The Best Way to Get Rid of Muck on a Pond's Bottom
You gather your family together for a family afternoon at the pond only to discover it's full of slime and it stinks to high heaven.
Those are two big signs that you need to remove muck from your pond.
The slime and smell come from an organic buildup on the bottom of your pond called muck, and if it's not removed, the health of your pond and your fish can take a turn for the worse.
Fortunately, removing bacteria from your pond isn't that hard. Take a look at this complete muck removal guide.
How Big Is the Pond?
The size of the pond will change your bacteria removal plan. You'll probably want to hire a professional team to take care of large ponds because the chore can get overwhelming if you try it on your own.
For medium ponds, the project will go a lot smoother if you have some kind of boat at your disposal. It's easiest to remove bacteria from a small pond, and you can get by without a boat.
The Tools You'll Need
Again, this does depend on the size of your pond, but in general, you'll need helpful bacteria (these come in many different forms, which we'll get into later) and an aeration system.
Once you have these tools, you can start removing the muck. But first, let's take a look at why a buildup of muck can be so harmful to your pond, why you need to get rid of it and benefits of an aeration system.
How Does Muck Form on the Bottom of My Pond?
As your pond gets older, it will gather a layer of organic material on the bottom, stuff like grass, branches and leaves, dying algae, and other runoff. This material will start to decay, and in the process, it will suck some of the oxygen out of the water.
Now, a still pond only has a certain amount of oxygen, and it needs that right amount to stay healthy. As things in the pond use that oxygen, like fish and aquatic plants, the pond will absorb more oxygen from their air.
But only the water on the surface of the pond that comes in contact with the atmosphere can do this.
When the organic materials start to suck up oxygen from the bottom of the pond, that oxygen doesn't have a way to get replaced. The more materials there are, the more oxygen is used.
The mucky goo on the bottom of your pond is the decaying organic materials.
Why Does It Stink?
The decaying materials don't only absorb oxygen, they also release a gas called hydrogen sulfide. This gas is what gives the pond its rotten egg smell.
If you notice a smell like that coming from your pond, it's a sure sign your water is depleted of oxygen and full of muck.
Is It Harmful to the Rest of My Pond?
In some cases, it can be. If there's a thick layer of organic material sucking up the oxygen from the pond water, your fish may not get all the oxygen they need. This could cause them to die.
The lack of oxygen can also threaten any aquatic plants you've placed in your pond.
Not only that, swimming in a pond that stinks and is full of goo isn't very pleasant.
What to Do About It
There are several ways you can remove muck from the bottom of your pond and restore the levels of oxygen in your water. Each treatment can be used on its own, but you'll get the best effects if you combine them together.
These pellets are made differently depending on what brand you get, but they all contain aerobic bacteria that help break down muck and clean the rest of your water. If used consistently, they can clear up five inches of decaying material every year.
For best effects, they need to be distributed through the pond evenly. That's where a boat comes in handy. Throwing them from the shore won't cover the bottoms of large ponds efficiently.
Installing an aeration system is the best way to keep your water and pond clear and free of organic buildup.
Essentially, an aeration system will blow air into the bottom of the pond, pushing that still water up to the surface. This lets the water from the bottom absorb oxygen at the surface and release other gasses like hydrogen sulfide.
This will keep the water in your pond circulating, so the oxygen levels at the bottom of the pond will be the same as oxygen levels at the top of the pond.
Sometimes an aeration system is enough to clear up the water on its own, but it works best when combined with helpful bacteria pellets.
Make Sure Your Pond Stays Healthy
Avoid putting too many plants in your pond that will eat up the oxygen. Remember, new oxygen is absorbed through the surface of the water, so if the water is covered in plants, it won't be able to gather the amount it needs.
You should also keep as many leaves and branches as you can out of your pond. If you see a bunch of debris floating on the surface, it's worth spending a bit of time picking them out of the water before they sink to the bottom.
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