Algal blooms in a koi pond are common in spring and summer. Koi ponds require maintenance throughout the year to keep the little ecosystem in balance. If your koi pond suddenly turned bright green, you might wonder if it is normal.
The water in a koi pond is not supposed to be green. It should be clear. Green water that looks opaque is a sign of an algal bloom. This is dangerous to koi as it reduces the oxygen levels in the water. Some green algal growth on the bottom and sides of the pond is normal.
Algae can be beneficial in a koi pond in small amounts, contributing to oxygenating the water. However, too much algae is a problem for the fish. Here, we discuss how to tell if your koi pond is too green and how you can get the water quality back to what it should be.
Is Green Water Bad For Koi?
When the water in a koi pond is clear and green, it is not harmful to the koi. It is just annoying because you cannot see your beautiful fish clearly. However, if the water in a koi pond becomes opaque and green, it is bad for the fish.
When algae in a koi pond grow to cover the entire water surface, it is called an algal bloom. It causes the water’s oxygen levels to drop. Koi fish need well-oxygenated water to stay healthy, so green, soupy water is bad for them.
Clear, green water contains just enough suspended algae to oxygenate the water and keep the temperature down on hot days. However, heat and sunlight during summer can quickly cause algae levels to grow out of control.
Why A Koi Pond Turns Green
It is natural and normal for a koi pond’s water to turn green. But why does this happen?
Koi ponds can turn green for a handful of reasons:
- Excess nutrients in the water due to high fish waste levels and decaying organic matter. Fish produce biological waste in the form of ammonia and nitrates. These chemicals encourage algae to grow. Excess nutrients can also come from leftover, uneaten fish food.
- Too much bright, direct sunlight and heat, algae grow faster in hot, sunny conditions because it can photosynthesize more.
- Not enough aeration in the pond. Without a waterfall, fountain, or air pump, the water in a koi pond has no way of absorbing oxygen, and it will not circulate around the pond. This is a recipe for an algal bloom.
- Not enough filtration. You need to have a good koi pond filter to clear the water.
How To Clear Up Green Water In A Koi Pond
Luckily, because green pond water is a common problem with koi ponds, several reliable solutions exist to get your pond crystal clear again.
Follow these steps to turn green water in a koi pond clear:
- Reduce the organic matter in the pond. Clean sludge from the bottom of the koi pond using a net with a long handle, a pond vacuum, or a muck-reducing product. Add beneficial bacteria and enzymes to the water that consumes the sludge.
- Add more plants to the pond. Aquatic plants absorb nutrients from the water, leaving less for the algae. Plants with large leaves also provide shade, which helps keep algal growth down.
- Reduce the number of koi in the pond. If you have persistent issues with green pond water, there may be just too many koi for the size of the pond. An overstocked pond will have excess ammonia and nitrates that trigger algal blooms.
- Install a UV clarifier. These kill suspended algae in the water and are a chemical-free alternative to algaecide.
- As a last resort, use an algaecide to eliminate pond algae. There is a range of products one can use to control pond algae, but the chemicals in these algaecides can harm the fish. You must use algaecides extremely carefully and follow the instructions to a T.
How Often Can You Use Algaecide In A Koi Pond?
Liquid and dry algaecides contain harsh chemicals and can harm koi fish and other plants in the pond. If you add too much algaecide to a koi pond, you can kill your fish overnight, leading to an even worse algae outbreak.
Therefore, you should only use an algaecide once a year. Only resort to using an algaecide once you have tried all the other ways of treating the algal bloom.
Prevent Algal Blooms In A Koi Pond
There are several ways to prevent harmful algal blooms from wreaking havoc in your koi pond:
- Put a mesh cover over your koi pond during the fall to catch leaves and falling debris and prevent them from getting into the pond. Decaying organic matter at the bottom of the pond will lead to algal blooms.
- Ensure that your koi pond’s water circulates well and is properly aerated by an air pump. Standing water is much more susceptible to algal blooms.
- Build a koi pond in a shady area of your property. The less direct sunlight a koi pond gets, the lower the risk of algal blooms.
- Install a good biofiltration system for your koi pond. The beneficial bacteria in the system will help to keep algae in check.
While it is common for the water in a koi pond to turn green like pea soup, it is definitely not good for the fish! Koi ponds often experience algal blooms in the warmer months of the year. Too many algae lower the water quality and stress the fish.
A little algae in a koi pond is not bad for the fish. When water is green but clear, there is a normal amount of algae in the pond.