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This is a current companion thread. Note Trent's excellent post copied below. Keep in mind if you have fish , that starving the algae of nutrients also starves the plankton of food as well. No plankton equals fish problems. Like Trent said its about balance.

http://www.pondboss.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=152905&fpart=1

 Originally Posted By: Trent Lewis
All,

Another factor to consider is phosphorus is the single most limiting nutrient in an aquatic ecosystem. In the subject of nutrient loading, there is "internal loading" such as the phosphorus and nitrogen that are released by the substrate and "external loading" which are the nutrients carried in by runoff from the watershed.

Although nitrogen is important to consider, there are very few aquatic organisms that can convert it into useful compounds. So the main concern is still the phosphorus available in the water column and substrate.

Aluminum sulfate has proven itself extremely useful in sequestering phosphrous, and trace elements such as arsenic, zinc, copper and iron. Heavily saturated substrates of phosphorus can be tied up by using aluminum sulfate.

The rate at which aluminum sulfate is applied for this purpose varies according to concentration of P, substrate makeup and water chemistry (especially pH), but a professional in limnology should be able to assist you with the correct application rate for your lake.

Beneficial pond bacteria are useful, but not the only solution to reducing nutrients. In fact, better results may be seen if an alum treatment were combined with regular use of beneficial pond microbes.

We do need to achieve a balance, though. Completely nutrient-free water is sterile and unproductive for food chain initiation, so use caution when considering alum and/or microbes.

Trent


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Mike
In addition to whats been said re: bacterial introduction to ponds give consideration to the application process. As individual microorganism have minimal lateral movement the success of a bacterial treatment is greatly enhanced if the product used is a true concentrate allowing it to be diluted and
applied over large surface area via sprayer or applied in the motor wash of a boat. Simply opening a gallon jug and dribbling the contents along the shoreline will not adequately innoculate the water body. Additionally throwing a water soluble packet will only treat an area no more than 10-20 feet laterally unless ther is some movement in the water to disperse the material further. The greater the dispersion the quicker you will see results. It has been my experience that a product that replicates itself every 36 hours will deliver visible results in less than 30 days ( in waters containing a minimum of 2.0 ppm dissoved oxygen.)A successful seeding program as described will effectively control nutrient therby retarding massive blooms and lessening the use of algaecides in hot summer months. Should you have further questions email me.

darryldonaldson@bellsouth.net

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Great posts DBR, Waterwizard, Trent, et al.

Hey Waterwizard, do you know
"The Iceman"?


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AP nice looking pond! You can tell from the photo that you have great biodiversity. I'm a firm believer that the more types of critters you have in and around your pond, the better off your water quality will be. Nature truly has an amazing way of doing things right. The pH does seem to be a a bit low for bacteria. The thresholds for the bacteria we use is pH 6 - 8.5.

MM, if you are going to try bacteria, I recommend a testing program as well. Mark 3 or 4 locations througout the pond where you can test the sludge depth monthly. Start with the benchmark before treatment. In order to judge sludge depth we use a device that we call a "sludge judge" which consists of a long clear piece of 1.5" PVC tubing with a ball valve attached to the top. We draw 1" increments from the bottom up to about 4 feet. We take the sludge judge out to the testing plots, open the valve at the top and plunge it deep into the sludge until it stops. We then close the valve which holds the sludge in the clear tubing. Pull it out and see how far up the incrmenents the sludge accumulated. Test monthly to see how much bang your getting for your buck. For deeper water, you can cut the pvc so that it is mobile and then use a seal coupler to put the pipe back together. Also, clear PVC is expensive so you can use the coupling technique so that you only need a few feet of clear on the bottom which you can couple to the standard white pvc on top. Good luck.


Richard Dennis
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Richard, neat idea.


It's not about the fish. It's about the pond. Take care of the pond and the fish will be fine. PB subscriber since before it was in color.

Without a sense of urgency, Nothing ever gets done.

Boy, if I say "sic em", you'd better look for something to bite. Sam Shelley Rancher and Farmer Muleshoe Texas 1892-1985 RIP
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Burg, I have met the "Iceman" and see him quite frequently around town. However, I try to keep a much lower profile than he and his entourage. The town sure does get excited when he fights though.

DBR, good point with the lateral dispersion. Indeed there is a considerable application process including culturing the bacteria and stirring the much a bit to seed it. We do this by dragging a long chain behind a boat to disturb the top couple of inches of sludge while pouring the activated and diluted
bacteria solution into a funnel behind the boat. We do this over the entire surface area of the pond to ensure full coverage. In fact, here is a video link of an application done by our sister company Air Diffusion Systems (ADS). It also shows the "sludge judge". The movie is a bit slow and cheesy but it is a good demonstration of the testing protocol and application.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TQsvITpXav0

In regards to phosphorous sequestration: An aeration device that provides at least 0.5 PPM at the sludge-water interface will do a great job of this as well.


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Great video Richard, I especially like your idea of the sludge judge.
Since my pond is only an acre we put the fermented bacteria in buckets then poured half along the aerator bubble hose, and the other half around the pond as we stirred up the bottom with kayak paddles.
Next trip to Lowes will be for sludge judge materials.



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I have a 3 acre eutrophic lake, we had a fish kill ~6 months ago, added 3 subsurface aerators/difussers 2 months ago, and now the lake is 75% covered with Filamentous algae and a massively healthy population of chara under the surface. The bottom has a good 3-4 feet of sludge and we would like to do the right thing to restore the lake.

We had 1 lake expert that recommended we add over $4000 in microbes to clear up the environment over a 6 week period with no ongoing microbe maintenance suggested afterward. The intent was to kickstart managing the nurtrient rich environment and to impact the reduction of sludge. Although he seemed quite knoledgeable, we were his first project and he has since gone out of business due to issues with his business partner.

We talked about continuing the plan he put together with 2 different lake management companies in the Houston area that manage over 200 lakes a piece. Both of them discouraged us from using microbes. One of which said he used to sell microbes and has since discontinued it based on research suggesting a statistically non-significant difference from microbe augmentation in natural lakes. He said the difference between how these were used in waste water situations was completely different because naturally occuring microbes in those environments were non-existent and the addition made a big difference in these more controlled environments. However, in a natural lake, microbes are already there, just not doing their job due to the low oxygen levels. He now refers to microbe augmentation as a "black art".

Frankly, I am not sure what to believe, but my feeling is that the high expense is not going to produce a result worth the cost to the homeowner association. The thread here even seems to suggest mixed reviews. If we try using the Rid-X microbes in a small section of the lake, are there impacts we need to be aware of and is this even worth trying in this manner? Any suggestions on how to proceed?

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Microbes are present in your pond enviornment, but there MAY be some faster acting types in their "black art" mixture. I can tell you without hesitation, you are NOT going to make a dent in the sludge in 6 weeks. Native or added bacteria will need the aeration you now have to work efficiently. Microbes work, but not nearly as well as they are claimed to and yes, most of the bacteria that work best on detritus digestion in your area are already naturally present.

Take some measurements of your muck depth to determine if aeration alone is helping to reduce it. Muck or sludge than can be removed with bacteria comes from hevy loads of leaf or other organic debris entering the pond from runoff or such as leaves falling from the trees. If you have little leaf litter, grass, or other such organics entering your pond it is unlikely bacteria or "microbes" will have any effect whatsoever and the "sludge is likely just soil.

Before you drop a ton of money on a "maybe" cure, find out if your sludge problem is from decaying matter or from soil erosion. read, get it tested. If it is mostly soil in comosition, manual removal is the only option. If it is mainly detritus, you could heavily stock tilapia for LOT less money than the microbes, get better, faster results in muck reduction, eliminate the FA and provide several tons of natural fish food to your predators in the late fall. Todd Overton or other PB members in your area could get you the tilapia and offer excellent guidance with an onsite consult.



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Thanks for the response! It is definitely heavy loads of leaf and other organic debris entering the pond from runoff and leaves falling from trees. It is a 30+year old lake in an urban area surrounded by mature trees.

I posed the tilapia option to the lake board, but got shot down. After removing 800 pounds of dead fish that appeared in a 24 hour period after the last fish kill, there were some reservations about the lifecycle of tilapia and performing annual clean out. I still think this would be a logical option for managing algae, especially the FA.

The reference you mentioned that threw me off was the relationship between tilapia and muck reduction.

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