Help!  My water's GREEN!!
Green water, or pea soup algae, is a common ailment of garden ponds.  As I mentioned earlier, there is nothing WRONG with
green water, it's actually an indication that your pond is healthy.  The fish love it.  It's us ponders who hate it!  If your pond is
in a sunny location, you will probably experience pea soup algae at least once in your ponding exploits.

Pea soup algae is the oldest form of life, and it will usually show up in new ponds and/or ponds that have had their filtration
shut down over the winter.  The suspended algae in the pond water is consuming the nutrients that have been converted from
fish waste and other organics, like decomposing leaves.  Algae needs two things to survive:  1.  Sunlight, and 2.  Nutrients.  Pea
soup algae also enjoys an environment with a high pH.  Here in Central Illinois, our pH runs in the neighborhood of 9.0.  The
perfect pH is 7.0, or neutral, but to achieve this, you would have to bring it down artificially, which would mean constant
monitoring of existing water and any water added to your pond, either on purpose during a water change, or every time it
rains.  The fish will adjust to a pH of 9.0, and even though it's not ideal for them, they will tolerate a constant 9.0 pH better
than they will tolerate any fluctuation.  I have found that it's much easier to combat the pea soup problem with plant coverage.

In a typical garden variety pond, the first line of defense for suspended (or pea soup) algae should be plant coverage.  You will
need 65% to 75% plant coverage to successfully reduce the amount of sunlight the algae is utilizing.  Water lilies and lotus are
good for this because they help to shade the water's surface, thus cutting down on the essential sunlight the algae needs to
survive.  These same plants, as well as other marginals like dwarf cattail and such, will also compete for the same nutrients that
the algae is feeding on.  Once you have adequate plant coverage, your problem will usually go away overnight, and I mean
OVERNIGHT.  You will wake up one morning, depressed and skeptical about the unsightly appearance of your pond, go outside
expecting disappointment, and be elated to find that the pond has cleared itself of the algae and you can now see clear to the
bottom and all of your fish.  This is by far the best way to get rid of pea soup algae.

If you're impatient and you can't wait for your plants to grow, there are a variety of products that will help you rid your pond of
suspended algae, but I must warn you now, DON'T ever use a product that KILLS the algae in one big mass destruction.  If you do
produce a bunch of dead algae, which falls to the bottom of your pond to decompose into dissolved organics and nutrients.  It
doesn't take long for these dead algae cells to convert over to organic waste and VAWALA!  You have effectively produced even
MORE nutrients in your pond water than you had to start out with for your SECOND algae bloom!  Additionally, most chemicals
(algaecides) that kill algae outright will also either kill your plants, or, at the very least, set them back quite a bit.
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Help!  My Water's BROWN!!!
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Help!  My Fish are SICK!!!
something natural and not artificial.  This way the algae dies a little at a time and the nutrients are reabsorbed or filtered out at
a rate that your pond can handle.

Barley straw is a popular treatment for pea soup algae.  It comes in many forms.  You can buy a bale of the straw itself and have
the ugly thing floating around in your pond, waiting to decompose.  You can buy it in pellets, which dissolve more quickly, have
actual INSTRUCTIONS on the bag (a big plus), or, you can get barley straw extract in a liquid form.  This is the most cost
effective way to go, and the extract has many other benefits as well.  (See
"Algae Treatments" under Products)

The way barley straw works is, as it decomposes, it releases an enzyme.  This enzyme breaks down the cell walls of the
suspended algae and makes it impossible for the algae to reproduce.  Because it is a naturally based treatment, clear water won't
happen over night, but be patient.  The liquid form of barley straw extract is this enzyme, so it will work the fastest.

So far, I have never had to use barley straw, or any other product for that matter, to solve a suspended algae problem in a
pond.  Plant coverage has worked for me in all applications, however, in a serious koi pond, where there are no plants included
in the equation, plant coverage obviously would not work.  That brings us to filtration.

Regardless of what type of pond you construct, you need to have your filter running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  The bacteria
that grows in the filtration needs a constant supply of oxygen to survive.  Cut off the oxygen and it dies, then you start all over
again with the cycle.  There are some products on the market to help establish the bacteria necessary to balance out your pond.  
The most popular of these is MicrobeLift.  This liquid or powder additive "introduces the right bacteria into your pond filtration,
and can shorten the time it takes for your pond to cycle out."  As with any natural product, be aware that cooler temperatures
effect the effectivenss of the product.  How's that for being the head of the Department of Redundancy Department head?

So if you have green water, start with plant coverage.  For the impatient, you can add a biological additive to get your filtration
jump started, and use the barley extract to supress the reproduction process of the algae.

For the REALLY impatient, a UV clarifier may be the way to go, but once you start using a UV light to solve your pea soup algae
problem, you may not ever be able to unplug it and maintain clear water.
If you're going to use a "product" to rid your pond of pea soup algae, the best way to do it is with a pond additive that is a rate
that your pond can handle.

Barley straw is a popular treatment for pea soup algae.  It comes in many forms.  You can buy a bale of the straw itself and have
the ugly thing floating around in your pond, waiting to decompose.  You can buy it in pellets, which dissolve more quickly, have
actual INSTRUCTIONS on the bag (a big plus), or, you can get barley straw extract in a liquid form.  This is the most cost
effective way to go, and the extract has many other benefits as well.  (See
"Algae Treatments" under Products)

The way barley straw works is, as it decomposes, it releases an enzyme.  This enzyme breaks down the cell walls of the
suspended algae and makes it impossible for the algae to reproduce.  Because it is a naturally based treatment, clear water won't
happen over night, but be patient.  The liquid form of barley straw extract is this enzyme, so it will work the fastest.

So far, I have never had to use barley straw, or any other product for that matter, to solve a suspended algae problem in a
pond.  Plant coverage has worked for me in all applications, however, in a serious koi pond, where there are no plants included
in the equation, plant coverage obviously would not work.  That brings us to filtration.

Regardless of what type of pond you construct, you need to have your filter running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  The bacteria
that grows in the filtration needs a constant supply of oxygen to survive.  Cut off the oxygen and it dies, then you start all over
again with the cycle.  There are some products on the market to help establish the bacteria necessary to balance out your pond.  
The most popular of these is MicrobeLift.  This liquid or powder additive "introduces the right bacteria into your pond filtration,
and can shorten the time it takes for your pond to cycle out."  As with any natural product, be aware that cooler temperatures
effect the effectivenss of the product.  How's that for being the head of the Department of Redundancy Department head?

So if you have green water, start with plant coverage.  For the impatient, you can add a biological additive to get your filtration
jump started, and use the barley extract to supress the reproduction process of the algae.

For the REALLY impatient, a UV clarifier may be the way to go, but once you start using a UV light to solve your pea soup algae
problem, you may not ever be able to unplug it and maintain clear water.
which no ponder possesses.
                    Anonymous