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My water turned brown about this time last year. How do I stop it from happening again? | Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Q: My water turned brown about this time last year. How do I stop it from happening again?

Q: My water turned brown about this time last year. How do I stop it from happening again?

Nick – Charlestown, WV

A: There’s only one thing worse than green water—and that’s brown water. In some ponds or water features, the end of summer or beginning of fall brings with it this discolored water. It’s caused by one of two reasons:

  • Debris Tea: When leaves or pine needles fall into your pond, the tannins in them create a type of all-natural debris tea, which turns the clean and clear water in your backyard feature a shade of brown. This is the most common cause of tea-colored water.
  • Sediment Stew: If you have a lot of floating particulates or sediment in your pond, playful fish, wind or some other action can sometimes disrupt it, mixing it into your water column via your pump or aeration system.

To determine what’s causing the brown water, grab a glass jar from your kitchen, dunk it in your pond and fill it with the water. Let it sit for 24 hours and take a close look at the results. Is the water still tea-colored? Then you have tannin-colored debris tea. Do you see sediment settled at the bottom of the glass? Then you have some sediment stew.

Once you pinpoint what’s causing the brown water, here’s how to treat the problem.

  1. Clean It Up: Because both causes start with an abundance of organics in the water, your first course of action is to clean the bottom of your pond to remove any muck, leaves and remaining debris with a pond vacuum or skimmer net.
  2. Water Change: Next, do a partial (10 to 25 percent) water change, which will freshen things up and clear the water. Don’t forget to add a water conditioner to treat the water for your finned pals.
  3. Add Beneficial Bacteria: If you have sediment stew, add some Nature’s Defense® (if water temps are above 50°F) or Seasonal Defense® (if water temps are below 50°F). The beneficial bacteria will digest any accumulated organic debris and eliminate the brown water.
  4. Use Activated Carbon: If you have debris tea, toss a media bag filled with Activated Carbon into your pond. The carbon will absorb the tannins, leaving behind clear water.

To prevent the discoloration from happening again, keep the organics out of the pond. Clean up the muck regularly with a skimmer net or vacuum, and when the leaves or pine needles start falling, cover the water with pond netting, like the The Pond Guy® PondShelter™ or The Pond Guy® Premium Pond Netting.

Pond Talk: Have the leaves started falling in your neck of the woods yet? If so, what do you do to keep them out of your water?

Remove Discoloration From Leaves & Debris - View The Pond Guy® Activated Carbon

 

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Someone told me I need to do the Jar Test. What is that? | Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Q: Someone told me I need to do the Jar Test. What is that?

Q: Someone told me I need to do the Jar Test. What is that?

Margie – Clinton, ME

A: Let me guess: You have discolored or cloudy water, right?

Your friend gave some good advice. If you have green- or tea-colored water, or murky water in your pond, a jar test is an easy way to diagnose just what’s causing those clarity issues.

It’s simple to do. Take a clear glass jar, dunk it into your pond, fill it up with the water and let it sit for 24 hours. Overnight, the jar and its contents become a miniature version of your water garden – and it’ll reveal the source of your problem. Here’s how to read your jar:

Green Water

If your jar contains green-tined water or if the water has green particles in it, you most likely have algae. Planktonic algae – the source of algae blooms – are floating, microscopic plants that color pond water green, blue-green, brown or variations in between. Your jar is telling you to treat for algae.

Tea-Colored Water

Discolored or tea-colored water means you have some leaf tea brewing in your pond. As organic debris decomposes in your pond, the tannins and other byproducts mix into the water column, discoloring it. Your first remedy is to add a bag of Activated Carbon to the water. It will clear up the dissolved materials that are causing the problem. While the carbon is working, remove floating and decaying material with the 3-in-1 Pond Tool and the ClearVac™ Pond Vacuum. Keep your pond clean by skimming it regularly and covering it with pond netting or a Pond Shelter™ during the fall months.

Water with Sediment

Does your jar have clear water with a layer of sediment on the bottom? If so, you have an abundance of organics in the pond, and your fish are constantly stirring them up and clouding the water. Your four-step solution: Remove large debris, perform a partial water change, add a Water Conditioner, and double down on the beneficial bacteria from the DefensePAC®.

A jar test can reveal a lot about the water in your pond. If you need some assistance in discerning what your jar is telling you, just email one of The Pond Guy® experts. They are there to help!

Pond Talk: Have you ever been surprised by the results of a jar test in your pond?

Safely Clear Tea Colored Water - Pond Logic (r) Activated Carbon

 

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My water is brown. Should I use carbon and, if so, what is the best way to apply it? | Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Q: My water is brown. Should I use carbon and, if so, what is the best way to apply it?

Q: My water is brown. Should I use carbon and, if so, what is the best way to apply it?

Lisa – Gresham, OR

A:  Brown water can destroy a beautiful landscape.

That tea-colored water is typically caused by one of two things: tannins being released by dead leaves, similar to what happens when you steep your chamomile tea; or an optical illusion caused by reflected decomposing pond debris. The two causes have two different solutions. Here’s what we recommend.

Inspect Water

First, take a closer look at the water. Dip a clear glass in the water and hold it up to the light. If the water looks discolored, you’ve got tannin tea; if it’s clear, you’re dealing with a mucky pond.

Clearing Tannin Tea

Carbon is your solution for clearing brown water. Pond Logic® Activated Carbon comes with a fine-mesh bag, which holds the carbon pellets when they’re submerged. It’s easy to use:

  1. Pour the recommended amount of pellets into the bag. A 500-gallon pond, for example, requires 2 to 3 pounds while a 1,000-gallon pond requires 4 to 6 pounds.
  2. Place the bag in a high water-flow area, like your skimmer or waterfall, so as much water as possible flows through the carbon.
  3. Wait for the carbon to do its job! Once the discoloration has disappeared, you can remove the carbon and discard it.

Cleaning Up the Muck

If you have a mucky pond, natural beneficial bacteria and some elbow grease will make your water sparkle again.

  1. Pond Logic® Season Defense®, which works well in cooler fall weather, contains microorganisms that help break down the muck and accumulated debris at the bottom of your pond.
  2. Giving your pond a good old-fashioned cleaning can help, too. Removing the muck and decomposing organics with a pond vacuum or net will give those bacteria a chance to focus on breaking down the small stuff.

Pond Talk: How have you removed brown water from your pond?

Safely Clear Tea Colored Water - Pond Logic® Activated Carbon

Top Blog Posts of 2013

As 2013 comes to a close, we sit back and look at all the amazing things that happened this year. We thank you, our wonderful customers, for a great year. Below are our Top Blogs for 2013! Your interest in our products and your thirst for pond knowledge truly makes us thankful to have you as a customer. We aim to give you the knowledge and products you need to make your pond great. As always, if you have questions or comments, please feel to send them our way! 
We wish you a safe and happy 2014.
From The Pond Guy® Staff

Top 5 Blog Posts in Pond & Lake

Top Blog Posts of 2013 - Pond & Lake

Q: After a really warm day, I have algae floating on my pond. How do I control it?

Q: After getting out of my swimming pond, I had a leech on my leg! How do I remove leeches from my pond?
Q: I see predator control options for geese and swans, but what about options for other animals, like raccoons?
Q: My fish population is growing rapidly, but how do I know if my fish population is balanced?
Q: How do I know if my pond is covered in pollen or algae?

Top 5 Blog Posts in Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens

Top Blog Posts of 2013 - Water Garden

Q: What do I need to do to perform a spring cleanout?

Q: How do I treat my pond fish for ich and other diseases?

Q: My water turned brown about this time last year. How do I stop it from happening again?

Q: My fish are looking for food. Can I feed them now? If so, what kind of food do I give them?

Q: My stream is already accumulating algae! Is there anything I can use to help clean it up?

Happy New Year from The Pond Guy(r)

What Can I Do To Keep My Pond Clear? – Pond & Lake Q & A

Picture of a Pond.

Pond & Lake Q & A

Q: What can I do to keep my pond clear? – Kara of Florida

A: When I ask my service customers what their top three goals are for their pond, clear water is almost always at the top of the list. Clear water is aesthetically pleasing and is a sign that your pond is healthy and balanced. Across the board, your first step towards clean and clear water is to aerate.

Airmax® Aeration keeps the water in motion, allowing it to stay oxygenated while venting toxic gasses and clearing the water. Beyond aeration, there are a few easy steps to follow to clear up that water:

Start by finding the source of the problem. Dip a clear glass of water out of your pond and begin the diagnosis. Match what you see to the following problem/solution.

  • Pea Soup Colored Water: This is typically caused by a heavy bloom of planktonic algae. When treating for planktonic algae you must be very careful. Treating too big of an area at any one time could cause oxygen levels to deplete to a point where your fish could die. We highly recommend to have an aeration system running when treating for this type of algae. To help with this issue in the future, you must limit the nutrients that are entering the pond. Do this by limiting organics such as grass clippings, twigs, leaves, branches, etc. from entering the pond. Be careful of fertilizing around your pond as this too will cause algae blooms. Using EcoBoost™ will help bind any nutrients currently in the pond and begin using PondClear™ or MuckAway™ natural bacteria to help break down any organics that have already gotten into the pond. These bacteria work by eating any suspended nutrients and bottom muck in the pond to help keep your pond clean and clear.
  • Milky Gray or Chocolate Milk Colored Water: Most often this problem is caused by heavy runoff laden with silt and sediment. Aeration will typically take care of this problem within a week or two. If the problem persists, the soil in the water is probably clay. In this situation, apply a double dose of EcoBoost™ to try and help flocculate the suspended particulates.
  • Stained Brown/Black Like Tea or Coffee Colored Water: This color water is usually a result of heavy leaf litter on the pond’s bottom. When leaves sit for long periods of time, they can release tannins into the water column causing brown/black colored water. Use a Lake Rake to rake out the bulk of the material, and follow up with MuckAway™ to help accelerate the decomposion of the remaining leaves. As always, we recommend to aerate.

The recurring theme that we see here is that aeration is key when trying to solve pond problems. In nearly every case, your pond will greatly benefit from the use of Airmax® Aeration System. Aeration Systems will help create an environment for aerobic bacteria (like bacteria found in PondClear™ or MuckAway™) to thrive. This aerobic bacteria will decompose organics at accelerated speeds and will help reduce the sediment at the pond’s bottom.

How Do I Get Rid of Brown Tea Colored Water? – Water Garden Q & A

Activated Carbon


Q: I have brown tea colored water and I can’t seem to get it cleared up. Is there something that will remove color from my water? – Karen of Oklahoma

A: Brown or tea-colored water is generally caused from “tannins” in the water. As leaves or other vegetation accumulate and decay in the water garden, they begin to leech these tannins dying the water a brown or tea-color.

The Solution:
Activated Carbon. Activated Carbon absorbs tannins and other toxins such as chlorine from city water. Place the activated carbon in a fine mesh bag and place in your skimmer or filter box. If you don’t have either of these, simply place it near your pump or in the area of your pond that receives the best circulation. The water must run “through” the carbon to work. Typically 4-6 lbs. will treat 1,000 gallons for 2-3 months.

Pond Netting

Use Pond Neting to stop leafs from discoloring your water and adding muck to the bottom of you pond this fall with a heavy duty leaf net.