Koi pond algae control is an issue for most pond owners. Algae mucks up the pond, affecting water clarity and also making for an inhospitable environment for fish. When spring and summer hit and sun exposure is longer and more intense, algae blooms can turn pond water a murky green.
In a desperate attempt to clear up their ponds, some pond owners resort to chemicals, but this can backfire quickly as harsh chemicals can upset the ecosystem in the pond which can lead to disease or even the death of koi fish.
An effective, natural way to clean up pond water is to use barley straw for ponds. You can purchase it in 8 ounce mesh bags and tie it in place in your pond. At first the bag will float, but then it will sink. (The number of bags to buy depends on the surface area of your pond.)
In order for the barley straw to work, it must be placed where there is water movement and sunlight. The combination of moving water and sunlight causes the barley to break down which releases hydrogen peroxide slowly into the pond. This clears up the water and aerates it. Once the straw starts working, it is effective for 3-4 months and then needs to be replaced with new bags of barley.
Once the barley straw is working, you can use it for koi pond algae control year round. Although the straw is less effective in the winter, it is still working beneath the surface and can help prevent algae blooms in spring and summer.
It’s important to note that not all barley straw is created equal. In our backyard pond and in consultations with members of our local pond group, we like to use only certified organic barley straw because this ensures that you are using straw that is free of chemicals and pesticides. This is essential because remember that chemicals of any kind can disrupt the natural ecosystem in your pond, destroy beneficial bacteria and cause disease in fish and other pond life.
Using barley pond straw is an inexpensive solution to a common problem with backyard fish ponds and water gardens. It is also an environmentally-friendly solution and should be used before trying other options for koi pond algae control. Since it is completely natural, it can be used in combination with other natural solutions such as UV-lights and beneficial bacteria if needed.