Ionic Copper
Frequently asked questions

About IC

IC application advice

Handling, storage and safety concerns


Estimating water volume

About IC

What makes IC an eco-friendly alternative?

Smaller dosages, infrequent treatments, lack of significant long lasting bio-accumulation and lack of non-natural chemical residuals are all reasons why IC is a better choice for the environment.

Copper is an essential nutrient required by all animal and plants to sustain growth and life. This mineral is also an effective antimicrobial because copper at low doses, in the form of Cu2+ ions, kills or prevents growth of many microorganisms, including bacteria, algae, fungi and viruses. Fish and mammals, in comparison to blue-green algae, are 10-100 and 1,000 times less sensitive to these copper ions, respectively. Copper dosed correctly can, therefore, be used to selectively control just the bad microorganism while remaining safe for plants, humans and other animal life.

Our proprietary technology creates a unique distribution of ionic copper that creates a higher amount of stable Cu2+ than other copper based products. These copper ions remain dissolved longer, resulting in early treatment of algae blooms and ensuring long-term algae control without over treatment.

Why is IC superior to traditional copper sulfate products?

The anti-microbial properties of traditional dissolved copper sulfate products are extremely short-lived as the active Cu2+ ions quickly settle, becoming inactive copper compounds and increasing the need for frequent treatments and large quantities of copper being applied. The result is more copper sulfate solids accumulating over time.

IC has solved these problems. Our product is a proprietary inert carrier solution that enables Cu2+ ions to stay biologically active and stabilized in water until assimilated. IC contain 420% more active copper ions and works in a wider variety of water conditions than traditional copper sulfate products. The implication of this technological breakthrough is that only minute quantities of our product is needed to prevent and kill undesirable microbes. Our product enables safe and economical application without any harm to the environment or human health.

Is IC chelated copper?

No. IC is not a chelated product. In the copper pesticide literature and marketing, chelated normally refers to copper compounds with organic based ligands – citrate, gluconate, ethanolamine, etc. Some manufacturers claim that the non-polar nature of the organic ligands allow easier cell penetration of the copper. This is unlikely as most scientific reports say only the free Cu2+ ions are small enough to penetrate the cell wall. Chelated copper molecules break down relatively quickly. IC’s unique ionic cupric copper technology optimizes the number of free Cu2+ ions which can stay suspended in the water until absorbed by the targeted organisms. Our product has superior efficacy because less product is required and it lasts longer once applied.

How quickly does IC work?

IC works quickly. Generally, algae and cyanobacteria blooms are controlled within 24-48 hrs. Noticeable changes in odour will occur within 12-24 hrs. Note that the dead algae will remain in the water as organic matter until decomposed or manually removed.

How does IC kill microorganisms like algae and bacteria?

Microorganisms such as algae and bacteria are a lot more sensitive to copper than other organisms. Our unique ionic cupric copper technology kills these organisms by interfering with their natural metabolic processes, such as membrane permeability, respiration, digestion, reproduction, and DNA. This occurs with minimal impact to other animals, plants and human health when the products are used as directed. In fact, mammals are 1,000 more tolerant to copper than algae.

Can IC remediate polluted water?

No. IC is designed to kill microorganisms like bacteria and algae only. It cannot clean water polluted by chemicals, radioactive materials or heavy metals.

What water conditions does IC work in?

Our product, unlike many competitive products, work well in a wide variety of water conditions alkalinity (25-100 mg CO3/L) and pH (pH3 – pH9) levels. However, the contact time and the amount of product needed will vary depending on the water conditions, volume of algae and other organic matter present in the water.

Will IC change the chemical properties of the water it is added to?

IC will have little to no impact on the value of pH, alkalinity or the mineral composition of the substrate it is applied to because it is applied in only minor quantities. The resultant final chemicals are relatively inert, meaning they will not change the chemical properties of the water.

Can IC be used to treat potable water?

IC is an NSF certified bacteriostatic algaecide approved by Health Canada to treat potable water.

IC Application Advice

When is the best time to apply IC?

IC can be applied year-round. The most cost-effective solution is to apply the product right before or at the initial stages of an algae bloom. In Canada, this is in spring when sunlight, warmer temperatures and nutrients create favorable conditions for algae to grow. Controlling algae blooms usually requires more effort as the season progresses when the algae and weeds have become well-established.

IC can be applied year-round. The most cost-effective solution is to apply the product right before or at the initial stages of an algae bloom. In Canada, this is in spring when sunlight, warmer temperatures and nutrients create favorable conditions for algae to grow. Controlling algae blooms usually requires more effort as the season progresses when the algae and weeds have become well-established.

Should the entire water volume be treated at once?

Best results are achieved by treating the entire water volume. Treat one third to one half at a time and allow five to seven days between treatments if the water is severely infested. This will reduce the possibility of fish suffocation due to oxygen depletion from decomposition of dead algae.

There might be instances where it is unfeasible to treat the entire waterbody (e.g., too large or deep). Algae only grows where there is availability of light. It might therefore be sufficient to treat just the shallower parts plus the surface area where algae is visible. Alternatively, apply enough product to treat the first two feet of the water body.

Should IC be applied in one or multiple spots?

IC disperses evenly and quickly in all directions, but active copper ions will sometimes cling to other organic materials, in addition to the intended target organism. The recommendation is to spray multiple spots, particularly the problematic areas, to ensure the product is distributed more uniformly and absorbed by the intended target organism.

Does the water temperature matter?

IC works at any temperature, but acts quicker in warmer waters. Note that concentrated products should be stored in temperatures above freezing to avoid crystallization.

Are there any special considerations for heavy algae infestations?

If algae is present in the entire water body or covers large parts of the surface, it is recommended to treat only 25% of the volume of water at any one time. Allow 4 to 7 days between subsequent treatments until control is achieved with a return to healthy oxygen levels.

Is it necessary to remove dead algae after treatment?

It is not normally necessary to remove the dead algae after treatment. The exception is when the water is fish bearing and the bloom is severe. Dead algae use a lot of oxygen decomposing which can result in fish death. Approximately 5 mg/L of dissolved oxygen is required in water for fish to survive.

How do I prevent algae from coming back after using PIC?

IC works preventively because it stays active until absorbed by the targetted microorganisms. Maintaining a level of 0.5 ppm of our algaecide products is usually sufficient to prevent the algae from returning.

Is IC harmful to plants?

No, IC will not harm most plants when used as directed. Copper is a nutrient that plants need for growth. Our product is therefore very suitable for use in greenhouses and with irrigation water as IC does not negatively affect plant nutrients applied through irrigation systems. Our product also provides the additional benefit of keeping lines and filters free of biofilm, slime, and mineral scaling, saving considerable maintenance costs.

Is IC harmful to fish?

IC acts on targeted micro-organisms within their natural copper sensitivity limits. Fish are generally 10-100 times less sensitive to copper than bacteria and algae. Juvenile fish are more sensitive to copper than adult fish.

Treating at 0.06 ppm is unlikely to cause fish mortality, but we recommend not using our product with any koi, goldfish or salmonoid species as these fish are very sensitive to copper.  Use extra caution when pH is low (=6.5), dissolved organic carbon (DOC) levels are 3.0 mg/L or lower, or the alkalinity is less than 50 mg/L (soft water). Soft and acidic water increases the potential acute toxicity to fish.

Large amounts of dead, decomposing algae can result in oxygen depletion that kills fish. We recommend the following if the algae covers more than 25-30% of the surface:

  • Treat the water body in 3-4 separate sections waiting 5-7 days between treatments
  • Remove the dead and floating algae from the water surface after treatment

Handling, storage and safety concerns

Is IC safe to handle?

In its concentrated form, our product is corrosive and must therefore be handled carefully. Be sure to use protective clothing and chemical resistant goggles to avoid contact with clothing, skin and eyes. Always use IC in a well-ventilated area. Do not drink it, and keep out of reach of children. Refer to label for first aid information.

What equipment is needed to apply IC?

No expensive capital equipment is needed to apply our products. Our product is mildly corrosive to galvanized metal, therefore application equipment and mixing containers should be made of plastic or stainless steel. Spray or inject the product into the water or waste-water source in recommended dosages. This can be done manually by directly pouring or spraying onto the affected areas or by using injection equipment like meters, feed pumps and under surface sprayers. The size of the water body and the application type will determine what the best and most feasible option is.

Is it necessary to dilute IC before application?

IC can be used diluted or undiluted depending on the kind of application it is being used for. For surface application, we generally recommend diluting the product 5-10 times with water before applying to large water bodies as this makes it possible to spread the product over a wider area. This ensures a more uniform distribution. Diluting the product will also reduce its corrosive nature. This is beneficial if the equipment used to distribute the product is of a sensitive nature. We do not recommend diluting the product if under surface injectors which are used to treat filamentous algae.


How long will a treatment of IC last?

Ionic cupric copper, the active ingredient in our product, remains suspended and bioavailable until absorbed by organic matter or target micro-organisms. This lengthens the number and time between treatments. Treatment intervals can be anywhere from days to months depending on the amount of IC used, the water conditions (pH, alkalinity, total suspended solids) and the severity and growth rate of the algae infestation.

When should I measure and monitor the copper content in the water?

Copper content should be measured before, and periodically after treatments to identify the correct dosage needed to either prevent or kill existing micro-organisms like algae and bacteria.

After application, the level of active copper ions will gradually decrease over time as the product is absorbed by algae, bacteria or organic matter. Monitor weekly and apply product as needed to ensure total dissolved copper levels reach the recommended 0.3-0.5 ppm for water. This will keep micro-organism from re-emerging.

We offer copper meters to easily and accurately measure copper content.

Estimating water volume

How many litres of source water or wastewater will one litre of IC treat?

One litre of our solution will treat 60,000-600,000 litres of water depending on the water conditions and the extent of active infestations. Expect to use one litre of product for every 6,000-30,000 litres of waste water (e.g. sludge, manure) as the level of total suspended solids and organics is typically much higher than what is found in other waters (e.g. ponds, reservoirs, tanks).

What is PPM (Parts per million)?

PPM is an abbreviation for “parts per million” and it also can be expressed as milligrams per litre (mg/L). For

it is only necessary to add 1.6 ml per 1,000 L to increase the amount of copper by 0.1 ppm.

How do I calculate how much IC is needed?

To calculate the litres of IC required to treat a given volume at a desired level of treatment use the formula below:

Volume of water to be treated (L) / Volume of IC required (L) is equal to the required copper level (PPM).

Use the table below as a guide:

What dosage of IC is recommended to treat specific genera of algae and bacteria?

To identify the recommended dosage use the table below. Use the lower range concentrations if the water is soft and/or the algae growth is light to moderate.

What dosage is recommended to treat unknown algal species?

Use the following concentrations in areas where algae genera have not been positively identified. Use the lower range concentrations if the water is soft. 1 ppm kills all algae in most circumstances and maintaining at 0.5 ppm will hinder regrowth.

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