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Controlling Mucky Bottoms – Pond & Lake Q & A

Kids covered in muck.

Pond & Lake Q & A

Q: Over the years my pond has accumulated a lot of muck on the bottom of the pond. We used to go swimming in the pond, but the kids don’t like stepping into the muck. I would like to clean it up. What can I do? – Kate of Illinois

A: For anyone who has ever gone swimming in a natural pond, you know what it’s like to step into it and feel that gooey muck between your toes. So what causes muck? What is muck’s purpose? How do you get rid of it? Hopefully the following will help you answer these questions so you can continue to enjoy your wonderful pond.

What Causes Muck?
Muck is caused from dying or decaying organics such as dead algae, twigs, grass clippings, fish waste, leaves, etc. Once these organics enter your pond, they begin to decompose and over time become muck.

What is Muck’s Purpose?
Muck undoubtedly is a food source. “A food source for what?”, you may ask. Muck contains high levels of nutrients that feed algae and aquatic weeds. As the muck layer grows, so will your problems with these aquatic nuisances. Muck can also be a breeding ground for leeches as they love to grow in the muck.

How Do I Get Rid of Muck?
There are a couple of things you can do to help not only get rid of the muck that is already there, but also help slow down accumulation.

All-Natural MuckAway: MuckAway™ Pellets contain an aerobic natural bacteria that work to break down organic muck. This aerobic bacteria will turn muck into an odorless gas and will allow it to escape out of the water column unnoticed. MuckAway works so well that it can break down up to 5 inches of muck per year! It is also great at maintaining beach areas, shorelines and lake front properties.

Pond & Beach Rake: Raking your pond with a Pond & Beach Rake is another way to help remove muck that is already present. It is also great at removing floating twigs and leaves in pond that would otherwise fall to the bottom.

Airmax Aeration: Aerobic bacteria performs far better in ponds that contain a high level of oxygen. By adding an Airmax Aeration System
Airmax® Aeration Systems
you can ensure that your pond contains the highest level of oxygen. Aeration also works great to clear your water column of sediments, reduce the chances of fish kill, and eliminate thermoclines (temperature at the pond’s surface is different than the temperature at the pond’s bottom).

Doing all of these things above will help you enjoy your pond to the fullest without having to play in the muck.

32 Responses

  1. We have an aerator but it gets pluggedall the time what can we do

    • Hi Christine – This depends on the type of aerator. For a fountain/surface aerator some brands many have a pre filter available to help.

  2. I am concerned about the fish, frogs, turtles and snakes that live in the pond and may be feeding off the muck. Is there a happy medium that can be reached in order to not destroy their habitat?

    • Hi Renee – That is a valid concern. Even with aeration and natural bacteria you will never completely eliminate muck in the pond as it is also continually being created from leaves and dead algae, etc. In fact the aeration helps increase their habitat in many cases by delivering oxygen to deeper parts of the pond that may otherwise be unavailable. When you spray for submerged weeds or apply bacteria you can target mostly a beach area where you access the pond and leave more growth in the deeper or farther areas for fish and other animals.

  3. I am interested in knowing the price of the pellets and your airation system. We have a rake but as you say we need to do more to get our beach acceptable. Our beach is 100 feet wide.

  4. Do muck reducing chemicals need DNR approval to use on shared ponds?

    • Our muck reducing products, such as PondClear and MuckAway are not chemicals, but all natural products that are safe for the environment. However, check with your State Department of Natural Resources and/or Department of Environmental Quality for regulations and permits that would be required for your specific state.

  5. […] in your pond than your filtration can handle will lead to additional more severe algae blooms and muck accumulation. It is important that you keep adding beneficial bacteria such as Nature’s Defense or Muck […]

  6. wow that is a lot to rake.ive messed around in one spot with a regular rake and shovel and it seems to take forever plus what i do get out its close to the edge of the water.will the rain take it back into the water?will the muckaway work on a 1/2 acre pond and if so how much would it cost for a good treatment and how long before i see results?is dredging simply pumping out your water and having a bulldozer remove the muck?if so how much would it cost to get this done? i can drain it to reduce some cost and would like a deeper pond.the cost might outweight the work and time and money spent on muckaway.

    • Did you ever get a response to this? I have a similar situation

      • Hi Mark – If your pond already has quite a bit of muck, it would be better to try and rake out as much as possible. This will allow you get that muck out of there immediately. After that, I would suggest to use MuckAway to help keep muck levels to a minimum. MuckAway can reduce muck by up to 5″ per year. So, the more muck you remove to begin with, the better your overall results will be.

        If there are any leaves that come into the pond you are going to want to try and limit those as well by raking any that are around the pond. The more leaves that get into the pond the more muck down the road that they will create.

        Dredging your pond can be quite costly depending on your location and the size of your pond.

    • I tried Muck a way last year and it did nothing but put a $120 hole in my pocket. ;(

      • Hi Nancy – Please keep in mind, MuckAway takes time to work. If there is heavy muck accumulation, MuckAway will need to be applied regularly every 2-4 weeks while water temperatures are above 50°F. The more muck, the longer the amount of time to see noticeable results.

  7. i forgot to mention my pond is 1/2 acre at 6 to 10 ft deep in the deep side and dont know the rest because i can push a boat oar 2ft into muck HELP!

    • Scotty,

      If your pond already has quite a bit of muck like you say, you would be better to try and rake out as much as possible first using a Pond & Beach Rake. This will allow you get that muck out of there immediately. After that I would suggest to use MuckAway to help keep muck levels to a minimum.

      If there are any leaves that come into the pond you are going to want to try and limit those as well by raking any that are around the pond. The more leaves that get into the pond the more muck down the road that they will create.

      Hopefully this makes sense and gets you to where you need to be so you can begin to enjoy your pond!

  8. i bought my house with a pond last year.no one took care of it.it has 2 foot of muck in hte worst spots.am i wasting time and money on chemicals and areator or should i have it dug out ?its worth the money if chemicals are going to take years. we are dieing to use it for swimming please help anyone

  9. Scott R Dorr,

    I have taken care of this for you!

    Let me know if you need anything else.

  10. Rosemary Reid,

    To control duckweed, there is a product called WhiteCap that would be perfect for you. An 8 oz bottle will treat up to a 1/4 acre pond for the season for duckweed. Your fish, frogs and other wildlife will be just fine when treating with WhiteCap. Here is a post about controlling duckweed with WhiteCap that you may find helpful.

  11. I have a natural pond about 80′ by 30′, 2 to 6’deep, spring fed with overflow. fish, frogs, crabs, etc. I also have duckweed. lots and lots of it. I use blue water dye but so far it has not helped. (I also have ducks in the pond, herons, kingfishers, turtles, etc.)can anything be done for duckweed?

  12. Vicky Hagood,

    Brown water can be caused by tannins from leaves that fall into the pond or a high level of organics, whether from runoff or from other organics that fall into the pond.

    A great way to help combat the murky brown color would be to add Black DyeMond Pond Dye. Using a black pond dye will help hide that murky brown tint.

  13. Larry & John Matin,

    Both of your questions have to deal with water temperature and when to use MuckAway. The best time to use MuckAway is when the temperature of the water is above 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

    Great question, I forgot to put that in my post!

  14. Josiahe,

    There are two types of bacteria that break down muck and both are naturally occurring in your pond. One is called anaerobic bacteria which does not require oxygen to survive and is extremely slow to break organics down. Anaerobic bacteria breaks down muck into a methane gas while aerobic bacteria (which requires oxygen to survive) such as MuckAway or PondClear will break down muck at an accelerated rate into CO2 or other gases. Hopefully that helps answer your question.

  15. Narda Young,

    MuckAway will not harm snails, water lilies or lotus in your water garden. There is another product called Muck Defense that is specially formulated for water gardens. For your sized water garden, this would be perfect. And again, it is safe for your snails, water lilies and lotus.

    Thanks for the question!

  16. I have had that muke since day 1 of my earthen pond. I know it is not any buildup….just muck. The pond water is very merky brown in color. What can I do?

  17. I have a small(about 800 gal.) Pond. Can I use this and will it kill the snails and water lilies and lotus I have in my pond?


  19. I assume the gas given off from decomposing material (muck) would be methane . . . . right? could we harness that to run our tractor . . . . or do we have to depend upon the same hot-gas from politicians?

  20. I would like to know how well Muckaway works in a spring pond where the water always stays extremely cold.

  21. Does the water have to be a certain temperature before you use Muckaway?

  22. Gloria Lowen,

    Absolutely. MuckAway is safe for fish, horses, pets, birds and wildlife.

    Let me know if you have any other questions.

  23. I would like to know if Muckaway can be used when there are fish in a small pond. Thanks.

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