pages are reprinted from www.gotalgae.com, courtesy of www.kascomarine.com.
The following sections covers types of common algae, its causes
past decade or so, watergardens and backyard water features have
exploded in popularity. Just look through your neighborhood to see
how many of your neighbors have some sort of man-made backyard water
feature or watergarden. The growing popularity is also evident in
the number of products and publications available on the topic of
watergardening. You don't have to look far to find information and
products to purchase to build your own or have someone design and
install your water feature or watergarden. However, finding trustworthy
and sound advice and information is not always as easy.
any fast growing industry, there is bound to be lots of people and
companies trying to jump on board with the new craze to make a quick
buck. It is essential when deciding on a watergarden installation
that you talk to someone knowledgeable and experienced. Try to find
someone to help that has been in the business for awhile and has
done many installations over several years. Most water features
look great the first week they are installed, but make sure you
see how they look after a few months or years to make sure the construction
Back to Top
Watergarden Design and Installation
we touched on above, there are many different watergarden products
and pond kits on the market. Each has its own unique characteristics
and something that sets those products apart from the others available.
However, each pond kit or watergarden set up has generally, the
same types of components.
you start, you need to plan out your water feature. Decide the shape,
size, depth, and configuration of the watergarden. Most suppliers
of the equipment can assist in the planning of the watergarden.
It is important to include elevation change because you will need
to move water and water will run down hill. Typically, most watergardens
will have a pump that will push water over a waterfall or down a
cascading stream into the main pond area. At the low end of the
pond area there will be a skimmer and filter. The water that goes
through the skimmer and filter will then be piped back to the pump
to start the cycle over again.
you have the watergarden designed, you need to dig the hole for
the watergarden, install the plumbing for the pumps and filters,
and line the pond area. Since most water features will use a waterfall
or cascading stream, the pump and bulk head is installed on the
uphill side of the area. The pump will push the water over the falls
or down the stream. It is again important to choose a quality pump
that is sized correctly for your size water feature and make sure
the pump and bulk head is installed correctly to operate properly.
Larger water features may use more than one pump and bulk head set
the water flows over the falls or down the stream, it will pool
in the main pond area of the watergarden. At the low end of the
water feature, you will need to install a skimmer and filter set
up that is sized correctly for your size watergarden. Larger water
features may need more than one set up. The water will flow into
the skimmer and then pass through the filter. The filter can have
a few different compartments to take out the larger debris first,
and then smaller debris, then a bacteria area that will help remove
waste and nutrients from the water. The pump that is in the bulk
head at the top end of the pond has plumbing connecting it to the
filter so the clean water is then pulled up to the top of the pond
and the cycle starts over again.
watergarden will have a liner that can be of a few different materials
and some work better than others in different situations. The liner
pricing also varies greatly so talk to someone with experience before
deciding on the type of liner. Typically a watergarden is small
enough that a single piece of liner is used so you don't have to
worry about seams or splicing.
you are happy with the design and installation of the equipment
and it follows the plans worked on with professional, you can add
rocks or whatever you chose to decorate the bottom and sides of
the watergarden. Be careful around the liner area. Finally, you
can add the water and plants if desired.
Back to Top
Problems in Watergardens
discussed above, a new watergarden installation will look good.
The water is fresh and there are little nutrients on the pond bottom
or in the water. The water will be clear and look beautiful right
away. However, after a couple weeks, especially if you add fish,
the nutrients in the water will start to add up. With the added
nutrients will come increased aquatic plant growth. As discussed
in the Nutrient Solutions
page, an abundance of nutrients leads to an abundance of algae.
Most watergardens will have some nice decorative plants along the
sides and inside the pond. Most problems with the watergardens are
from algae growth.
watergarden will typically start to grow planktonic and filamentous
algae. Algae is discussed in greater detail on the Algae
Solutions page, but we will touch on it here. Planktonic algae
is microscopic and will typically turn your water green, but it
is difficult to see the actual algae cells. Filamentous algae form
large mats or strings that cling to the sides of the ponds and rocks.
Algae can quickly turn a beautiful watergarden into a green nightmare.
Back to Top
Watergardens are Easier to Treat
is good news about your algae problem in your watergarden, however.
You have a few factors working to your advantage when it comes to
watergarden algae problems when compared to larger pond or lake
stated above, the watergarden industry is very large and growing
every year. With this growth, there are a lot of companies out there
researching, designing, and selling products to make your watergarden
more beautiful and easier to care for. Therefore, there are a lot
of products available for algae control available on the market.
second advantage is that the watergarden is basically a closed system.
You may have to add water over time and you will always have rain
water entering, but basically you have a set amount of water in
your water feature. This makes it much easier to treat. You are
able to figure dosages better because you know the exact gallons
of water, you know the exact depth, and you know the exact surface
area. For the most part, you know what is being added to the pond
(fish food, dyes, other chemicals, etc.) and you know what amounts
those are being added.
the overall size of a watergarden makes it a much easier task to
treat and much more reasonable in price. It is physically easier
to apply a treatment to a 15x15 watergarden than a 10 acre lake.
Also, being much smaller in size makes it more economical to treat.
There are a lot of algae treatment products that are excellent for
controlling algae growth, but the price is too high to treat a larger
pond or lake. However, they are designed to treat a watergarden
and are better suited for that application.
Back to Top
are several treatments for algae problems and growth, and as like
many things, some ways work better in different situations. You
can see a more extensive list of treatments on the Algae
Solutions page, but listed below are a few commonly used applications
specifically for watergardens.
& Filters - Your watergarden is already set up
with these. The skimmer will take in the water and some algae, mostly
the planktonic variety. As it passes through the filter, some algae
will get trapped and when you clean the filter, you will remove
& Enzymes - Most filters will use a bacteria medium
to grow the beneficial bacteria. The bacteria are there to use up
the nutrients in the water and get rid of the waste produced by
fish and other organisms in your pond. Make sure you check the application
rates suggested for your size filter and pond before adding more.
Sterilizers - The UV Sterilizers use a wavelength of
light to zap planktonic algae. As the water passes by the light,
the algae is killed. This type of treatment works well for planktonic
algae, but will do nothing for filamentous because the algae needs
to pass by the light. There are several models and sizes available,
so make sure you choose the right size for your size pond.
Straw - The barley straw aids in balancing the water
quality by lowering the pH and carbonate hardness, which tries to
control the growth rate of certain undesirable algae. As the barley
degrades in the presence of water and sunlight, it creates peroxide
which can kill both filamentous and planktonic algae. This type
of treatment works better as a deterrent than as a cure for an existing
problem. It does not have EPA approval for algae control, however.
- Granular based peroxides are fast acting contact algaecides. Green
Clean is one of these products that have organic approval. It bubbles
as it oxidizes similar to medical grade hydrogen peroxide. The byproduct
is oxygen which is needed for your pond anyway. The remaining dead
filaments and cellulose must be taken out of the water or it will
settle back to the bottom of the pond. This is one of those treatments
that is not economically feasible for larger ponds (unless used
for spot treatment), but is excellent for watergarden applications.
- Dyes are available in blue or black and in powder or liquid form.
They act to shade the water and reduce sunlight penetration. The
decreased sunlight causes the algae to die and helps prevent growth
to begin with. Aquashade is the only EPA registered product for
weed and algae prevention, but most other similar products work,
Back to Top
you have your watergarden designed, installed, and operating, it
is important to maintain the health of the watergarden. As discussed
in greater detail in the Aeration
page, adding oxygen to your pond or watergarden is essential to
a healthy ecosystem. Oxygen is required for fish survival, decomposition
of organic matter, the bacteria in your filter system, and to balance
the water quality.
most watergardens include some sort of waterfall or cascading stream,
the watergarden is already getting some aeration. As the water falls
and splashes, it is exposed to the air and oxygen can be absorbed
into the water and carbon dioxide can be released into the air.
This also can occur in the filter area where the water is broken
up as it passes through the filter.
in larger water features, watergardens that do not have much flow
or drop of water, or in systems that have a higher than usual need
for oxygen (lots of fish), supplemental aeration is often needed.
Pond Aerator is very efficient at adding oxygen and water movement,
but does not create a display and may be too large for a watergarden
application. Watergardens are designed and installed to add beauty,
so typically the best bet for supplemental aeration is to use an
Aerating Fountain. Kasco's
1400JFL, 1/4hp Aerating Fountain is perfect for this application.
The new 1/4hp, 1400JFL is specifically designed for watergardens,
water features, and small ponds. This floating fountain includes
5 interchangeable nozzles for multiple display patterns (as seen
below), lights, and a control box to operate the fountain. It will
add beauty with the display and be a great source for aeration in
your watergarden. It can successfully aerate a pond up to 1/5 acre
with many things, aeration is one piece of the puzzle to a healthy
and beautiful watergarden, but it is an essential piece. Remember
that any new installation of a watergarden should look beautiful,
but it takes work to keep it that way. Using an algae treatment
along with aeration will help your watergarden look its best for
a long time.
Back to Top
These pages are reprinted from www.gotalgae.com, courtesy