Bacteria May Treat Algae
By Bob Lusk
What's the difference between a pond and a lake? One resourceful pondmeister told us, "If it's three acres and yours, it's a pond. If it's three acres and mine, it's a lake."
A mini-pond, then, must be smaller than three acres.
Recently, the Pond Boss phone rang. A Dallas soccer mom, with a sleepy baby tugging at her pant leg, was calling to ask about the "scum" in her backyard pond.
She was multi-tasking.
Her voice swayed as she rocked the little one in her arms, enticing the tyke to lower his tone, hushing him while trying to focus on our visit. "Our little pond was so pretty last spring, but now it's completely covered with a scum, and it looks nasty."
I empathized with the little one.
"My husband is a Pond Boss subscriber and has been for years, but I can't get him to take care of this mess."
I empathized with her husband.
"So, I want to take care of it, for him."
I empathized with the soccer mom.
After several basic questions, I got the gist of her dilemma.
"How big is your pond?" I asked.
"I have no idea," she snorted.
"Compare it to a football field."
"I still have no idea."
"How about a soccer field?"
"Ah, maybe 10 times as big as the net?"
Now we were getting somewhere.
"How old is it?"
"We built it last year, and took the dirt to build our house pad."
Describe the "scum."
"It's bubbly, floats on tops, is green and smells terrible."
She had remnants of a dead filamentous algae bloom, the result of recent rains and falling water temperatures.
I explained what the problem was, and how to fix it.
The tiny pond was fairly shallow, without much water movement. Summer became fall, temperatures dropped, and filamentous algae was growing. A heavy rain dropped two inches of water straight down, de-stabilizing water chemistry and temperatures, killing all the algae at once. Dead algae formed mats, and floated.
Her solution? We prescribed a dose of pond bacteria, which helped quickly decompose the decaying algae. Then, regular doses of the product, over the next few weeks prevented a reoccurrence. The pond was cleansed, she was happy.
Three weeks after the phone call, I happened to be headed her direction.
After a friendly phone call I stopped by to take a closer look. Her mini-pond covered less than 1/20th an acre, was completely cleared of all algae, and the surrounding landscape was magnified by the mirror-like sheen of their pond.
Gorgeous bog plants, iris, arrowhead in full fall bloom, different lilies planted in underwater containers enhanced the beauty of this natural looking pond.
If not for traffic noise from nearby freeways, you might think this little oasis sat somewhere in the middle of a mountain valley.
I admired this family, especially the soccer mom who seems to hold the baby, hold down the fort, and guide the pond in perfect condition, all at the same time, no matter what.
Besides, it's smart fisheries management.
Reprinted with permission from Pond Boss Magazine