Tips to Control Algae & Pond Scum

Tips to Control Algae & Pond Scum

Tips to Control Green Algae, Blue Green Algae & Pond Scum In Ponds, Lakes, Waste Water Treatment Plants & Lagoons

Excessive algae growth is an indicator that a pond is out of balance. Typically, algae blooms are caused by:

  • an oxygen deficient water column
  • excessive nutrient loads such as nitrogen and phosphorous run-off from lawns, agricultural land or septic systems
  • biodegradable materials such as dead leaves and plant material, fecal matter from fish, frogs, birds and other aquatic life 
  • sunlight

Ponds with low oxygen levels and high bottom sludge accumulations tend to become anaerobic. Under this condition, oxygen levels can be further depleted due to the amount of oxygen required to degrade bottom sludge and, as a result, ponds become stagnant and odorous and algae blooms worsen.

Controlling algae by reducing sunlight, limiting nutrient leaching into the water column and manually removing sludge buildup can be labor intensive.

Alternatively, Earth Smart Solutions Natural Pond and Lake Conditioner (ESAE) can be used to effectively degrade bottom sludge and reduce the nutrients required for algae growth.

ESAE Natural Aquatics Cleaner and Conditioner is formulated for use in controlling pond scum, algae and odor that commonly plague lakes and ponds. It works in the entire water column, as well as bottom sludge layers to degrade organic waste and other nutrients that promote algae growth. In addition, it is eco-friendly and is not harmful to aquatic life, humans, plants and animals and is relatively easy to use. Simply apply at regular intervals or as required during the algae season. ESAE is not an algaecide and an applicator’s permit or license is not required.

  • Degrades existing algae and prevents new growth
  • Degrades sludge
  • Clarifies lake or pond water
  • Eliminates ammonia and organic odors
  • Enhances uptake of nutrients by grasses
  • Improves the aquatic environment for fish and wildlife
  • Reduces ammonia salts and other contaminants
  • Eco-friendly and safe for aquatic life, animals and humans

These before and after photos were sent by one of our clients who used ESAE on their pond.


1. How is ESAE used?

ESAE is a pond management program, not a one time, quick-fix chemical addition. As such, it requires initial preparation and continued attention in order to provide optimum results. An initial heavy dose is required to rapidly populate the pond with the necessary cultures. Seasonal golf courses require only one initiation dose, while year round courses should be done twice. The initial dose is applied at a rate of 3 lb./acre-foot of water.

2. Will ESAE clear a pond of existing algae?

Yes, however, ESAE’s mode of action is to “starve” the algae by out-competing for a primary nutrient, nitrogen. Therefore, it is most effective when used as a preventive maintenance program, before algae start blooming. 

3. What is the purpose of the maintenance dose?

ESAE is a preventative maintenance product. Accordingly, an application every two to three weeks will ensure that biomass levels remain sufficient to handle nutrient inflows. Water outflow, irrigation, leaching and inter-species competition, with less desirable microbes, can reduce biomass. Typically, each treatment environment has a unique set of characteristics that impact microbial activity and, as a result, the time window to achieve the desired results will vary from pond to pond.

4. How does ESAE work?

When ESAE is applied to the water phase, algae blooms are controlled through competition.  ESAE removes nitrogen compounds from the water column faster than the algae and, as a result, the algae are starved out of existence or bloom is inhibited. In addition, ESAE degrades accumulated organic waste, top scum and bottom sludge for use as carbon sources. The overall result is clean, clear water, free from algae, odors and sludge. ESAE is designed to treat the cause, not the effect.

5. Will ESAE harm turf?

No, ESAE will not harm turf.  ESAE also improves the water quality of irrigation ponds by breaking down ammonia salts and other contaminants before they reach the turf. ESAE enhances turf health. The microbes used in ESAE are natural soil and water bacteria that are an essential part of the mechanism for the efficient transport of nutrients from the soil into the turf roots.

6. Is ESAE safe for fish?

Yes. By removing ammonia and nitrite from the water, ESAE enhances the aquatic environment for fish and other wildlife.

7. Will ESAE work within the pond bottom and sludge layer?

Yes. ESAE provides the correct biomass for the entire pond, including the sludge layer. The sludge layer can be the largest contributor of nutrients to the pond for two reasons.

(1) As organic matter (leaves, grass clippings, fecal matter from fish, frogs, birds, etc) degrades on the pond bottom, it releases nitrogen and phosphorus.

(2) The bacterial populations in the sludge layer can be damaged by herbicides, algaecides and pesticides flushed into the pond during rainstorms.

ESAE will repopulate the sludge layer and degrade nitrogen and phosphorus. This not only reduces the sludge layer volume but also reduces the nutrients that algae need as an energy source.

8. How does ESAE control odor?

The microbes in ESAE attack the cause of the pond odor, ammonia and slow decaying organic matter. By accelerating and stabilizing the natural nitrogen conversion reactions, ESAE greatly reduces or eliminates the release of ambient ammonia. Rapid digestion of accumulated organic matter eliminates foul odor.

9. How does ESAE clarify water?

ESAE reduces the algae population and digests floating and suspended organic matter that clouds the water column. 

10. Is ESAE compatible with algaecides or pesticides?

No, algaecides kill biomass and, as a result, fewer nutrients are digested and the potential for long-term algae problems increase. It is important to note that the copper used in algaecides and herbicides accumulates in bottom sludge causing an ever-increasing toxicity problem for natural microbes.

11. Is ESAE an algaecide?

No, ESAE is not an algaecide. ESAE is designed to digest the algae’s primary growth nutrient, nitrogen. It will not kill living biomass. ESAE will help to re-establish a healthy, balanced aquatic ecosystem. ESAE is non-toxic, non-corrosive, and all natural and will not harm animals, plants, birds, fish or humans.

12. What about aeration?

ESAE bacteria utilize dissolved oxygen in their digestive processes. Typically, this does not affect the dissolved oxygen concentration in a well-aerated pond. Aeration will reduce or prevent thermal stratification and enhance the effectiveness of ESAE, as well as benefit all aquatic life present in the pond. It is recommended that all ponds, with inadequate dissolved oxygen levels, be aerated.

13. Are permits or applicator’s licenses necessary?

Typically, no. ESAE is not regulated and neither a permit nor applicator’s license is required.


Following is feedback that we have received from clients who have tried this product:

ESAE Product Review

ESAE Product Review