Be an Expert on Biological
Lake Treatment in 5
Most lakes and ponds greater than 10 years old have begun to accumulate excess sediments
and nutrients such that algae begins to bloom and weeds (macrophytes) grow excessively. In
addition, the sedimentation begins to reduce depth and muck forms on the bottom (benthic
zone). The muck begins to reduce the dissolved oxygen levels in the lake, and releases odors.
Sedimentation also begins to limit or reduce the use of portions of the lake or pond for
boating, docking, swimming, fish spawning habitat, and other uses.
So, after twenty years of practicing environmental science, specializing in fresh water
chemistry and biology (limnology), I have researched, and tried essentially every practice
published on the subject of water quality enhancement. Over the course of the last 10 years,
we (SoilandWater.com) have been extensively using bacteria and enzymes for lake and pond
treatment for algae control and water clarification….with terrific results.
In the process we have experimented with virtually every commercially available bacteria
and enzyme product that was widely available on the market. And we have drawn some
Essentially enzymes are an indirect route (trying to feed enzymes to pre-existing bacteria in
the pond), thus really miss the point which is to super-load the pond with hungry bacteria.
Bacteria generate their own enzymes, and there was too much lag time between enzyme
application and results. So we concluded that the best method is to super load the lake with
right strains of bacteria rather than using enzymes. Therefore we do not currently even carry
enzymes for sale.
Most Bacteria Products
The widely advertised, commercially available bacteria products, especially the well known
brands designed for use in garden ponds, are very dilute. These include products from
Microbe-Lift, and from AquaScape Designs, as well as others. You are paying for filler and
Liquid products, especially, require such a high dose that they are simply not cost effective for
long term treatment and realization of results in water clarity and sediment reduction.
Therefore, calling upon my previous experience in the fields of microbiology, biological
wastewater treatment, and the bioremediation of hazardous wastes, I knew that the blend of
the right strains of bacteria, in high enough concentrations produced and packaged at the right
price could make a major difference not only for our commercial customers’ ponds but could
revolutionize pond treatment for every temperate zone pond around the world.
We teamed up with a professional lab in which we had supreme confidence, so we could
culture the right bacteria blends, in very high concentrations, and at the right price. We also
began to purchase input ingredients in bulk quantities to reduce production costs and
SoilandWater.com Bugs! was born.
The result is a line of bacteria products that have been developed to be the most powerful,
concentrated, and cost effective blends of bacteria in the world for pond and lake
treatment……..and it works great.
Every commercial, residential, and water supply pond that we maintain professionally, we
have converted to biological treatment from chemical treatment without the customer even
knowing it in most cases. All they know is their ponds are clear, the muck is diminishing, the
odors are gone, fishing has improved, and the appearance and functionality have dramatically
We experimented extensively to dial in treatment frequencies and dosage rates (link to dosage
rate table here). Also, coupling increased dissolved oxygen (DO) concentrations in the lakes
and ponds through aeration (link to electrical, solar, and wind aeration systems HERE) with
bacteria treatments accelerates the rate of biological lake restoration. Increasing dissolved
oxygen make the bacteria more efficient at digestion of organic wastes. In eutrophic ponds or
lakes oxygen is generally the limiting factor to the rate of microbial digestion.
In summary, SoilandWater.com Bugs! provide the following benefits:
1. Reduces organic sludge and muck on lake bottoms which;
restores depth, and;
decreases the concentration of nutrients on the lake bottom that get released from the
sediments which fuel the growth of nuisance weeds and algae.
Clarifies water in water column by eating algae, and suspended/free floating organic matter,
and dissolved organics in the water column.
3. Provides odor control.
4. Digests foam produced from toxic cyanobacteria (blue-green algae).
SoilandWater.com Bugs! Copper Bind, binds residual copper present in the sediments from
previous copper from previous algaecide treatments. The detoxifies the lake bottom sediments
so that organics built up on the bottom can be eaten SoilandWater.com Bugs! Muck Eater.
6. Digests organics and makes nutrients unavailable for production of nuisance algae and weeds.
Copper Based Algaecides – Why are They So Wrong?
If you are using copper based algaecides STOP!. You are slowly killing your lake. So what is
wrong with the traditional method of algae control with copper based algaecides?...Plenty. I
formerly worked in an EPA certified aquatic freshwater toxicology lab. We used a control
aquatic toxicant to ensure our procedures and results were consistent. This control toxicant was
Traditional means of treating algae were simply using chemical copper (heavy metal) based
algaecides in powder, rock, or chelated liquid forms. While effective at killing algae, copper
has been effective only in treating the symptoms of excessive algae growth. It is not the cure
which is reduction in nutrients and organic sediments in the lake.
There are some serious negative side effects from the use of copper algaecides sulfate as well
as the introduction of a whole new set of problems being realized over time from its use. These
include but are not limited to:
Copper is toxic to all forms of aquatic life in various concentrations.
Copper is heavier than water and sinks! It only stays suspended temporarily and then
drops to the lake bottom where it accumulates indefinitely.
Not only does copper kill phytoplankton, but also zooplankton which are
micro-crustaceans (water fleas or daphnia) that naturally graze on phytoplankton. Since
juvenile fish mainly feed on zooplankton, they will go hungry and have survival and
Generally zooplankton are able to keep algaes in check, with a couple of exceptions. In
the Spring, with rapidly warming temperatures (as phytoplankton blooms via cell division
faster that zooplankton can reproduce), there is a natural lag time between algae blooms
and the ability of zooplankton to graze it down. Another period where algae blooms
exceed the zooplankton’s ability to graze it down is during prolonged hot dry weather in
the summer. However, when zooplankton get wiped out with a copper treatment the lag
time for zooplankton recovery is even longer. Eventually, copper concentrations in the
water column diminish, from dilution and settling out of the water column, then the
phytoplankton recovers and blooms unchecked much faster than the zooplankton can
catch back up. Now in traditional lake treatment guess what….now you have to add more
copper to control the phytoplankton because you have messed up the natural balance
with copper. A vicious cycle.
So you add more copper to control the phytoplankton that is blooming unchecked by
natural means. Again, copper is still heavier than water and goes where.............? to the
lake bottom once again. Then the phytoplankton blooms unchecked (again you have
messed up the zooplankton so they are limited or no help) and what do you have to
do………? That’s right, add more copper, which eventually goes to the lake bottom. This
gets expensive and the long term consequences get even worse. As time passes you have
to keep using even higher doses of copper to kill the algae.
Copper is a very stable heavy metal that is toxic to all aquatic life in high enough
concentrations. It does not readily break down in the environment. However, it can be
bound (with Soilandwater.com BUGS! Copper Bind) and made biologically unavailable,
but it does not go away due to its extremely long half life in the environment.
The lake bottom or “benthic zone” of a healthy non-toxic lake is a very biologically
productive zone. This is where most of the insect larvae, worms, and other organisms,
that again are fish food, live. It is also where naturally occurring beneficial bacteria live,
and where most fish build nests, lay eggs, and spawn. Too much copper in the benthic
zone kills the benthic zone. It kills all of the insects, their larvae, worms, beneficial
With a dead benthic zone, fish food, especially for juvenile fish, is limited, and since the
beneficial bacteria are dead or so impaired they are of no ecological consequence, then
muck and sediment begin to rapidly accumulate on the lake bottom. Then, benthic
spawning fish have fewer suitable areas to successfully spawn, and the ones that do, have
offspring that are undernourished with lower survival rates. The result………a stunted fish
population. Most people that have been around lakes and ponds have seen this scenario
played out repeatedly but have not been able to figure out why. It is because the lake has
effectively been killed with copper!
With the organic sedimentation building up a nutrient rich muck on the lake bottom, now
nuisance aquatic weeds have a rich thick place to put down roots. Thus a weed problem
To eradicate weeds, typically harsh herbicides are applied to kill the weeds, which in
many cases, kills even more of the residual beneficial bacteria that may have survived
repeated dosages of copper algaecides.
The vast majority of lake and pond management businesses operating today are still
spraying enough copper based algaecides in their customers’ ponds to make it appear as
if the Tidy Bowl Man has been there. They may be solving short tem algae problems but
they are causing long term damage to the pond.
Some, undereducated, pond and lake treatment professionals are beginning to see the
light on utilizing bacteria and/or enzymes but they have tried the widely advertised,
commercially available bacteria products and been discourage with the results. Or, they
have tried to just dump in a biological product into a lake previously treated with copper
with a toxic benthic zone, and hmmm, not much happens. So the algae blooms again, and
they go back to the copper treatments having decided that bacteria does not work. What
they do not understand is that the benthic zone is toxic from copper build up and adding
new bacteria (at least the strains that colonize surfaces) get killed also. Or, they add
enzymes hoping to romance bacteria that should naturally be there, but aren’t, since
bacteria can’t exist in the toxic environment. So, with limited knowledge on the matter
they conclude that bacteria and enzymes don’t work. So…they add more copper which
sinks to the bottom and the algae blooms, and they add more copper and……..now you
see what I call the vicious cycle.
It has been our objective to break this vicious cycle and get the ponds and lakes we
manage, and the customers we serve, on the pure and righteous path of biological
treatment for their lakes and ponds and even streams.
You have just been given a lesson on lake management, in a nutshell, that has taken me a
long time to figure out and has not yet been published in scientific journals (and likely
never will be as I am done with my academic career). However, our customers now get to
benefit from this 20 year journey to find the most excellent method of in-lake treatment.