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What Causes Cloudy Pond Water?

What makes water murky?

Poor water clarity stems from a number of sources. The cloudiness itself can be composed of suspended soil, run-off waste, suspended muck, algae particles, or a haze from high nutrients.

Water color is the first clue to solve this mystery. Water quality testing provides additional clues to uncover the cause of cloudy water.

Green water is planktonic algae. This type of algae often appears as water temperature increases in spring/summer. Heavy rains or extended overcast periods may cause the water to temporarily clear.

Brown water can stem from multiple causes. Soil from new pond construction, heavy rains, soil erosion, construction run-off can stay in suspension for a period of time. If water turns brown year after year, there may be another cause. Something may be stirring up the pond leading to suspended soil or muck in the water. A simple jar test can provide insight. Fill a clear jar with pond water. Place in an undisturbed area for 24 hours. If the water clears and the particles drop to the bottom, then something is causing the water to churn. This could be catfish, crayfish, or grass carp. It could also be from a large population of ducks or geese.

Gray murky water is often a result of high phosphate in water.

Water testing provides additional insight. Water that contains elevated levels of phosphate, nitrate, or ammonia indicates pond health issues that should be addressed in order to reverse the problem.

When water contains phosphate over 0.1 mg/L, water can turn gray or green. Elevated ammonia or nitrate can be present when water is green or brown. If suspended muck (brown water) is the culprit, then it's also likely nutrient levels will be elevated.

How to clear green pond water naturally:

Nutrient removal is the best treatment solution for green water. Although algaecides can kill an existing bloom, this will not prevent future growth. Pond Cleanse and Phosphate Eliminator starves algae of nutrients needed to survive. The planktonic algae safely dies off in the absence of nutrients. Continual use of natural treatments maintains low nutrient levels which reduces the number of future blooms.

How to clear up a new pond:

Fine clay particles can suspend in water as a pond is filling. Some ponds clear faster than others. When a pond remains brown for greater than 3 months, it may require a bit of assistance to clear. Pond Clarifier is recommended to flocculate clay particles (clump fine particles together so they can drop out of suspension). Several treatments will be needed to completely clear water.

How to clear brown pond water:

The Pond Clarifier is a safe and effective treatment to clear water. Pond Cleanse is effective for breaking down suspended muck in water. Ponds stocked with catfish, carp, or crawfish can be difficult to clear. Unless catfish are removed, constant churning will turn water murky again.

How to clear milky water:

Phosphate Eliminator should be used to lower phosphate levels which causes gray, milky water. Prior to treatment, testing should be done so that phosphate levels are known. Number of treatments are determined by phosphate levels.

Green water from algae bloom

Cloudy water from bottom disturbance catfish

Murky Pond water from clay particles