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Green Water

Mooresville, NC(Zone 7b)

I am a newbie to this pond thing. I have searched and searched for the answer to my green water problem and hope that someone here can help. This is the first year. I'm in full sun most of the day and just recently added plants. I took a pH reading and I'm very high. So how do I go about lowering my pH. I had a pump circulating the water until recently. The frogs/toads found me and now I have all kinds of tadpoles. I was afraid by running the pump the tadpoles wouldn't survive so I turned it off. I bought a couple of feeder goldfish to help with any mosquito larvae. So my question is How do I lower the pH to get rid of the green water? This is the only picture I could find right now, trust me it looks a lot different now.

Thumbnail by melsalz
Scottsdale, AZ(Zone 9b)

Hi,
I am sorry but I also don't have much experience. It sounds like algae problem which I think gets worse in standing water.

Wells, TX(Zone 8b)

one of the reasons its green is you have no shade plants to prevent the sun from making all that alge.. you need some floaters like water lettuce and hycitaith if they are allowed in your state.. not all places allow you to have them so check it out.. as far as balancing your PH Im not sure about that.. Id run your filter to help clean up the water.. cover the intake with some nylon netting, the size used to make scrubbies.. you use that size so the tad poles dont get pulled in but it can still help filter the particles floating in the water thru the filter.. make sure to check everyday it so it doesnt get all gumped up.. you might have to clean it once a day depending on how much stuff is in the water depending on your filter but as it gets cleaner it shouldnt have to be done as often

Im sure someone will have better help for you but at least this is a start for ya....

Scottsdale, AZ(Zone 9b)

I have used barley straw pads to remove the algae without harming anything. They worked.

Wells, TX(Zone 8b)

but she has to have the filter running so the water flows thru them to make them effective if I remember correctly..

springfield area, MO(Zone 5b)

I don't think the PH makes a difference in the aglae. Too much sun, not enough plants, -and heavier filtration will take care of it. Plus it is just going to be green some, its a pond. Mine is green!
a UV light is supposed to take care of that.

Wells, TX(Zone 8b)

if you dont want alot of plants in it you could order some Pond shade it comes in a tacky blue but it aslo comes in black that is wonderful for reflections of plants on the edges and the clouds in sky..it will not harm fish or plants and will help prevernt algae.. I uesd it all the time and loved the way it made the pond look... and yes you can still see your fish when they are close to the surface

Columbia, MO(Zone 5b)

Turn your pump back on and get a UV light to go with the filter if the setup you have does not include one. Circulating the water will help with your pond balance and provides oxygen for the fish. The UV will zap that green water in no time.

Mooresville, NC(Zone 7b)

Thanks everyone for your answers. I knew that not having any plants would cause problems so I have added a lotus, canna, one water hyacinth, one parrot feather plant and separated my pickerel plant into 3 different plants (it really needed it). My water was green even with the pump on, I'm sure because of the lack of plants. Once I saw all the eggs and tadpoles I turned it off. Not so smart, in retrospect, probably made my problem worse. I was worried about the frogs/toads. I suppose they know what they are doing. Most recently I had some other frog lay eggs, I'm going to guess tree frogs, because all of a sudden they are here! Was told that would happen once I put in a pond. Anyhow, I have a whiskey barrel with a lily pad in it and that water is very clear. That is why I got the idea to check the pH with both. Noticed the difference and figured that is why I'm so "Green" pun intended. I guess I just need to sit back and wait and let nature resolve itself. Tetley I looked into a UV light, but they are pricey, and just didn't want to invest right now.

Athens, PA

What is your ph reading in your pond? Mine typically runs high around 8 - 8.5, but it is always about that high. Also, when did you take the ph reading? You get the best reading first thing in the morning as the ph tends to go higher later in the day.

I would definitely have the filters running, otherwise you have a stagnant trough of water, which has it's own hazards.

When did you start up your pond? Typically with a Spring start up, the water will go through a green period. I do agree with Frilly - definitely use a uv light and plants will definitely help.

Mooresville, NC(Zone 7b)

Carolyn: The pH reading was taken middle of the afternoon, I'll try to take it again early in the morning.

We actually put the pond in last September but didn't add plants, or pump, just water. This spring I drained it, cleaned out all the gunk, refilled it, added the pump and within a week had the green water. I do think now after everyone's comments that once my plants get established then everything will settle down and clear up. I think I'm wanting it to be perfect right away, Isn't that the way it's supposed to be?

(Tammie) Odessa, TX(Zone 7b)

Time will also make a difference.. the pond will eventually work itself into an enviornmnet that works for all living in it. I figured that out when I did not have the time to work with my pond.. it was green but I just could not try anything else for the time being. It finally cleared up and has stayed that way. In the spring it has its "green bloom" then clears up in about a week.

Austin, TX(Zone 8b)

Nice rocks! Be sure and show us another picture when your new plants get settled in.

I'm sure it will all work out. Just takes a while to settle sometimes...

Mooresville, NC(Zone 7b)

So by pure accident I have a clear water pond. Last night I was adding water to the pond, was taken away by a telephone call. I completely forgot about adding the water until this morning. But Shazam! I have crystal clear water. I can see all my tadpoles. But the feeder goldfish I put in there (5) are all gone!!!!! Go figure???

Holland, OH(Zone 5b)

If you added chlorinated water, the chlorine probably killed the goldfish. Water has to be chlorine free for all fish. Chlorine burns their gills, they cant oxygenate and then they die. If it wasnt chlorinated water that you added, then a big, quick temperature difference is not good for fish either. That clear water will also quickly turn green. What you've actually done is considerably set back the process of the pond coming into balance. Shade the water with plants, as many here have already advised. Keep the filter running 24/7. Clean the filter as needed. Dechlorinate any added tap water. Dont do big water changes. Try natural remedies first, such as barley straw, if as already advised, you can get it in the path of flowing water. Otherwise it just sits there and does nothing. Barley straw slowly emits hydrogen peroxide into the water. Hydrogen peroxide is what tames the algae. It takes barley straw some time before it has added enough hydrogen peroxide to the water to work.

The best and fastest way to contol green algae is a UV. They are a good investment. Otherwise you'll be battling algae problems constantly.

Drugstore hydrogen peroxide can be added to a pond at the rate of one pint per 1000 gallons for a quick algae kill. It works well. However there are two consequences. First: A sudden load of dead algae decomposing in the water takes up a lot of oxygen. Fish need well oxygenated water. The warmer the water temp the less oxygen pond water can hold. Be sure you have exellent aeration and circulation before trying this.

Second: Its a temporary effect. Unless you permanently take steps to address algae growth ( plants, filtration and UV) it will just get green again in a week or so.

When used at the proper rate, hydrogen peroxide does not harm fish or plants. If you plan on using it you should know just how many gallons your pond holds.

Mooresville, NC(Zone 7b)

Snapple, thank you so much for your response. We are on a well so no chlorine to worry about. I did worry about the temp change, but I couldn't help that after the fact. The feeder goldfish that I put in just disappeared. No floating bodies. I was more concerned about killing the tadpoles that I have, but they seem to be doing fine. I have added several plants since I first posted so time will time whether they are doing the job.

(Tammie) Odessa, TX(Zone 7b)

the fish probably swam out where the water flowed out of the pond.. they love to swim with flowing water. My little pond gets green occasionally but I have my water filtering through a watering can so I just put in polyester fiber and change that out several times for a day or two. It is a real slimy mess but it gets the green out. My pond is tiny. LOL

Sad note.. one of my fish jumped out of the pond today.. did not find him in time.. went to Walmart and bought another little goldfish.. he looked so tiny when I put him in the pond.. I know he is the size they all were when I bought them .. I hope no one eats him.

Holland, OH(Zone 5b)

Little ponds can actually be harder to maintain than big ones. In a little pond things can get out of whack in a big hurry. Both however require patience, some understanding of how a new pond cycles and regular maintenance. I have a medium sized pond - 2750 gallons for koi, and a small 480 gallon pond for goldfish. The smaller one was by far the hardest one to get settled. It took a whole summer season to figure out how often to clean the filter ( a lot), when to change any water ( never except if I had a really high ammonium reading) and what to do about algae ( I went the UV route after trying plants, several chemicals and barley straw). Critters are another problem. This year I had raccoons severely maul five fish. They were too big for the raccoon to drag out of the pond. Four fish got infections in their wounds and died. The fifht lost an eye and his gill plate healed crooked. We live trapped and relocated two raccoons. Just when I thought I could relax a little a heron ate my best tancho koi. We had to completely net both ponds. The heron hung around for about 10 days after we netted. We think its moved on as I havn't seen it recently. My neighbor put in a bigger pond than mine last year. So now, between the two of us with three ponds we have prime feeding habitat for all manner of wildlife. I think netting in the months of May and June will have to be a permanent annual affair. My neighbor has a different ponding approach than I do. Natural. Minimal filtration, green water and tons of plants. He doesnt buy fish. Just keeps restocking with wild fish he catches. So, if he loses them to wildlife he doesnt care. Kind of leaves me in a bad position. He hangs out an aquatic welcome mat and the wildlife eats at my buffet!

Athens, PA

Snapple

No wonder why we have not heard from you. You have been so busy dodging Mother Nature. Sounds like you have had an awful time. Since we put in the water sprayer that is on a sensor, we have not been bothered so much by the herons. We are between 2 rivers on a peninsula (sp?) and the herons fly over head going from one river to the other and back. Hope things get better.

Virginia Beach, VA

Snapple,
My heart goes for you for losing some of your kois. My pond is 7 years old and it is netted because that is the only way I can have peace of mind. i lost a lot of kois from herons before the netting. My netting is very presentable and here is the picture. I can still go in tho clean. Belle

Thumbnail by bellieg
Virginia Beach, VA

Here is another picture

Virginia Beach, VA

Here is another picture before we put the netting.

Thumbnail by bellieg
Virginia Beach, VA

Melsalz,
I have been ponding for 7 years, my pond was built by a pond designer as a gift from DH when I was on sick leave for 2 years. It was a lot of work at first, green water algae, herons etc, etc. I tried everything from barley straws chemicals that were very pricey and i almost gave it up because the first summer I was removing tons of string algae. Now it is almost maintenance free because I finally know how to treat algae. I use peroxide, and baking soda. Except for mosquitoes outside I am able to spend time watching the koi and listen to the waterfall. happy ponding!!! Belle

This message was edited Jul 20, 2010 10:51 AM

Broxton, GA(Zone 8b)

My pond is approximately 18000 gallons, can you tell me how much peroxide and baking soda to use please? Will my plants be OK, or will the peroxode kill them? Sharon

Virginia Beach, VA

I have tons of plants and kois in my pond and so far i had not lost any. I do not know how big my pond is but I use 4 big bots of peroxide and perhaps a cup of baking soda. I am sorry but no formula. Belle

Virginia Beach, VA

I went back to see your pond picture and I do not know if you have filtration system. How big is your pump? We had a preformed for 2 years and we had a small pump but I had some filters and occasionally cleaned it. The preformed is being replaced by an in ground with pump and skimmers. DH is building this unlike my present pond that was built by a pond designer. It is hard to get rid of the algae with out a filtration system. I am talking by experience on the 7 years that I had this pond. I hope I am talking sense. Belle.

Broxton, GA(Zone 8b)

I can't remember the size of the pump, but I do have filtration. The filter is located at the top of the waterfall. It is about knee deep and 4' x 3'. I also have a trash can that acts as a filter. It is disguised as a well. I have lava rock and air conditioner filters in it. The water comes in at the bottom at out the top. I may try your mix. Sharon

Thumbnail by Kgb4013
Mooresville, NC(Zone 7b)

I haven't been ignoring everyone's comments, just been very busy with other things. Here is the latest picture of my green water pond. I've decided that it's just going to have to be green this year. You know aren't you supposed to "Go Green". I've added the plants and I run the pump continuously. I haven't tried the hydrogen peroxide/baking soda trick yet. Too many other things going on. Heck I'm still trying to finish up the rocks around the thing. It has been so unbearable hot to do much of anything with it. As all of you know. The very tall plants are volunteer sunflowers from the nearby bird feeder. Decided to let them grow. The round pond has a $20 lotus growing in it. It's loving it's new home, because it was only 2 leaves when I brought it home. The plants in pots in the back, are hibiscus. They were rescues from the graveyard at Lowe's I've been growing them in pots for the past 2 years. They desperately need to be in the ground. And I think where they sit will finally be there place.

Bell: Your pond is gorgeous. Maybe in time I can upgrade to such a large beautiful pond like yours.
Also in answer to your question about the pump. This whole pond was a kit that I bought at an auction several years ago. It sat in our barn until this past fall. So the pump & filter, I'm assuming, should be the right size. Surely, the manufacturers got that right, eh?

I do have a question for anyone who wants to answer. What do you use for fertilizer? The plants that are blooming, should be purple. They are a sickly lavender white color. I'm guessing that need some food.

So going on vacation for the next week, but look forward to everyone;s comments.

Thanks, Melanie

I

Thumbnail by melsalz
Mountain View, HI

Just looking at this forum for the first time. Seems to be a general discussion on ponds. Now I'm almost retired I have more time to participate in forums and blogs (although it seems to take valuable time away from being out in the garden)
I'm a pond fanatic - or do I like digging holes. I have about 25 ponds, randomly spread around about two acres varying in size from 4 foot wide kiddies paddling pools lined with black plastic to 18 foot wide circular ponds about 2 feet deep. Two ponds are lined with hollow tile and black plastic and measure 8 feet by 18 feet by 2 feet deep. One pond is an old chest freezer lined with plastic and covered on the outside with bamboo fencing. Nice to have a pond at waist height. Another pond is an old refrigerator laid on its back in the ground and becomes two ponds in one. I also have a 12 foot satellite dish laying on its back and lined with plastic. Looks like a hugh saucer filled with water.

I'm amazed at how much people spend to get the water clear and "just right" .I've never used filters, chemicals or other artificial equipment. I just love green ponds. Sometimes the water is greenish and you can't see the bottom and sometimes after a good rain you can clearly see everything. Once the pond is filled with water I leave it a couple of weeks, add water hyacinth, lilies, Alodia (spelling) and when the water looks like it has got a natural balance I add fish - goldfish, talapia, swordtails, guppies, koi or whatever. Over time the frogs arrive, dragonflies, all kinds of bugs and after about 4 months there is natural harmony. We have lilies blooming, pickerals, a cats tails, too much hyacinth, three sizes of papyrus, water buttercup and others I forget the names of. The blue blooms on the hyacinth are great and the ducks love the excess plants by the wheel barrow full. Of course ducks are fenced in from the ponds. They have there own pond.
My biggest problem is duckweed on the surface and blanket weed. The black plastic 6mm is double thickness and seems to last 10 years.

It takes alot of patience to go and do the maintenance but the final affect is well worth it.

Mooresville, NC(Zone 7b)

MicroB: Wow, you do like ponds. My first thought was mosquitoes. Are they not a problem in Hawaii?
I would love to see pictures of your ponds. Could you share a few?

Magnolia, TX(Zone 8b)

more water plants dear, protects the little fish as well, water tends to go crystal clear with water hyacinths, you just have to control the spread really really carefully, barley straw or liquad barley works on string algae, there are fertilizers made from fish emulsions if you are dedicated to water pond fish/plant safety. check at a water garden nursery. good stuff to include in your outdoor pond is the same 'grass' you would have in an indoor aquarium. it oxygenates the water as well as allowing your little goldfish hiding places to grow in

Mountain View, HI

My wife takes most of the pictures, usually frogs and individual water lily blooms. I will take some pictures of ponds and post later.
This picture is part of the satellite dish pond. Its slowly turning into a partial bog garden with miniature papyrus, pitcher plants, marsh orchids and some hyacinth. Noticed some dragonfly larvae in this one. currently it sits about 2 feet of the ground. Plan is to empty it and set it down in the ground a little. Fear is that one day it will tilt over.

Thumbnail by microb
Magnolia, TX(Zone 8b)

I wondered how you controlled the roll on the rocking sat. dish, chuckl, guys here in the south there is a minnow called a mosquito fish, and glass shrimp that help with the mosquitoes, but HI has constant breezes, unlike our humid, sullen mugginess that lets mosquitoes grow in the moisture on the grass if they dont have a pond available. Be careful adding wild fishes, tetras grow in the creeks too, and can bring flukes and ich with them - esp during hot weather. The ponds get little sun perchies with the rain in spring, nature bringing eggs in the storms of spring. You will find the ponds' balance.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Hi there. I have been ponding for four years. My pond is black plastic lined and about 14'x20', ranging in depth from 24" to 48". I have plants, many that you have named, gold fish and Koi. It freezes over in the winter, so we keep deicer rings going and run a hose from the shallow end to the deep end with a little 1.5' drop. I also have little shade so battle algae constantly. I run three pumps, two uv filters, skimmer and a biofalls. I clean the skimmer filters once a day and they are loaded with algae, both alive and dead. I have used microb/lift products to clarify the water, dispose of sludge in the bottom, and kill algae. All their products are organic. The stuff isn't cheap, and to make it worse shipping to Alaska is terrible. No one wants to use plain old USPS. Anyway, Algaway 5.4 has pretty much cleared my algae problem. Pond still has a slight greenish tint, but water is clear to the bottom of the four foot depth. I have about 17 gold fish of various sizes up to 6" and one koi who is about 12+" and fat. They live in the pond all year long. Plants are cut back and put in the bottom of the four foot depth and then come out in spring just find, including hardy water lilies. I also use Microb/lift PL and Microb/lift SA (sludge away). I buy in gallon sizes because of postage but it lasts for a couple of seasons.

Mountain View, HI

Keeping the satellite dish level was a challenge. In fact my first attempt resulted in it toppling over and bending the edge so it is no longer a perfect circle.
We don't get too much mosquito problem here. We are at 2200 ft level and it does get cool at times - down to upper 40's some years and of course the fish help.
Attached is a photo of one of the round ponds. We do not have county water so rely on rain catchment. The pond is made from a section of old water catchment tank lined with a food grade liner custom made for the pond. Pond is 18 feet diameter and 2 feet deep. There are some goldfish, swordtails and a shibunkin. Australian tree ferns tower 20 feet over the pond and the edge of the pond has bromeliad. Because the sides are sheer I'm trying to find a way of edging the pond with bog plants. Currently I hand plastic window boxes of the side suspended from hollow concrete tiles. I can put plants in the hollow tiles around the edge. Not the ideal system. Any ideas? I tried spanning the pond with a 20 foot long bamboo pole and suspend pots from the pole but difficult to get them to the middle and it didn't look pretty.
A another identical pond is just below this one. Future plans call for a waterfall between the two.
Enough rambling on for now. Have to get this uploaded before out "dial up" system kicks me off line

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Mountain View, HI

Sorry, should have check my spelling on that last reply - please read "hang" instead of "hand" and "our" instead of "out". I have more pond notes on my blog.

Richmond, VA(Zone 7a)

We put our pond in last summer and it was cloudy green for a month - until I bought Clear Pond - All Natural Clear Crystal pond cleaner from PetSmart. You drop the whole bag (2 bags for my pond size) into the pond (with a small slit in the top) - then it cleared up in 2 days. I had tried all the pond clearing stuff (Pond Zyne, Quick Fix) but this has been the only thing to work. My pond doesn't have a lot of shade either but I kept a mesh shade sheet over it until enough of the floating plants covered the top. It stayed clear all thru the winter. Then after the pollen dropped this spring, it was totally disgusting. Again I dropped 2 bags in and within 2 days, my pond was crystal clear!

Mooresville, NC(Zone 7b)

Gardengirl, I'll have to see about trying some of that. So far I've just let it be green. My plants have grown but maybe not enough to take care of the yuck colored water. I have other projects going on and this one has taken a back seat.

Bolingbrook, IL(Zone 5a)


I thought that hydrogenperoxid was the same thing as bleach??? Does anyone here do Bog Gardens or know anything abou them??

Damascus, MD

Until your surface is mostly covered by plants, be they lilies or others, use a product called Deep Water. It colors the water dark brown or black which prevents sunlight penetrating enough to feed the algae. Once the surface is 3/4 covered the problem should decrease dramatically.

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