Algae Identification and Maintenance

Algae Identification of three common types of Algae

Algae are a simple non-flowering aquatic plant that lacks stems, roots, leaves, and vascular tissue. To help with Algae Identification start with determining which of the three common categories of Algae the plant in your pond falls into. Algae appear in many different forms and depending on the type of Algae it will appear in a variety of colors. It does not have leaves, stems, or roots and propagates by means of spores, cell division, or fragmentation.

Algae thrive on nutrients in the water and require access to appropriate sunlight for growth. Algae are found in every pond or lake and can become a problem when it starts to overtake the body of water. Algae can degenerate the health of ponds, ruin the aesthetics, and be harmful to the ecological balance and water quality.

There are three common categories of Algae

Some species of Algae are being made into Bio-Fuel.


Water discolored by Planktonic Algae

Planktonic algae are distributed throughout your pond or lake and give the water a unique color. Planktonic algae give the water the appearance of having been dyed. When Plantonic algae bloom it can blow across the pond and form large concentrations along the shores of the lake or pond and cannot be pulled out of the water like other forms of algae.

Examples: Chlamydomonas, Chlorella, Eugleana, Closterium, Anacystis


Mat-Formring Filamentous Algae

Filamentous Algae generally form mat-like entanglements on the bottom or the surface of the water. This algae is typically long, stringy and slimy to the touch. Filamentous algae can be harmful to an aquatic system because they can overtake stagnant bodies of water with high levels of nutrients. Usually appears green but turns yellow and brown as it dies.

Examples: Spirogyra, Anabaena, Spirulina, Lyngbya, and Pithophora


Macro-Algae Plant Like Algae

Macro-Algae is multicellular algae and commonly live in a similar ecological niche and can be confused with aquatic plants. Seaweeds are a type of macro-algae and usually grow in marine systems not freshwater. Macro-algae grows up from the bottom of the pond. Several species (ex. Starry Stonewort) are considered invasive throughout the country.

Examples: Chara, and Nitella

Plants commonly thought of as being Algae

There are several species of plants that are often mistaken for Algae. With over 30,000 species of Algae, it is not surprising that a few plants can be misidentified as Algae. To make sure you get it right, call Pond Lake Management. We can help you identify algae and weeds that are overtaking your pond and develop a treatment plan to make your pond healthy and visually pleasing again.

Watermeal:  It is a floating plant that has no roots and grows very rapidly. Like planktonic algae, watermeal can be blown across a pond and accumulate along the shoreline. Watermeal is easily transported from a pond or lake to another by waterfowl such as ducks and geese. It is very small with a gritty texture and is commonly mistaken for algae.

Duckweed:  is found in ponds, lakes and. streams and is an aggressive invader of ponds and is commonly found with other plants such as mosquito ferns, other duckweeds and watermeal.  Because it can cover the surface of the water, it will deplete oxygen and cause fish kills. They are used as food by fish and other wildlife such as reptiles and ducks.  Like watermeal, Duckweed is easily transportable by waterfowl from one pond to the next.

Algae Identification of Watermeal
Algae Identification of Duckweed
Pond Dyes help control submerged weeds and Algae

Do Pond Dyes control Weeds and Algae?

The addition of pond or lake dye can make your pond more visually appealing by adding a tint of color to the water. Using pond dyes reduces the amount of sunlight that penetrates the surface causing unwanted algae and weeds to grow.

Murky water that is brought on by algae growth and naturally occurring debris can lead to a smelly, dirty pond. Pond scum can turn your pond or lake a green or brown color and potentially harm the aquatic life. Using pond dye is one of the tools you can use to prevent a smelly pond and keep your lake looking clean and odor-free. Dyes are just one tool used by professionals to provide proper Pond Maintenance and Lake Management.

Murky water that is brought on by algae growth and naturally occurring debris can lead to a smelly, dirty pond. Pond scum can turn your pond or lake a green or brown color and potentially harm the aquatic life. Most reputable pond dyes absorb light that aquatic plants need to grow. The dyes we use are the same chemistry as food grade dyes. Although not registered, they are safe for use to color ponds and are safe for wildlife and pets when used as directed.

Pond dyes are a good choice to help control filamentous algae (Spirogyra, Anabaena, Spirulina, Lyngbya, Pithophora) and submerged weeds (Elodea, Hydrilla, Bladderwort, Coontail, Brittle Naid).  Pond dyes help reduce growth by limiting sunlight penetration and blocking photosynthesis.

Pond and Lake dyes are not herbicides and are not designed to kill the weeds or algae in your pond.   Their role is to limit the growth of aquatic vegetation in the water.  If you have an invasive weed or algae species contact a Pond Management specialist such as Pond Lake Management to develop a professional plan to eliminate the problem.

 Common dye colors are Blue, Black, and a mix of the two. Black dyes will provide a “reflective” property and a mixture of blue/black is suggested if you desire a more natural look that adds visual depth to your pond.