mgecaApril 29, 2007

Last year someone posted that a family member sprinkled cornmeal in a water basin and stopped a leak for 4-5 years. I tried it and it is working for now.

For two years I have fought a small leak that must be in a rocky area I really don't want to take apart. When I started up this spring, there was no leak. Finally it started, I figured some winter debris plugged it, and thought of the cornmeal.

I just threw handfulls in while the pump was running just to circulate the stuff, threw more in when the pump was off but the water was in slower motion, then more when it was still.

After 48 hours of breezy, mild weather, my water went down less than 1/4 inch and stabilized. In that time I usually lose 3-4" of water. I just turned my system back on--I turn the water over rapidly-- and want to see if the "plug" unplugs with the currents.

Has anyone else tried the cornmeal trick or anything similar? A couple more days will tell in my pond and I'll post the results.

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That sounds interesting and really great if it works. Let us know the results regardless.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2007 at 8:31PM
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Here is the other thread where they talk about using corn meal.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cornmeal

    Bookmark   April 29, 2007 at 8:49PM
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Gee, that Waterbug guy was so knowledgeable. NOT!

Let us know about the cornmeal for sure.

Happy ponding,

    Bookmark   April 29, 2007 at 11:46PM
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I have a slow leak in my metal stock tank. I found some holes in the bottom of the stock tank so covered them with some small metal disks and then tarred the whole bottom of the stock tank.

I have used this procedure about 5 years ago on a metal stock tank and it worked fine.

However, this time it hasn't. I have reapply the tar a couple of times, but it still leaks slowly. So I don't know where the leak is.

So this morning I am going to go over to the store and get some cornmeal and give it a try. If it works, then it will be a quick fix. If not, then at least it won't cost much to try.

I am doubtful that it will work, but who knows?

    Bookmark   April 30, 2007 at 9:03AM
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tonya499(6 UT)

You can use black pepper to seal a small leak in a car radiator. (Or you used to be able to-who knows with new cars) I would think the concept is the same.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2007 at 10:24AM
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I went down to the store this morning and got some yellow cornmeal.

I sprinkled about 2 cups around the surface of the tank. Then I filled it up about 6 inches that it was down.

Now I will wait and see if it does anything and if it stops leaking?

I am sure that the preacher that originally used it would have said a prayer over it, but I didn't think of that?

    Bookmark   April 30, 2007 at 12:32PM
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Update--I ran the pump, streams, falls full blast for 8 hours, lots of swirl, shut down. After 24 hours I haven't lost any water.

They say if it is too good to be true it probably is. But sometimes folk wisdom is better than science.

If this even works for a week I'll buy more cornmeal--a box is lighter than the huge stones I would have to move to repair the leak.

I've heard about pepper in a radiator, metal like a stock tank.

Catfishsam, I forgot the prayer too but am praying for something good here. Time will tell and I will let everyone know what happens in the coming days.

This makes sense somehow but I don't know how--probably with just a pinhole kind of leak. Otherwise back to waterbug's chewing gum, scotch tape, glue, goo, and whatever. Whatever works, but I'm not confident yet.

Catfishsam--let us know how you make out too.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2007 at 7:12PM
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Mike, I just threw some cornmeal in the pond yesterday without running a pump so it was in still water.

This morning the water was down again about 6 inches so it is still leaking.

Since you were running your pump and getting a lot of current, I am going to try that.

I will fill it up again, throw some more cornmeal in, and run the pump.

Hopefully this will work? If not, then I will have to try something else?

    Bookmark   May 1, 2007 at 10:30AM
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catfishsam--I don't know what I did that might have been right, or if I did anything right over the long run. I scattered the cornmeal with full action, turned off the pump and put in more as the water was slowing, and then still. I remembered the cornmeal post when my pond didn't leak after the winter. I figured the leak silted up and got blocked but then it was dislodged once I started my pump. If that is correct, maybe the coarser cornmeal swells and is tougher than silt for sure, maybe water pressure helps. My leak is at about 4 inches.

I just looked out to see if the water is still holding and it is. I used probably 3/4 pound of the stuff, really tossed it in--it floats for a while but then goes away. I have no fish, so it is not an issue.

I suspect it might work only with really small leaks. I loose 4 inches from a 140 sq foot pond in about 48 hours. How fast does yours go down?

Voodoo or folk medicine or just dumb luck--keep us posted and I'll do the same.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2007 at 12:43PM
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Mike, I topped it off again this morning and added some more cornmeal. I have used a 24 ounce box so far.

Then I started my pump to mix the water well.

It hasn't gone down more than maybe a inch so perhaps it is sealing?

    Bookmark   May 1, 2007 at 3:23PM
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catfish - time will tell for both of us. My water went down maybe 1/2 inch in 24 or so hours but it is breezy and warm, so maybe some evaporation--hope springs eternal.

How fast does your water go down--is the 1" drop slower than before? I suppose anyone could have a couple of small leaks and it takes time for some sealing to occur all around.

I'll keep trying, adding more, until something good happens or it obviously isn't working.

If this works we can advertise and market Pondmeal, liner sealer and fish food at pond supply prices. Get MikeIL to praise it on the forum and it's EZ Street.


    Bookmark   May 1, 2007 at 4:46PM
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Mike, my pond went down abut 3 inches overnight, which is about half of what it did the previous night.

So it seems to working somewhat.

I am going to check the depth and see if it is still leaking?

    Bookmark   May 2, 2007 at 9:00AM
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catfish - I did another dose last evening, alto there is no loss of water, around the edge only, figuring that is where my leak has to be. It rained during the night so it will be a while before I can see if it is still working.

I googled cornmeal and leaks and there were several items about it repairing car radiators, but no explanation altho I didn't search long. I have been told by someone I trust that cornmeal was used to seal bullet hole leaks in boilers during WWII, heat and pressure--same as a radiator, and it worked for a while.

I'm no expert but keep trying. Perhaps in your case it would be good to let the water go down to or just above your leak level and then apply the cornmeal. Maybe it will find the hole (like milk is supposed to do) more easily than having to settle 6 inches. Later add water and let the water pressure help hold it. This makes sense to me.

Has anyone else tried this? If anyone has a small leak and gives it a shot, post the results as lots of ponders experience the frustration of these little leaks. Maybe this is snakeoil or maybe a tool. Share your opinions.

Good luck catfish - try the lower water level too, who knows.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2007 at 9:33AM
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Mike, I decide my experiment with cornmeal was a dismal failure since the water continued to go down.

So I tried a different approach. I threw in about a half a wheelbarrel of dirt into the stock tank. The muddy water sealed it almost immediately.

This morning the water is only down maybe a half inch, if any.

The water is very muddy so should keep plugging holes if there are any.

I think I will top it off so it is completely full so I can make sure.

I am going to convert this pond into a waterlily pond so muddy water is not going to be an issue.

I will move waterlilies from my other two ponds into this pond. When they start growing, the pads will cover the surface completely.

The waterlilies are in dishpans so I will leave them in there rather than taking them out and letting them grow right on the bottom of the pond.

So unless it starts leaking again, my problem does seem to be solved.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2007 at 8:44AM
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Mike, my water went down maybe an inch all day yesterday and has not gone down at all since last night.

So I think that the small leaks are fixed.

So either the mud cloged the holes or the cornmeal took longer to do its job than I thought it should?

I am going to leave it alone and let the mud settle out of the water for a few days and make sure it doesn't start leaking again.

Then I am going to move some of my waterlilies to this tank. It is going to be a waterlily pond, with no pumps, and filters. The surface will be covered completely with waterlily pads and blooms.

I may throw in a few rosyred minnows for mosquito control.

So Mike, is yours still not leaking?

    Bookmark   May 4, 2007 at 8:29AM
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catfish - I forgot you had stock tank and not liner pond that you have leaking. Still, everyone says pepper in a metal radiator. Maybe heat is important?

I'm glad your leak slowed down, they are one of my phobias with huge rocks that can't reasonably be moved. The mud/silt/clay probably clogged things up like what happened to me over the winter. Unless you have dense mud over the holes, I think maybe the really fine grained silt plugging them will filter out slowly. Maybe with it temporarily plugged, toss in some more cornmeal and see if it globs up better with the silt there, sort of a base coat, if that makes sense. For the cost and labor involved, why don't you keep at it for a while. My two cents.

It does seem that my pond is holding steady right now--knock on wood. I'm going away for a few days and will leave the pump off. If we don't get a lot of rain, this will be a good chance to see what is happening.

As long as I can get some period of time without a leak everytime I throw the stuff into the pond, I'll be happy enough.

Keep at it, let us know how it goes. I'll do the same.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2007 at 6:29PM
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Mike, the mud sealed mine completely so it is not leaking any more.

I moved some waterlily tubs into to it since I am going to use it only for a waterlily pond.

It is still muddy, but will settle out eventually.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2007 at 11:14AM
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Mike, is your cornmeal still working? I think it is an interesting idea and does seem to have merit for liner ponds.

Mine is still holding since I put some dirt in there. However, it might have been the cornmeal that finally sealed it? I really don't know.

Here it is now that I made it into a waterlily pond. It is still murky but will settle out and clear.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2007 at 9:18AM
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catfishsam - that's great that you found an answer. Trial and error, guesses. Fine particle things like silt and clay or cornmeal obviously shrink and swell. The cornmeal swells, hopefully in the right location as the leak draws it in. For you, the sticky mud adheres and maybe sort of becomes part of the soil outside your pond, an adhesive like. As a mud puddle is gooey on the bottom, but when it dries out the ground cracks as the material shrinks. So maybe as long as you are always wet yourpatch will hold. If you lower the water for any time it might dry and shrink and leak, and you just pack it again.

I'm the kind of person who needs to know why, can't just be happy that it happened in case it unhappens and I need to figure out the next non-stone moving step.

You are right, it probably works better for a liner pond.

I like your waterlily pond. I haven't paid any attention to these ponds or bog gardens. Do you need a pump, filtration, aeration for these or anything else? My wife might be interested in something simple compared to our pond as she swears we will have no lawn left by the time she is done with her gardening and plantings.

Yes, my water level seems to be holding - a few days sitting still will tell I hope.

I am enjoying this and hope some other forum members find something useful as little leaks seem part of the ponding experience.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2007 at 11:02AM
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Mike, my lilypond doesn't need pumps or filters or clear water. The waterlilies will soon cover the surface anyway and put on a beautiful display of flowers.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2007 at 11:48AM
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I left my pond without anything running for 5 sunny, high 70s, somewhat breezy days. In that time the water level went down about 1.5" Previously I was losing 4-6" in 36-48 hours. How much of this is evaporation and how much is a slow leak is beyond me.

I think the cornmeal is working either completely or enough to keep the leak so slow topping off isn't a big problem.

Perhaps the folk wisdom is good science?


    Bookmark   May 10, 2007 at 6:47PM
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Mike, that is great! It sounds like your pond problems have been solved.

My pond has also stop leaking totally.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2007 at 8:26PM
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Mike, is the cornmeal still working?

    Bookmark   May 21, 2007 at 10:00AM
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catfishsam, it hasn't showed any sign of a leak for over three weeks now. I had one scare--all was good and suddenly one morning the water was down to the leak level again. I am making a very small waterway designed to shoot water out through a cliff opening into the pond and the water right now runs out of a small pipe over a piece of liner that just sits there. I eventually realized the wind had moved the liner enough for the water to be flowing into the dirt. They say waterfalls are the biggest cause of losing water and now I believe it. Great relief.

Is your silt/clay patch still holding? Was going to send an update by e-mail but address not available. Fingers crossed for both of us and anyone else who stumbles on the good fortune we seem to be enjoying

    Bookmark   May 21, 2007 at 5:00PM
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Mike, mine is still holding fine and not loosing water.

I really don't know if the cornmeal sealed it or whether the dirt did?

    Bookmark   May 21, 2007 at 8:06PM
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catfishsam--as they say, don't ask, don't tell, toss in both if the problem starts again. I have lots of silt on my pond bottom and in the water, all in motion with vigorous water flow. So I suppose I am like you--unable to know if it is silt or cornmeal but my money is on the cornmeal.

I really need to draw down my water level for some cleaning but don't want to disturb the situation in case Lady Luck is on vacation.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2007 at 6:55PM
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To those of you who have tried this: Is it still working?

Has any one ever used the cornmeal with fish in the pond?

I seem to have a leak that I'd like to try this on, but I don't want to remove my fish.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2007 at 6:21PM
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My leak hasn't returned after more than two months. I can't swear it was the cornmeal or some combination of things, but it is cheap and easy to try.

Someone else has to weigh in on fish and cornmeal.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2007 at 7:22PM
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Thanks mgeca. I will hold off,filling as needed and hoping for rain, until someone weighs in on fish and cornmeal. Glad to hear that yours is holding water!

    Bookmark   July 10, 2007 at 11:34PM
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Hey Catfish, you had a leak? In a pond without a bottom drain??? How can this be?? lol :o) ...drip...drip...drip

    Bookmark   July 11, 2007 at 10:01AM
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summergardner - as I said, I am not certain if it was cornmeal or something else. catfish had luck with silt in his small rust holes-same idea as cornmeal. I had lots of silt in the water at the time too.

If you get an OK regarding fish, fill just above the leak and scatter the cornmeal around the edges. I did it with and without pump running for a short period. Best chance of success with a small leak I suppose.

The obvious-have you checked falls, etc for leaks?

Please let us know what happens.

Best of luck - Mike

    Bookmark   July 11, 2007 at 10:35AM
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The cornmeal worked on my leak. It's been 4 days now and the water is still semi-cloudy. I'm sure from the cornmeal sediment. Will this go away? Prior to the cornmeal treatment, water was crystal clear. I have a biofilter running at the bottom of pond....changed it twice but cloudy water is still there. Do I need to add batting to biofilter? Right now, media is natural furnace filters....not as dense as batting. Does it take time (more than a week) for the water to return to crystal clear or will I have to do a water change? Hope not..... thanks

    Bookmark   July 13, 2007 at 12:18PM
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I can't say from my experience as my water was a little murky to begin with. There was cornmeal in some nooks and crannies for a while--don't know how it dissolved. I used maybe one-third of a Quaker Oats size box for 2000 gallons - how much did you put in?

Others may have better answers but dealing with the perpetual clearing up of your water is better than hunting for a leak, to me anyway.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2007 at 4:37PM
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