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Fighting Muck and Pond Odor – How to control and prevent muck accumulation and pond odor | Learning Center


There’s nothing worse than that musty, rotten egg, sulfur-type smell that’s pungent enough to ruin spring strolls by the pond. What causes it and what can you do about it?

Common Causes
Those odors are common in ponds that aren’t aerated, particularly during certain times of the year. In the summer and winter, non-aerated ponds stratify into layers of water with distinct temperature differences. This locks the bottom layer away for months.

While the water layer is trapped down there, the oxygen is used up quickly. It goes from an aerobic environment to an anaerobic environment – which is perfect for slow-moving anaerobic bacteria that use enzymes to ferment and digest the decaying muck on the bottom. Those microorganisms ultimately produce waste products, including carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide, which is that lovely rotten egg smell.

In the spring and during strong weather events, the water column turns over; the anaerobic layers on the bottom rise to the top, bringing with it all those foul-smelling odors. That’s likely what you’re experiencing with your pond, which could be made worse by melting ice releasing all those gases at once.

Stink-Stopping Solutions
So what can you do? At this point, first test your pH and water quality, as pond turn-overs could cause pH shifts, dissolved oxygen crashes and algae blooms that could harm or kill your fish (which could add to the odor problem …).

If the water temperatures in your pond are 50 degrees Fahrenheit or above, add some Pond Logic® MuckAway™ and Pond Logic® PondClear™. The beneficial bacteria in the products will help break down the decaying muck on the pond bottom as well as clearing up suspended particles in the water column.

As soon as you can, install an aeration system and crank it on. Airmax® Aeration Systems product line includes aerators suited for any size pond – from shallow water bodies to ponds up to 6 acres. They each include diffusers, a compressor, cabinet, airline and Free Aeration Mapping Service that takes the guesswork out of diffuser placement.

Finally, cut and rake out dead and decaying organic material with a weed removal tool. The more you can eradicate, the better it’ll be for your pond’s water quality – and stink factor.

4 Responses

  1. My pond is always filled with dirt. It’s almost as if all the pollen that was in the air fell into my pond. I could clean it one day and the next day it would be filled with dirt again. HELP

    • Hi Kevin – I’m assuming you have a water garden pond. If the debris in the pond is really dirt that has washed into the pond than physical removal through skimming, draining or vacuuming the pond is the only way to remove it. If the source is really more organic such as fish waste or dead algae that is settling on the bottom of the pond than you can use Muck Defense® to breakdown the material and clean the pond’s bottom.

  2. Aeration has not helped our problem of duck weed and algae, we aerate year round.

    • Hi Sharon- Sorry to hear your pond is not yet in the condition you would like it to be. Aeration is just one step towards a healthy pond and can not eliminate weed growth. Duckweed is a tough weed to control, if possible use a chemical such as Sonar A.S. which will provide a more long-term control over duckweed or Clipper. For algae a quick treatment with a chemical like Algae Defense will get the algae under control. Continue to follow up with aeration and natural bacteria to breakdown the dead material and fight muck and pond odor.

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