Waterscapes 101

Causes of 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, and even a haze from nutrients themselves.

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 particles. This form of algae often appears as water warms in summer. Heavy rains or extended overcast periods may cause the water to temporarily clear.

Brown water can stem from more than one cause. 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 undistrubed 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 its also likely nutrient levels will be elevated.

How to clear green pond water naturally:

Because green water results from nutrients in water, nutrient removal is the best treatment solution. Although algaecides can kill an existing bloom, it will not prevent future growth. Applying Pond Cleanse and Phosphate Eliminator starves the algae of the nutrients needed to survive. Planktonic algae safely dies off. Continuing natural treatments maintains low nutrient levels and 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). Multiple treatments are likely needed to improve clarity.

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 cause 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 - Planktonic Algae

Brown Water caused by catfish

Gray Murky Water mixed with Pond Dye

Pond Clarifier Treatments