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I have a ton of this black muck in my pond. What can I do about it? – Ponds & Lakes Q & A


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Q: I have a ton of this black muck in my pond. What can I do about it? Sam – Little Rock, AR

Let’s See What You’re Made of, Muck
Nothing spoils your summer fun like jumping off the dock into your pond, only to become a human lawn dart… stuck in layer upon layer of pond muck. No longer will you have to battle muck for possession of your favorite flip – flop while walking along the shoreline of your lake. Gather your torches and pitchforks; together we will fight off the monster we call muck!

The first step to effectively treating any nuisance in your pond is to understand exactly what it is and how it works. Muck, simply put, is an accumulation of fish waste, plant decay, and other debris that makes their way into your pond. While some of the materials that make up muck result directly from the inhabitants of your pond, much more finds its way into the water body in the form of blowing debris (leaves and grass clippings) and runoff from surrounding areas. As this cache of organic waste decays, it breaks down into slime, or as we call it, muck.

So Long Slime
What is a collection of decomposing organic debris afraid of, you ask? Oxygen and bacteria of course! If your pond is not being aerated, chances are a thermocline has established in the water body. The upper portion of the pond that has exposure to air will contain some oxygen while the lower region tends to lack sufficient levels of O2. Implementing an aeration system into the water body will circulate the contents of your pond and infuse the entire water column with oxygen. If your pond is six feet deep or shallower, Fountain Aeration can provide sufficient aeration. If the pond is deeper than six feet, you would be better suited with bottom-diffused aeration like the Airmax Aeration System. This influx in oxygen aids the growth of aerobic beneficial bacteria. These bacteria then feed on this organic debris and assist in the decomposition process. Aerobic beneficial bacteria are efficient and thrive on oxygen and, when present, will fight against muck deposits like your own personal pond ninjas. If you supply your pond with aeration, and thereby oxygen, you will be setting in motion events that will ultimately lead towards a cleaner pond.

Send In The Bacterial Backup
While there are beneficial bacteria naturally found in your pond, the presence of muck is a sign that they are severely outnumbered and overworked. You can boost their numbers by adding beneficial bacteria products like Pond Logic® PondClear™ and MuckAway™ to your maintenance regimen. As you might have figured out by the name, MuckAway™ is designed to work against bottom dwelling pond scum. MuckAway™ is formed into precision release pellets that sink to the bottom of your pond or lake where they can start working in the areas you need bacteria the most. Due to their buoyancy (or lack thereof), they are great in areas that experience high water flow like canals and lake front property. When used with aeration, MuckAway™ can eliminate up to five inches of muck a year! To apply MuckAway™, simply use the included scoop to apply pellets to problem areas every four to six weeks. An eight pound bucket of MuckAway™ will treat up to 16,000 square feet.

…And Never Come Back!
Now that you have banished muck from your pond bottom, take some PROactive steps to ensure it remains a distant memory. Adding Pond Logic® PondClear™ in your pond every 2 weeks will help sustain a healthy bacterial count. These bacterial treatments, paired with constant aeration, will ensure you will feel more sand between your toes this season and less squish. For more information on treating your pond with bacteria click here or read our Aeration Articles to learn about the many other benefits of aerating your pond.

Pond Talk: Have you used MuckAway™ in you pond or lake? Were you happy with your results?

Got Muck? Use Muck Away® - Eats up to 5 inches of muck per year!

11 Responses

  1. Why not ask “what can I do WITH the pond muck”? I’ve been battling pond muck this whole summer, slowly slopping it up bucket by bucket and dumping it in the woods behind the house. It’s occurred to me, though, that there may be a very good use for this stuff. When it dries it’s lightweight, water impenetrable, and maybe fireproof (I haven’t checked this out yet). I’m thinking of making stuff with it–like flower pots and perhaps a pizza oven. If anyone has ideas on how to use this stuff productively (besides Jet fuel), please let me know
    Thanks!

  2. About three weeks ago I started using PondClear and MuckAway on my 1/2 acre pond. The results so far are quite encouraging. But I do have some surface and bottom algae that seems to be at a standstill against the bacteria for the time being. Can I hit it with one application of copper sulfate without harming the bacteria? I know that the instructions for using the bacteria say to not apply it until at least three days have passed since using any algaecide.

    • Hi Emory,

      Unless you apply a large amount of algaecide to the pond then you won’t eliminate the bacteria population. Spot treating in certain areas will be ok though we still recommend waiting 3 days. Also we have a product called Cutrine that works for algae but will completely dissolve in the pond unlike copper sulfate, you may want to give that a try.

  3. Hi Roy,

    We have a 1/2 acre pond on a house that we purchased in lower Michigan. It is surrounded by trees and has about a foot of sludge on the bottom of it. (We are in the process of removing as many trees near the pond as possible.)

    As we add beneficial bacteria, it seems that the sludge starts breaking up and floats to the top. You can see it breaking up on the bottom of the pond and every day more of it floats to the top. Is this happening because we are not adding enough bacteria? Is the floating scum actually algae?

    Thanks,
    Tony

  4. Our pond is sort of oblong, about 200 feet long and 50 feet wide. The average depth is 4 1/2 to 5 feet. We have a fountain in the middle, the deepest area.

    We have muck, about 2 1/2 to 3 feet thick, on both of the long ends, maybe, going 10 feet, or a little more, towards the middle. (A lot of that would be from leaf debris from the trees around the pond.)

    We recently had an assessment of the pond and were told that the fountain we have in the middle has been aerating that area sufficiently – in that area there is no sediment. Also we were told that the pond is too shallow for an aeration system to be effective on the ends with the muck.

    What would you suggest we do for our situation/what product(s) would you suggest we use?

    • Hi Roy,

      Generally in areas less then 6 ft deep fountains are sufficient aeration. You are correct though that this may leave some areas under aerated, especially if the pond is long and narrow. Have you used any additional natural bacteria? I would suggest the Muck Away pellets and concentrate them at the ends where the muck build up is occuring.

  5. Will muck away work in a 94 acre pond? Or on a 125 foot shoreline of a 94 acre pond?

    • Hi Lois,

      Certainly Muck Away will work, but it would require a very large amount. Most customers select a smaller area to focus on such as a beach area that they access often. One bucket can treat up to 16,000 square feet.

  6. Can you use Muck Away & Pond Clear in a Harbor of the Lake? Thanks Gwen

    • These products could be used in a harbor as well though with it being an open body of water you would need to contact your local environment agency for a permit before applications could be made.

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