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Dutchess_III's avatar

Any ideas how to get rid of algae in an acre-sized pond?

Asked by Dutchess_III (45505points) July 5th, 2012

I’d really prefer a natural method, such as a fish or something that will eat it, but I’m not having much luck finding anything. A friend told me sucker fish work, but I did some research and I don’t think it would help in our case. The algae floats in thick mats on the surface of the pond.

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20 Answers

CWOTUS's avatar

Here is a pretty interesting article from England of a simple (and well-documented) process to control algae formation… with barley straw.

Dutchess_III's avatar


Can someone translate this to English for me?:
Decide on the dose rate of straw required. This will range from 10g/m2in a clear lake with little algae or mud to 50 g/m2 in a heavily infested lake with muddy water 25 g/m2

A person in the article did, but noted that he wasn’t really sure the calculations are right.

CWOTUS's avatar

It took me a minute to get it that “m-2” = square meter.

dabbler's avatar

That’s millipecks per fortnight !

There are exact formulae on the googlehoo but rough approximations should be fine here.
28 grams to an ounce. Square meter is approximately a square yard.
So your range is about a ⅓ oz per square yard up to about 2 oz per square yard.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@dabbler…only for a prostitute working out her budget.

So 1 acre = 4840 square yards. So I’d need 3227 oz up to 9680 oz. 16 oz to a pound which is 200 to 600 pounds? Is that right mah Jellies?

CWOTUS's avatar

The math I did was…

I acre = 43,560 square feet
= 4,046 square meters (I don’t have a direct conversion for acres to square meters; I need to remedy that.)
@ 10 grams per s.m., that’s 40,460 grams

40,460 grams = 89 pounds

At the upper level, for water with high turbidity (murky), you’d want 25 grams per s.m., or about 2.5 times the 89 pounds… roughly 250 pounds.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@CWOTUS K. About five bales. Maybe 6. Now we just have to figure out how to suspend a long-ass“net” just under the water, but over the natural spring that comes up at the deepest, and longest, end of the pond so it distributes around the pond.

This will be sooo interesting. Stay tuned next spring, because it’s WAY too late now!

DigitalBlue's avatar

It is interesting that they suggest netting or tying up the straw, our ponds are not nearly the size of yours, but we just toss the barley in and let it float around. First I’ve ever heard of tying it.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@DigitalBlue According to the article, it’s the chemicals released during the decomposition of the straw that does the trick. However, the straw tends to sink when it starts decomposing, and when it hits the bottom it doesn’t work any more. I’m thinking you lose a great percentage of the benefit by letting it float around because just as it’s starting to work it sinks to the bottom.

But does it work @DigitalBlue?

Any suggestions for netting guys? Going to Google now.

SpatzieLover's avatar

Yep, we use barley balls in our pond. They work well. The barley is in addition to the fountain.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Wow, you guys! I really didn’t expect to find the answer to my dreams in barley!

How big is your pond, how big are the balls, and how many do you use? Where can I find netting? I see on your link @SpatzieLover that they’re $19.99. Pretty sure you could buy an entire bale of barley hay for that and get a hundred balls out of it!

Also, @SpatzieLover, are they anchored or do they just float about?

Dutchess_III's avatar

ONIONS!!!! I was racking my brain trying to figure out which food we buy that comes in that netting, and it’s onions. I wonder if they might have some netting at the grocery store they could spare…One thing’s for sure, I’ll be unclipping them rather than ripping them open from now on! I think I’ll buy a ton of onions, take the netting off, then take them to Farmer’s Market. :)

Dutchess_III's avatar

O noes. Just talked to a farmer, said he doesn’t know of anywhere in Kansas where they sell barley hay. I guess they don’t grow barley here. :(

SpatzieLover's avatar

The pond we care for is abut 3 acres @Dutchess_III. We use 3 to 6 (depending on the year/weather etc) barley balls. Yes, they will cost you money. However, algae is’t pretty to look at or smell, IMO.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I’m just saying that you could make your own for next to nothing. I bet a square bale of barley hay is $5 to $10. Then you just need to get the netting, which is reusable of course. You can use empty water bottles for floats.

How big are the balls?

And…we don’t have barley hay in Kansas. This makes me sad all day. :(

Dutchess_III's avatar

You can get a giant 4 X 5 round bale for $75…this is off of Amarillo, Texas Craig’s list. I wonder if it would be worth it to go and get one and bring it back. I wonder if barley can grow in Kansas….

CWOTUS's avatar

Re-read the article for “type of straw”, and see what substitutes would be locally available to you. Surely you can get wheat straw in Kansas. I think for netting you could even use old panty hose, too (which might be preferable, in fact, as you will be able to remove most of the rotted straw once it has served its usefulness, and not add too much new organic material to the pond that way).

Dutchess_III's avatar

I did, @CWOTUS. But it’s so vague and uncertain. I wish I could find out how well wheat straw works. It just seems like it might almost be worth it to mosey on over to Oklahoma and pick some up. We don’t have any way to haul the big round bales, but we could load 20 square bales on the old pick-em up truck! (Except, we don’t have a pick-em up truck either. We have to be the only people in Kansas without one.)

It sounds like it really works. Man…that would just be so cool, and such an inexpensive and safe way to deal with that nasty stuff. If @SpatzieLover uses 3 to 6 on three acres (I’m assuming the balls about about basketball sized,) then I’d only need 1 to 3 every six months. We’d make up a zillion in advance and just start cycling them in and out, and refilling them and re-stocking them every few years. Sounds really super easy.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Yeah! That’s the ticket! Round up the grandkids and put them to work making barley balls, thousands of them, and hanging them from the rafters in the barn! They could talk about that to their kids, and to each other, when they get old! .... It would help if we had rafters, though. It would REALLY help if we had a barn, too.

I love you guys. Thank you soooo much for all the information!

Dutchess_III's avatar

Oh, and I think panty hose would be a pain. Plus, I don’t wear them so I don’t have any lying about. I think just fishing net or something cheap. I’ll find something somewhere. I’m always seeing string hammocks at garage sales.

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