How to Grow Algae in an Open Pond

Overview

Algae are among some of the most varied life in the world. Examples of algae range from kelp in the ocean to microscopic planktonic algae that grow in ponds. Although many pond owners find algae to be undesirable, some pond owners cultivate it. Algae are a potential source of biofuel as well as a source of food in some hatcheries. When conditions are right, algae will often grow on its own in open, shallow ponds.

Step 1

Construct an open pond in full sunlight by digging a depression in the dirt with a shovel. The pond should be 3 feet deep by 4 feet wide. Algae require sunlight to grow, and will not grow in water that sunlight cannot penetrate. This is why algae will not grow in the depths of lakes.

Step 2

Cover the pond with a sheet of pond plastic that is 8 feet square. This will ensure that the plastic covers the bottom of the pond. Anchor the sides of your plastic with landscaping rocks and trim the plastic to the correct size of the pond. Fill the pond with water and smooth out the plastic as the water fills the pond.

Step 3

Collect algae from nearby stagnant ponds with a 5 gallon bucket and sieve.

Step 4

Spread the collected algae across your open pond.

Step 5

Add a phosphorous-based fertilizer to the water. The presence of phosphorous and nitrogen in water has been directly linked to algae bloom.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Plastic pond sheeting
  • Garden hose
  • 5 gallon bucket
  • Sieve
  • Phosphorous-based fertilizer

References

  • Ohio State University: Benefits and Disadvantages of Aquatic Plants in Ponds
  • Oregon State University Extension: OSU research could lead to bio-fuels processed from algae (03/03/2008)
  • Oilgae: Cultivating Algae in Open Ponds
  • NOAA: Phytoplankton Blooms
  • University of Kentucky Extension: Growing Microalgae to Feed Bivalve Larvae

Who Can Help

  • Growing Algae
  • Fun-Science-Project-Ideas: What is Algae?
  • Aqua-Weed Control Inc.: Do's and Don'ts
Keywords: growing algae, biofuel sources, algae farming

About this Author

Tracy S. Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published two novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World."