Home made Algae Gathering Sticks

This is another great way to clear your pond of STRING ALGAE.

Algae Sticks

String Algae grows in long threads, and can become dense mats of algae completely covering your pond. There are numerous methods to control it and we will discuss them later. First we are going to learn how to build an Algae Gathering Stick which will allow you to rapidly collect and remove string algae from your pond.

Every pond owner should own a couple. They are inexpensive to make and work very well. They keep you from having to bend over your pond for hours and allow you to reach far down into your pond to collect string algae.

If you have a dollar store nearby, that can be the source for the materials that you will need. More specifically, we prefer "$.99 cents stores" as we know that they carry these exact products. Lowes or Home Depot also have many of these supplies. For the handle, you will need a 5 foot long plastic plant stake, or a four foot long 7/16" hardwood (oak) dowel rod. For the gathering end, you will need a ladys hairbrush of the style shown here. You will also need a hot glue gun and glue sticks. Each of these items is $1. at our local $.99 cents store, and quite a bit more at the lumber store.

Hairbrush

Look for a ladies hair brush that looks exactly like this. This style already has a hole of a similar size thruout the bristle area. Otherwise you will have to drill a suitable hole for the stick. Cut the handle off with whatever saw that you have handy. This should expose a hole that goes thru almost to the end of the bristle section.

Holethruhairbrush

You should test that the stick chosen will fit thru the bristle body area. Normally, a 7/16" dowel will fit in slightly loose and a 1/2" Diameter plastic plant stake will require opening the hole slightly. Don't worry about trying to get a fine fit as the hot glue will fill and hold the assembly quite well.

Gluegun

After testing for fitup, mark the point where the bristle brush goes farthest onto the shaft. This is one area where you will apply glue.

Dowel Marked for Glue

Apply glue to the end and the area that you marked. Practice first and then work quickly after applying the glue. It hardens quite rapidly.

Glue on Dowel Rod

This is the glued up stick just before insertion into the bristle brush.

Finished Algae Stick head
This is what the finished brush end of the stick should look like.
Below you can see a couple of the styles. We make double headed sticks using the long plastic garden planting stakes which allow us to reach far and deep. We also have a very short one on a two foot stick for working up on the waterfall where we can get quite close.  These are so inexpensive to make and use that having several types around makes short work of string algae.
Algae Sticks Vertical_2 Algae Sticks Vertical

We have made numerous styles of these Algae Sticks over the years. For tiny ponds three foot long sticks could be easier to work with. You need to be able to reach the bottom of the pond and at least half way across, so keep your desired length in mind when selecting the rod. The garden plant stakes are five feet long. We use those long rods with a pair of brushes on the end to reach the hard to get at areas deep in the pond.
The best way to use these Algae Gathering Sticks is to frequently test the water with the stick to determine if there is any algae present. Insert the brush end into the water and twist it while working. Probe the deepest corners. If any algae is on the brush when you remove it, continue to search until the brush comes out clean. Initially, you may have large balls of string algae wrapped around the brush, that is great. Not great that you have it, just great that you are getting it out of your pond. Once the brush has a ball of algae wrapped around it and no brush bristles are extended beyond the ball, it's best to stop and clean the brush as the bristles are what catch the algae threads.
To remove the algae slide a sharp pointed blade, facing outward, along the grooves in the brush toward the end of the stick. Once you have cut one slot thru, the ball of algae can be unwrapped quite easily. I work with a bucket half full of water. If the rod is struck lightly against the edge of the bucket, the algae will move away from the brush bristles, allowing removal. Then a quick swish thru the bucket of water gets the loose strands.

Only experience with your pond will determine how often this is necessary. Usually, a thorough cleaning of the pond in spring, followed by using the algae stick thoroughly, will keep your pond clear with only occasional touch-ups.

Go here to read about WHY you have large amounts of String Algae in your pond.

Algae Sticks