The Content Of The Article:
- Avoid algae
- Algae eaters from the animal kingdom
- The algae eat away the nutrients
The garden pond is for many garden owners probably one of the most exciting projects in the home oasis of well-being. If, however, the water and the concomitant pleasure of algae is clouded, then as soon as possible a solution. In addition to technical aids, there are also a few helpers from the flora and fauna, which help you to keep the water in the garden pond clear. We introduce you to the best algae eaters.
For increased algae growth usually two things are responsible: First, too high a nutrient content (phosphate and nitrate) and on the other hand too much sunlight and concomitantly increased water temperatures. If both apply to your garden pond, an increased Algenwachtum is already foreseeable and it comes to the so-called algal bloom. To avoid this, it is important to consider a few points when creating the garden pond, for example the location and the planting.
However, if the literal child has already fallen into the fountain or garden pond, Mother Nature can help restore balance.
Explodes the algae population in the pond, there is danger in arrears, because the pond can "tip over" due to lack of oxygen
Algae eaters from the animal kingdom
For many aquatic animals algae are high on the menu and so they should not be missing in any garden pond. The animals can usually be bought in specialized stores or ordered via renowned online retailers. Please do not take animals from local rivers or lakes, as they are mostly under protection.
Snails are small algae lawnmowers. They grind the algae with their mouthparts mostly at the bottom of the pond and, depending on the species, rarely attack the introduced aquatic plants. Especially recommended is the marsh cap slug (Viviparidae). It is the only species of snail in Central Europe that not only eats algae growing on the ground, but also filters floating algae hated by pond owners out of the water. The marsh cap snail also survives as a gill breathing in the winter, when the pond has a frost-free zone at the bottom (that is deep enough). It reaches a size of about five centimeters - and what is particularly exciting is that it does not lay eggs like other snails, but gives birth to fully trained miniature snails.
With up to seven centimeters, the Spitzschlammschnecke (Lymnaea stagnalis) is the largest species in Central Europe
Another algae-eating representative is the Spitzschlammschnecke (Lymnaea stagnalis). This species grows up to seven centimeters in size and is the largest snail in Central Europe living in the water, and is particularly suitable for ponds where the risk of algae growth is high, for example if they are planted in a very sunny spot in the garden. The reason for this is that the Spitzschlammschnecke as a lung respirator is not dependent on the oxygen content in the water like other water inhabitants, but comes to the surface to breathe. She too can survive the winter in a resting phase on the frost-free ground.
Other respiratory snails are the posthorn snail and the small mud snail.
In summary, it can be said that the marsh cap slug is the most effective algae eater, as it also affects the floating algae. However, for her as a gill breathing the oxygen content in the water still has to be high enough. The three other species have no problems when the oxygen is already scarce, but only take care of algae on the ground and on stones that they can graze.
The pond mussel (Anodonta cygnea) filters around 1,000 liters of water per day
Mussels and crustaceans
While snails eat mainly algae growing on the ground, there are still some animal helpers who specialize in floating algae. Very high up here is the pond (Anodonta cygnea). It filters around 1,000 liters of water a day through its gills, where tiny suspended and micro-algae as well as phytoplankton (blue and gravel algae) get caught and then eaten. The size of the pond mussel is impressive in adult animals - it is up to 20 inches tall.
Other algae eaters are the European freshwater shrimp (Atyaephyra desmaresti), which has only been native to Central Europe for around 200 years. The shrimps grow up to four centimeters and mainly feed as young animals of floating algae and as adult females produce up to 1,000 larvae, the algae quickly get to the collar. They are also winter proof, as long as the pond shows the necessary depth and does not freeze.
Only under the microscope are the tiny creatures of the zooplankton recognizable and yet they are the ones who do most of the work in the garden pond
In the larval stage, the small shrimp belong to the so-called zooplankton. This group includes several thousand different microorganisms and juveniles in aquatic animals.Especially the tiny rotifers are the number one algae eater here. The animals eat a multiple of their own body weight per day and feed exclusively on algae. The exciting thing is that they respond immediately to massive algae growth with high progeny. So it is often the case that a pond becomes clouded only by the algae, then becomes even cloudier, because the rotifers increase explosively through the high feed intake and then clears up piece by piece, because hardly any algae are available.
Fish in the pond should be treated with caution, as feed and its excretions bring in many nutrients and thus favor the growth of algae. However, there are some species that are good for the eye, feed on a good part of algae and use more in moderation than harm. On the one hand, this is the rudd spring, which is relatively small at 20 to 30 centimeters and, due to its small size, is also suitable for smaller ponds. On the other hand, the Chinese carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix), which looks somewhat deformed due to the unusual placement of the eyes on the head. This species of fish is only something for larger ponds, as it reaches a body length of up to 130 centimeters. Despite their size, the fish feed almost exclusively on the so-called phytoplankton - ie small plants such as floating algae and thus ensure the purity of the pond.
The silver carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix) is unlikely to win a beauty contest, instead it filters many suspended algae from the pond
The algae eat away the nutrients
Even more important than eating algae is, in the first place, the eating away of the nutrients that they need to thrive. For this it is important to properly plant the pond and pond edge. Especially floating plants such as frog bite, duckweed or crab claws extract nutrients from the algae and reduce the amount of sunlight in the pond. How to grow your pond properly read our article "The best pond plants for every depth".