Algae, or alga in the singular, is an informal catch-all term for a large diverse group of organisms that are not necessarily closely related. In Florida freshwater systems, the “algae” that most often causes issues is cyanobacteria, sometimes known as “blue-green algae”, and is actually not a true algae at all. Cyanobacteria can express itself in several forms including colonial hair-like filaments, floating mats often referred to as “pond scum”, a slimy coating on plants, or suspended in the water column looking like so much pea soup.

Cyanobacteria is an important component of a healthy pond system and contributes greatly to the oxygenation of the water. In many artificial, human-made waterways such as stormwater basins and canals, excessive runoff is an omnipresent issue which results in nutrient loading from eroded sediment, grass clippings, pet and wild animal waste, and landscaping fertilizers. Such conditions can upset the balance of an aquatic system. Cyanobacteria is exceptionally efficient at removing these free nutrients from the water and utilizing them for growth. Unfortunately, this can result in massive, explosive algal blooms and the release of harmful toxins which the cyanobacteria produce as a line of defense against other competing organisms. These toxins can be extremely harmful to fish and other wildlife, pets, and humans.

Management of the conditions that cause algal blooms in the form of reduction of nutrient loading is the first step in controlling cyanobacteria. Lake & Wetland Management coaches its customers in maintaining a balanced, healthy system by working with homeowners, landscapers, and property managers to make intelligent, informed decisions. In addition, Lake & Wetland Management is an industry leader that assists its customers in keeping their ponds and lakes clean and healthy and maintaining cyanobacteria concentrations at beneficial, manageable levels.

Control Options

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved types of algae killers called algaecides that are made out of carbonate peroxyhydrate products. They prevent the algae from blooming by invading their habitat. Another alternative to algaecides are grass carp. These are fish that are native to Asia and feed on algae. They can be farmed to be sterile, so when they are put into the lake to control the algae, the species will not over run the other fish species. Adding phosphorus to a lake will limit the growth of algae into blooming in freshwater lakes. Having high levels of phosphorus and other nutrients will cancel out the growth of algae.
Fish Stocking – Another alternative to algaecides is grass carp. These are fish that are native to Asia and feed on algae. They can be farmed to be sterile, so when they are put into the lake to control the algae, the species will not over run the other fish species. Read More (link to Fish Stocking Page)

Fountain & Aeration Systems – Natural lakes go through the seasons of changing. Algae will bloom whether there is an aerator or not. If a lake does not have an aerator, the sediments of the lake will collect at the bottom of the lake and start to chemically alter the composition by decomposing. Without any control, algae blooms will occur more often and disrupt the balance of the water and aeration will disrupt the overgrowth of algae. Read More (Link to Fountain Page)

Mechanical Harvesting – Our mechanical aquatic vegetation harvesters can be used to achieve a selective control of invasive aquatic vegetation. Mechanical harvesting is well-suited for clearing large areas of nuisance vegetation or cutting channels through dense vegetation to enhance recreational access without the use of aquatic herbicides. Read More (Link to Mechanical Harvesting Page)

Biological Treatments – Large build-ups of organic sediment, or sludge, are common in many water bodies. This occurs as years of nutrients and organic matter entering the pond through runoff containing fertilizers, grass clippings, leaves and animal waste. In many ponds the largest contributor to pond sludge is dead algae which accumulates annually. Our naturally occurring cultures efficiently digest pond bottom materials and lowers the organic matter in the water column for cleaner water and higher oxygen levels.