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What’s the difference between PondClear and MuckAwa? – Pond & Lake Q & A

Pond clarity results with MuckAway and PondClear

Pond & Lake Q & A

Q: What’s the difference between PondClear and MuckAway? – Barry in Oklahoma

A: We can summarize the difference between the two in one sentence: PondClear™ works to remove excess nutrients from the surface down; MuckAway™ works to remove excess nutrients from the bottom up. Seems simple – or is it?

In general, water clarity problems occur when excess amounts of rotting vegetation, leaves, twigs and fish waste accumulate in the pond or lake. These tiny particles are either suspended in the water column, or they settle to the bottom of the pond.

PondClear™ packets, which are made of beneficial bacteria, are designed to break down waste and suspended organics in the water column. Imagine thousands of hungry bacteria, which multiply every 20 to 40 minutes, swimming through your pond or lake and gobbling through the excess nutrients. After just a few weeks of use, chemical-free PondClear™ will begin to clear up your water and dissipate any lingering odors.

PondClear™ comes in easy-to-use, pre-measured water-soluble packets that you simply toss into your pond or lake every two weeks. One pail of PondClear™ will treat a quarter-acre pond for up to six months. It’s safe for use around horses, livestock, birds, fish, pets and wildlife.

MuckAway™ pellets, which are also made of beneficial bacteria, are designed to sink to the bottom of a pond or lake to digest the detritus, which are their natural food source. As the bacteria start to work, the muck will begin to break down, noxious odors will dissipate and the water clarity will improve. It’s great for spot-treating troublesome areas, like beaches and shorelines.

When used as directed, MuckAway™ will break down up to 5 inches of muck per year. One pail of MuckAway™ will treat up to 16,000 square feet of pond. It’s safe for use around horses, livestock, birds, fish, pets and wildlife, too.

Whether you use PondClear™ or MuckAway™, be sure to use when water temperatures are above 50° Fahrenheit. If you use an algaecide or herbicide treatment, wait at least three days before adding the beneficial bacteria.

POND TALK: What successes have you had with beneficial bacteria in your pond or lake?

35 Responses

  1. We have 100 feet of shoreline. We have weeds and muck. We raked out what we could. We have debrie that when raked justskes the clear water murky. How much muckaway do we need?

    • Hi Mary – For 100′ of shoreline, you can go 10 feet out with 1 scoop every 2 weeks. The smaller container will give you about 4 months of use. If you go out to 20′ feet, you can expect 2 months of product from the smaller container.

  2. Will Muckaway continue to work if the water recedes away from the muck?

    • Hi Barry – MuckAway activates in water. If the area is wet, it might still continue to work but not as actively as if its fully in water. If the water has receded, you can rake out the muck from that area.

  3. Muck Defense vs Muck Away :

    With the exception of one being for ponds and one being for water gardens, is there any physical/biological or chemical difference?

    • Hi Chief – MuckAway and Muck Defense have the same bacteria family. The bacteria and enzymes used are slightly different formulations due to their applications. MuckAway is designed for large ponds and lakes generally with earth bottoms and are small tablets. While, Muck Defense is designed for water gardens with a rubber liner and are larger tablets.

  4. I have a large pondless waterfall. The bottom is filled with rocks (12’L X 3’D X 3’H) . As roots and leaves from the water plants die, they are trapped among the rocks and turn to a smelly sludge. The only way to clean this is to remove all the rocks, which is a lot of work. Will either or both of these products help to reduce the amount of sludge and smell?

    • They sure will Pam, this is exactly what they are formulated to do. PondClear and MuckAway are intended for the large pond and lake owners while decorative water gardens and feature owners can use Pond Logic Nature’s Defense and Muck Defense.

      • I have the exact same issue as Sam, and I ordered Muck Defense from you. My question is where do I put the pellet in my pondless waterfall? In the top basin or in the bottom basin with the pump and float or?

      • Hi Adam – You want to place your Muck Defense tablet where the muck is. For most pondless waterfalls, you would place the tablet on top of the rock/gravel over your basin matrix.

      • Thank you very much for the response. My bottom ‘pit’ does not have any basin matrix, it’s simply a 2 foot deep 5 ft wide lined hole filled with large river rock on the bottom and small river rock on top. Can I still just put the pellet on top of the river rock in the pit (where all the water collects and where all the ‘muck’ is) and let it dissolve there? I’m guessing it needs direct contact with the water, obviously, so the only place to put it would be under one of the last falls that drop into the pit. Thank you!

      • Yes, you want to place it in the falls area where the muck is.

  5. Not sure of application rate. Its a little confusing. “1500 square feet of shoreline”? 1500 square feet is exactly that. A surface AREA. Will probably work on my 30 x 50 pond great. I think. “shoreline” sounds more like a LINEAR distance measurement. Which is it?

    • Hi Dennis,

      Sorry for the confusion, many times this product is used just around a shoreline. It is a square foot measurement for application however that square footage could be spread around a perimeter of the pond or applied across the entire pond.

  6. My pond is 1/3 acre and was dug in 2003 to a depth of 18′. Stocked with channel catfish, bass and sunfish. It has an Aeration system in it. Today, the depth is 11′! Aeration was checked and it is still on top of the bottom working well. My complete pond is a muddy tan/brown. When i fish, the hook falls to the bottom, of course, but when i reel it in, it always has muck attached to it. If i use pond clear, will it clear up the water and can I use muck away to restore the depth to 18′ in the entire pond? One more thing, will using these products, harm my fish and/or remove beneficial food for them? Thank you.

    • Hi Bill,

      The bacteria will reduce the muck to make it more managable but will not completely elimate all muck or completely stop any weed or algae growth. Reducing the muck will help with the water clarity but it is algae possible that it is the catfish causing the murkyness in which cause the pond may always stay a little cloudy.

  7. Regarding application of MuckAway. Is it better to rake up the muck before applying the pellets? Is it better to ‘rake in’ the pellets so they are deeper in the muck, or leave them on the top surface?

    • Hi Marc,

      Any large debris that can be removed will speed up the decomposition process and be beneficial. I would apply the product though after you’ve raked. Keep in mind that the natural bacteria need oxygen to function well and if raked deep into the muck where there is little oxygen you may not receive the results you were looking for.

  8. Hello,

    Dawn-Marie’s situation sounds rather similar to my own but for the fact that our pond is larger. It is roughly 176′ x120′ and approximately 10′ at it’s deepest. The muck is deep and while I am not familiar with the different types of growth, it has not yet taken over due only to the continuous aerator.

    The frogs are live in concert nightly, the fish have hatched again, and although I haven’t seen any yet, we’ve had turtle(s) in past years.

    I rake and am researching other manual means to remove the growth, but it seems to be winning the race this year. I am highly against chemicals as I refuse to damage the long-term environment for my relatively brief enjoyment of the pond. Your advice would be appreciated. Thank you.

    • Hi Sue,

      Natural bacteria and Aeration are the way to go, and the more debris you remove from the pond the better although the weeds will be able to grow faster then the debris can be removed. While we do not like to just dose a pond with chemical on a reglar basis they do have their niche and are useful to gain short-term control of weed growth for moments when they begin to get out of hand. Chemicals approved for aquatic use are quick acting and leave the environment just as fast as to make as little impact on the natural environment as possible.

  9. We have a pond, approx 1/4 acre and no more the 8′ deep in the middle, located in the woods. It is filled with muck, which I assume is all the leaves settling to the bottom and rotting, also we have a large amount of peat in the area. The pond is filled with leeches, I believe because of all the muck.?. We would like to get this pond “cleaned out” so that the kids can use it for swimming.Which would work the best and quickest Muckaway or Pondclear or both and would the water be safe for swimming after treating the pond with one or both? How much would I need to treat the pond? Thank you

    • Hi Cathe,

      If you are looking for the quickest route to be muck free I would use both the Muck Away and Pond Clear. If the water has a lot of suspended muck Pond Clear will be most effective at clearing the water and Muck Away will stick straight to the bottom to begin removing muck accumulation. One bucket of the Pond Clear will treat your size pond for a season and Muck Away wil depend on application. Once last suggestion though is that you did not mention any type of circulation in the pond. Stagnent water is a large cause of increased muck build up and great habitat for leeches. An Aeration system will circulate the pond, increase oxygen which will speed up the decomposition process and increase the efficiency of the Pond Clear and Muck Away. I would really start will the Aeration and then begin Pond Clear/Muck Away application.

  10. Ciao,
    We bought a house in CT this past summer and inherited a reservoir pond in the front yard. While there is a large bubbler pump that aerates the pond well, there are a TON of dead leaves on the bottom of the entire pond. We’ve got plenty of frogs (they sound like an alarm at night! lol) but don’t think there are fish or anything else (prob because there isn’t enough oxygen in there with all that debris). Still, we have dogs and there is a lot of wildlife that travels through the yard, so we want to stay away from anything too harsh. Also, last summer the entire pond got a coating of watermeal across the surface and now that the weather is getting nice again, it’s on its way back – encroaching further every time the bubbler turns off (which is on a timer for about half the day). Should we start with MuckAway to clear the leaves or should we manually try to remove as much as possible first? The pond is about 1/4 acre and no more than 2-3 feet at its deepest point (where the pump sits). We were thinking of trying Sonar for the watermeal, but feel like we need to get a handle on the dead leaves first or else it’ll come right back. HELP!!

    • Hi Dawn-Marie,

      Anytime you can physically remove some of the debris it will speed up the decomposition process for the smaller pieces that remain in the pond and greatly help the heath of the pond. I would start using the Muck Away but this process will take time (months to years depending on the buildup) and I would not wait that long to treat the watermeal as it will continue to become more of an issue. Also I would continue to run the aeration system as much as possible. This will also aid in the performance of the Muck Away by increasing the oxygen in the pond.

  11. I live in an area where our water temperature stays in the 40’s. Can we use Muck away to clean the bottom of muck that accumulates from leaf debris and string algae?

    • Hi Val,

      Natural bacteria will still work in your pond it just may work a little less efficient since its optimum performance is at temperatures above 50 degrees. If you don’t already, you may want to add aeration to your pond. This is allow more oxygen to reach the pond’s bottom and also bring some of the warmer surface water down which will also help the Natural bacteria perform better.

  12. I just purchased a lake front cottage and the water is quite clear, but the bottom is how I would define ‘mucky’. I want to investigate whether Muck Away would help what I have. Looking into the water, the bottom looks solid, but upon stepping in, you will be ankle deep in silty, slimy “muck”. Do you think muck away would work for me? Thanks

    • Hi Mike,

      Muck Away is designed to work in beach or shorline areas, especially for people that are not going to treat their entire waterbody. While there will always be new nutrients coming in the Muck Away will help clean up your area.

  13. Will MuckAway work in the beachfront area of our lake? Or will this just be a lost-cause approach due to the size of the lake continually negating any remedial efforts to clean up our beachfront?

    • Andrea,

      Thats a great question! MuckAway actually works great for beachfront areas on a lake. Because the natural bacteria in MuckAwayis in the form of pellets, the sink directly into the muck of the area you toss them into and immediately begin to work on that specific area.

      Now PondClear on the other hand is better when you treat the entire water body. Since the natural bacteria in PondClearis a powder within a water soluble packet, the natural bacteria will disperse throughout the water column.

      Make sense?

  14. I dug my 1 acre pond about 40 years ago in a peat bog. I dug it about ten feet deep, but the bottom four feet of the pond is now suspended peat particles. Will beneficial bacteria help gobble up this “ooze”?

  15. Pond Guy and Gals,

    I continue to have an abundance of muck on the bottom of my pond. The Pond Clear I use instructions say that it will attack and consume up to 5″ of muck from the bottom after it finishes with the water column. I have been using it all season! Why then is there a need for MuckAway?

    The Mucky Bottom Pond Guy,
    Dick Beck

    • Dick,

      PondClear will help break down muck, but we’ve found that having a natural bacteria pellet such as MuckAway will sink right into the muck to start working immediately, where PondClear will focus on suspended particulates first before getting down into the muck layer. In conclusion, utilizing PondClear from the top-down and MuckAway from the bottom-up brings great results in clearing up the water and getting rid of muck.

      Hopefully this helps answer your question!

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