Types of Pond Algae

There are many different types of algae which form in ponds or aquariums. Discover the various types of algae, how they benefit or effect ponds and how you can manage algae production.


Green Algae

The most common algae are green surface algae. Green algae are often found on the surface of a pond. These algae are essential for all living creatures in the pond such as snails, fish, insects and tadpoles. Green algae also act as a filter for the pond by sifting out nutrients. Green algae are not as welcome in aquariums where also commonly found. When present in aquariums dark green algae can become very hard and usually needs to be rubbed or scraped off. If green surface algae are not cleaned from the tank regularly they will ultimately block out light.

Suspended Algae

Suspended algae change the color of pond water to green or brown. These algae come in hundreds of different species and often prevent viewers from seeing the fish in the pond. Suspended algae are beneficial for microscopic plants and animals and provide much needed nutrients. The microscopic plants eat the suspended algae and then larger fish eat making them essential for the ecosystem of fish.

Hair Algae

Hair algae or string algae accumulate the best during the late winter season. They provide additional necessary nutrients for many animals in the pond. Hair algae are plants and provide filtration of the pond water usually assisting in the clearing of the rest of the pond. During the spring and as the pond water warms the hair algae die and the suspended algae begin to take over. If you find that the hair algae are becoming overwhelming during the winter months you can remove them or push them back.

Blue-green Algae

Blue-green algae are also called cyanobacteria and are less commonly found in ponds. This algae type is fragile and can be disrupted by the rain causing it to break up into pieces. Any sort of movement in the water can break up the blue-green algae and if you put in a fountain or waterfall the algae will more than likely dissipate within a few weeks.

Brown Algae

Brown algae tend to cover things like plants or decorative stones. This algae type prefers less sunlight and grows in areas that are dark. Ponds are not likely to see the growth of brown algae due to their outdoor nature and abundance of sun light.



Algae Problems in Water Gardens.” University of Illinois Extension. University of Illinois, n.d. Web. 27 Aug. 2010. <urbanext.illinois.edu/watergarden/algae.cfm>.


“Fish Management in NY Ponds- Hot Topics In Pond Management.” Fish management in New York State. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Aug. 2010. http://pond.dnr.cornell.edu/Pond/aquaticvegetation.htm.


Spilsbury, Louise, and Richard Spilsbury. Plant Classification (The Life of Plants (2nd Edition)). Chicago: Heinemann, 2008. Print.

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