Pond Cleaning Tips

Pond Cleaning is not an overnight fix. It took years for the pond to get into the condition it is now and will take time and patience to bring it back to life again.

One of the first options that come to mind is to dredge the pond, get all that muck out of the pond and start over with a clean empty pond. This is an option but is expensive, time consuming and depending on what state you are in could require permits and sampling the bottom sediments to determine if the pond has accumulated different chemical treatments that may have built up over the years. If determined to be a hazardous waste, then more money will be spent hauling the muck to a hazardous waste site.

Dredging is almost like building a pond but you already have the pond structure finished and just need to drain the pond, allow it to dry and begin the muck removal process. During the muck removal be careful not to take too much of the clay liner or the pond will end up with unwanted leaks. A rain event during the process can delay the dredging, needing to pump the water out again and letting the pond dry up again, to begin hauling out the unwanted material. Dredging is not only used to remove the build up of muck but also to remove problem weeds that have overtaken the pond. The goal is to remove the weeds and roots, to remove the over growth, but not always successful. Weeds can come back, and removing one weed can create a potential of a different species coming into the pond.

If dredging is not in the picture it is possible to pump the muck out of the pond. This is a long tedious chore but doable with the right equipment, time and patience. Using a large trash pump, lot’s of hose to a place where water can be filtered, such as hay bales you can pump the pond bottom out of the pond to the filter area where the muck will be filtered out and the water allowed to make its way back to the pond. Sot of like vacuuming. This would be for smaller ponds.

12 lbs pond clarifier pond bacteria

12 lbs, one ounce packets Pond Bacteria

Alternative method to dredging is the use of Proper sized aeration to keep the water from becoming stagnant, stop and even reverse the aging process, Break through the Thermocline  and  De-stratifies the water layers which provides, uniform temperatures, uniform oxygen from top to bottom for the fish and natural bacterias to consume the organic waste, muck and improve water quality and clarity. Combination of adding beneficial pond bacteria and aeration will help accelerate the pond cleaning, remove the foul smells, muck and keep the water clean of suspended organics keeping the water clean and clear.

We still have to mention the fact that no two ponds are alike, even if they are on the same property. Where do they get the water from? Cooler ponds like a spring fed pond will slow the bacteria growth down a little because of the cooler water but a storm runoff pond or ponds that stop flowing can become much warmer which get the good bacteria working much faster. Ponds can collect all the fertilizers and pet waste, car droppings and who knows what that enter the pond water column from the watershed above the pond. Other examples are leaves, grass clippings, amount of fish and nutrients from the organic debris above the pond plus the plants in the pond that die off and decay.

Let’s take a look at chemicals, also known as herbicides or pesticides. These chemicals are prescribed for the target weed that needs

Diffused areator, bottom diffuser

Bottom diffuser, background shows air/water lift from bubbles.

controlled or eliminated in the pond. The same way a doctor prescribes medications for certain ailments pond chemical are the same type of situation. Getting turned loose in the drug store may be fun but figuring out what to get for your situation is another story, it may work or it may have some serious side effects. But these are more of a reactive approach to the problem, only treating what we see as the problem. Again if we do treat the pond with a chemical the dead plants now fall to the bottom, decay and become another muck layer making the pond shallower each year. There are various pond tools to help get the mass of weeds out of the pond once they have died or cut them and rake them out.

Getting to the bottom of the pond and working our way up with aeration and additional beneficial pond bacteria, we can reverse the process of the aging pond and keep the new ponds from getting out of control with age.

Please contact us for help with designing an aeration system or helps with getting your pond back into shape. Use the contact button from the top of the website. and Please check your email for a reply, you may need to look in your junk email folder.


About the Author: Darrell Rhoades is the founder of Whatpond.com. A one man business, works full time in tool & die. It all started when he built his own pond for the family. Ran into pond issues and started the research with pond suppliers and conferences for pond management. He writes about pond building and pond management and sells pond management supplies, aeration & fountains and Practical hands on experiences at Whatpond.com. . No physical store, but has items in stock.