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What are Algae? *** Algae Problems *** Algae Control *** Solution

What are Algae?

Algae are a diverse group of plants that occur in a wide range of environmental habitats. They are photosynthetic plants that contain chlorophyll, have simple reproductive structures structures, and their tissues are not differentiated into true roots, stems or leaves. They range from unicellular, or single cells, to fairly complex multi-cellular organisms Some algae have such a complex growth that they are mistaken for vascular plants - Chara (also known as Stonewort or Musk Grass) would be one such example. The size of average individual microscopic unicellular algal plants is approximately 0.0010 mm in diameter.

Algae are found throughout the world and can cause nuisance problems in water treatment plants, drinking water supplies, receiving water ponds, swimming pools, cooling towers.

The extermination of algae is a problem, which has kept people busy since time immemorial.

Algae are microscopic single-celled forms of plant life which thrive in sunshine. They are present on vegetation, in the air, in the soil, and in water. Their microscopic spores are continuously introduced into pools and other bodies of water by wind, dust storms, rain showers, etc. They grow rapidly in stagnant waters when exposed to sunlight and temperatures above 4 degrees Celsius. They can form objectionable slime and/or odours. They can interfere with proper filtration and greatly increase chlorine demand. Phosphates and nitrates in the water encourage their growth.

Algae growth occur in three basic forms: planktonic, filamentous and macrophytic.

Planktonic algae are single-celled, microscopic plants that float freely in the water. When these plants are extremely abundant or "bloom," they make the pond water turn green. Less often, they can turn the water other colours, including yellow, gray, brown or red.

Filamentous algae are sometimes referred to as "thread algae" or "pond scum." Filamentous algae occur as fine green threads that form floating mats, which are often moved around the pond by wind. These algae are also commonly found attached to rocks, submerged trees, other aquatic plants and boat docks.

Macrophytic algae resemble true plants in that they appear to have stems and leaves and are attached to the bottom. A commonly-occurring macrophytic algae is called Chara or musk grass (due to its strong musky odour.) Chara feels coarse to the touch, because of lime deposits on its surface, earning it another common name -- Stonewort

Algae Problems

The extermination of algae is a problem, which has kept people busy since time immemorial.

For the most part, algae are of little value to your pond or lake. The filamentous and plank tonic forms can reproduce at phenomenal rates, and sudden die-offs can cause oxygen depletion. The necessary oxygen required in fish ponds or lakes can be supplied by other aquatic plant life in the water basin, which would flourish without algae competition.

Algae problems are usually caused by an overabundance of nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorous) in the pond. From the moment a pond is built, it becomes a settling basin for nutrients washing in from the land that drains into it (the pond's watershed). The older a pond gets, the more nutrients it has accumulated and the more susceptible it is to algae problems. Runoff from fertilized fields, lawns and pastures, feedlots, septic tanks and leach fields accelerate nutrient loading and algae growth in the pond.

Excessive algae growth will starve or strangle other forms of aquatic plant life, as well as block out sunlight necessary for their proper growth. Taste and odour problems in drinking water and sometimes even fish kills are associated with excessive blooms of plank tonic algae. Filamentous algae and macrophytic algae often form dense growths that make fishing, swimming, and other recreational uses nearly impossible. Total coverage can restrict sunlight penetration and limit the production of oxygen and food items necessary for good fish growth. When algae abundance interferes with the intended use of the pond, a control method should be considered.

Algae Control

Algae control by various means which do not give the wanted results

Mats of filamentous algae may be removed with a rake, screen wire, or similar devices. However, this control method is very labour intensive and provides only temporary control. In some instances, the algae may seem to grow as fast as they are pulled out.

Before using chemicals, you should consider potential contamination of domestic water supplies and the waiting periods for watering livestock, eating fish, swimming and irrigation.

A "biological control" is when one form of life is used to control another or the balance of life is manipulated in some way to adversely affect an undesirable pest. It is wise to be very cautious when deciding on the use of a biological control. It can backfire when the introduced species becomes more of a problem than the original pest.

Barley Straw has been tested in England by the Centre for Aquatic Plant Management for the control of plank tonic and filaments algae. This testing has been ongoing over the last 15 years. Barley Straw and other straws have been used sporadically in the United States, with very mixed results, and will not totally eliminate the problem.


There is now a new way to control algae.

It is environmentally friendly, cost effective and chemical free. This not so revolutionary approach in algae control uses a technology to destroy algae cells, that had already been tried out some decades ago. However the way ultrasonic waves had to be produced at that time was too costly to make it a marketable product. After a long time ultrasonic vibrations, which are inaudible to humans and no threat to people, animals or fish, are now available and more affordable for all parties who want to get rid of algae and some other micro organisms.

The VoR ALGAE CONTROLLER destroys nearly all forms of algae, with minimal impact on the aquatic environment!



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