Have you ever noticed some green Algae starting to attack your AeroGraden? Just recently, I noticed some green algae at the opening of my AeroGarden where I pour water and nutrients into the bowl. Why is this happening? How can green algae start forming without direct sunlight on the water? I needed to find some answers because I don’t know if this green growth is dangerous to the plants or us, so I started researching this topic.
What is Green Algae?
For algae to grow, it requires sunlight, nutrients and water. It occurs when light interacts naturally with water and grows. But my AeroGarden does not get direct sunlight? It uses LED lights to replicate sunlight!
Green Algae is common, but there are other kinds of algae that grows and blooms. For them to multiply they need the right conditions to flourish, such as nutrients, water and sunlight to support growth.
According to some researchers, Green Algae can be beneficial to plants, and we don’t like it because it is slimy and can become very smelly. We want it removed, and we want to prevent it from entering our AeroGarden unit, and if left unchecked for too long, Algae can cause some serious problems.
- Archaeplastida – green or red algae
- Kingdom: Plantae
- chlorophyte green alga genus – Stigeoclouium
What kinds of Algae are common?
Cyanobacteria, freshwater algae:
- Green algae
- Blue-Green Algae
- Brown algae
Large Group of Green algae what do they consist of?
If you want to find out more about Green algae
How is Algae formed?
If Algae is left unchecked for too long, it can multiply and cause blooms. For this to occur, the water has to contain phosphorous, Nitrogen and sunlight; the conditions have to be perfect.
What are blooms?
Blooms are also known as “harmful algae blooms” (HABs) which can be quite harmful to humans and the ecosystem.
What nutrients that support the algae’s growth?
Green algae appear, green because it contains the same ration of chlorophyll as that of plants. Algae do not have a root system, stem or leaves. Algae go through a life cycle as a single-celled organism and are dependent on water temperature, sunlight and nutrients in the water, including pH level. If the conditions are perfect, algae will thrive; otherwise, it cannot reproduce. Algae needs nutrients in water such as
How does Green Algae survive?
Green Algae survives when the elements are right, it will grow. However, it will not grow in the dry. Mind you, I have seen algae dried up, and when we have had rain, it seems to come back, but this could be a different type of algae growing between garden footpaths.
Algae grow just like plants, it is tough and can be hard to get rid of once it establishes itself and causes issues. It intakes carbon dioxide, with nutrients and light helps produce photosynthesis in daylight. pH level rises.
During the night, the opposite effect occurs. Algae consume dissolved oxygen from the water to release carbon dioxide, which is released back into the water via respiration. So the issue is carbon dioxide creates carbonic acid, which causes a drop in pH levels. Plants begin to suffer due to lack of nutrients and oxygen in the water.
Sometimes what we see can be beneficial fungi and not hurt our plants or prevent germination. Beneficial fungi grow when it finds the right conditions, such as on the top of seed pods, around the edge of your water container or even on top where water has spilled.
Why do we call it beneficial fungi?
It’s called beneficial fungi because it helps the plants to uptake nutrients and moisture, known as a symbiotic relationship between the plant and fungi.
This type of fungi will eventually disappear as your plants grow. Many people don’t like the green mould forming and worry about the health issues to their plants and themselves.
What can you do?
- Remove the dome
- Increase airflow
- Scrape off the mould with a cloth
Are green algae harmful?
Not all algae are harmful. It’s a natural process and is part of the aquatic food chain.
Which of the most common freshwater algae are the most harmful?
The most harmful freshwater algae are:
- Red Tides
- Blue-green algae
They are most severe on the economy, aquatic systems, and health to humans.
If you have green, scummy or smelly water in your AeroGarden, you will need to clean it immediately.
Are algae harmful to my plants?
Algae is not harmful to your plants; it just looks yucky, slimy, green and starts to smell.
How do I prevent Algae from entering my AeroGarden?
Cover empty pod holes with aero gardens plant spacers, algae growth should be minimal. Algae needs a wet surface to grow, so keeping the body of your aerogarden as dry as possible will prevent algae from getting into your system.
If it keeps occurring, there are some prevention methods I noticed in various comments on the Internet and include:
- Determine where the algae are getting into your AeroGarden unit
- Add 3% of hydrogen peroxide to 3 millilitres (ml) of water, twice a week! (A shot glass size), will not harm the roots of your plants or kill your plants in any way
- Bleach non-perfumed ratio 1:100 about 1.3 oz. to each gallon of water
- Algaecide control method to control the blooms.
- Grapefruit seed extract used incorrect dosages can kill and prevent algae growth dosage 5 to 10 drops per gallon of water.
- Sprinkle a little cinnamon on the algae! Cinnamon prevents the algae from blooming, natural repellent, stops the spread of algae.
- Clean and scrub the units between batches.
- Use snails to keep the algae down!
- Take the domes off of an hour a day.
- Wipe around the surface with a damp clean cloth
- Use Paper towel and gently scrape off the surface where the algae are growing.
- Rinse container and refill with water and add nutrients
NOTE: Using chemical products can weaken your system, and the algae can regrow.
If I leave the algae, can it cause problems for my AeroGarden?
- Build up
- clings to surface
- can cause problems to your pump
- horrible decomposing smell
- loves your plant’s nutrients
- Oxygen levels start to drop
- Plants can suffocate
- Plant starts to become weak and unable to fight off pathogens
- Impact on your pH levels in the water
Suppose it starts to smell empty the water and clean the bowl. Check the roots of your plants, and if they feel slimy or smelly, you can trim them and rinse the roots under fresh, clean water. Your roots should be white and healthy-looking, not brown
How do I Clean My AeroGarden?
- Empty the water of your reservoir to get rid of old water and nutrient mix.
- Remove pumps which may require cleaning of algae growth.
- Check for debris, broken roots, and algae growth on grow baskets.
- Wash your parts in Food Grade Hydrogen peroxide or bleach
- Wipe clean and re-assemble unit parts
- Add water and bleach or hydrogen peroxide.
- Run the system 5 mins to allow pipes to be cleaned
- Rinse the system with clean, clear water and allow the pump to run
- Drain, wipe down with clean towels.
- Refill reservoir with water, add nutrients, replace plants or add new seed pods.
- Cover any open holes not being used
- Do a triple rinse to remove all traces of bleach or hydrogen peroxide
Algae may not have had a chance to grow on your pumps, but there may be traces on your growing medium, and the grow baskets. Prevention is better. Remember that when you have beautiful rich nutrient water and LED lights, you will have a perfect environment for algae to grow. The best solution is to cut down on light exposure. It doesn’t matter which method you use for cleaning. Control is much better and limiting light exposure.
If you are an AeroGarden lover or would like to become one, I would love to hear your feedback on the systems, plants you have grown or issues you have faced and success stories.