Pond Maintenance: The Role of Bacteria Products in Your Pond

Most indigenous microorganisms (bacteria) found in your pond fail to breakdown and remove difficult to degrade organic matter. These same bacteria may also be less efficient at reducing higher than normal levels of nutrients like phosphorous and nitrate.  When selecting a probiotic bacteria to treat your pond, it helpful to have an understanding of how they grow and work. The following diagrams illustrate what happens to the microorganisms (bacteria) from the time of inoculation to expiration.



The diagram on the left shows internal actions and external relationships of the bacteria cell.  Naturally this is a slow and steady process used to remove most organic matter found on the bottom of your pond and to process nutrients that impact water quality. When you add a supplemental bacteria product  to the pond the intention should be to speed up the biological process of reducing, oxidizing and removing.  This does not always happen like the advertisements suggest.

The diagram on the right indicates the process that starts with you introducing the biological product followed by cell expiration or lysis. The Lag phase is a time of enzyme reactions and may last for weeks or occur in a matter of hours depending on the product composition, type of bacteria and water temperature. Endospore bacteria (dry powder) are slow to activate compared to liquid formulations composed of live cells. The Log phase is the time of growth for the bacteria cells as they process nutrients and organic matter. When the ratio of food to microorganisms reach a balance point the Stationary phase occurs and is followed by the decline of new cell development. This is also referred to as the Lysis stage when dying endospore bacteria cells release accumulated nutrients back into the aquatic environment.  Many bacteria products are measured for nutrient reduction efficiency during the stationary phase and not during lysis.

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* Diagrams provided by Ecological Laboratories