In a rainforest, nothing goes to waste: every dead leaf, every nutrient is consumed by something else. It is the most intense and interconnected ecosystem on the planet. In an NSP, we are trying to grow this same rich, diverse environment on a smaller scale- in your own backyard and in a very short period of time. A properly designed, mature NSP hosts a thriving community of beneficial bacteria that is ready to consume (and eliminate) any contaminate that comes into the water, be it ecoli, suntan oils, skin cells, fish waste, etc. Growing this system can take 1-2 years.
In the meantime, there are a couple of simple things you can do to help keep the system healthy when it's at its most vulnerable: Maintaining pH (at 7.2) helps us to grow the right set of bacteria and safeguards against algae. If pH is maintained and you still have an algae issue, then try these safe ways to eliminate algae without killing off the existing ecosystem (which includes beneficial bacteria, plants, and fish):
1. Use safe dyes (algae needs sunlight to grow, so "shading" the water with dyes may solve it)
2. Add some fish (feed them very little or no food at all, and they will eat up the algae)
*Note: Algae needs nutrients like fish food and plant fertilizer to survive, so try eliminating fish food and be careful with
fertilizer (check out our "Water Lily Planting Guide" blog post for how to responsibly use fertilizer in the water)
3. Try barley straw or barley straw extract (this is an all-natural algaecide that won't harm fish, plants, or swimmers)
4. Eliminate stagnant water (we want water flowing constantly throughout the system)
So, NSP Owners: Have you had any issues with algae? What methods did you use to eliminate it? Have another topic you'd like to talk about? (Let me know and I will start a post for it).