Does your pond look like pond soup or worse still is your drinking water starting to look green? The quality of your pond water can affect human health and livestock production in a number of ways. Ponds and surface water reservoirs often contain excessive amounts of nutrients caused by run off from various sources such as fertilize, cattle waste, enriched soil and other means. These high levels of nutrients can cause microbial growth and the growth of vegetation commonly called known as “water blooms”.
In North America, these algae blooms are mainly composed of microscopic green and blue-green algae. This blue-green algae looks like vegetation but in reality is really is bacteria. The bacteria is scientifically known as cyanobacteria. If this happens to your water it can be deemed unfit for consumption for this top of bacteria can produce toxins. It can also produce bad odours and tastes along with increased levels of ammonium in your pond and reduced amounts of oxygen.
If you are unfortunate enough to be using this water source as a means to for human use then there are a number of issues that will arise.
- it is diffucult to filter out this type of algae and what is filtered out ends up clogging your filters.
- if you are chlorinating your water to ensure bacteria is neutralized you will find that this effort is an ineffective against blue green algae and can even lead to producing a byproduct that may be toxic.
- the water’s tastes and odours will remain even with the treatment efforts
Pond to Pea Soup Culprits.
Cyanobacteria (Blue-green algae)
Cyanobacteria is an issue for ponds everywhere. Cyanobacteria growth is greatest in warmer weather and small amounts of this algae floats up from the bottom to the surface and spreads across the pond during windy weather. Usually this type of algae will start collecting in small masses and will resemble solid green paint on your pond surface.
The toxic algae or cyanobacteria does not have roots and is not attached to the bottom of your pond. They float, suspended in your pond water. You probably have this type of algae in your pond if you can pick it up in your fingers and it acts likes slime by slipping right through your fingers. See it looks like it is solid grass clippings but in reality its not – its merely thousands to millions of tiny cells stuck together.
This type of algae is not unlike many other kinds of weeds and algae that grow in ponds and cause bad odours. The only difference is blue green algae can produce toxins and that’s the scary thing for these toxins have been known to cause damage to the liver, nerves, lungs and heart in livestock.
In addition, there are many instances that livestock have died from drinking pond water with these toxins. Remember that cyanobacterial blooms often form clumps and clippings in the water that resemble grass clippings. There is another kink of algae that is called Green algae which is not toxic. This type of algae looks like green juice and does not have any clumps of grass like vegetation in it. To be sure that your pond water does not have cyanobacterial blooms in it and to determine the quality of your water it is important to test your water on an ongoing basis to ensure it meets the quality standards needed to keep your cattle and livestock healthy.
One natural way of potentially preventing algae from growing in your pond is to provide adequate amounts of oxygen so that these algae microbes do not have a chance to multiply. Instead they are burnt off by injecting air into your water.
Windmill aeration systems are commonly used by farmers to ensure that this does not happen to their ponds.
Read this article from Pond Owner Magazine for more information on cyanobacteria and other pond poisons.
© 2006 Superior Windmill