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If PondClear™ and MuckAway™ are both beneficial bacteria products, what is the difference? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Q: If PondClear(tm) and MuckAway(tm) are both beneficial bacteria products, what is the difference?

Q: If PondClear™ and MuckAway™ are both beneficial bacteria products, what is the difference?

MaryBeth – Worthington, MA

A: In 1998, an American microbiologist worked out that the number of bacteria on Earth at that time was five million trillion trillion. This is the number 5 followed by thirty zeroes – an impossible number to comprehend.

That’s a lot of microorganisms.

With all those different types of bacteria, it’s safe to say that not all bacteria work the same way. PondClear™ and MuckAway™ both contain human- and animal-safe bacteria that will reduce nutrients and improve the overall health of your farm pond or lake, but they differ in the types of debris they target.

Suspended Debris

Pond Logic® PondClear™ focuses on debris that lives in the water column. The suspended material may cause your pond or lake to appear cloudy, but the beneficial microorganisms in PondClear™ disperse throughout the pond, consuming and digesting that organic matter, leaving you with clean, clear, odor-free water and a healthy ecosystem. It’s even safe to use in ponds and lakes that water horses, livestock, pets, birds and other wildlife, as well as those that contain game fish.

Sunken Debris

Pond Logic® MuckAway™ focuses on reducing sunken organic debris – also known as pond muck – that has accumulated along the beach, shoreline or pond bottom. The MuckAway™ pellets sink below the water’s surface and dissolve, releasing hungry beneficial bacteria that instantly begin consuming and digesting the settled debris. The all-natural muck buster is perfect for spot-treating trouble areas and controlling leeches by destroying their habitat. As with PondClear™, MuckAway™ is safe to use around horses, livestock, pets, birds, wildlife and in lakes that contain game fish.

A Perfect Pair

The bacteria in MuckAway™ and PondClear™ work well on their own, but they really take care of business when used together. Used as directed, this dynamic duo will begin working right away and deliver a clear, healthy, fresh-smelling pond within one month of use. If you have issues with water clarity, odor and muck, give these bacteria a try.

Pond Talk: How have beneficial bacteria improved the quality of your pond or lake?

Reduce Mucky Pond & Lake Bottoms - Pond Logic(r) MuckAway(tm)

What else lives in my pond besides fish? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

What else lives in my pond besides fish?

What else lives in my pond besides fish?
James – Ida, MI

If you were scientifically inclined, you could spend a lot of time considering the complexities of a backyard pond. Despite their apparent simplicity, there’s a lot more going on in your pond than you might suspect.

The water in most ponds is stratified into different layers. While this effect is more pronounced in ponds with depths of eight feet or greater, even a shallow pond will demonstrate some degree of layering. The layers are generally defined by differences in temperature. In summer, the stratification is at its most pronounced, with lower temperatures and dissolved oxygen levels at the lower layers. In fall, the levels tend to equalize. In winter, the layering reverses, with cold water on top and warmer water at the bottom. Spring mirrors fall, with temperatures equalizing again before summer turns the entire process on its head once again.

Because dissolved oxygen levels vary according to water temperature, different layers are more attractive to different organisms. Some plant life, including algae, thrives in warmer, more oxygen-rich waters. Fish prefer consistency, and will gravitate toward water that balances cool temperature and an adequate supply of oxygen. Different types of bacteria – both beneficial and otherwise – will choose their own level. And frogs, cold-blooded creatures that they are, seek out warmth all year ‘round.

External conditions can significantly impact stratification. A heavy rain or an extended period of unseasonably cool weather, for example, can temporarily cool upper layers during summer months. This process can stress fish stocks.

Fortunately, aeration solutions like our Airmax® Aeration Systems go a long way toward reducing the impact of layering in a backyard pond. When water is aerated, temperatures and oxygen levels stay uniform – making the pond safe and healthy for fish, beneficial bacteria and friendly plant life.

While they’re invisible to the eye, beneficial bacteria are a form of life every pond needs to stay clean, clear and healthy for fish and plants. With the regular use of Pond Logic® MuckAway™ Pond Muck Reducer and Pond Logic® PondClear™ Beneficial Bacteria, you’ll enhance the natural decomposition process that eliminates pond debris and fallen leaves – and increase the healthy oxygen levels necessary to sustain fish and plants all season long.

Pond Talk: Have you noticed different layers of water (with varying temperatures) in your pond?

Airmax® Aeration

It’s been cold where I live. Should I stop with my bacteria now? | Pond & Lakes Q&A

It’s been cold where I live. Should I stop with my bacteria now?

It’s been cold where I live. Should I stop with my bacteria now?
Kevin – Saugatuck, MI

In bacteria paradise, the temperature in your backyard pond would never fall below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. When water temperatures drop below 50 for any sustained period of time, the bacteria call it quits for the season.

But just because you’ve been feeling the cold for a few days, remember: it takes water longer to respond to changing temperatures. Thus, when it’s below 50 degrees outside for a lengthy stretch, your pond water may not have fallen as far – and your bacteria may be doing just fine. To get the most accurate reading you can, consider buying our Pond Logic® Floating Pond Thermometer. It’ll give you up-to-the minute readings, making it easy to monitor the health of – and the need for – your favorite bacteria.

When your pond is still in the above-50 degree range, we strongly recommend the continued use of Pond Logic® PondClear™ Beneficial Bacteria, and Pond Logic® MuckAway™ Pond Muck Reducer. These two products help to maintain healthy bacteria levels in your pond, which will help to reduce organics, excess nutrients and noxious odors, while breaking down muck and keeping your pond water clear.

Once your pond water drops below 50 degrees, you can safely suspend bacteria treatments. But when the temperatures start to rise again in the spring, be prepared to start back up – and get your pond water in great shape for another season.

Pond Talk: Do you monitor your pond’s water temperature for optimum bacteria use?

Pond Logic® MuckAway™ Pond Muck Reducer

I’ve always been curious to know just what really lives down in my pond. – Ponds & Lakes Q & A

I've always been curious to know just what really lives down in my pond.

I’ve always been curious to know just what really lives down in my pond. Holly – Girdler, KY

The Company You Keep

Your pond is a beautiful and enjoyable addition to your back yard and just as it is full of water, it is also full of mysteries. Since we have at one time or another used our ponds for swimming, fishing, or maybe irrigation we can only wonder, “What really lives beneath the surface of my pond?”

While you won’t find any man-eating sharks or lost cities like Atlantis at the bottom of the pond, there is a surprisingly diverse selection of living creatures cozying up in your water. In your average back yard farm pond you can expect to find large creatures such as fish, frogs and turtles, snakes and muskrats. In regards to the smaller inhabitants in your pond you have tadpoles, a variety of insects, and don’t forget your microscopic bacteria in both aerobic and anaerobic flavors. Your pond also plays host to aquatic plants like Cattails, Algae, and submersed weeds like American Pondweed, Hydrilla, and Naiad. It is only natural that since your pond is choc-full of life, it will draw additional wildlife to its shores like birds and deer. The physical location of your pond will directly influence what kinds of creatures you will find frequenting the water as certain animal species are located in select regions in the US.

Now that you are certain you are not alone in your pond, rest assured that the majority of what is living in your pond actually helps create a balanced ecosystem at best and is a minor inconvenience to people at worst. Having a healthy and balanced fish population will help keep your pond clear of insects and leeches. Creating an ideal environment for beneficial aerobic bacteria like those in PondClear™ and MuckAway™ to thrive will improve your water clarity and reduce muck accumulation and weed growth. Click over to our Bacteria Blog to learn more about these microscopic maids.

With all of these animals in your pond who is responsible for room assignments? If you are not aerating your pond, then your pond is most likely broken up into layers or thermoclines. You may have experienced this when swimming in your pond. Your chest is nice and warm but the water your feet occupy is cold. Many customers confuse this stratification with their pond being spring fed. Oxygen and light can only travel so far beneath the surface of the pond without assistance. This means that the top layer of your pond is typically a warm, oxygen rich environment which is prime real estate for the ponds inhabitants. The lower layers of the pond are darker, cooler and have considerably less oxygen. Gasses released by decomposing plants and fish waste (thanks to anaerobic bacteria) are trapped in this bottom layer creating a toxic environment that is not a very ideal living space. Installing an Aeration System, you can infuse oxygen and circulate the entire water column allowing your fish and their roommates to utilize the entire pond. Aerating the pond will also cut down on those smelly toxic gases and encourage a cleaner healthier pond which makes it more enjoyable for not only the wildlife but for you as well.

POND TALK: What types of creatures have you found in your pond?

Get clear water naturally!

Why is it important to aerate my lake during the summer? – Pond & Lake Q & A

Airmax® Aeration

Pond & Lake Q & A

Q: Why is it important to aerate my lake during the summer? – Eric in Texas

A: Though the hottest days of summer are nearly behind us, your pond or lake still needs proper aeration – especially as we approach fall, when temperatures shift and your pond water will turn over. An aerated pond is a healthy pond, and a healthy pond is one you’ll enjoy all year long.

Why Aerate?

Ponds and lakes go through two stages of life: Stage 1, when the pond has just been excavated and Stage 2, when the pond has had a chance to become established. During Stage 1, which may only last a year, the pond is virtually nutrient-free. It has little or no leaf and plant debris, the fish have produced little waste and the environment has leached almost nothing into the water. It’s like the honeymoon stage of your pond – all the beauty with little maintenance.

After a season or two, the pond enters into Stage 2. Nutrients, like leaves, plants, fish waste and plant fertilizers, build up in the pond. You’ll start to see large amounts of algae and weed growth. Under the surface, the water column becomes murky with debris; at the bottom of the pond, muck will start to develop. This decomposing organic waste adds even more nutrients to the water – which can cause even more algae and weed growth. Talk about a vicious cycle!

At the same time, all those decomposing nutrients create a rise in toxic gas levels. Ammonia and nitrites build up in the water while the oxygen level plummets, especially in the deeper depths of the pond. Because ponds without aeration can become thermally stratified, the toxic gases created on the bottom build up in the cool water underneath. A change in temperature, a heavy rain or sometimes even high winds can turn the water over allowing the toxic, oxygen-deprived water at the bottom to mix into the top layer leaving your fish without oxygen and causing a fish kill.

The Solution

Many pond owners will turn to fountain aeration or surface aerators to churn the water. While fountains are aesthetically pleasing, they will only draw surface water, leaving the bottom of the pond uncirculated and doing nothing to eliminate toxic gases underneath.

A bottom bubbler, however, will circulate the entire water column from the bottom up and eliminate the thermal layers that form in the pond or lake. In a permanent state of motion, the action caused by the bubbler will continuously vent gasses and provide oxygen to the bottom sediments, allowing the beneficial bacteria to break down the toxic gasses and muck and give off a little oxygen in return.

The best option for a bottom bubbler is the Airmax® Aeration system. In combination with aerobic muck-eating bacteria, like MuckAway™ Pellets or PondClear™ Packets, the system can eliminate up to 5 inches of muck per year – and keep your pond or lake healthy no matter the season.

POND TALK: Why do you aerate your pond or lake?

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?

What is This Black Mucky Stuff on the Bottom of My Pond & How Do I Get Rid of It? – Pond & Lake Q & A

Muck Boots Stepping in Muck

Q: What is this black mucky stuff on the bottom of my pond and how do I get rid of it? – Several Customers

A: Over time, organics such as leaves, aquatic weeds or twigs fall into the pond and settle on the bottom. These organics slowly begin to decay and will create a mucky layer on the bottom of your pond. As time passes, this muck layer will get thicker and thicker. Before you know it, you’ll step into your pond and sink a foot down in muck. Muck is also a food source for algae and pond weeds. As the muck layer grows, so will your problems with algae and pond weeds. So how do we combat muck? Below are a few suggestions:

The best way to combat muck is to use a beneficial, natural bacteria called MuckAway™. MuckAway™ is an aerobic bacteria that instantly activates when put into water and will eat away the muck at an accelerated rate. When used with aeration, you can see up to 3-5″ dissipate per year.

Just remember, any organic matter that goes into your pond will create more muck. The more muck, the more food source for algae and pond weeds. Finding ways to reduce the amount of organics going into your pond is a must. For instance, cutting your grass away from the pond, instead of directly in it or removing twigs and tree branches that have fallen into the pond using a Pond & Beach Rake.

One more way to reduce muck is to use a bottom bubbler aeration system. Aerobic bacteria, like PondClear™, will break down muck at an even faster rate when there is saturated oxygen levels in your pond’s water. Aeration also has many other benefits besides breaking down muck, such as clearing the water column of sediments, reducing the chances of fish kills or turnover and eliminating a pond’s thermocline. (Read more about the benefits of aeration here)