How to Clear Algae from a Water Feature


A backyard water feature, whether it is a pond or just a large barrel with a few aquatic plants in it, is a relaxing addition to your landscaping. Many new and some existing water features occasionally become clouded or green from excessive algae growth. Excessive sunlight and nutrients create a breeding ground for algae. Fortunately, there are natural ways to inhibit the algae while adding more depth to your pond décor.

Step 1

Add submergent pond plants, such as pondweed, to the water feature as they will add oxygen while consuming nutrients, keeping the water clear. Sow these in weighted pond plant baskets filled with topsoil so they don't float to the surface.

Step 2

Plant baskets of shading plants in the feature to prevent excess sunlight from reaching the water, thus preventing algae bloom. Sow floating varieties, such as water hyacinth, in floating pond baskets filled with heavy topsoil. Sow rooted varieties such as waterlilies in weighted baskets near the edges of the feature.

Step 3

Place freshwater snails in the pond. These scavengers feed on algae buildup along the edges of the pond liner and rocks, helping to prevent algae bloom.

Step 4

Place natural barley pellets or bags of straw in the bottom of the pond, as these cause algae to clump and sink to the bottom where the snails feed on it. Purchase either barley or straw at a pond and pool store or garden center.

Step 5

Install a pond filter or ultraviolet light filter to strain out some of the excess algae in the water feature. Clean the filter once every two weeks to one month to prevent clogging of the pond filter.

Tips and Warnings

  • Algaecide is available but must be used with caution as it may kill desired plants or fish.

Things You'll Need

  • Water plants
  • Pond baskets
  • Topsoil
  • Snails
  • Barley pellets
  • Straw
  • Pond filter


  • Oregon State University: Backyard Ponds and Water Gardens
Keywords: water feature care, preventing algae blooms, clearing algae from ponds

About this Author

Jenny Harrington is a freelance writer of more than five years' experience. Her work has appeared in "Dollar Stretcher" and various blogs. Previously, she owned her own business for four years, selling handmade items online, wholesale and via the crafts fair circuit. Her specialties are small business, crafting, decorating and gardening.