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Beneficial Bacteria Make Good Pond Mates

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The friendly cleaning crew that breaths new life into the pond.

bacteriaFor most water gardens, winter means frozen ponds with higher than usual amounts organic matter from the leaf drop of autumn.

The freezing temperatures must be unpleasant for the fish, at best. Add to that the decreased oxygen and increased toxins due to decaying leaves, and fish may send signals your way, far worse than just a dirty look .

A little help is all they need. Leave it to the tiniest organisms to do the biggest jobs.

Beneficial bacteria can be added to the water to jump start the natural process of organic matter decay. Bacteria possess a wide range of capabilities, including eating the leaves and debris in ponds. In the process, they increase available oxygen and beneficial enzymes in the water, much to the delight of the fish. Barley straw naturally produces these helpful enzymes, as it decays. Extracts of barley straw can also be added for a similar effect to the water.

Cleanup of a pond is minor for bacteria, compared to some of their other feats. There are multitudes of articles describing their many talents. Here is a most unusual story – :

Asphalt-Munching Bacteria Discovered

By Dave Mosher, LiveScience Staff Writer posted: 10 May 2007 06:01 pm ET

Vehicles may crowd the asphalt of downtown Los Angeles freeways above ground, but below ground hundreds of newly discovered bacteria thrive by munching on heavy oil and natural asphalt.
Trapped in the Rancho La Brea tar pits 28,000 years ago, the bacteria are equipped with special enzymes that can break down petroleum, environmental scientists at the University of California, Riverside report in a recent issue of Applied and Environmental Microbiology.
The petroleum-dismantling enzymes could be used to clean up oil spills, create new medicines and manufacture biofuels, among other uses.
“Asphalt is an extreme and hostile environment for life to survive,” said Jong-Shik Kim, who initiated the study. But “these living organisms can survive in heavy oil mixtures containing many highly toxic chemicals” with no water and little oxygen, he said.

For science head types, the links below offer more details and uses found for bacteria.

Featured photo, thanks to


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