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Why do people put dye in their decorative ponds? – Water Garden & Features Q & A

Pond Dye

Water Garden & Features Q & A

A: If you’re new to the hobby, the thought of adding dye to your pond may seem like a foreign concept! Why would you want to add color to the water that you’re working so hard to keep clear? Well, there are aesthetic reasons – and some practical reasons, too.

Understanding Dye

First, let’s discuss the dyes themselves. Pond dye typically comes in two colors: black and blue. Black pond dye, like Pond Logic® Black Pearl™ Pond Shade, gives shaded ponds a rich look and turns a brown or gray water feature into a stunning pool that reflects the trees and landscape. Blue pond dye, like Pond Logic® Blue Sapphire™ Pond Shade, gives ponds a natural-looking blue color and looks best in features surrounded by manicured or open landscapes. You’ll find these pond dyes in concentrated form. When you add the recommended amount, the coloring will diffuse throughout the pond within several hours. They’re safe for people, pets, fish and water fowl.

Why Dye?

Adding dye to your decorative pond does more than give your water feature a unique and appealing look. The dye actually serves several purposes, from controlling algae and simulating depth to protecting fish and masking a murky pond.

Simulate depth: Some people use dye in their ponds to make a shallow pond seem deeper. If you have a 14-inch-deep pond, adding black dye can make it seem 5 feet deep. The optical illusion creates a mirroring effect that appeals to many pond owners.

Fish safety: When predators fly overhead or lurk alongside the pond, a little pond dye – along with some predator control – will go a long way in protecting your fish. Koi and goldfish will dart to your pond’s dark depths when a heron or raccoon threatens them. The pond dye serves a similar purpose.

Aesthetics: Of course, aesthetics remain an important reason why folks use dye in their ponds. A crystal blue pond or a rich reflective pond mimics what you’d find in nature. Couple that with a tranquil landscape, and you have an attractive water feature that draws oohs and ahhs!

Algae control: The top reason why people add dye to their ponds is that it is widely known throughout the industry that it may inhibit algae growth. Algae thrives in sunlight and pond dyes filter those rays, preventing them from reaching below the surface, thereby preventing algae from growing.

POND TALK: Why do you use pond dye in your decorative pond or water garden? If you don’t use pond dye, why not?

26 Responses

  1. Does pond blue dye affect the growth of submerged plants, water lily?

    • Hi Margo – In a water garden it would not have as much of an affect since the pond is shallow unless you add a lot of dye but yes it could affect growth if it was dark enough.

  2. How long does the dye last until you have to reapply?

    • Hi Anton – This will depend on how much dye you add to the pond, evaporation and rainfall however you will generally need to apply some additional dye every 4-6 weeks.

  3. I finally got my pond clear and decided to add blue dye. I used half the amount recommended and all my fish dyed within several hours. Any ideas on why this would happen? Should I even chance trying new fish? I really want to keep it blue and don’t want to drain and start all over.

    • Hi Betsy – I’m sorry to hear of your fish loss. I’m not sure the type of dye you were using but most pond dyes are simply just dye and do not contain any chemicals that would affect fish health, especially if dosed correctly. Have you done anything else recently in the pond as far as adding any other types of water treatments or new fish?

      • Thanks for the response. Btw, when I wrote that all my fish dyed, it was a typo not a pun. I just thought of something though: I had just installed a new filtering system the day before and had removed and rinsed the filter on day 2 using tap water. Could the chlorine in the tap water that I rinsed the filter with have done it? If so, how am I going to clean the filter in the future, or would I just have to add chlorine remover every time?

      • Hi Betsy – Chlorine definitely could have a played a role in it. To clean filters, we recommend using pond water to rinse/dunk them in. Fill a bucket with pond water, rinse/dunk the filters in the pond water to clean. You can the net out any debris that is floating and return the water to the pond. Have you tested your pH or Ammonia levels at all?

  4. Is it poisonous? If I have a dog that I can’t get to stop drinking out of my pond?

    • The dye we use is food grade and would not harm your pet if they drink the water, however, I would keep your pet out of the pond while the dye is being applied as the concentrate form will cause staining until it is mixed into the water. Possibly do the application in the evening and it will be mixed into the water by the next morning.

  5. We have a very large pond/small lake in our backyard. We would like to give it more of a light blue, transparent, tropical look. Would you recommend using this product or something else? If you use more than the recommended amout, does it make it a darker or lighter blue?

  6. Can I use blue dye as I use a uv light?

    • Hello Pat,

      As long as you are not dying your pond with enough pond shade to turn it solid blue your UV Clarifier should have no trouble. The concentration of dye passing through your clarifier should not be strong enough to block the light coming from the UV bulb.

  7. I put a little too much blue dye in my small pond-how can I lighten it up some without taking all the water out

    • Hi Suzanne,

      Unfortunetly, time or partial water changes are the only ways to remove the dye from your water. Any other type of additives would mostly likely be detrimental to your fish and plants.

  8. We bought a gallon of blue pond dye to try to control the algae but I still have to do the math to work it down to a 150 gallon pond (2 of them, actually). I imagine the treatment amount will be only a drop or two.

    • Hey Dot,

      If you purchase a gallon of pond dye that is used for large ponds and lakes than your right, you may only need a few drops.

      For the Blue Sapphire and the Black Pearl Pond Dye above however, they are specifically designed for water gardens so you can dose them a lot easier.

    • I put in about 2 – 3 oz. for my 2400 gallon pond. Looks nice, and I get a lot of wonderful comments about the color of the pond.

  9. Is this pond dye differ than the auqashade that I am using now?

    • Debra,

      Aquashade is usually for larger ponds and lakes so one difference is that the Blue Sapphire and Black Pearl are for smaller water gardens up to a few thousand gallons.

      Another difference is Aquashade not only has a blue colorant in it, but it also has a yellow colorant as well which will give the water more of a blue/green look rather than a blue or black look like the Blue Sapphire or the Black Pearl.

      Other than that, the concepts are the same.

      Hopefully this helps!

  10. I too have plants in my pond, lilies, cat-tails, and dwarf umbrella palm, and they are doing just fine! Had some wonderful blooms this summer.

  11. I have plants in my pond. Will a pond dye reduce the light they need to grow?

  12. Last year I didn’t use my blue pond dye and I had an algae bloom, this year, I used blue pond dye and, KNOCK ON WOOD, so far I have had crystal clear water. Now I don’t just use blue pond dye, this year I started using barley bails, and maintained a healthy level of benificial bacteria which has helped me with my previous year’s problem. I also like the way my pond looks with the dye. I can still see the bottom, and my fish can be seen with no problem at all. I for one will continue to use the pond dye, for it looks so much better than plain water, the blue gives the water a more natural look. If I could attach a photo, I would to show you what my pond looked like before and after the dye.

    • After 6 years of managing a inherited koi pond, around 1500 gallons pond, I was almost convinced it is not worth the hassle, but wanted to give one last try. Finally this summer 2013, I think I have it figured it out. Algae in summers were the major problem. I had tried several things, algae control stuff that you get at Petco and other places, cleaning filters regularly, emptying out the water, using vaccum to suck out algae etc, whatever I did algae returned in full force.
      I live in Arizona, this is what I did when the water turned murky and green in April of 2013.

      1)Cleaned the filter- 2 filters( I box with media, brush and sponge), another tank with pebbles, and some filter mesh sheets soaked in it. Water flows through them and to the pond. Also have a waterfall that runs continuous.
      2) Added sludge remover( It was an accident), supposed pick up Algae cleaner liquid, accidentally picked sludge remover and emptied into the pond. they look the same from outside
      3) added additional pond pump small one to bubble water for aeration
      4) added pond blue dye
      I did not notice much change..the water was greenish blue and murky.
      5) I bought the algae cleaner liquid and added recommended quantity.

      within 2 to 3 days I noticed my pond water turning clearer and see the fishes and bottom of the pond. I will watch and see how the next week turns out, if I need to add algae cleaner or will just the dye work.

      I have long months of summer ahead, if Iam successful in keeping it clean with the above method, Maybe I might keep the pond after all. Else shutting down and making it a flower bed 🙂

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