Hi everyone, I'm in a mess and could really use some help / suggestions on fixing my pond. Not sure if this is the best place for the post, if not please re-direct me where it would be most appropriate.
I bought a house in Central Illinois that has a very large, two & a half acre pond on it. Unfortunately, the pond is overgrown with algae (probably close to 2/3's of it). The depth is approximately 25 feet in the center.
The previous owner's family said that the pond was clear in the past and that the family had swam / fished in it. It's stocked with several species of fish (including catfish, bass, perch).
I hooked up a pump to start getting some circulation going and my wife began treating it with 'Crystal Blue Copper Sulfate' which was recommended to us by a neighbor who also has a pond on his property. We have been treating it at about a gallon or so every ten days to avoid screwing up the eco-system and risking a fish kill-off.
Attached is a photo showing a small area of the coverage. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I have zero experience with ponds and don't want to muck it up, pardon the pun.
Welcome to the forums! It looks like you have Filamentous Algae (FA) and have it bad. I have not had to fight that stuff much with my new pond, but plenty of folks here have...
FA can be very challenging. I believe the main factors to concentrate on are...
1.) Eliminate/reduce shallow water,
2.) Use dyes (or muddy conditions) to reduce light penetrating to the bottoms. From what I have read, it is best to start the dyes in the early spring.
3.) Reduce/avoid excessive nutrients in the water.
4.) Don't think carp will solve this problem without doing your homework. They will only eat it as a last resort, after the good vegetation is gone.
It will help to remove any and all the FA mats that get to floating around. This will take the nutrients out of the pond that would otherwise sink back down and add to the next crop. Some popular ways of removing the algae involve aluminum yard rakes fitted with swim noodles for flotation and using ropes fitted with a lot of zip-ties and used to corral the FA to a pond end or cove so the rake can be more effective.
I can not suggest any chemical solutions as I have not needed that, but they exist and could be used in conjunction with the other options. Do you homework on copper sulfate too before putting any more in. That stuff can have some side effects to be cautious of.
Can you have Tilapia in your state? Plenty of success stories involving Tilapia.
Read up on FA by typing the following into your google search (without the quotation marks...
"site:forums.pondboss.com Filamentous Algae FA"
This will yield plenty of PondBoss threads on the subject.
My next step is to try and clear the FA out manually. Does anyone have any tried and true methods ? I also plan on using the dye to treat the water and keep the sunlight from filtering down to promote new growth.
I realize this will be a long-term battle that I will have to fight, but I would prefer my pond (lake) be aesthetically pleasing.
I live i Illinois, so there are some restrictions about introducing Tilapia (This state loses permits and fees). But I am concerned about introducing an invasive species into the water. To the best of my knowledge I have catfish, bass and turtles...... LOT's of Freakin' Turtles. Any idea on what I can expect in terms of affect on them ?
I probably should have mentioned that the pond varies in depth, from several inches at the extreme edges to an alleged depth of 25' at the bottom. That being said, it is an old pond, probably 30-40 years and I am sure there has been a loss due to organic build-up. Right now I wouldn't dive down to check the bed, as visability is probably like the East River (NYC) in the 70's!!
Yeah, I am currently formulating a plan of attack to manually remove it. My problem is that the size of the pond doesn't lend itself to an 'easy' go of it. I'm probably going to have to fashion a larger 'rake / net' system to troll behind the boat and make multiple passes.
From reading the forums on FA, it seems that dying the water is a key to prevent, or at least keep at bay, future growth, by blocking out the ability of sunlight to feed what is on the bottom.
The FA rake made from a landscaping rake, pool noodles, and some rope is the best way have have found to remove it from the pond. Throw the rake out into the FA mats with the rope around your wrist or ankle and then pull it back. There is no sense throwing really far, just 20 feet or so. As you drag the rake back in (rather slow), the FA further out will kinda follow the rake in so that it will be closer for the next throw. Also, take some 5 gallon buckets and drill about twenty 1/2" holes in the bottom. I used this to put the FA in at the shore, squish it down to de-water it so that it can be taken elsewhere. It's amazing how much surface coverage fits in a bucket. I utilize the wind to push the FA to one side and get what I can, then check daily for it to congregate again. Of course my BOW is much smaller and I've only had a couple small outbreaks.
If you have the budget and the extra manpower you can herd the FA mats with just about anything that is long and floats.
Here's my rake...
The gap in the handle was an afterthought. It's much easier to handle when you can get a grip.
When you are removing the FA,if you are having a nice breeze and you are lucky, the FA will move with the breeze toward one end of the pond, so as you remove it, more will follow. Most often all of mine is at one end or the other. Dump it and use it for ground cover, just keep it from going back into the pond, and good luck to you !
half-acre pond, LMB, HBG, BG, GSH and CC ....goal is to have fun fishing. And I subscribe!
I had a friend that used to take a wave runner, seadoo thing and make donuts with it in his pond and sling the FA out on the banks with the waves, not sure that I would recommend that solution or condone that method but now you know,,, its been done before.
All the really good ideas I've ever had came to me while I was milking a cow.
Huntzman.....you are probably screwed on the FA for now because you have too much of it and the weather/water temp is hot....too much risk of a fish kill. If you do anything, try using 7 lbs. of copper sulfate crystals for each surface acre but you might want to cut that in half and see if you make progress.
Next spring, when the water temp hits 52 degrees or so, hit it with 15 lbs. of CS per surface acre.....that will get you started off on the right foot. Our place is in Macoupin county and i just finished the fourth dose of CS this year.....50 lbs. in our 6.5 acre lake. I do the 15 lbs./acre for the first dose and then follow up every 3 weeks or so with the 7 lbs./acre dose. We constantly battle FA during the late-June through mid-September time frame as we have plenty of ag runoff coming into the pond....our large fescue barrier just can't hold all of it back.
Our pond looks good now only because i have been really on it consistently this year. BM61.
Bassmaster has a point regarding actual control of the situation this late in the year, but don't let that stop you from removing the mats. Removing them will only improve next years chances of success. I am a firm believer in removing the mass so that there is less nutrients for next years FA production. And, you will get some immediate aesthetic improvements even if they are short lived.
Thank you very much for the replies, everyone. I'm going to start by trying to manually remove the mats that are floating and then add blue dye to the water. I know it's probably late in the game for this year, but I'd at least like to get the pond looking cleaner than it is right now.
Appreciate the info on the CS Bassmaster, it gives me an idea of what I am looking at. Didn't want to dump too much in and risk screwing things up more, so I probably under-cut it.
Forming my own manual FA removal tool tomorrow. Any recommendations on the most effective way ? Throwing from the shoreline or trolling behind a boat ? Jut curious because of the overall size. I can only reasonably get it from half the shore line, as the other side is thickly tree lined and won't allow for any type of throw.
The copper sulfate will eliminate the FA but the long term side effects won't be beneficial. The vast majority of the CS you use to treat the FA will end up on the bottom of your pond and take every beneficial plant and organism with it. Eventually, if you use it often enough, it will be the only alternative you have until you dredge the bottom.
Whether you use it or not, you should remove the FA manually. Using CS and letting all that plant matter decay at the bottom is a good way to crash your dissolved oxygen.
So, here I am, coming back one year later for a status update.
I took all the advice to heart. Last year I tried to manually remove all the FA, I spent a week cruising the pond and removed hundreds of buckets of the crap, and barely made a dent. I threw in the towel and gave up.
Early spring, when the pond was clear, I began working in earnest. Like clock work, I began dying the water and even added some algae control along the edges. I also got a trash pump fountain that moves 90GPM and it worked............ for awhile.
Now it's July, and despite my best efforts, the pond looks the same as it did last year.
But, that being said, I believe I have found the root cause.
Last year we purchased the adjoining house for my son. Upon discovery it seems that the prior owner was having issues with water on the adjoining roadway during heavy rainfall, such as occurs in the spring. He had the township install a new culvert, which diverted water from gathering in the roadway and diverted it into............... The Pond !!
Guess where the runoff comes from ? Yep, the adjoining farmland.
So, we are getting fertilized water runoff feeding into the pond.
My question is, any suggestions on what to do ? There is an inlet, which is about 30' feet long, before it empties into the pond proper. My thought was to back fill this inlet with dirt / large rocks and put in grass, in the hope that the rocks would slow the water flow and allow it to be absorbed into the dirt before making it's way to the pond, but I have no clue as to whether this will just be a waste of time / resources.