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Copper Sulfate Buildup!!
#507496 06/16/19 08:44 AM
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I've been reading a lot about using CS to control algae as it seems the stuff intends to be a pain in my back side this year. One article I read implies that CS, like salt, never leaves the pond. It looses its effectiveness as it breaks down and the copper just settles to the bottom. Eventually this buildup can potentially become an issue. I've used a gallon of liquid CS so far this season trying to keep my algae (not FA) from covering the pond surface, and now I'm concerned I may be causing long term damage.

Has anyone ever experienced this?


.10 surface acre pond, 10.5 foot deep. SW LA. The epitome of a mutt pond. BG, LMB, GSF, RES, BH, Warmouth, Longear Sunfish, Gambusia,Mud Minnows, Crappie, and now shiners!!...I subscribe!!
Re: Copper Sulfate Buildup!!
Mike Whatley #507501 06/16/19 10:09 AM
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Tagged for Answers.
My guess is, it depends on the water exchange.

Re: Copper Sulfate Buildup!!
Mike Whatley #507503 06/16/19 10:16 AM
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One of the problems with CS is it kills zooplankton as well as the smaller, less complex organisms.
Zooplankton is what "cleans up" a ton of the smaller, more troublesome growth. When you eliminate the zooplankton, you just broke the link that allows the pond to "absorb" itself.


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Re: Copper Sulfate Buildup!!
Mike Whatley #507505 06/16/19 10:19 AM
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That's my concern CP. I get a lot of exchange thru winter/spring, but I suspect most of that is the surface layers being flushed. Copper, being a heavy metal settles on the bottom and likely doesnt get extricated.

I finally got my pond clear of the scum, but I know it's just a matter of time before I'll need to treat again, adding yet more Copper to the system.

Snipe....I'm learning that as well. I'm confused as to just how deep CS (in liquid form) actively affects plankton before it loses its effectiveness. Knowing plankton resides in the top 3-4' feet of the water column, I'm sure most, if not all of that bloom was killed.

Regardless, with that thought in mind, I will be adding a batch of bacteria in hope's to replenish any that may have succumbed to it. I'll give it a couple more days since I just treated on Thursday afternoon.

Last edited by Mike Whatley; 06/16/19 11:00 AM.

.10 surface acre pond, 10.5 foot deep. SW LA. The epitome of a mutt pond. BG, LMB, GSF, RES, BH, Warmouth, Longear Sunfish, Gambusia,Mud Minnows, Crappie, and now shiners!!...I subscribe!!
Re: Copper Sulfate Buildup!!
Mike Whatley #507507 06/16/19 10:43 AM
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We've been having an algae problem here up north, too. We just added Cutrite (copper sulfate) to our .10 acre pond yesterday. I'll be watching this thread for updates!

Re: Copper Sulfate Buildup!!
YooperMom #507512 06/16/19 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted By: YooperMom
We've been having an algae problem here up north, too. We just added Cutrite (copper sulfate) to our .10 acre pond yesterday. I'll be watching this thread for updates!


It's been awful here. I'm suspecting it's all the leaves from past fall and all the runoff dumping excess nutrients and not enough plant life to use it up before the algae gets going strong. My little pond is pushing 4yo now and it's never been this bad.

Out of pure frustration, this last treatment was a bit stronger than I would normally try, and even tho I only sprayed less than a quarter of the surface, the breezes had the pond circulation spreading it over almost all of the pond. The algae turned milky white as it died and was easy to see. I dont guess it was too strong as I didn't kill any fish and they've been biting pretty good since the treatment.

Last edited by Mike Whatley; 06/16/19 11:13 AM.

.10 surface acre pond, 10.5 foot deep. SW LA. The epitome of a mutt pond. BG, LMB, GSF, RES, BH, Warmouth, Longear Sunfish, Gambusia,Mud Minnows, Crappie, and now shiners!!...I subscribe!!
Re: Copper Sulfate Buildup!!
Mike Whatley #507520 06/16/19 03:21 PM
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There is an article on copper in the latest issue of Pond Boss Magazine. One take away for me was that it takes a LOT of copper to be a hazard to your fish.

Last edited by Bill D.; 06/16/19 03:22 PM.

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Re: Copper Sulfate Buildup!!
Mike Whatley #507525 06/16/19 05:40 PM
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I'll have to look at my last issue to see if I can find it. May not have it yet, tho.

Edit: I found the article. Resting a bit easier now about copper levels. I also read another article about what your water is saying. After reading it I went out and collected a jar of water and as I suspected, I didnt see anything swimming around (plankton). However, it's been two days since I treated with a heavy dose of CS, and about a week since I added dye and three days since I dumped 500# of aglime. I'll have to keep an eye on it to see if it improves. Visibility has been steadily increasing so hopefully I'll see a bloom of the good kind before too long.

Last edited by Mike Whatley; 06/16/19 08:09 PM.

.10 surface acre pond, 10.5 foot deep. SW LA. The epitome of a mutt pond. BG, LMB, GSF, RES, BH, Warmouth, Longear Sunfish, Gambusia,Mud Minnows, Crappie, and now shiners!!...I subscribe!!
Re: Copper Sulfate Buildup!!
Mike Whatley #507535 06/16/19 09:08 PM
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I have brookies in my pond that I like to grill and smoke, so I avoid any chemical additives. The copper will settle to the bottom, killing the phytoplankton on the way and eventually, all the beneficial bacteria and organisms on the bottom.

I agree with Bill, it will take a lot, or a lot of time. Depending upon pH and alkalinity, sooner for some, longer for others.

If you feed your fish, you aren't as dependent on a healthy ecosystem as I am but those bacteria on the bottom you kill, are also good for reducing pond muck and the development of a healthy food chain.

It's a slippery slope when you start adding any chemical to your water. One problem is solved by one chemical leading to another issue remedied by another chemical, ad nauseam.

You're best served by mitigating the issue causing the need.


2.5 acres, 87' Deep, Previously a Quarry
Re: Copper Sulfate Buildup!!
Mike Whatley #507549 06/16/19 11:39 PM
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I'm having a ruff go with FA right now as well.. Sucks.
I have done some small treatments with CS on riprap areas for 3-4 ft out from shore, using about 2 oz per gallon dissolved and noting little difference.
My concern with CS is Phyto is not the only planktonic growth it kills.. it can smoke the zooplankton that clean up the dead FA and smaller phytoplankton. The zooplankton is the fishfood desired for new YOY, I'm concerned about stressing that side of it but am shocked at FA coming on.
I treated pond in mid April with 300lbs alum and 100 hyd lime hoping to lock up what extra Phos I knew came in with the snow melt run-off with frozen ground. Been an up and down cycle the last week. Clear 1 day, pea soup the next.
For fear of jacking it up even further I'm going to stop any more CS use and see what happens.

Last edited by Snipe; 06/16/19 11:39 PM. Reason: spelling

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Re: Copper Sulfate Buildup!!
Mike Whatley #507552 06/17/19 12:01 AM
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Strongly encourage manual removal of FA - rake or net and collect and repurpose [mulch, garden soil amendment, etc.]. It breaks the regrowth cycle and I've never had issues with FA since I began the process, though it is labor intensive. I find I only need to remove a few times in June to keep on top of it.

Crayfish also love FA...finding the right population balance is critical, however, as too dense population can denude the pond of macrophytes and cause significant turbidity issues.

Encourage beneficial macrophyte establishment...American Pondweed, Corkscrew Eelgrass, dwarf hybrid lillies...these compete with FA for nutrients and help reduce FA significantly.


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Re: Copper Sulfate Buildup!!
Mike Whatley #507553 06/17/19 12:18 AM
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TJ, I have Sago Pondweed starting to fire up in many locations in the pond. It has shown up in several areas literally overnight.
I am raking and removing masses of FA, I can't imagine how many hundreds of pounds I've removed in the last week. I'm also noticing large groups of very small fry-unidentifiable at this point-everywhere.. so I hate to use a net or "bag" to pull FA unless it would be practical to use a larger size mesh that would possibly still collect well??

Sorry Mike, don't mean to hijack this!

Last edited by Snipe; 06/17/19 12:33 AM.

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Re: Copper Sulfate Buildup!!
Mike Whatley #507556 06/17/19 04:37 AM
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Hijack away, Snipe. Lord knows I'm guilty too.

I've had a small increase in FA as well as the other crap I'm dealing with. I have to try to rake it out where I can, which is getting harder to do with some of the vegetation growing on the banks. Luckily its contained to the shallows which is very limited. I havent sprayed any of it because I dont want to kill off the good stuff. I have 5 sets of hybrid lilies shipping to me today. Hopefully they'll take root and help knock down some nutrients. Also going by the co-op after work to pick up some pond bacteria and give the pond a boost too.


.10 surface acre pond, 10.5 foot deep. SW LA. The epitome of a mutt pond. BG, LMB, GSF, RES, BH, Warmouth, Longear Sunfish, Gambusia,Mud Minnows, Crappie, and now shiners!!...I subscribe!!
Re: Copper Sulfate Buildup!!
Mike Whatley #507570 06/17/19 06:54 AM
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Copper sulfate is bad in my opinion, but lake management companies make lots and lots of money by spraying it. I'm convinced it hurts or even kills the lower invertebrates like Dragonfly and Mayfly.

Re: Copper Sulfate Buildup!!
Mike Whatley #507573 06/17/19 07:04 AM
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I'm pretty sure it kills everything it comes in contact with. As stated previously, a jar sample of water off my dock didnt have anything phytoplankton or zooplankton in it at all. Really glad I'm feeding both pellets and Black Soldier Flies, or the fish would be starving.


.10 surface acre pond, 10.5 foot deep. SW LA. The epitome of a mutt pond. BG, LMB, GSF, RES, BH, Warmouth, Longear Sunfish, Gambusia,Mud Minnows, Crappie, and now shiners!!...I subscribe!!
Re: Copper Sulfate Buildup!!
Mike Whatley #507592 06/17/19 10:27 AM
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CS normally (when used in proper methods and amounts) only kills green plants. It can kill some fish species as it inhibits gill/air exchange function in low alkalinity water. It can accumulate over time in pond bottom soil which can be an issue.

Manual removal of FA is a much better (but back breaking) alternative. Hydrated lime in limited amounts can kill FA (only a spot check method) not for large portions of the pond).

I highly recommend that you id the FA or problem plants before any treatment.
















Re: Copper Sulfate Buildup!!
Mike Whatley #507620 06/17/19 02:03 PM
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I'm going to add bacteria to bump it back up after this last treatment. How long should I wait to ensure the supplement has the best effect?


.10 surface acre pond, 10.5 foot deep. SW LA. The epitome of a mutt pond. BG, LMB, GSF, RES, BH, Warmouth, Longear Sunfish, Gambusia,Mud Minnows, Crappie, and now shiners!!...I subscribe!!
Re: Copper Sulfate Buildup!!
Mike Whatley #507621 06/17/19 02:04 PM
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I'm going to add bacteria to bump it back up after this last treatment. How long should I wait to ensure the supplement has the best effect?


.10 surface acre pond, 10.5 foot deep. SW LA. The epitome of a mutt pond. BG, LMB, GSF, RES, BH, Warmouth, Longear Sunfish, Gambusia,Mud Minnows, Crappie, and now shiners!!...I subscribe!!
Re: Copper Sulfate Buildup!!
Mike Whatley #507657 06/18/19 04:38 AM
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Just bought a gallon of Aquavet Bio. Bacteria and enzyme treatment from the co-op. Supposed to treat 1 acre up to 6 foot deep. I'm figuring to use half initially then wait about 6 weeks to do another treatment. Would really like to know how long CS stays viable before I add this bacteria.


.10 surface acre pond, 10.5 foot deep. SW LA. The epitome of a mutt pond. BG, LMB, GSF, RES, BH, Warmouth, Longear Sunfish, Gambusia,Mud Minnows, Crappie, and now shiners!!...I subscribe!!
Re: Copper Sulfate Buildup!!
Mike Whatley #507673 06/18/19 10:22 AM
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Put some of your pond water in a jar and watch it and when it starts to have some color then you know the CS is not active.

https://srac.tamu.edu/serveFactSheet/66

Copper sulfate
(Various trade names)
Copper sulfate is a contact herbicide primarily used to
control algae. However, there are some species of algae (e.g.,
Pithophora) that copper does not control effectively. Copper
can interfere with gill functions and, if improperly used,
can be toxic to fish and zooplankton. In ponds culturing
young fish or fry, copper will often kill the zooplankton that
fish need for food and they will starve. Fish species such as
trout and koi are particularly sensitive to copper. However,
most fish kills that occur after copper sulfate treatment are
caused by a massive algae kill and the subsequent oxygen
depletion due to decomposition.
Copper sulfate is also formulated as a solution made
by dissolving the crystals in an acid. These acidified copper
solutions are registered for aquatic use and sold under
various trade names (e.g., Copper Cat«, EarthTec«, AgriTec«,
etc.).
The effectiveness and safety of copper sulfate are
determined by the alkalinity, hardness, pH, dissolved and
particulate matter, and temperature of the water. In water
with an alkalinity ≤ 50 ppm, the rate of copper sulfate
needed to control algae can be toxic to fish. Copper treatment
at water alkalinities of ≤ 20 ppm is extremely risky. In
high alkalinity (> 250 ppm) water, copper sulfate quickly
precipitates out and is not effective for algae control. The
toxicity of copper sulfate to fish increases as water temperature
increases. Avoid copper sulfate applications during hot
summer months. Copper is less effective in cold water (<
60 ░F) and treatments should be delayed until temperatures
rise. (For additional information on treating with copper
see SRAC Publication No. 410, Calculating Treatments for
Ponds and Tanks.)

Last edited by ewest; 06/18/19 10:32 AM.















Re: Copper Sulfate Buildup!!
Mike Whatley #507674 06/18/19 11:14 AM
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Thanks Eric. That really does make sense.


.10 surface acre pond, 10.5 foot deep. SW LA. The epitome of a mutt pond. BG, LMB, GSF, RES, BH, Warmouth, Longear Sunfish, Gambusia,Mud Minnows, Crappie, and now shiners!!...I subscribe!!
Re: Copper Sulfate Buildup!!
Mike Whatley #507685 06/18/19 01:26 PM
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Little has been studied on the affects of copper sulfate concentrations on many of the large number of species of zooplankton and other micro invertebrates including protozoans, rotifers, and not even considering affects on bacteria. IMO the srac.tamu FactSheet noted above is outdated and was based on too few old studies that examined copper effects on larger common test invertebrates and fish. Dissolved copper ions are toxic and the smaller the organism the more toxic it becomes. As noted in the SRAC fact sheet alkalinity and hardness play a big role of coppers toxic effects because the negative carbonate radical binds with the positive copper ions reducing its reactive concentration thus minimizing the toxic affects on non-target organisms. Low alkalinity allows more of the copper ions to be reactive and absorbed.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 06/18/19 02:52 PM.

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Re: Copper Sulfate Buildup!!
Mike Whatley #507694 06/18/19 03:23 PM
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Thanks for the info Bill. If I understand your reply correctly, in my pond's condition (low alk and hardness) there's a chance I didn't kill everything on the bottom of the food chain!! If that's correct I'm feeling much better about the situation at hand. If I'm have it backwards, then I've basically sterilized the pond.

I've collected a jar of water from arm's depth a bit ago and have it sitting on the dock in the sun. I dont see much in it, a particle here and there. Once I see the sample start taking on some color, I'll be adding 1/2 gallon of AquaVet bacteria/enzymes to try to help boost the ecology again.


.10 surface acre pond, 10.5 foot deep. SW LA. The epitome of a mutt pond. BG, LMB, GSF, RES, BH, Warmouth, Longear Sunfish, Gambusia,Mud Minnows, Crappie, and now shiners!!...I subscribe!!
Re: Copper Sulfate Buildup!!
Mike Whatley #507703 06/18/19 05:36 PM
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Might be a dumb question here, if you do have a layer, buildup, of the copper sulfate on the bottom of your pond, will that not prevent future infestations of moss? or does it become ineffective? just curious, Thanks.


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Re: Copper Sulfate Buildup!!
Mike Whatley #507709 06/18/19 08:19 PM
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Once its absorbed it becomes inert and settles to the bottom with everything its killed.


.10 surface acre pond, 10.5 foot deep. SW LA. The epitome of a mutt pond. BG, LMB, GSF, RES, BH, Warmouth, Longear Sunfish, Gambusia,Mud Minnows, Crappie, and now shiners!!...I subscribe!!
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