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This is a very good product to drastically reduce growth of string algae even though it doesn't help 100% without first adding beneficial bacteria weekly for total maintenance of the pond water. But it helps to keep the water crystal clear all summer. We are very pleased with this product and after five summer seasons our pond is the clearest ever.
The breakdown of barley straw in your pond water creates Hydrogen Peroxide which inhibits algae growth. You should not expect green water to clear overnight (but you already know this). H2O2 is only produced when the straw is rotting under well-oxygenated conditions and is near the surface of the water to properly mix with sunlight and dissolved oxygen, otherwise it sinks to the bottom and rots. Hydrogen peroxide in low concentrations such as this has no negative effects either on pond plants or on invertebrates and fish. Once barley straw has become active the time it takes to become effective varies with the type of algae. It will work faster on green water algae than mat or string algae, but still should take a month or so. I know you do not want to wait, but now you know how to keep it clear naturally and will love watching your fish. (As a disclaimer, this is what I researched and it has worked for me for 2 years.
I have a 50 gallon tub garden in full sun and 270 gallon pond in a semi-shaded spot. (These ponds are drained for winter as I live in New England.) The tub had a tiny solar fountain pump wrapped in filter pads, tuck into a plastic food crate. The pond had a pricey electric pump/filter set-up. I used 1/2 bale in mesh bags for both. When I introduced nursery grown water lily and hyacinth--they came with unwanted life forms. Snails, algae, duckweed. I had hoped this set up would do the work for me. I still had to rinse the pumps out 1- 2x monthly and rake up bits of algae weekly. I topped the ponds off with fresh water during hot spells. The water itself remained pretty clear and I didn't have to mess around with any chemicals. I could see the bottom of both ponds at all times, which was nice. As a first time pond owner I can't say with any certainty that these bales made a big difference, but because the barley is cheap I'll keep using it. It could be helping.
well so far this seems to do a good job on my 2100 koi pond. much better than the double pack of smaller bundles. lasts longer. two facts to know that I got from our local pond/aquarium expert. 1. it is good as long as part of it is above the water - it works by having an oxygen exchange with the air. 2. best time to use is early spring before algae get going. update: So far I hAVE PURCHase 4 of these - first off price went up from 19.19 TO 22.99 call it 23.00 in just LESS than ONE year. second on further investigation I do not see much difference here - I actually got 4 of these guys for my mere 2000 gal pond. 3rd these suckers last maybe 2 months tops -
Update - Ok what I discovered was that for my 2200 gal pond one of these will not do the trick BUT when I put 4 in it worked, ny pond is totally clear. you still need to start early spring and put them all in at once - my guess is that this one is good for 500 gal. so I up my rating to 4 stars because their advert is deceptive.
I was unsure these relatively small packages of barley straw would work. I had algae so thick my geese could nearly walk across the small pond. I can't be certain if it was the barley straw, or simply the life cycle of the algae, but in a couple weeks it got much better and in a month it is gone. I could not find barley straw locally so I tried these. The straw is wrapped in netting and I tied nylon twine around each and secured them to the pond bank. I am happy with the result.... Much better than chemical algaecide. I would recommend giving them a try.
2018: Added to my filter and in pond, leaving them floating for sun to rot as articles suggested. Seems to be helping with algae. However, the thing that cleared my pond the fastest was an addition of an aerator about a week after barley. Cleared it in 2 days. I have a waterfall and aerator with 2 hoses blowing air bubbles in my 600ish gallon pond. My algae was terrible as soon as we has 1st heat spell in PA. I couldnt see the bottom or any fish, had green pea soup water. Plants were not helping. Algaecide or draining/cleaning also did not help. But bumping up amount of activated carbon, adding floating barley bales, and aerator to work with existing waterfall, has worked great! Can't believe I can see fish! Will keep using barley since it's natural and won't harm my plants or fish through the summer.
Verdict is still out. I'm not sure this is working as well as other bales of barley I've used in the past. I'm going to go back to the other brand and compare. I have string algae in a very small pond and have placed two of these in the waterfalls. The algae is getting worse not better, but I don't know if that's because of the extreme heat and sun shining directly on the pond. The pond was moved recently and used to be in the shade so It's going to take some trial and error. I know bales of barley have worked wonderfully in the past and I can't imagine that one "brand" of barley bale is significantly different than another unless this isn't 100% barley so I'll try to update after going back to the one that worked before. Maybe I'm just going to have string algae issues in this location in the summer.
it's my second time to buy it in order to improve the water quality of the pond. Just like the first time, the net broke after 2 days and straws were floating around the pond. I fix it by wrapping the straws with screen door net. The barley straws should not be too expensive therefore the maker should invest more on making the plastic net stronger.