Pond Management using Pond Dye
Why use pond dye?
Use blue pond dye to improve the appearance of ponds and lakes. A variety of blue pond dye colors are available ranging from bright blues to more subtle dark blues which are a blend of blue and black. In addition to other benefits, the beautiful blue color of the pond surface is sure to attract attention.
For ponds with trees or scenic hills nearby, black pond dye helps to create a reflective, mirror-like water surface for stunning reflections of the views. Fun fact: many professional golf courses use either black or midnight-blue dye before hosting a televised tournament to improve the appearance of their water hazards.
While using pond colorants enhances a pond’s beauty, there are more functional reasons to add dye. Many aquatic weed problems begin at the bottom of the pond. Both rooted pond weeds and non-rooted plants like algae require sunlight for active growth. Applying pond dye at the proper rate reduces the amount of sunlight that is able to penetrate to the pond bottom and reduces photosynthesis.
How much pond dye should I use?
The application rate takes into account the pond surface area and average depth. For liquid pond dyes, one concentrated quart will color up to 6 acre-feet of water for up to 30 days– the equivalent of a 1-acre pond with an average depth of 6 feet or ½ acre with an average depth of 12 feet.
For ponds that have steady flow through the pond or in areas with significant rainfall, it can be helpful to increase the amount of dye to maintain good results. The pond colorants can be applied more frequently as needed to maintain water color and shading of the pond bottom. It is nearly impossible to overtreat with dye so we often add a little extra.
Are there different kinds of pond colorants?
Yes. There are a variety of liquid dyes, powdered dyes, and dye blends. Liquid pond dyes are sold in many forms and concentrations. It is best to consult the application rate guide for each pond dye package to understand what you are getting.
Most 1-gallon dye containers are diluted and effectively contain the same amount of color as a concentrated quart. The concentrated quart packaging is far more efficient for packing and shipping so it's also easier on the environment. Smaller containers of dye intended for water gardens are very diluted.
Water-soluble packets of powdered pond dye are the most efficient means to add color to a pond. This is the highest concentration of pond dye available. It is easy to apply. A potential downside to using the water-soluble packets is that it may take longer for the dye to disperse in the pond especially in water bodies that are very deep or have little circulation.
There are also EPA registered dyes, such as aquashade, that are very similar to other dyes, but apply for registration in order to make certain statements about weed control on their labels. Some states restrict the shipping of these products.
What is in pond dye?
The liquid products are composed of a colorant, water, and in some, low concentrations of salts. The best pond dyes use food-grade dyes that are completely safe for fish, aquatic insects, reptiles, and amphibians. These premium products are also pet, livestock, and of course, human safe.
Will my kids (or dogs) turn blue if they swim in a pond after it is dyed?
Unless you have REALLY overdosed the pond, no. There will be no visible color left on skin or fur!
Note: It's a good idea to leave the dogs inside until freshly applied dye has circulated and dispersed in the pond.