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Brown algae are found in every pond, but can become a nuisance under unfavorable conditions. With these tips, these organisms can be successfully combated.
Appearance and origin
Brown algae, lat. Phaeophyceae, are a large group of different looking algae. As brown algae are often the diatoms (bacillariophyta), because they also look brownish. These two species of algae have one thing in common: They need silica for cell division. Brown and diatoms can be fought with the same methods. In the garden pond, these algae usually take the form of branched cell threads, which settle on plants and stones. Most species of brown algae are found in salt water, in fresh water there are only five species. These algae prefer to live in cool waters, so they are often found in the ponds. Sometimes these organisms become a real plague for the gardener. The brown algae spread uncontrollably, they suppress the aquatic plants, take away light and nutrients. The appearance of the pond also suffers greatly from the brown algae. These creatures belong to the natural stock in every water, their spread testifies to the disturbed balance in the pond.
Brown algae: optimal conditions
To combat brown algae or diatoms successfully, the gardener should first know which conditions can promote their growth. Unlike most other algae, brown algae require little light for their growth, but thrive in the shady areas. These algae feel particularly comfortable in the hard water (over 14° dH). In addition, these organisms require different nutrients, e.g. Nitrogen, phosphorus and other chemical elements. The source of these nutrients in the pond are dead plant parts, leaves, pollen or dead animals (insects, larvae, etc.). If fish are kept in the pond, food remains are one of the most important nutrient sources for the algae.
Remove brown algae
Unlike many other algae, brown algae are relatively easy to remove mechanically. From the surface of the pond they can be collected with a landing net. For surface cleaning, a special pump can be used. It is somewhat more difficult to remove algae from the bottom of the pond. For this, a gardener, e.g. Attach a sponge to a long rod and use this device to try to remove the algae. Of course, this method is not easy to apply, especially in the case of heavy infestation, because the water quickly becomes cloudy and thus the situation too confusing. Here only helps to pump off the water and clean the entire pond with a strong jet of water. For water inhabitants, this procedure is not pleasant. Aquatic plants can spend some time without their element, especially if they are kept moist. Fish must, of course, endure in a water container until the pond is filled with fresh water. Tip: Even with partial water changes (up to 3/4 of the volume), many algae floating in the water or their parts are removed.
Pay attention to the water quality
So it does not come back after the filling of the pond to the algae plague, it is worthwhile to use only soft water. A reliable source of high quality soft water is the rain barrel. It is not recommended to fill the pond with tap water because it contains too many substances that not only provide a good breeding ground for the brown algae, but are also unhealthy for the aquatic inhabitants. Although the water hardness can be significantly reduced with the help of an osmosis system, but on the one hand these systems do not cost a lot of money, on the other hand they work quite slowly. Tip: Calcareous stones provide the algae with continuous nutrients, such materials may not be used in pond construction or should be removed.
With light against brown algae
Both brown and diatoms like shadows and spread quickly in inadequately lit parts of the pond. The gardener can prevent the brown algae plague by avoiding shadows when creating the pond. Partial shade is optimal for a new pond. Sunny locations are less recommended because they promote the spread of other algae species, e.g. Blue-green algae. Laying an existing pond is not that easy, but it may be possible to remove some branches or plants that overshadow the pond.
Plants in the fight against brown algae
In particular, newly created ponds often suffer from brown or diatom infestation. The reason for this are often young, small water plants that have just been set and can only process very little nutrients. The more "food" remains for the algae. That's why it pays to put some well-developed adult aquatic plants in the pond. These make the algae the nutrients dispute and indeed successful. Tip: Especially underwater plants extract the nutrients from the algae.
Feed fish more sparingly
Food leftovers contain many nutrients important for the algae. Koi or other fish species often tend to beg for food, which does not necessarily mean that the animals are hungry. It is worth feeding just enough fish to eat their food in about five minutes. Otherwise, the remains sink to the bottom and do not feed the fish, but the unwanted algae.
Remove plant remains and protect the pond
For regular pond care, it is necessary to remove the dead parts of the aquatic plants and foliage with the landing net to extract the nutrient medium from the brown algae. In autumn, the gardener can cover the pond with a net, so that the leaves do not even come into the water.
- Combating brown algae in brief:
- Remove mechanically,
- Completely or partially change water,
- For better lighting conditions,
- Remove limestone-containing materials,
- Feed fish less,
- Remove dead plant remains and leaves,
- Only fill the pond with soft water.
Worth knowing about brown algae shortly
- The approximately 10,000 species of brown algae occur for the most part in the temperate or cold seas. They feel accordingly in the North and Baltic Seas very well.
- However, they are not only found there, because some species also feel at home in fresh water and so the brown algae have also found their way into our aquariums or garden ponds.
- Unlike many other species of algae, brown algae prefer not good, but rather poor lighting conditions.
- That they then grow better, however, has only indirectly to do with the lighting.
- Rather, it is the aquatic plants that grow barely or not at such low light conditions and thus provide the brown algae enough space to spread.
- The simplest method is therefore to provide adequate illumination so that the plants can grow well.
- The plant growth also promotes a bottom heating in the basin.
- A not insignificant part of the development of brown algae has silica.
- Often one has a brown algae problem in new, filled with tap water aquariums.
If you want to free your pond or aquarium from the brown algae, of course, in addition to a water change, the removal of algae is necessary, otherwise a brown algae plague occurs after a few days again. So if the water is removed, so you clean with a coarse sponge or using a razor blade, the brown algae of the affected objects. Affected plant parts do not have to be agreed. Also, the suction can be successful with the help of a Mulmglocke.