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#34505 01/14/05 05:11 PM
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I thought I would pass on my nightmare with algae after completing construction of my pond in June......it got to the point where the pond (one acre, ave 4-5')was so unsightly with rafts of floating algae, that I was totally disgusted with it. I spent hours netting gobs of it out and dumping it on the grass, which soon resulted in equally unsightly grass and the algae just reproduced itself, so I was making two steps back for every one step forward.

After researching this site and websites for various products, I finally bought two gallons of Cutrine Plus at Tosco. I mixed it at the ratio of 9:1 in my 4 gallon backpack sprayer and sprayed as far as I could reach along the bank for 3 days in a row.

Today I have no floating algae after only using one gallon of the Cutrine. The County extension agent said that he doubted it would work unless the water temp was above 60 (it's 52). I ran the areator at night to insure that the dying algae didn't take out the oxygen, so, bottom line, my experience with cutrine is 100% favorable.

I might add that the pond is a stone's throw from the house, so I was getting very depressed about it's appearance.

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Tom,

The granular form also works great. It has the advantage of reaching the stuff on the bottom before it spreads its ugly form on the surface.

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The granular form also works great. It has the advantage of reaching the stuff on the bottom before it spreads its ugly form on the surface

Meadow.......thanks, but I can't complain about the liquid. The pond looks better than it has in months. Right now I'm debating about throwing in a few grass carp, which everyone in my part of the country swear by. I really don't like throwing in chemicals and would rather have a natural balance. So, I guess the experimentation will go on.

Regards

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tomparker, what will the grasscarp do for your "algae" problem other than increase your nutrient load and causing "more" algae and then more Cutrine use and the cycle goes on and on.Be sure the grass carp (algae eaters) are going to do what you need them to do.In Ohio I often consider them algae producers (not always a bad thing)but may be in your situation. Many great posts on this site on what plants grass carp are effective on (ie chara) and in what part of the country and at what time of year.Cutrine is a good product as far as copper goes but keep in mind it is not a problem solver but a symptom masker. Good Luck PS I would hang on to that other gallon of Cutrine as about 6 weeks is what I have seen Cutrine be effective for.At your depth I imagine that algae is alive and well on the bottom and will surface as it gets enough o2 to do so.

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Tom,

Have you looked into Tilapia? They are simply great on algae. They can't survive temperatures much below 55 degrees, but while living they really do a number on algae. Here in Texas, I can now rely on Tilapia to completely control algae during the time the temperatures support their existance...then in the "off" season I use the granular cutrine to spot treat. Bottom line is I now use very little chemical and let the Tilapia do their thing. Also, many other benefits of Tilapia are discussed in other posts.

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Thanks for the responses. I will spend some more time researching grass carp, as well as look into the tilapia suggestion. Right now my water temp is just above 50 at about 4', so I assume I would be doing the tilapia thing seasonally also. I don't even know if tilapia are readily available around here. How many do you put in?

Anyway, right now the pond no longer looks like a cesspool, so I don't have to listen to the wife wanting to know why I didn't just put in a lap pool with a pretty fountain.

Thanks again, Tom

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Update on the cutrine situation: right now the pond has no floating rafts of algae, the water is clear, and I can actually see some fish now and then. So, bottom line, I'm happy until the next crisis presents itself.

Tom

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another update on the fil. algae problem which it seems that cutrine plus has solved. However, the 10 grass carp that I had ordered when I had the problem were delivered today, so I invested another 80 bucks and dumped them in the pond, wondering what they were going to eat since my algae problem had been solved before they got there. So, as usual, I will wait and see what happens now.

By the way, I was surprised how big they were, maybe 12" long.......when I let them out at pond's edge, they just swam off.

Never a dull minute in this pond business.

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Be patient Tom, your algae will be back,but I doubt your grass carp will eat much if any of it.Your water will warm up soon and the pond will come to life. Keep us posted. Ted

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Tom,

I am sympathetic to your situation. I will throw out a suggestion that has worked well for me. It will help to have proper disolved oxygen levels to bring a good balance to your pond and help to minimize the massive reoccurence of the algea.

Algea growth in ponds can spiral out of control because of nutrients containing nitrogen, phosphorous, and seasonal changes in temperature. Also helping the process of photosynthesis is prolonged periods of sunlight.

The idea is to limit or reduce the nutrient levels (Phosphorous and nitrogen) by creating an environment where "bacteria convert nitrogen to atmospheric forms or uptake it to build cell structure during reproduction along with phosphorous while processing waste (food source)." The result is that the algae are starved of their nutrient sources.

"Most algae contain cellulose structures (as a result of photo synthesis) that can be broken down to starches as a body of water is reduced in nutrient content. Certain bacteria produce enzymes called cellulases and amylases that can break down cellulose-containing algal material into readily biodegradable starches and sugars respectively. Other algae can store oils that can also be biologically degraded. As algae die off, bacterial action increases to clarify or clear the water source of dead debris or suspended solids."

Algae control through a "bilogical nutrient removal" process is a non-hazardous process that can eliminate or reduce the need for chemical-based algaecides.

Obtain Three 50lb. bags of hog feed grade cornmeal from a milling company. If they cannot provide it in burlap bags then pick up some of those as well, Place a rock in each bag that will sink the bag to the bottom. Place the bags at various locations spread out in the pond.

The organic carbon in the cornmeal enables the beneficial bacteria in the water to flourish at the expense of the algae. Then the decomposing algae provide a source of carbon for the bacteria.

I don't know what the cost of the Cutrine was and the cornmeal can be more expense than some folks want to spend ($30-$40/50#). For me that is an individual call. If the cost is more than a person wants to spend compared to using stuff like Cutrine that is their call. It is a free country and I love it that way.

There are also folks that sell the beneficial bacteria. I appologize for not having those purchase references for this note

Good luck and let us know how things go as things heat up,

Cheers,

J.W

P.S Fast kills of large amounts of algea can cause disolved oxygen depletion problems. I hope The experts on the board will weigh in on the possible implications and recommendations.

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J.W Very interesting post. Just wondering if you have been doing this process year after year. How do you determine how many bags feed per acre. Here in Indiana it seems filamentous algae is one of our biggest problems (hate the look of stuff)and chemicals and bacterias can get very expensive. I would rather be putting my money on new fish each year than chemicals. Thanks like to see these money saving ideas.

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PO,

The general recommendation is 150 to 200lb per surface acre. The idea is to achieve a balance between bacteria and food sources so that you don't have to repeat the treatment every year.

I treated with cornmeal two years ago and have not had to retreat yet. Here in north Texas the filamentous algea is my biggest problem as well.

Good point about the fish. Do you have to replace the fish? How much work is it to maintain non native varieties? It sounds like from the other posts that Tilapia is the one to choose.

Thanks,

JW

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Tom,
Just read your post and can sympathize with you. Here in southwest Louisiana the problem is as bad or worse than you have. Cutrine will do wonders, but be careful! It is a copper based chemical and will stay in your pond and eventually get into the food chain. Do some research and see what safe levels would be for a 1 acre pond. We worked on fertilization to get the phytoplankton bloom going in order to reduce the depth of light penetration, and thus eleminating the growth of filamentous algae on the bottom. Very clear water is cute, but its not good for fish growth or for control of unwanted vegetation. I'd go with fertilization and the grass carp. Watch them as they grow, they will eat their weight in plants each day, and they will get bigggg!

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J.W.,
Thanks for passing on that interesting information concerning the use of cornmeal to promote a "bloom". I assume you use this method as an alternative to fertilizing the water with a commercial liquid or granular fertilizer. I intend to do that in the spring, but I was told that the water was too cold to use any kind of natural means to get rid of the fil. algae this time of year. The Univ. of Georgia extension agent suggested the cutrine plus or comparable product. He also cautioned that the cutrine itself would not cause a fish kill, but the oxygen depletion resulting from the decomposition is what did it. I followed the dosage recs to the letter and ended up using a third of the chemical to do the job.

Take care

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James,
I appreciate the suggestions and advice. This site and the internet in general are fantastic for compiling info on about any problem you can face.

The grass carp are now in the pond and I will be going the fertilization route in the spring.

Regards, Tom

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Tom,

Good luck with the fish. I always like to know all the options available to solve a situation.

The Corn meal actually does not promote a phytoplankton bloom. It actually promotes the reduction of fertilization components and can be considered an easier and less timing sensitive method compared to fertilization.

I refer you to a post on the subject fertilization and the care required to get it right.

http://www.pondboss.com/ubb/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=1;t=000094

J.W.

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J.W. Thanks again for info on cornmeal, called local grain store and they said will sell for $5 50# bag, big diff from texas. And no I don't have to replace fish, just like to buy couple hundred dollars worth fatheads each year from fish farm that comes to local feed store. I have fenced off a 10'x10' area approx 2' deep with 1/4 in. plastic mesh to try and raise own fatheads, seems to be working as ice melted off completely yesterday and there is minnows all over this area. And yes I am going to experiment with the tilipia this spring too.

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J.W., thanks for the link. The guy that started that thread had a situation that closely paralled mine, so I bookmarked it for future reference.

So, bottom line, it appears that what you are suggesting with the cornmeal is not a substitute for fertilization to achieve a bloom, but is a .........??????? If I read you right, your technique may be a passive action that may or may not preclude the use of herbicides or man-made fertilizers, depending on the pond, climate, etc.

You, Sir, are apparently an old hand at this game, and I am curious why you seem to prefer to act as the teacher to the student, i.e., maybe I'll figure it out with enough coaching, but your not giving out the answer.

This is ratcheting up to becoming a very interesting subject.

Best, Tom

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i liked the Cutrine Plus, but it started getting costly after a while. finally put in some grass carp. mark

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Interesting comment on grass carp. They wouldn't touch my algae....so I went with Tilapia. Far and away more cost effective than Cutrine plus or any other chemical, plus they provide tremendous forage for your bass. For the price of one bag of the granular Cutrine, I can buy Tilapia that will provide season long protection against algae, great eating, and unbelievable forage. Seems like a no-brainer to me.

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Meadowlark, Since you have had good luck with the tilapia figure you would know best.Which of the tilapia are you using for your algae? I have seen in books about 3 types and want to experiment with them when it gets warm enough here in Indiana. Just want to make sure the guy orders me the right type. Thanks

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PO,

The only type we can have in Texas is the Mozambique Tilapia. I believe that is because they are assured to die out each winter and the State doesn't want to see them take over the waterways.

Don't know about other types, but these critters really get after the algae...and any other kind of plant life.

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Tom,

My appologies if I have not been clear about how the use of cornmeal works with a pond taken over by algea. I have never intended for there to be any mystery. The explaination I gave in post 10 from the first page provides details of what happens with the use of cornmeal.

The idea is to use the most simple and least harmful method to restore the natural balance to the pond. When you get the balance right, it becomes a self sustaining cycle.

The corn meal helps to feed and promote beneficial bacteria. The bacteria feeds on the fertilizer (nitrogen & phosphorous). the reduction in "fertilizer" levels causes the algea to start to die off and the decaying algea is then absorbed back into the environment and also contributes to the growth of the bacteria.

In the best circumstance you end up with a balance between the bacteria levels and enough algea to sustain the bacteria.

Where you can have problems with this method, or any method, of controlling algea is if you have outside sources of fertilizer entering into the pond either from watershed or live water sources feeding the pond.

In my situation I have direct control of the watershed feeding my ponds and have not had to deal with the fil. algea for the last couple years.

Thanks Tom and everyone on these forums. This exchange of experiences and information have been extremely beneficial for me. What a great site.

Good Luck to you no matter what direction you go.

Thanks,

JW

P.S. WOW PO, $5 for 50# very nice find!

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J.W.,

Thanks for the clarification. It reminds me somewhat of my experience back in the 70's installing small package sewage treatment plants in the Caribbean for well-to-do homeowners that wanted to irrigate their grounds, but, of course water was very scarce, regardless of how much money you had. One system I put in was for Winthrop Rockefeller's widow down in St. Martin. The point I'm trying to make is that a small sewage treatment system uses aerobic bacteria to break down the waste in order to recycle it into "grey water" for irrigation purposes. The system was continuously aerated providing oxygen to maintain a balance for the bacteria to do their thing. This is opposed to a septic tank situation which employs anerobic bacteria that do not requier aeration/oxygen to do there job in a closed system.

I imagine that another analogy would be putting yeast in your batch of homemade beer (ala putting corn meal in the pond), which establishes the bacteria required for the fermentation process.

I plan on giving it a shot, so thanks for the tip.

Tom Parker

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Tom,

I like your analogies. I have had a precast aerobic waste treatment system for my house since 1996. The systems have become much more economical since the late 90s and have become the standard to install around the area. The cost for me new was about $4k +$180/year maint. agreement. I am allowed (county/town)to discharge to three sprinklers for irrigation. Some towns in the area do require lateral lines instead.

Cheers,

JW

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