Lake and Pond Management
Ponds and lakes are a valuable natural resource. They add beauty to the landscape, provide recreation and are a habitat for fish and wildlife. A natural body of water is a complex biological, chemical and physical community. The quality of the water determines the health of the entire community and the aquatic organisms living within the system ... from microscopic bacteria to the largest fish. The “engine” that drives everything within a body of water is the presence of oxygen in proper levels. A pond’s condition deteriorates when its bottom environment cannot support aquatic life. The bottom is where the most oxygen is consumed and the farthest from the surface where it is replenished. Without adequate oxygen at the bottom, beneficial bacteria do not break down the organic waste. This results in increased layers of sediment (muck) along the pond bottom. Simply put, without oxygen a pond cannot clean itself.
Three main tools are needed to manage ponds and lakes:
Aeration — Bubbling fountains and diffused air systems are commonly used to increase the natural levels of oxygen. The added oxygen, and equally important, the circulation created by these devices help to create a stable and productive ecosystem. Fountains typically float on the surface and spray water up into the air. As the water droplets fall back to the surface they pick up oxygen. Fountains also create surface ripples and circulation which helps keep the surface clean. Diffused air systems utilize a shore-mounted air compressor that pumps oxygen through a hose to a special diffuser lying on the pond bottom or to bubble tubing that covers a large area. Since the bottom of the pond is where the most oxygen is consumed, it is an ideal way to deliver oxygen to where it’s needed the most. As the bubbles rise out of the diffusers they create a “lifting” or boiling action, which creates considerable circulation throughout the pond. This circulation helps to prevent water stratification.
Beneficial Bacteria — For over two decades we have been using bacteria to help Mother Nature keep waters clean and clear. Back then very few companies were using this approach and we got quite a few funny looks when we told people to add “bacteria” to the water. Today, thousands of happy customers later, the use of natural bacteria to help reduce sludge build-up and increase water quality is widely used and embraced. By adding billions of these natural occurring organisms, you can reverse the aging process of ponds that occurs when fish waste, leaves, dead weeds/algae, runoff, etc start to build up on the bottom. The results are improved water quality, reduced odors, improved oxygen levels and a better environment for fish and other aquatic life.
Weed and Algae Controls — There are a wide variety of treatment products available to safely control aquatic weeds and algae in ponds and lakes. These tested and approved products are a safe and quick way to gain control of waters that are infested with aquatic weeds or algae. The use of these products is a good short term solution to a problem, however, to gain more long term control you should look at the overall ecosystem and determine what the real cause of the problem is. Often aeration and/or the use of bacteria will greatly improve the system and the use of these chemicals can be reduced.
Weed and Algae Identification
Algae grows in various forms. Filamentous algae is most common, it grows in strings or mats - often on the surface. Planktonic algae causes green water. It is millions of individual cells that cloud together. Chara is a weed-like form of algae. It grows like a carpet along the bottom of the pond. It has a musky odor and feels gritty. Use Cutrine liquid on filamentous and planktonic, Cutrine granular on chara.
Cattails and Other Emergent Plants
Emergent plants grow around the perimeter of a pond in shallow water with all or most of their foliage above water. Cattails, Bulrush, Reeds, Purple Loose Strife, Pennywart and Pickeralwood are common emergents. Use Shore Clear for best control.
The pondweed family has over a dozen varieties with the four shown above being the most common. Each of these plants can grow in deeper water - up to 10' deep in clear water. Sonar, Aquathol Super K and Hydrothol work well to control growth.
This plant grows in thick clumps and is usually not a big problem. The leaves are in whorls of three around the stem. It also grows in deeper water like the pondweeds above. Komeen or Reward are most commonly used to combat Elodea.
Duckweed & Watermeal
Duckweed is hard to control. It forms a thin layer over the surface in calm, wind free ponds. Duckweed will not grow well in moving water so use of a surface aerator will help in controlling growth. For chemical treatment Sonar is the best choice. Often times one Sonar treatment will last for multiple seasons. Reward or Weedtrine mixed with Cutrine and a surfactant can also be used, but regrowth can occur quickly if application is not done properly.
While beautiful to look at, waterlilies can become a problem in many ponds. They grow off of a large central root system (much like popal trees). Some growth is great for shade and cover for fish, but when left unchecked they will over populate. Use Navigate to control unwanted growth. Shore Clear/Aquastar with surfactant will also work if used after blossoms appear.
A very prolific plant. Spreads easily since fragments of plant can reroot and grow. Do not try to remove by raking. Grows very dense making swimming and boating difficult. Sonar or Navigate are best for treatment options.
Other Less Common Weeds
Weed and Algae Treatment product overview
Diversified Pond Supplies LLC offers a wide selection of aquatic weed and algae control products along with nearly four decades of experience. Controlling nuisance aquatic plants and/or algae is a problem nearly every pond owner is forced to deal with sooner of later.
There are several ways to go about treating a pond. Ideally you will take some time and understand what is causing the problem. Once you understand what is causing the problem it makes future treatment and control much easier. Following are some ways to improve water quality and control aquatic growth:
Aeration- Utilizing aeration will do several things. First, it maintains higher oxygen levels in the pond particularly near the bottom. This allows organic materials to decompose rather than accumulate. Secondly, aeration will allow natural and ay added bacteria to work faster at digesting the nutrients in the pond. Third, moving water is much healthier than stagnant water. Aeration will prevent stratification of the water creating more uniform water temperatures from top to bottom.
Bacteria - Adding beneficial bacteria to your pond is extremely helpful in removing excess nutrients. Bacterius is used by thousands of pond owners to help control muck buildup. This muck, if left in the pond, contributes significantly to future weed and algae growth.
Chemical Control - The use of safe aquatic chemicals is the most common form of treatment. Each of the products we offer is safe for humans, fish and pets when used in accordance with the label. Be sure to read and follow all instructions on the manufacturers label.
Aeration, bacteria or chemical use alone will not usually solve the problem. Used in conjunction, however, these products are extremely effective at reducing problems and improving water quality. Please contact us for assistance in determining the best plan of action for your pond.
Proper identification is crucial to the success of any chemical treatment. Many aquatic weeds look very similar but some require totally different products to control them. We have pictures of many popular plants in our Identify Aquatic Weeds & Algae section. If you can safely identify
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