Vegetation Identification - Algae
Algae come in many shapes and sizes, some algae even resemble higher
plants. However, algae lack true roots, stems and leaves. In fact,
according to the Encyclopedia Britannica, algae are defined as
"eukaryotic (nucleus-bearing) organisms that photosynthesize but lack
the specialized reproductive structures of plants." It's estimated that
world wide there are at least 5,000 unique species of algae. Algae can
even be found in extreme environments, such as growing under the sea ice
of Antarctica. The algae we find in our freshwater ponds and lakes can
be further grouped into three groups, Planktonic, Filamentous, and
Planktonic Algae are microscopic, free floating Algae.
Phytoplankon is often the base of the natural food chainWhen a pond
experiences an "Algae Bloom" it is from an abundance of Planktonic algae
and is recognizable by the green tent to the water. Most Planktonic
algae are harmless and in fact beneficial in small amounts. The worst of
the Planktonic Algae are the Blue-green algae.
For more information on Bluegreen algae Click Here.
Filamentous Algae are the most common group of algae. This Algae
can form dense mats along shorelines and on top of submerged vegetation.
It is formed of many single filaments or strands of algae intertwined to
form a large mass of vegetation. Clear water, large masses of Submerged
vegetation and excessive nutrients are the major contributing factors
that lead to excessive Filamentous Algae growth.
Chara and Nitella are among the highest forms of algae.
Resembling true vascular plants Chara is the highest form of algae.
Resembling higher plants Chara and Nitella are often confused with other
species. They often appear to be rooted but being true algae they lack
any true roots. You will find these algae types in clear, relatively
shallow water. Available sunlight is a major limiting factor to the
growth of Chara and Nitella so they are often found in gin clear water,
like that of the Texas Hill Country. Chara is an especially effective
water filter and will many times lead to clear water once it has been
established. Control of this algae is done with a granular algaecide. At
times Chara can be a stubborn plant to treat but generally speaking it
doesn't cause major problems.
Typical Algae Treatments
Planktonic Algae and Filamentous Algae can both be treated with liquid
algaecides. If a pond has a particularly large amount of plant matter
extreme caution should be used to ensure that conditions don't favor
oxygen depletions and fish kills. Most algaecides are Copper based
products. These are safe when used according to the label, however
copper can be toxic to certain fish species. The toxicity can be
multiplied by water with low alkalinity, like that of east Texas. The
amount of the pond that is treated should be 25% of the total surface
area of less when massive amounts of vegetation are present. Seven to
Fourteen days are usually required between applications but you should
always consult the product label as well as local and federal laws.
The proper Surfactant should always be used when treating algae.
Surfactants help reduce surface tension and allow better absorption and
distribution of the algaecide. The word surfactant comes from "Surface
Active Agent". The effectiveness of your product will be greatly
increased by the use of a proper surfactant. Again we can't stress
enough to read the product label and MSDS. Material Safety Data Sheets
are required by law to be offered by the seller of such products, if you
ever have any concerns about a product ask for a MSDS all products have
them, including Elmer's Glue.
Triploid Grass Carp can, at times, be effective at controlling Chara.
Grass Carp offer very little if any control over the other forms of