Pond Care: Algae Identification

Pond care algae are harmless single-cell organisms that can help maintain your pond's ecosystem, provided that their population is kept in check. In order to keep the algae in your pond from overpopulating, read the following information about different algae types, how to identify them, and how they can affect your pond.

Identifying Algae by Color

There are literally thousands of algae species that can be found in ponds and other bodies of water. However, the most common kinds of algae are classified as either black or blue/green. Black algae are hard to eliminate because of their tough shells and their long roots that can deeply penetrate pond surfaces. Meanwhile, blue/green algae are quite common and easy to remove. In fact, you can get rid of the overpopulation of blue/green algae manually by brushing the areas where they grow.

You may also find yellow algae which tends to have an orange or gold color. They generally do not darken the pond and can be easily eliminated with potassium tetraborate.

Identifying Algae by Shape
The shape of microscopic algae can be determined only under a microscope. There are only two basic shapes of algae, which is elliptical and filamentous.  If you see algae that have a more or less short elliptical shape, you are looking at planktonic algae.  If you have observed that the water in your pond turned into something that resembles pea soup in color, then you are dealing with a planktonic algae infestation. On the other hand, filamentous algae have long string-like hairs. If you find green string-like mats on the bottom of your pond, you need to remove them immediately because a filamentous algae bloom can harm plant and fish life in your pond.

Identifying Algae by Structure
Typically, pond algae are suspended on the water. But there are some types that are referred to as attached-erect algae. These algae are submerged and they have structures that look like functional stems and leaves, that’s why many people mistake them for actual plants. Attached-erect algae have a crumbly structure. If uncontrolled, they can become a problem for the fish in the pond. Should you discover them in your pond, be sure to remove them manually as soon as you spot them.