Algae is one of the common problems for pond owners. If left uncontrolled, algae can destroy the pond—not literally, but too much of everything can certainly bring major problems to your pond.
Algae control is something that pond owners need to ensure if they want to maintain the health of the entire pond. It is why pond builders and water gardeners take time and effort in looking for the best solutions for algae control.
For you to control the presence and growth of algae, you have the option to use other plants and consider them as part of your filtration system.
Algae tend to “steal” nutrients from other plants; thus, there is a need to control their presence in your pond. If left uncontrolled, the other plants or other living things in the ponds will surely suffer.
There should be a healthy balanced system as there could be ammonia produced by the fish and other animals within the pond.
Algae is an often-unwelcome plant, which can bring so much burden for those maintaining ponds. Algae tend to “steal” oxygen from the fish and others that thrive inside the pond. But do not fret. You can always find a solution to control the growth of algae.
Choosing the Best Pond Plants to Control Algae
You can easily get pond plants as there are many options available online or any physical nurseries nearby. The challenge, however, is how to find the one that will work for your pond. We have listed below some of the options you can consider to help you decide on the best pond plants to control algae growth in your pond.
1) Water Lettuce
Sometimes called ‘water cabbage’, this pond plant looks like lettuce hence the name. It has large leaves that are velvety and soft.
Water lettuce is known for its ability to act as a purifier that can help improve the quality of water in your pond. Water lettuce can also produce plantlets from the center of the plant. Using water lettuce has its downside, too. If you fail to control water lettuce, it can also negatively affect your pond as it can be invasive.
Since water lettuce floats on the surface of the pond water, they also tend to block the source of sunlight for the fish underneath. Water lettuce can serve as shelter for baby fish inside the pond.
As long as you control it well, water lettuce effectively improves water quality and provides shade. And ultimately, water lettuce is effective in preventing algae growth.
- It helps in hiding your fish from potential predators.
- Provides shade due to the dense top cover it can form.
- Helps clean and purify pond water.
- It tends to be invasive if left uncontrolled and can even block public waterways.
2) Water Hyacinth
Sometimes called ‘weeds from hell’ for their exponential growth rate, water hyacinths can help you control algae in your pond.
Compared to algae, water hyacinth is easier to control. Water hyacinths also offer benefits that pond owners may want to take advantage of.
Water hyacinths can provide shelter to fish and other living things in the pond—or even in an open water setting such as a lake.
Water hyacinth also has an aesthetic value, especially when its colorful flower starts to bloom.
Water hyacinths are also able to absorb impurities through their roots. These roots can lock up particles in the water, which purifies the water in your pond. Water hyacinths are not the easiest to maintain, but they will not take much effort either.
- It grows exponentially.
- It serves as a good filtration system with its ability to pull impurities, toxins, and other sediments from the pond water.
- Tends to block public waterways if left uncontrolled.
3) Water Lily
Water lilies are a popular choice for pond owners who are looking for pond plants with attached roots. This pond plant is undoubtedly a popular choice in any region and any season.
Water lilies are also known for their beautiful colored flowers. Among the options available are those in the color white, blue, purple, pink, or red. These flowers can also improve the overall look of your pond.
One interesting thing about water lilies is that you can plant them in pots, which you can put underwater. The leaves and flowers will eventually float on the pond’s surface.
Your fish would also love water lilies since they could provide shade when it is too sunny. It can also help your fish hide from potential predators.
Water lilies are also effective as a filter for your pond as it helps reduce the impurities inside the pond.
- It helps improve the overall look of your pond due to its colorful flowers.
- Acts to assimilate excess nutrients in the pond.
- It tends to grow excessively; hence, regular maintenance is a must.
4) Water Lotus
It is often mistaken for a water lily, but water lotus has its characteristics. The water lotus is considered one of the oldest cultivated aquatic plants, which can also help you control the growth of algae.
Water lotus can also beautify your pond because of its white and pink flowers. Aside from its ability to control algae growth, this could add aesthetic value to your pond.
The water lotus should place where it can get enough sunlight to maintain your water lotus well and healthy. Thus, it is best to use a shallow pot in the pond. Tropical varieties of water lotus can practically grow any time of the year. Other types tend to go dormant during winter but will grow again in spring.
The leaves of water lotus are huge, and some varieties could grow for up to 18 inches. It means it can provide shade to your fish living in the pond, especially during summer.
Water lotus can also grow exponentially, and its high requirement for nutrient tend to leave algae for their own needs. It makes water lotus an effective plan to help reduce the presence of algae in your pond.
- Starves algae because of its high nutrient intake.
- Requires low humidity and high amount of sunlight.
5) Water Iris
Water iris are popular for their ability to remove toxins from the pond water effectively. Like water lotus, water iris can also improve the overall look of your pond since they can add a splash of color to your pond, especially during spring.
The exact look of water iris would depend on the specific species that you have. But in general, water iris plants have sharp and long leaves. The color also depends on the species, which could be yellow, white, or blue. The color you want may also help you decide on the species you will put in your pond.
If you want to use water iris, you need to plant them in pots submerged in the ponds. They can thrive in partial share or full sun.
- Removes toxins.
- Stabilizes the pond’s bank.
- Attracts pests easily.
Understanding Pond Algae
Before selecting the pond plants to control the algae, it is best to understand the “enemy” or simply the algae.
Like other aquatic plants, algae grow with the presence of water, carbon dioxide, and photosynthesis. Algae also produce oxygen, which could be helpful to the pond at first. However, that the oxygen they produce quickly respire at night since there is no sunlight.
It means the stored oxygen and sugar in algae could transform into carbon dioxide that depletes that available oxygen in the pond during respiration.
There are two types of algae that can grow in your pond:
String algae – these are popularly known as hair algae. They look like long hair strands often found in waterfalls and rocks. The strands tend to tangle together, and they can double their thickness is only about 24 hours.
Green water – these are single-celled organisms that are tiny but remain suspended on the pond’s surface. If the pond’s condition enables the algae’s growth, you could find up to 5 million algae cells per milliliter of water.
How Pond Plants Help Reduce Algae?
Maintaining a pond takes time and effort. But if you know the basics, it should not be a burden for you. One quick tip is to maintain a balanced pond and work to avoid the excessive growth of toxic algae. Doing this is vital in providing a healthy habitat for your fish.
Algae grow so fast due to several reasons. One of the most common reasons is dissolved nutrients such as decaying leaves, fish waste, minerals, and others that allow algae to grow excessively.
Sunlight is another reason why algae grow so fast. If the pond does not have enough plant coverage, it means there is enough sunlight that passes through the water enabling the algae to flourish.
Lastly, warm water due to inadequate plant cover and poor circulation help algae flourish.
These are not unavoidable. Thus, it would be best if you worked on a solution that could stop algae from growing.
It is where aquatic plants tend to be useful. Aside from improving the aesthetic of your pond, aquatic plans can serve as competitors to invasive algae. Aquatic plants can help remove phosphates and nitrates, which can help in depriving algae of what they need to thrive exponentially.
However, not all aquatic plants are created equal. It would help if you were careful as well in picking the best aquatic plants to use.
Generally, floating aquatic plants are the best to help improve the pond’s water quality while reducing algae.
Floating pond plants also grow so fast, and they can even cover the entire pond if not controlled. Since they are heavy feeders and can grow quickly, they can out-compete the algae in the pond in terms of getting nutrients in the water. Pond plants are effective since they all work to starve algae in the pond.
Aside from starving the algae, pond plants can also provide shade to the pond by blocking out the sunlight. It further helps in fighting the excessive growth of algae. The shade provided by pond plants helps in giving shelter to baby fish or other fish in general.
Algae love to grow in water with warm temperatures. This is where other aquatic plants such as water lilies work well as they can help in keeping the water temperature cooler with blocking the sunlight, making it difficult for algae to survive.
Submerged plants also essential to limit algae development by consuming nutrients from water instead of from their root.
While aquatic plants will not eradicate algae in the pond, they still significantly help in reducing the presence of toxic algae. Having a good balance of plants can help you have a well-maintained pond.
If you are still starting and have not tried using aquatic plants in your pond, it is best to have established pond plants before the peak of algae seasons, often during later summer and spring. Doing so will also help you optimize the benefits of these aquatic plants.
For them to thrive, algae need water, sunlight, and nutrients. If you put other plants in the pond, it would be easier to reduce or remove algae stealing nutrients from the water. In a nutshell, you need to put another plant for the algae to have competitors in the water. Other pond plants that offer more benefits could help you outcompete with algae that often end up a nuance in the pond.
In maintaining a healthy pond, balance is the key. No pond is free of algae, so you have to know how to strike a balance in the plants that thrive in your pond.
Before you pick the aquatic plants to put into your pond, it is best to do your research and determine if additional action is needed to remove excessive algae in the pond. There are many solutions out there, but you need to start understanding the problem first.