Algae are usually mistaken for ordinary plants because of its plant-like features. Although these organisms resemble plants and look harmless, you must be alarmed because algae are threat to ponds and any water systems. Scientifically, algae are distinguished as eukaryotic, unicellular and photosynthetic life forms that exist in bodies of water, rocks, and other moist places. Algae don’t have vascular system and its pigments are enclosed in its intracellular bodies or plastids.
The forms of algae are so diverse; therefore, they do not belong to any taxonomic group. They were grouped before in the Plant Kingdom which includes the microscopic unicellular algae. Later on, they were grouped into the Kingdom Protista for the types that have single cells with nucleus. However, there is disparity with the classification of algae, and the grouping remains diverse for the wide population of algae.
The blue-green algae belong to the Bacteria (or Monera) group. The division of bacteria and blue-green algae from the other forms of algae have sparked the groupings of algae into two: the prokaryotes and the eukaryotes.
Fresh water algae or phytoplanktons seem harmless, but they can cause extensive damages to your pond, lakes, or other water systems. Freshwater algae come in different forms and colour, making them distinct from one another. Just like any other forms of algae, they love sunlight-their best food source-and nutrients such as nitrates and nitrites. They develop in almost all bodies of water including ponds, lakes, streams, and reservoirs.
Fresh water algae are part of the marine ecosystem and players in the normal food chain cycle. They provide covering and food to fish, fry, and snails. However, those benefits are not enough for the freshwater algae to be considered as crucial elements in marine ecosystem. Despite of the advantages they give to fish and marine life, they are the contributors to the death and depletion of aquatic system.
During the spring or summer, fresh water algae are becoming more problematic and toxic to ponds, lakes, and reservoirs. Most types of algae, including the fresh water algae, grow freely and rapidly during warm months because they require enough amounts of sunlight and oxygen to survive.
Algae are silent killers; they invade the ponds or lakes surreptitiously, and kill the water system without a clue. They inhibit the pond without the given time or period. The common sign of algae build-up is the occurrence of “scums” or large mats and the greening of water. They usually appear in small group, but expand rapidly as they almost cover the entire pond or ocean floor.
Why algae are toxic to marine life? The small population of algae are not really detrimental to marine environment, but when these algae start to create blooms the problems it will trigger to the depletion of oxygen. Algae compete with plants and fish for oxygen; so when excessive algal blooms dominate the water, these algae will consume all the oxygen needed by fish and plants to survive. Uncontrolled algal blooms can trigger to massive fish kills and the death of marine environment.