Freshwater algae are visible worldwide and highly diverse, with tens or perhaps hundreds of thousands of species, in a different forms and sizes.
Freshwater algae look like normal plants that cling on rocks and surfaces, but when studied closely, these organisms that mimic as plants could turn out as your pond’s worst enemy. The unexplainable growth of fresh water algae in lakes, ponds, reservoirs, and other bodies of water remains a threat to marine ecologists. They pose serious impacts to human health, and dangers to human life; thus, they gradually affect life forms and the environment.
It’s hard to imagine that those tiny organisms, which hide in forms of plants, can cause excessive fish kills and plague water systems ruthlessly. Algae are usually unicellular and microscopic organisms that bloom in either salt or fresh water. These single celled creatures are not choosy to where they build colonies; with enough sunlight and nutrients they can proliferate rapidly and envelop the entire water system into green, slimy sheaths of algae mats.
Freshwater algae, or scientifically known as phytoplankton, are unusual forms and can either play as beneficial or detrimental to the water system. These types appear in various forms and colours that made them distinct to one another. It can grow in any damp places such as ponds, streams, lakes, and reservoirs. However, they are part of the ecosystem and act as crucial players in the food chain of marine animals. Some types of phytoplankton serve as food and shelter to fish and other aquatic life.
When do algae become a problem? Although there are few benefits derived from fresh water algae, they are always blamed for all the water problems. The first sign of algae infestation is the build-up of “scums” or large mats, and then followed by the discoloration of water. Algae cruelly absorb all the oxygen in the water until it suffocates the fish; while provided with enough sunlight and nutrients, the so-called algal bloom may occur that could affect large portions of lakes and other bodies of water. Algal blooms could wreak havoc in any water systems in a matter of seconds.
Moreover, the aging process of lakes perpetrates the growth of algae. Algae could be beneficial to the pond’s aging process, but, more often, they are the main culprit for the depletion of oxygen in ponds. Insufficient oxygen is perilous to the fish and other aquatic animals because it could lead to fish kills or suffocation. When large population of algae dominates the pond it will surely take all oxygen content, leaving inadequate supply to fish and marine animals.
Algae can swarm reservoirs and other water systems crucial to human consumption. They create foul odours and, worse, unlikely effect to human health. Direct contact with algae can cause skin rashes and aggravate eyes, ears, nose, and mouth infections. Drinking infected water has more serious effects to the body for it can trigger to diarrhoea, headache, allergy, water poisoning and, worst -death.
Algal bloom can repeat after a year; when this happens, the lake or pond could be prone to fish kills and become contaminated. A small, single sign of algae growth should not be tolerated, unless you want to smear your pond and lakes. It would be better to consult marine biologists right away to prevent the algal bloom from expanding and from coming back. It is also advisable to keep your pond or lakes away from the environment that algae love.