View Full Version : Barley Straw for Algae?
03-21-2005, 11:00 AM
I have a pond (1 1/3 ac) that gets choked with Fil. Algae every summer. Last year I made a dent in it with Algacide chemicals and sweating my butt off pulling the crap out every 2-3 days. I have heard of barley straw working on algae and was curious if anyone else has had any experience with this. I would like any help. Draining and digging is not an option, but all other suggestions will be taken into consideration.
03-21-2005, 11:45 AM
My pond is about 1/3 of an acre. Man are they alot of work!!! I feel your pain on the alge. When mine was really bad I put 6 white amur in there and they helped clean out the bulk of it. The problem with them is after 2-3 years they get big (35+") and stop eating alge and start on small fish so you have to get them out, I used my bow and have 1 left to get this summer.
I have had good luck limiting the growth using aqua-shade but you have to get it in early before the growth starts like april and reapply in July or thereabouts. Raking out leaves etc. takes away a ton of organic material that feeds the alge. Is there farm runoff that may contain fertilizers or animal waste that could be causing the problem??? Another thing you could try, but it is expensive is the microbes that eat the muck off the bottom and also limit the alge food. My buddy uses it on his 1/3 acre pond and spends about 400+ bucks a year on the stuff but it seems to help. Getting it under control is the toughest part it took me 2-3 summers. When you use chemicals to kill it you just put all that dead matter back into the system. I did not notice what area you are but a company called Inspired By Nature gives classes every spring here in northwest Ohio and have helped me a bunch.
In answer to your question before I got completely off track and long winded no I have not tried the barley straw but have heard it can help.
03-21-2005, 12:23 PM
I use coppersulfate and it does a good job. Like said, you have to get it before it gets real bad. Heard about the barly but never tried it. I would rather use nothing at all but you couldn't even fish it by june if i didn't do something. Keep in mind that killing algae uses up oxygen as it breaks down. I have a good flow of water to the pond I treat so its usually not a problem. An aerator could help but is really expensive. Good Luck.
03-21-2005, 02:35 PM
Best site for info on this type of thing is right here:
OSU has done some excellent research on weed control in ponds (as well as other universities (University of Nebraska and Purdue University come to mind).
I use some aqua shade to keep the growth down, but I don't want it to look like a swimming pool, either. :rolleyes: The little guys need a place to hide from the "toothy critters"! :eek: My bro raises some barley and bales the straw. I should try it this summer.
03-21-2005, 02:46 PM
The Pond Boss site was the best site I found also when I was looking for pond management information. They have a magazine that would be interesting to read if it weren't so much money!
03-21-2005, 05:20 PM
i use barley straw on the golf course ponds. (4 acres and 3 acres). i can tell you from my experience with the stuff that it works. i stuff about 3/4 to 1 full bale in an old 50 lb onion sack(let it rot for a few weeks) and then put about 20 Lb of rock in it so it sinks. we just stuffed 10 bags and are letting them rot in the sun. next month or so we will make our deposit. the bass seem to love the bags also. theres always a handful hanging out by the bags.
03-21-2005, 05:24 PM
Buddy of mine used to do the very same thing for area pond owners. It does work ! Barley straw is a little hard to find. He grew his own. If you find any you use mesh bags and stuff it full of straw. Put the straw on the end of the pond that has fresh water running in it or the most run off coming in it. Suspending the bales (bags) on a cable or in a innertube is a must.
03-21-2005, 05:58 PM
Typically speaking, grass carp are the #1 solution for dealing with vegetation problems. For your dollar, you're going to get the most bang for your buck (at least in my opinion). There are multiple chemicals that can be used, all have pro's and con's. Copper Sulfate is a good way to go, but the granular formula is terrible. You're better off going with a copper based treatmeat called Cutrine Plus, since its doesn't get bound up in the clay in your pond. Basically it stays active in your water as aposed to just accumulating on your ponds bottom. There several options to get to where you want to get, some more expensive then others. I think grass carp and aerators are the most natural way to go. But all the members have posted great ways to control it.
About grass carp (White Amur), someone mentioned them eatting smallfish? This I have never heard of before, in fact its probably just one of those tall "tails." In reality as a grass carp gets older 5-6 years its metabolism slows down considerably. What this means is it eats much less. Small grass carp (10-12") have actually been known to eat twice their body weight in a single day. Another thing that occurs with White Amur is that if you're feeding formulated feeds that will sometimes help themselves to that. They can be accidentally caught on lures, but rarley will you ever hear someone mention it. If they truly were relying on small fish to sustain themselves you'de be catching them every cast :D
03-21-2005, 07:50 PM
I caught a 40 lb (approx) amur in the warm water discharge at Eastlake CEI, back when we were allowed to go up in there and tie-off (pre-9/11). It hit a Hot-n-Tot that was stationary off the back of the boat, just wobbling in the current. I have the picture on my desk at work. I caught another amur in a park pond, it hit a crappie jig with maggot. Both were in caught in the spring. It wouldn't suprise me to find out that they supplement their diet with a little protein from time to time.
03-21-2005, 08:26 PM
I'll have to respectfully disagree with your opinion Fishman about the Grass carp being the #1 answer. Introducing a non-native species is never the answer and considering how many hundreds of millions of dollars are spent on invasive species management control I am surprised market controls havent caught up with it. It also depends on the type of aquatic weed control you have. There are natural, biological, native controls to invasive aquatic plants that not only eliminate the problem but also encourage native plant growth. In that case it is also more cost effective than grass carp becuase the specific control is reproducing, since it is native, and requires a minimal reapplication while chemicals require consistent application and grass carp often outgrow and destroy their own source of food. In doing this they then move onto water else they can eat, which in turns increases turbidity and suspended solids, reducing disolved oxygen, and increase bank erosion. This is why we have problems now with the various Asiatic Carp that are spreading throughout the country and will cuase major fishery level problems.
In the case of algal and cyanobacteria grass carp would not help anyways. Thats where barely straw comes in. It affects the basic level of nutrients in the water and prodcues more phyto and zooplankton which in turns helps the algal and bacteria blooms, while also providing a food source for forage fish. Barely straw also removes suspended solids by binding clay particles. It does require reapplication, depending on the size of the pond, though but is cheap and natural. Alot of these problems can be fixed by not fertilizing your lawn, because then you are fertilizing your pond, don't mow down to the edge, plant some shore or shade plants, etc. The problem with most small ponds like this is they are so far from natural.
If you have a true aquatic plant problem, specifically Eurasian watermilfoil, or you suspect it is PM me and I can put you in contact with a company that has the license to provide natural control. If it is an algal bacterial bloom I suggest some of the laters steps I mentioned that go along the lines of fixing the nutrients going into the water. The first step, is proper identification though.
03-21-2005, 08:50 PM
BARLY STRAW WORKS... enough said ;)
03-21-2005, 08:57 PM
Used it last year and bye,bye algae. Simply laced a bale with parachute cord and sunk it with concrete blocks. Pulled the blocks at the end of the season with the parachute cord and left the barley straw remains in the pond. Low cost effective treatment. :)
03-21-2005, 09:09 PM
I'll have to respectfully disagree with your opinion Fishman about the Grass carp being the #1 answer. Introducing a non-native species is never the answer and considering how many hundreds of millions of dollars are spent on invasive species management controlNOWAY are grass carp (white amur) invasive species LMAO ....
They are sterile and are raised for one reason only and that is to eat a lake clean of weeds or put a dent into it... They are not the end to your problems so...
If shortdrift says use the barely then by all means lets make some bee... I mean one bale sounds like a good deal and its not expensive as chemicals...
03-21-2005, 09:28 PM
You definitally know what you're talking about ashtonmj :)
Granted White Amur, arn't always the the number one solution. Generally speaking for what people want to do they are. There isn't a very high risk at creating turbidity in the water with white amur since they arn't filtering through the mud like a true carp does. One thing they will start to do is eat at the grass along the banks when they deplete what food source there is. I really don't think you're going to run into a huge problem of them mudding up the whole pond if you only have 2 or 3 in a quarter acre pond. In fact, I'de be willing to say that native fish, channel cats primarily, are even worse at stirring up the bottom of a small pond. Sometimes the murkiness of a pond isn't even because of the fish that are there, but it can actually be the soil make up doing it.
The most important thing with amur is not to over stock them, person to person, lake to lake the ammount of white amur it takes to control the vegetation properly varies.
As TurkeyHunter pointed out, and is correct white amur are indeed triploids. There really isn't anyway, with the exception of escaped broodstock (diploid fish) of them escaping and decimating native plant life. The company I work for keeps strict records of how many fish are placed in each pond or lake. Some states are more strict than others, in fact some states we can't stock white amur in at all. Every amur we move is guaranteed to be sterile. It's blooded is tested once, and in some cases twice to certify this.
Barley straw is great when used properly for the many reasons that ashton mentioned. But people should be informed that it can cause dissolved oxygen levels to crash if improper ammounts are used. Remember when vegetaion dies, something will break it down. That will be bacteria, and bacterial needs oxygen too.
03-21-2005, 09:37 PM
definately agree about the channel cats and the soil make up. Most of the turbidity associated with an amur comes from the removal of plants in general and its subsequent and indirect disturbance of soil. In the right situation with the right applicator and the right owner they do serve a useful and economical purpose. A good compromise would be creating some exclusion cages out of stakes and chicken wire, planting some native submergent and emergent plants, and the addition of a biological control agent rather than chemical. You remove your unwanted blooms and divert the nutrients causing that bloom into the plants.
03-22-2005, 05:05 AM
What is one or more of the reasons that alge takes a foot hold then over takes a pond? What steps can be taken to help solve a problem before it becomes one? I know white amur are just a temp fix at best I even saw one eating cattails from the bottom up onetime... Looked like it was eating a piece of celery or something...
03-22-2005, 08:40 AM
I do appreciate all of the advice and replies. I have grass carp, too many to be truthful, and plan to remove the larger ones. I have read where they only eat algae as a last resort. I am going to get some aqua shade and barley straw. Now, another question, where do I get barley straw? I have checked Meigs County and it just isn't grown here. I have a lead from another OGF member, but he is in Utica, which is a good drive. I will drive that far if I need to, but would like to find something a little closer to SE Ohio. Once again, thanks for the advice and replies.
03-22-2005, 08:49 AM
Where is the cheapest place to buy Aquashade? I ordered chemicals from killlakeweeds.com last year, and their Aquashade is $74 a gallon. I would like to do better than that if I can. Thanks for the answers, hope I can return the favor to you all sometime.
03-22-2005, 11:05 AM
Aquatic Eco-systems Inc
MAJOR catalouge of anything you can think of for water and fish. They have barely straw in multiple forms.
I would definately suggest removing at least some of your grass carp, their over abundance is probably part of the reason you have an algae bloom now. They've eaten everything that was using and locking up those nutrients and sunlight that now is solely available for algae. Algae wont grow if it can't. In a heavily planted fish tank with tons of light and CO2 algae wont grow, and its because the plants lock of the nutrients first, same goes for a pond. Take away the plants, and BOOM you have an algae bloom.
03-22-2005, 05:10 PM
Another thing people don't realize about grass carp is they don't eat the slimy algea (snot grass)
03-22-2005, 07:24 PM
I think Orlando is right. Everything I've read about this topic says that "grass carp" don't eat filimentous algea.
03-22-2005, 08:18 PM
i will get the barley straw vendor stuff for you in the morning.....it comes UPS and shipping isnt that cheap.
03-22-2005, 08:54 PM
do a web search and have it delivered to your house, Thats what I did. I think I got mine from Nebraska. As for the aqua shade most elevator or feed stores have it . I use to get mine at Countrymark now I use True blue Its a dry package you throw in the pond and dissintergrates, Alot easier and cheaper than aquashade. Also a truer blue color.
03-22-2005, 09:17 PM
I have bought all my pond supplies from Jones Fish for along time now. Have never steered me wrong. I have a small quarter acre pond that receives a lot of run off from crop fields. Needless to say the nutrients(fertilizer) are high and so is the plant growth of every kind it seems.
Jones Fish had me stock 3 grass carp, then use aqua shade and cutrine for the surface moss. Has pretty much done the trick for me. 2 years ago they installed a bottom aerator - my fish have grown faster, bite more readily and fight harder. I only have gills, hybrid gills and LM stocked besides the grass carp.
With all that run off from the crop fields it is a constant battle though, I wish we could do something to neutralize the nutrients instead of treating the result of the nutrients.
03-22-2005, 10:18 PM
create a buffer zone between the runoff, rather than a mowed lawn, and that will greatly reduce your nutrient load entering the water. Plant some warm season grasses, sedges, goldenrods, etc. or just dont mow it. You'll be surprised what a 25 ft buffer can accomplish let alone a 50 ft.
Why the double species of sunfish in such a small system if I may ask?
03-23-2005, 10:38 AM
I found this website with barely bales. Was curious if these are good prices compared to some of your suppliers.
Thanks to all for the great discussion. Still searching around for the best price on aquashade or the equivalent. Will check local feed stores to see what their prices are.
03-23-2005, 10:48 AM
I don't know what their sizes are, but I'm going to tell you that if you pay over 5 bucks for a normal bale of barley straw, you are getting ripped off. I've never bought straw from local co-op stores, but I am sure you can find it cheaper than what was on that website. I buy 4th cutting good alfalfa hay for 3.00 a bale. If you have some farmers in the area, just stop by and ask about what kind of straw they have. It may take a little time, but it will save you a bunch of money. Heck, even if you give the guy 10 bucks for a couple bales, he would prolly be tickled pink. Co-op store would also be a good place to stop. Even if they don't have any, they could prolly tell you who in the area grows barley. Most farmers get seed from the Co-ops. We used to raise it, but I don't think we have any straw left. If we do though, I'll sell it to you for their prices.... :p If you want me to check about the straw, let me know. I don't know where you are located either, but it could be an option....
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