #132852 09/19/08 09:22 AM
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Here's an aerial photo of my pond. My son-in-law is in commercial real estate and snapped a brief series of our place last January when he was getting pictures of some local commercial properties.

Think you can see why we dubbed it "the chara monster" -- almost looks like an evil smiley face! The open areas appear blue-green ... whether that's the residual effect of an October Aquashade dosing, I cannot say. I just hope it's not indicative of accumulated copper! If so, then man you could mint pennies from that pond bottom!



The little wooded area to the right is where the spring stream flows in. That's also the site of an ongoing landscape project my wife and I began a few years back ... it just keeps on going! -- Mike

Re: Question about chara life cycle
ML Smith #132855 09/19/08 10:00 AM
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Mike, thats an interesting problem you have, I bet you've called it other words. I guess if we didn't have problems life would be boring.
Do you thing moving the water horizontally would help, like using a small water pump, or trolling motor?

Larry



Re: Question about chara life cycle
adirondack pond #132857 09/19/08 10:22 AM
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Larry --

That's an interesting idea. And honestly I hadn't thought of trying horizontal movement -- could indeed be worth a try.

One possible problem: the thing about chara is that it can spread simply by breaking apart (devious stuff, eh!?). We get some really stiff winds whipping through here from time to time, and my guess is that any broken stem of chara could simply re-establish itself on the windward side of the pond.

No, I think I'm probably going to be locked into a "cold war" with chara as long as there is water in the pond. And I have to admit, there are times in the winter -- when the water is exceptionally clear -- when it's almost attractive.

I think another problem we had this year (besides a missed application of dye) is the family of Canada geese that "adopted" the pond. Don't think we'll be anywhere near as welcoming next year! Man, can they ever "fowl" a small pond! -- Mike

Re: Question about chara life cycle
ML Smith #132867 09/19/08 12:00 PM
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Mike, I remember you saying that your grass carp had gotten too big, and aren't useful anymore. Is it worth putting in small gc every year to help control chara? Many people seem to have good results with them posted on the aquatic vegetation forum.
I'm just relating other peoples problem's, and solutions, but you've probably heard them all.
When you get your cage built are you gonna put in bt this fall, or wait untill spring? I'm thinking of using a small cage to put some of my larger pumpkinseed's in, and see how big I can get them.

Larry



Re: Question about chara life cycle
adirondack pond #132875 09/19/08 03:24 PM
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 Quote:
No, I think I'm probably going to be locked into a "cold war" with chara as long as there is water in the pond.


Actually if you completely drained the pond, let it dry out, and refilled, the Chara would probably be back. Its spreads via spores. Only way to prevent it that I know of is to drain, dry, refill and add aquashade. And even then you may get some around the edges.

That said it does hold lots of invertebrates and as you mentioned it keeps the water gin clear.

And one more thing. Copper products do not even work on my Chara. Even with the chelated copper my water is too hard.

Last edited by Cecil Baird1; 09/19/08 03:24 PM.

If pigs could fly bacon would be harder to come by and there would be a lot of damaged trees.






Re: Question about chara life cycle
Cecil Baird1 #132881 09/19/08 05:12 PM
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Cecil --

I have had some luck with copper -- but not as much as I would like. It seems to work best early in the year. Later applications haven't been very effective at all. I use it as sparingly as possible now, mostly because I used way too much the first season I owned this pond (2002) and before I put trout in.

And I have to wonder sometime if chara doesn't build up a certain tolerance for the stuff.

Larry --

I've considered getting more grass carp. But from what I've read, they're effective with chara while they are less than 20" in total length. Apparently, at that size, they start to switch over to more substantial plants. I can get a permit from Virginia Game & Inland Fisheries to get up to four triploid grass carp for a pond my size (the original pond owner put in eight about 12 or 13 years ago).

A local supplier deals in 8" triploid grass carp -- I'm pretty sure they would grow to 20"+ in their first season; thus I would probably be purchasing them every year ... and that could get a little expensive. And I have to tell you, once they're in a pond, they are probably going to be in there for a long, long time. Very tough fish to remove, in my experience.

The cage I plan will be just about 30 cubic feet, 5' x 3' x 2'. I want to start off with about 25 6"-8" brook trout (just about the size my few remaining channel cats enjoyed as "snack food" last November). If I can get them in by November 15, I would hope to harvest 10" to 12" fish by March 30 or so. A local fellow starting up a restaurant has indicated an interest in purchasing some. He's a first-time restaurateur and I'm a first time fish-farmer -- ought to be interesting!

I'd really love to try cage culture of either blue or Mozambique tilapia -- but Virginia bans "open system" i.e. farm pond, culture of tilapia; they allow indoor closed systems only. I think the sudden appearance of northern snakeheads up in the Potomac drainage a few years back has made the Commonwealth especially cautious with any potential non-native critter that might conceivably establish itself in Virginia waters. -- Mike

Re: Question about chara life cycle
ML Smith #132966 09/21/08 08:01 PM
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Hey Mike, In reference to your fish cage are you keeping it near your spring inlet, and how many pounds of BT do you think is possible in 30 cubic ft.?

Larry

Last edited by adirondack pond; 09/21/08 08:01 PM.


Re: Question about chara life cycle
adirondack pond #132973 09/21/08 08:47 PM
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Larry --

I want to place the cage about 15 to 20 feet away from where my aeration system wells up, or about halfway between shore and the aeration. That's a part of my pond that has never frozen over -- and it is in a direct line from where the spring stream enters, but probably at least 150 feet from the spring itself.

Assuming I can stock the cage with 25 brook trout averaging 7" (which might average about 3 oz. each -- and that's a guess), and assuming I lose no more than five (20%) to various causes (or 80% survival), I would hope to get the surviving fish to about 8 or 9 ounces each. So, starting with a biomass of about 4.7 lbs. of trout, I would hope to get a total net yield that would weigh about 10 pounds (20 trout # 8 oz. each). This would be over a span of approximately four months -- I think this may prove to be a bit ambitious, but that's the initial goal at least.

Previous issues of POND BOSS have had excellent articles on cage culture -- so, I'm going to re-read those, plus review the online posts ... and then check back here for wishes of good luck and support! -- Mike

Re: Question about chara life cycle
ML Smith #132976 09/21/08 09:42 PM
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Mike, It sounds like you've done your research. I guess if you have water temps. around 50 degrees you should get maximum growth.
Do you plan on aerating only during the day to keep temps up during the winter?
Your right about the articles in past pond boss issues, they go into detail on building cages, I'll probably build a small one for my pumpkinseed experiment. Good luck.

Larry



Re: Question about chara life cycle
adirondack pond #132978 09/21/08 10:12 PM
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Larry --

Many thanks -- Good luck to you as well with the pumpkinseeds (still one of my favorite fish!)

I think the amount of aeration will depend a lot on the air temperatures. I will probably run the system at least 3 or 4 hours each day, during daylight hours.

If water temperatures stay about 45 or above, I'll feed; if they drop, I won't. Toward the end of the cycle, there will probably be a number of days with 60 water temperatures and above. On such days I would run the aeration system all day and night -- plus try two feedings, one early and one late in the day.

Weather is the big unknown at this point. Mild winter, and my weight goal could be realistic. Harsh winter ... well, I'll just try to release the survivors in a part of the pond where they might be able to elude the largemouth bass and big channel cats, at least for a few days. -- Mike

Re: Question about chara life cycle
ML Smith #133026 09/22/08 01:22 PM
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I can tell you that chara will come floating to the top. I have tons of it this year. Copper will work but doesn't do the best job. I'm in the annual process of taking it out and putting it in the garden. It does wonders for the garden.

I can see where chara can become a big problem for small ponds. I have places where it will grow very thick 5 feet deep.

Re: Question about chara life cycle
TEXAS715 #133030 09/22/08 04:11 PM
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 Originally Posted By: TEXAS715
I can tell you that chara will come floating to the top. I have tons of it this year. Copper will work but doesn't do the best job. I'm in the annual process of taking it out and putting it in the garden. It does wonders for the garden.

I can see where chara can become a big problem for small ponds. I have places where it will grow very thick 5 feet deep.


Are you sure it's Chara? I've never had Chara float to the top even when I'm raking it.


If pigs could fly bacon would be harder to come by and there would be a lot of damaged trees.






Re: Question about chara life cycle
Cecil Baird1 #133088 09/23/08 08:37 AM
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My Chara floats up to the top when it starts to die off. I had about 30% surface coverage of a 3/4 acre pond just before Hurricane Ike. With the high winds/waves I have no more surface Chara...its all up on the banks.

Mine is also very thick even in 7 ft water. It seems to keep the water very clear and I get 4+ ft visibility. I am getting some Triploid GC from Overton in early Oct.

I have not tried any chemical control this year. I use well water or falling rain to keep pond level up...I get no runoff due to banks 2 ft higher than surrounding land.


Thanks,

Darryl
Re: Question about chara life cycle
archer #133099 09/23/08 09:10 AM
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I agree with Cecil, I have seen lots and lots of Chara and a similar genus called Nitella. I have never seen it float. The vascular features are not such that will allow it to float similar to alot of other submerged vegetation. The only way that I know it could float is if it had FA attached or was somehow trapping air or gas bubbles. IMO you have your plants misidentified or TX Chara is a lot different that regular Chara. Some bushy pond weeds look a lot like Chara. Although bushy pond weed also typically sinks when dislodged. A close-up photo of Chara that floated would be very interesting and educational for Cecil and I to see.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 09/23/08 09:14 AM.

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Re: Question about chara life cycle
Bill Cody #133102 09/23/08 09:20 AM
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What I see floating is actually the chara that had grown up to the surface and then gets burned by the sun as my water level falls. I lose about 1" per day in hot summer time, and this thick floating stuff peaked towards the end of August. If I am real diligent and keep the water level topped off every 2 days, I see less floating...if I go about 8 days between water fills, then I see a lot more. The floating stuff is gooey and brown.

I had Todd Overton positively identify the Chara, however, it was a fresh sample from about 2 ft of water.

My water stats from 12-19-2007 were:
ph 7.5
alk 140 ppm
hardness 80 ppm

I was hoping that the GC will make a dent in it and my algae bloom will come back. Should I chemical control as well ?


Thanks,

Darryl
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