Adding Water Treatments Like Beneficial Bacteria To My Pond

Adding water treatments to a pond can be confusing. Hopefully you have clear, clean water and are only adding treatments for preventative maintenance. At the end of the day water treatments, sometimes called pond chemicals, are added where they will do the most good. Add beneficial Bacteria before the skimmer so it goes to the filters, spot treat with everything else.

Think washing machine: do you add the soap at the top of the clothes, bottom of the clothes, or in the soap cup? Generally you spot treat the stains, put the soap in somewhere, and at the end of the cycle you get a clean batch of clothes. Wait, wasn’t this post about pond treatments, not clean clothes? Ponds and washing machines are both relatively closed systems, and ultimately all of the things you add will get to the entire system.

Beneficial Bacteria

Beneficial bacteria is typically added just before or into the skimmer. It’s added daily for the first week of pond season, then weekly after, and sometimes you can even drop to monthly if you have a well balanced pond.

On the ponds we build there is a wetland or Biofalls used to biologically clean the water in the pond. Other systems may include a pressure filter, submersible filter, or other biological filter after the pump and before the stream or pond edge. This is the place beneficial bacteria will have the highest volume impact on water quality.
Bacteria also grows on gravel and rocks at the sides and bottom of the pond. Adding bacteria in different areas can help expedite the establishment process!

Backing up to pond construction, and a few things we take into account when building. On ponds that have less than 3000 gallons, we circulate at least 50% of the total pond water volume through the filter system. This is important to keeping the water clear, and having a healthy, happy ecosystem. We also do our best to get full circulation across the pond so you don’t have any stagnant water sitting in corners of the pond.

SAB, Or String Algae Buster

SAB comes in a granular form. Use this as a spot treatment earlier in the day. Take a bucket of pond water, scoop out the recommended dose of SAB into that bucket, dissolve the granules, and pour into the most heavily affected areas. We recommend removing as much string algae as you can, so the ecosystem doesn’t have to compete for oxygen with decaying matter in the pond. It’s also easier for SAB to work on “new growth” rather than on established growth.

When you have issues with String Algae and other types of algae, SAB can be your “go to.” SAB has a phosphate binder in it, with strains of beneficial bacteria and enzymes that help control nutrition. Use on an “as needed” basis. This also is a great way to help break down organic matter and pond muck at the bottom of ponds.


Sprinkle Ecoblast on algae, typically in the stream. For even more focused results, shut the pond pump off, sprinkle on the algae, let it sit for 5-15 minutes, and turn the pump back on.

Ecoblast has been great for getting thick algae off of various surfaces. It will also work on string algae, but the SAB will have a better long-term result.


Take a bucket of water from the pond, add the algaecide to it, and then pour this into the affected areas you need to treat.

While we don’t use algaecide on a regular basis, some people swear by it’s effectiveness. Algaecide is used to kill things, and we don’t want to kill beneficial bacteria. So, use this as a spot treatment where you’re having issues.

Barley Straw

Barley straw has some mixed research. Some swear by it, some see it as a nuisance. We start/maintain a LOT of ponds that are clear without the use of barley straw. If you want more info from Rutgers, check out this article.

Automatic Dosing System

Set it and (almost) forget it. The Automatic Dosing System (ADS) from Aquascape has been a game changer for pond owners. This system is like an IV drip for your pond. There is a bag of beneficial bacteria and enzymes specifically designed for ponds. The bag is changed out at regular intervals. Small systems use one bag a season here in Minnesota, others have to be changed out more often. We LOVE this system to keep from forgetting to add your treatments.

So in conclusion, start those clothes in the washing machine, grab a book and a drink, sit by the pond and enjoy that ecosystem pond! As always, we’re here to help! Send a picture of you ailing pond, we can get our maintenance team out there to help out!

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