Pond Algae Management

July 18th, 2009

Lakeshore_Condos_Ashburn_VA_algae_before_Capt_XTR_.25_acres_Dav_R_2013As spring and summer start to approach the Mid-Atlantic States so does the pond algae. Algae can show in many forms and colors. The most common types of pond algae are the green algae types. They are primitive plants closely related to fungi. They have no true leaves, stems or roots and reproduce by means of spores, cell division or fragmentation. It thrives from excessive nutrients in the water and needs sunlight for growth. Green algae are usually found in three forms: planktonic, filamentous, and Macro.

Planktonic algae are microscopic plants, usually suspended in the upper few feet of water. They can cause pond waters to appear pea soup green and natural die-off may cause a summer fish kill due to oxygen depletion. Some species are found to be toxic to livestock and wildlife.

Algae forms greenish mats upon the water’s surface. This algae usually begins its growth Filamentous along the edges or bottom of the pond then eventually will take over the entire body, The filaments are made up of cells joined end to end which give the thread-like appearance. Pithophora and Spirogyra are two of most common found.

Pithophora is a dark green filamentous algae and is commonly referred to as cotton ball or horsehair algae. It commonly grows in coarse clumps of tangled filaments resembling small balls of cotton. Individual filaments show extensive branching. Due to its high production of reproductive cells, growth can be very rapid.

Spirogyra is a filamentous algae that can be found in almost every pond or ditch. It gets its name from the spiral form that the chloroplast takes on. Because of its fast reproduction this algae can grow in extensive mats that can cover and choke out and entire pond.

Macro Algae can resemble a flowering plant in that it looks rooted to the ground. In fact they are just attached to a surface. These algae will tend to not top out completely and like all algae it will reproduce very quickly.

Chara is often called musk grass because of its musty garlic-like odor. Chara is a green branched multicellular algae that is often confused with submerged flowering plants. It attaches to the bottom but is not rooted. Chara usually has black ball like structures called sporangia visible during its reproduction stages.

If any questions arise about algae and other aquatic vegetation, please contact your local lake management company.


Contact the experts at 888-480-5253 for all of your lake, pond and fisheries management needs. 

Kevin Tucker is the president of SOLitude Lake Management. Since 1998, SOLitude Lake Management has been committed to providing full service lake and pond management services that improve water quality, preserve natural resources, and reduce our environmental footprint. Services are available throughout the Eastern United States. Fisheries management consulting and aquatic products are available nationwide. Learn more about SOLitude Lake Management and purchase products at

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