TX Organic Research Center




ALGAE CONTROL IN WATER For floating paint-like and filamentous algae in water, use cornmeal at 5 lbs. per 1,000 square feet or 140 lbs. per surface acre. The cellulose in the cornmeal helps tie up the excess phosphorous in water, balances the water chemistry, and thus kills off the algae.  The carbon in the cornmeal enables the beneficial bacteria in the water to flourish at the expense of the algae, then the decomposing algae provide a source of carbon for the bacteria.  One or two treatments is usually enough to control the algae for several months.  Getting the cornmeal to the bottom of the water increases the effectiveness. One technique is to put in a burlap bag with a rock. Small water features can use cornmeal in mesh bags. Pelletized cornmeal is good because it sinks. Caution:  any fast algae kill from any product can cause oxygen deprivation and result in fish kill. Cornmeal from the grocery store (unless whole ground) is just the starchy endosperm of the corn kernel and not as effective.

More research from the HOOD COUNTY FISHING REPORT

Trees could fight algae menace
Friday, January 16, 2004
Mike Acosta 

A potential solution offered by Swedish fisheries officials at a symposium on golden algae in Fort Worth will be tested in one of the Brazos reservoirs. According to biologist supervisor John Tibbs with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), TPWD biologists and the Brazos River Authorities (BRA) will be experimenting with cedar trees, old Christmas trees and barley straw in an attempt to curtail any future algae blooms. Swedish fisheries officials have successfully used barley straw and discarded Christmas trees in their country to prevent the golden algae from further growth.

The BRA and TPW folks are planning on strategically placing large amounts of old trees and barley straw in Possum Kingdom as an experiment. If successful, this method may be used to curtail blooms in other reservoirs within Texas including our own Lake Granbury. Research indicates that deficiencies of phosphorus and nitrogen in the water allow the golden algae to thrive and release toxins. Barley and Christmas trees contain phosphorus, nitrogen, protein and calcium, which have aided in curtailing blooms in Sweden. Research in England has produced similar results.

Brazos River reservoirs are just some of the West Texas reservoirs to suffer the effects of major fish kills due to golden algae blooms. Golden algae prefers relatively cold water with relatively high salinity levels. These blooms normally occur in the winter when the green and blue algae are not as dominant. Possum Kingdom has suffered from golden algae blooms since 2001. Granbury has had significant blooms in 2001 and 2003. Lake Whitney had a significant fish kill from a bloom early in 2003 as well. Golden algae is not harmful to humans or livestock. This algae only affects gill-breathing animals (fish) by releasing toxins that damage their ability to breathe.

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