How Can I Clear The Water In My Muddy Pond?

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The first thing to do is to make sure that the reason the water appears to be muddy is because of soil particles and not a result of algae.

Is it mud or algae?

Algae in a pond should be a light green color, or a slightly golden brownish green if diatom algae is present. In most cases here in the U.S. what we expect to see is the light green unless you have used nano silicates from Nualgi.

The sources of turbidity or muddy water

If the water is indeed muddy, you should first solve the mystery of why it is muddy.

Bare banks and inlets

Bare banks and inlets, or adjacent bare feilds will often be the cause. If this is the case, vegetation will need to be established in those areas, or all the water clearing methods in the world will not solve the problem.

Turbidity causing fish

In some cases certain types of fish may be causing the problem, and they will need to be removed by a qualified company with the proper equipment for the job.


After this problem has been dealt with, the serious work of clearing the soil particles can begin, if it is still needed. The process is known as flocking. Flocking is the use of a product that will bind with soil particles, and drop the soil particles to the bottom of the pond. The most common agent used for this purpose is alum.

Flocking agent amounts and water volume

The amount of allum needed is determined by the size of your reservoir, and to some extent, the severity of the turbidity. You will need to know the surface area of your body of water, as well as it’s average depth to determine the amount needed.

Application involves broadcasting this over the surface of the water.
For specific reccomendations in your area, you can consult your agriculture extension agency. These folks have a wealth of information on such topics, and are more than happy to share their knowledge, so give them a call.

How Can I Increase Fish Production?

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How can you increase fish production in your private pond or lake? The answer is surprisingly simple, the methods are simple, but the process is surprisingly complex. It starts with the basic life cycle, which involves how everything in a body of water interacts with everything else.

Fish population and fish size

The number and size of fish populations is similar to the number and size of almost all populations in one way. The availability of food. If enough food is present, the average size per fish, and the population will both rise.

How fish get their food

So, aside from feeding the fish in your pond or lake with a fish feeder, or by hand, how do fish get the food they need to survive and thrive? The answer is in the food chain. Larger fish eat smaller fish, and some insects that cross their path. Smaller fish eat bugs. The bugs eat smaller bugs. The smaller bugs eat algae in the form of phytoplankton.

Phytoplankton production

The answer is pretty simple, for fish to thrive, they need phytoplankton to start the food chain. The obvious next question is: How do I get phytoplankton to grow in my pond or lake?

Well, the phytoplankton already exists in your reservoir. All you need to do, is encourage it to grow by feeding it. The way you feed the phytoplankton is with fertilizer. The fertilizer should be high phospherous, or micronutrients in a delivery system like nano silicates. This will kick start phytoplankton production. I encourage you to do a pH test before you start this type of program, and also to do a secchi test to determine how much phytoplankton is aready there.

See these articles for more detailed information and how to:

Lake And Pond Food Chain

Lake Management Lake Depth Secchi Disk

Pond and Lake maintenance using Diatom Algae

Lake Fertilization

The process works pretty rapidly, and continues as long as the proper fertility exists. This is something that will need to be repeated throughout the summer, but the payoff can be amazing.

Lake And Pond Food Chain | Lake Advice

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The elements in the lake and pond food chain

What makes up the lake and pond food chain ecosystem? It can seem deceptively simple, and at the same time, it is deceptively complicated, but for our purposes in lake management, there is a reasonably simple middle ground that ends in good pond and lake management, and good fishing. There are several elements in the food web for ponds and lakes, and they begin with a simple, single cell plant that exists just about everywhere.

A lake with visible plankton promoting a good lake and pond food chain.


In the life chain, that is, the lake and pond food chain, the beginning is phytoplankton. We could take this back a little further, and say that the pond food chain begins with the presence of phytoplankton, which is seemingly present everywhere, and awaiting water, fertility, and sunlight to become active. Once all the elements are present in sufficient quantities, the process will begin and continue as long as the elements remain in sufficient quantities to produce algae bloom.


Microinvertebrates, the mini sized creatures that exist in large numbers in pond and lake water, feed on phytoplankton. The more phytoplankton, the more of these little creatures.


These are the little bugs (under .5 millimeters) that exist in and around ponds and lakes and feed on the microinvertebrates. Once again, the more of the microinvertebrates they have to eat, the higher the numbers.

Small fish

Small fish exist in ponds, both small fingerlings of the larger species, and smaller species. These small fish eat the bugs that exist in the water, and once again, the more bugs exist, the more these small fish increase in number.

Larger fish

Now we are getting down to the brass tacks. Small fish provide food for larger fish, and the more small fish are available, the larger the large fish will grow.


Finally, if the food chain achieved good results, starting with the phytoplankton, and you are a reasonably good angler, you will have food for your own table!
See also: How to increase fish production!

Pond and Lake maintenance using Diatom Algae

Pond and Lake maintenance using Diatom Algae

By: Bhaskar M V


Water pollution issues in ponds and lakes and solutions to these problems are in the news now a days for all the wrong reasons. Water pollution is increasing due to human activity – increasing population and consumption has resulted in more waste being generated – sewage, fertilizer run off, etc. These enter ponds, lakes, rivers, estuaries, etc., and cause algal blooms leading to low dissolved oxygen problems and fish kills and dead zones. The main source of ‘pollution’ of water is nutrients – Nitrogen and Phosphorus from sewage and fertilizer. Industrial pollutants though more toxic and harmful are a smaller problem in terms of volume. Farmers use fertilizer since plants require them, fertilizers cause higher plant growth and this is a good thing. Why are these fertilizers regarded as ‘pollutants’ when they enter a waterbody? What type of ‘plants’ grow in the water due to these nutrients? Micro algae i.e., Cyanobacteria, Green Algae, Dinoflagellates, Diatoms; macro algae, aquatic weeds, are the various plants that can grow in water. The problem arises when the balance shifts in favor of one group and this dominates the water. Thus when there is a large bloom of Cyanobacteria or Dinoflagellates the water turns Green or Red and some of these species release toxins too. Water hyacinth or Duck weed too can bloom and cover the pond or lake. Which is the best species / group of ‘plants’ to grow in water? How to maintain the desired ecological balance of various species? We believe that Diatom Algae are the best group of micro algae to grow, they are the best food for fish and hence do not accumulate in the water. Cyanobacteria / Blue Green Algae, Dinoflagellates, water hyacinth, etc. are not consumed by zooplankton, fish, etc. and hence accumulate in water and become a nuisance and have to be removed by artificial means – physically removed or by use of algaecides and weedicides. Diatoms on the other hand are removed naturally by Zooplankton and fish. Catching fish is easier and more profitable than harvesting algae. Diatoms typically dominate water during spring, early summer and winter. Late summer is when Cyanobacteria and Dinoflagellates bloom and dominate the water. The reason for this is that Diatoms require more inputs than other micro algae, they are the most recent of the micro algae to have evolved – less than 300 million years ago. Cyanobacteria evolved more than 3000 million years and Dinoflagellates about 1000 million years ago. Thus Diatoms are the more complex of all micro algae and they require many micro nutrients and Silica to bloom. Iron, Manganese, Zinc, etc., are the micro nutrients require by Diatoms. These and Silica do not dissolve easily in water. Metals oxidize in water and silica (sand) is not by nature soluble. Thus these elements are the first to be exhausted in water leading to the end of Diatom bloom in early summer and consequent domination by Cyanobacteria. Thus is supply of silica and micro nutrients is increased the Diatom bloom can be prolonged and the bloom of other algae and weeds controlled. N P K are the inputs that are common to all plants and algae, thus when these are consumed by Diatoms other plants are starved out. However, since Diatoms are grazed upon by Zooplankton and fish their population is regulated naturally and the bloom will not get out of hand if adequate number of fish are available and if the silica micro nutrient supply is regulated. Thus the natural ecological balance can be restored and maintained throughout the year. A solution to provide silica and micro nutrients in water in a stable manner has been invented by Mr T Sampath Kumar of Bangalore, India. He researched for over 10 years from 1994 to 2004 and perfected the formula. Its now patented and marketed under the name Nualgi [NUtrition for Algae] . Nano silica is used as a base for delivery of all the micro nutrients. Nano silica disperses in water and does not dissolve, however the dispersed nano particles behave in the same manner as dissolved particles. The silica keeps the metals stable in water and prevents them from oxidizing. Thus metals in Nualgi are stable in water for a long time and they are bioavailable to the Diatoms. The maximum dosage of Nualgi is 0.25 ppm i.e., about 1 kg in 1 acre of pond 1 meter deep. The Diatom bloom lasts for about a week, so repeat doses have to be given weekly. The cost of Nualgi used is fully recovered from sale of fish. 1 kg of Nualgi results in 100 to 200 kgs of Diatom biomass. This results in 10 to 50 kgs of fish biomass. 100 kgs of Diatoms give about 100 kgs of oxygen and absorb 137.5 kgs of CO2. Diatoms bloom rapidly and the color of water changes from green to light brown in a few days. When Nualgi is used in a pond with a massive Blue Green Algae bloom the BGA may crash within hours of the first dose. Nualgi is thus a safe and economical alternative to mechanical aerators, algaecides, dyes, etc. Bhaskar

Lake Fertilization

Pond management and lake fertilization

There are times in the life of a pond or lake when clearing the water may be necessary. At those times, there are flocking agents that will do the job well. You should be aware however, that a completely clear pond or lake is not the optimum circumstance for a healthy body of water. Unfortunately, there are many who suffer from the illusion of healthy happy fish in a beautiful crystal clear pond, but it is just that, an illusion! For healthy fish, and for a healthy pond ecosystem, there must be something growing in the water, and that something is phytoplankton. The way to get it is through fertilization.

Nowhere in the world of living things can the effects of fertilization be seen more clearly than in a pond or lake. The effect can be almost immediate, and often drastic. The results, if properly implemented, will be a near incredible increase in fish size and numbers. Properly timed and implemented fertilizer applications will also reduce the population of unwanted submersed and emergent weeds.

An analogy: Cattle pastures and fish ponds

Think of it in terms of a cattle pasture. If you fertilize the grass, the cattle will grow more quickly, and the pasture may be able to support more cows. Reproduction will increase, and pounds of milk or beef per acre will increase. Lake fertilization works the same way. Increased pond fertility will increase the food source for your fish, which will increase their size and numbers. If done properly, you will also cause the grasses to outgrow the weeds.

What kind of fertilizer and how much

Fertilization will produce algae bloom, or phytoplankton in your pond. The right fertilizer is a fertilizer high in phosphorous and low in the other 2 elements. Phosphorous is the middle number in the 3 numbers listed on a bag of fertilizer. You need to add 40 lbs of 20% phosphorous, or 20 lbs of 40% phosphorous, or something similar in ratio per acre to initiate algae bloom. It takes about 4 to 8 pounds of pure phosphorous to produce or maintain algae bloom in an acre of water. If you had a product with 80% active ingredient, you would need about 10 pounds. However you get there, you need about 8 pounds of the second number in the fertilizer label, and as little of the other ingredients as possible.

There are some great pond and lake fertilizers available, but if you can’t find them, regular old high phosphorous agricultural fertilizer granules can be used. There are also liquids available, but when using liquids in a pond or lake, always remember that the fertilizer is heavier than the pond water, and will sink to the bottom unless you add water before releasing it into the pond water.

An alternative to phosphorous for pond fertilization

With phosphorous being closely monitored today, and restrictions on the horizon, it may be a good idea to look into alternatives such as the ones mentioned in this post by Mr. Bhaskar on our Lake Advice Blog: Diatom Algae. For the details on various methods fertilize your pond see Pond Fertilization Methods . Find more information about the effects of lake fertilization throughout this site.

Lake Maintenance By Season


Property never stops needing something, and property maintenance never takes a break. Even in the dead of winter, there is something that needs to be done. Where lakes and ponds are the properties in question, this is may be more of a truth than some other areas of your property.

Spring lake maintenance

Fertilization of ponds and lakes should start as early as possible in the spring. This will not only jump start your fish, but it will also add that nice green tint that phytoplankton pond algae gives the water. This will shade the bottom, and keep weeds and pond scum from having a chance to get an early start. This program of fertilization should be carried out every couple of weeks until the end of summer, or until a secchi disk disappears at less than 18 inches. Spring is also the perfect time to get a handle on those aquatic weeds and string algae problems that may have beaten you to the punch. You should stay on top of this until the problem is gone. If you do this right, and follow up promptly and correctly, you might just avoid the annual weed takeover. Pay attention to the label directions, especially with regard to temperatures so you don't end up wasting costly chemicals if the weather is too cold. This should also give you the opportunity to do the most important part of lake ownership: Enjoy it!

Summer lake maintenance

If you need a fertilization program, you should continue it throughout the summer. If you have lake weed problems at this stage, handle them as soon as possible, and use good follow up, and again, enjoy the lake.

Fall lake maintenance

Test your pond pH. If the pH needs to be raised, now is a good time to find out, and start making plans to add lime late in the fall, or during the winter. By this time, your lake weed problems should either be solved for the year, or the weeds should be too mature to properly treat. Manual or mechanical removal is about the only way to deal with them at this stage. This is also a good time to think about things like dredging, draw down, or raising the water level. It is also the best time to start putting together plans for improvements to docks, slips, boathouses, pump houses and other lake and pond buildings.

Winter lake maintenance

If you did your planning in the fall, you should now have all the materials and plans laid out for late fall, and early winter lake projects, so just jump in and get started. If you plan to draw the lake down for dock repairs, dredging, or weed removal, don't lime beforehand. It will be possible to do a more effective job during the draw down stage. Just do all your maintenance and building work, dredging, or whatever else you planned on doing, and lime when your done and before you start raising the water level. If you don't plan a draw down, lime the pond if it needs it, and if you haven't already done so.

How To Fertilize A Pond Or Lake


So, you have had a few problems with your pond or lake that seem to indicate that you need a little extra fertility. Maybe what tipped you off was:

  • Poor fishing
  • Skinny fish
  • Low fish population
  • Excessive pond algae like blanket weed or pond scum
  • Excessive lake weed growth

Whatever it was that tipped you off, you have come to the conclusion that something has to be done to increase fish production, get rid of lake weeds and pond scum, and prevent these problems in the future.

  • You have done your homework.
  • You have tested the water clarity of your lake and solved any problems related to soil particles in the water.
  • You have checked the pH and corrected it if needed.
  • You have water which is too clear to support aquatic life, so you know that you need to produce algae bloom, and you know that that means you need to fertilize your lake.

How do you fertilize a pond or lake?

There are several suitable methods for pond and lake fertilization, but let me start off with a few cautionary statements.

Liquid pond fertilizer

Liquid fertilizer should be mixed with water before being applied to a lake or pond. The liquid fertilizer will be heavier than the water it is being applied to, and will sink to the bottom where it will probably either be neutralized, or initiate unwanted plant growth.

Keep fertilizer clear of outflow

If you are using buckets or platforms suspended in the water to slowly dissolve fertilizer, make sure that they are not close to your spillway or drain pipe. This could result in the majority of your fertilizer ending up downstream.

Simple pond fertilizer method

If you are using fertilizer in plastic bags, you can lay the bag in shallow water, 2 to 3 feet deep, and slit the top lengthwise and across to allow the fertilizer to dissolve.

Fertilizer platform

If you are using a submerged platform, the platform should be about 1 to 2 feet below the surface of the water, and the proper amount of granular fertilizer can be dumped onto the platform and allowed to dissolve at it’s own rate.

Fertilizer in a bucket

The same result can be attained by suspending a 5 gallon bucket full of fertilizer with small holes drilled into the sides from a dock. be sure that it is one to 2 feet deep.

Fertilizer products formulated for ponds and lakes

There are a lot of newer fertilizer products on the market specifically designed for pond and lake fertilization that offer other options such as finely ground granules. These products come with instructions and label directions.

Special aquatic weed control note:

It is important to start fertilization early in the spring. If algae bloom is in place before weeds and filamentous pond algae have a chance to get started, this will decrease the amount of weed control needed for the pond. See also: Lake Fertilization

Pond Management Cost


We are often asked about pond management cost. To give you some idea of the cost, think about it in relation to what you spend on your lawn. If you hire someone to do it for you, the cost will be higher than if you do the work yourself. Of course, either way, you will have expenses, like equipment costs and maintenance, fertilizers and other amendments, and pest control products. The same is true of your lake or pond, and the similarities in cost may amaze you!

The right pond for you

It would be great if you had the perfect lake. You know, that perfect pond, just right for your needs, with just the right size, and just the right depth to produce your favorite game fish, or operate your favorite water craft, or for family recreational swimming. That would be great, but it is not likely to happen unless you build your own pond on your own property. Even if you built your own, you would still have problems, and you would still have to practice pond management to keep it the way you want it. More and more home buyers are purchasing property with farm or ranch ponds or lakes on them, and like many other parts of property ownership, the cost of maintaining such amenities can be an unexpected expense. The fact is, that you probably inherited your lake by buying the property on which it exists, and there is a huge possibility that it came to you in pretty sad condition, and that it is not exactly what you would have chosen if you had the option. Your pond may have been a farm pond or ranch stock tank, or an irrigation reservoir never intended to be used for the purposes you have in mind. It has likely not been used for any human purposes in some time, and was probably not maintained in any human sense of the word for some time.

Ponds need management

Contrary to popular belief, a man made pond or lake will not take care of itself in any manner remotely related to the needs of human beings. It will silt in, become overgrown, become home to undesirable wildlife, and may even become a health hazard. For human purposes, a pond or lake needs human maintenance. That is where you have to begin. In short, the perfect pond or lake for you is the one you own! To get it into the condition you want, and to develop it into what you want it to be, will require some sound pond management practices.

Property management costs

There are many hidden costs that come with home and property ownership. There are home owner association fees, taxes, home owners insurance, lawn maintenance, and home repairs that can make home ownership a little more expensive than it seems on the surface. Most new property owners have some idea of the costs of lawn care, and taxes and insurance, but may not realize that ponds and lakes require maintenance as well, and that the cost of pond management can be equal to, or greater than the cost of maintaining a similar sized lawn.

Pond management cost

Intensive pond management

The average lawn size in the United States is about 10,000 square feet. That is a little less than 1/4 of an acre. The average cost of maintaining that amount of lawn is about $50.00 per week, or $200.00 per month, or $2,400.00 per year. That would translate into about $9,600.00 per acre for intensive lake or pond maintenance. If a property owner has a 1 acre pond, he can reasonably expect to spend almost $10,000.00 per year on intensive professional pond management or lake care per year. This may be a little unsettling for the property owner, but it is something that should be considered before purchasing property with a pond or lake, and budgeted for if the property owner already has such a property.

Average pond management

In reality, most ponds and lakes are maintained fairly well with management equal to the cost of a similar area in pasture land. Mowing an acre of pastureland in our area of operation usually costs around $40.00 to $50.00 per acre, per mowing. This can be multiplied by the number of acres, and the number of times it is mowed for a year. So, if we have a one acre area, which needs to be mowed 6 times per year, we come up with an average figure of $270.00 per year of basic care. Ponds, like lawns and pastures benefit from some mineral and chemical applications to keep the beneficial plants alive and growing, and to keep the weeds away. A rough average of such costs would lead to a figure approximating the cost of mowing, so the total cost would be something around $500.00 to $600.00 per acre, per year to maintain an acre of land, or an acre of water at a reasonable level. Of course the property owner has options for pond management, and much of it can be accomplished "in house" for much less money with the right information, and that is why we are here. See also: Lake Restoration

Why Aquatic Weeds And Filamentous Algae Occur


This is the basic sequence of events leading up to pond scum and lake weed problems. It should be noted that not all problems arise from these causes. There are problems related to the over fertilization of a body of water which can lead to some of the same results. There are tell tale signs which can be easily seen by checking water clarity. If the water is a virtual soup of green suspended algae, the water is too fertile, and other measures, like adding vegetation to the intake side to filter some of the nutrients should be taken. While this does happen, it occurs so infrequently that I have seen only one or two cases in my life. Sequence of events resulting in pond scum and lake weed problems:
  • There is not enough fertility
  • Water becomes too clear
  • Sunlight penetrates to the bottom
  • Sunlight warms the bottom
  • Weed and algae germination and growth is initiated
  • Weeds quickly grow through the water profile
  • Filamentous algae begins to rise from the bottom
  • Weeds and pond scum become the dominate feature of the lake or pond
  • Fishing and recreational use becomes difficult
  • Mosquitoes arrive and decide they like the surroundings
  • Water quality worsens
  • Dissolved oxygen is low in the evenings
  • Fish rise to the top to gulp oxygen close to the surface
  • Without plankton, the life cycle is slowed and the fish become hungry and skinny
The last problem listed in this sequence has probably been a problem for a while. Phytoplankton is needed in the water to:

Color the water for sunlight control

By coloring the pond or lake water, sunlight is prevented from reaching the lake bed where weeds and filamentous algae get their start. This provides lake weed and pond scum prevention.

Shade the water for heat control

By shading the water, the temperatures are moderated, providing better, more comfortable conditions for aquatic life.

Produce oxygen throughout the water profile

With higher oxygen production in the water, fish are able to breathe easy, and concentrate on avoiding predation, and food intake.

Provide food for the life chain

Because phytoplankton is the beginning of the "circle of life", food for fish is produced as a natural result. Producing phytoplankton, or algae bloom is pretty easy to do, but there are a few preliminaries. You can read more about them: Pond Scum Prevention Pond Algae