Pond Management Tip #7: Copper Sulfate
The Pond Owners Handbook
Tips to Improve Your Pond Management Skills
Welcome to our weekly Pond Management Tips. The subject of this tip is Copper Sulfate/Blue stone/Blue Vitriol.
Tip 7: Copper Sulfate / Blue-stone / Blue Vitriol
Did you know?
Copper Sulfate/Blue-stone/Blue Vitriol/Copper(II) Sulfate/Cupric Sulfate is all names used to
describe the same product.
- The different forms available are: rock, granular, crystal, powder, and liquid.
- To the best of my knowledge Copper Sulfate/Blue-stone/Blue Vitriol was the first chemical to be used for algae control.
- While Copper Sulfate/Blue-stone/Blue Vitriol does an excellent job of killing algae, it is not the product I normally recommend. I prefer a form that remains suspended in the water for thirty days.
- The most common method of applying Copper Sulfate/Blue-stone/Blue Vitriol over the years has been to put it in a burlap bag and drag it around the pond or lake in back of a boat, or simply to broadcast it by hand. Although, that method is easier to apply than the liquid forms that must be diluted and sprayed over the surface, it is not very cost effective.
- All copper bases products are contact killers; therefore, if there isn’t a decent contact between the product and the algae, you will not get an effective algae kill.
- It is also important to note that Copper Sulfate/Blue-stone/Blue Vitriol is toxic to some species of fish, and it is not recommended for use when the fish are spawning.
- Some forms of algae have been found to adapt or become resistant to copper-based products.
- Copper Sulfate/Blue-stone/Blue Vitriol reacts to water hardness. The harder the water the more in-effective the product becomes.
- Copper Sulfate/ Blue-stone / Blue Vitriol will have less than a minute of killing time in hard waters, thereby making it extremely difficult to kill the algae.
- A diluted solution of copper-based product or regular algae treatments will help control or remove snails from a pond.
- Most species of algae will respond to, and be controlled by treatments of Copper Sulfate/Blue-stone/Blue Vitriol.
- The Blue Green species of algae do not respond very well to the dry or granular forms of copper. The liquid forms work best when mixed with a surfactant, and sprayed onto the algae mats.
- All forms of copper based products will also inhibit the growth of Escherichia coli bacteria.
- Copper Sulfate/Blue-stone/Blue Vitriol has little or no affect on other aquatic weeds. If mixed at a higher dosage it will burn other aquatic weeds, but it may kill the fish.
- Copper Sulfate/Blue-stone/Blue Vitriol can be toxic to humans if large amounts of the mist or dust is inhaled or gotten on the shin.
- Copper Sulfate formula for removal of algae: 1) use 2.7 lbs. of copper sulfate per acre foot of water (43,560 square feet x 1 foot deep). 2) apply to no more than 1/2 of the pond or lake at a time. 3) water may be used for drinking water for livestock without causing harm to the animals, except for sheep, which cannot tolerate too much copper.