Can't clear up pond water, have tried everything!

gknee_50May 9, 2008

I hope someone has some advice for me. We put in a pond last July. It is approx. 2000 gallons. We have a skimmer and a waterfall with a good pump. We put rock in it to cover the liner and added dry bacteria, de-clorinator and barley extract. My water was clear in March, but since the water has warmed and I began feeding the fish is brown. I put in hornwort, put in my hyancinths, and have cut down on feeding the fish to twice a week. Should I drain my water and start all over? It has been brown for 3 weeks now. We put an aerator stone in it also to help with oxygen. I was thinking of taking out 20% of my water every week for about a you think that would help the problem?? I would appreciate any advice! Thanks!


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johnkr(z5 PA)

I would say the brown water is caused by particles in your pond water. Are you using any type of mechanical filter?

    Bookmark   May 9, 2008 at 12:53PM
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sleeplessinftwayne(z4-5 IND)

Jeanne, brown water is usually caused by gunk from plants, fish poop or both on the bottom. We have frquent go arounds on this forum about rocks on the bottom. They may be pretty but they trap and hold debris and mulm that stains the water. If there were no stones on the bottom I would blame the color entirely on dead leaves and I suspect the barley straw could be a part of your problem too. Once the dead leaves and mulm are removed the water can be cleared up with Activated Charcoal. This is not the charcoal you burn in the barbeque. It can be found in pet stores, on the internet and in plant stores as a supply item for african violets. I have a personal preference for the last. Place the charcoal in a bag or perforated container in the flow of water. The color, which shows the presence of tannic acid will change over a brief time depending on the volume of water and quantity of AC. Sandy

    Bookmark   May 9, 2008 at 1:30PM
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johnkr....when you say mechanical you mean the furnace like filters that are in the skimmer and the waterfall box? I also have lava rock in the waterfall box filter.
The water is pumped in the skimmer and then up to the waterfall box thru the filters and lava rock before it goes back into the pond. This was a pond kit we bought from Aquascape Designs.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2008 at 1:51PM
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Sandy....thanks for your advice. Yes, we did cover our entire liner with river rock. We followed the instructions that came with our pond kit. It even had an instructional video to show you how to build your pond. I didn't use barley straw, but barley extract liquid. I'm wondering if I should take out some of the rock on the bottom of the pond....maybe like you said, the debris is getting caught up under the rocks. Also, my pond is 18 feet long by 8 1/2 feet wide...approx. 1800 gallons. I have 8 fish about 10" long and about 20 babies about 2 inches long. Maybe I have too many fish. I tried to buy the activated charcoal at Lowe's last night but they didn't have any. I'll try at the pet store or somewhere else. I am bound and determined to get this water cleared up. I have a feeling we are going to have to drain it and start over again if nothing else works. Thanks again! Jeanne

    Bookmark   May 9, 2008 at 2:02PM
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Draining it won't change it IMO - you started with the same water right? I don't think it is the fish.

Scoop some water up in a clear glass and see if you can see fine particles? If so you can use one of those products that binds small particles so the filter can catch them.

I would use a wet/dry vac or pond vac each time I did a water change to remove any gunk from the bottom.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2008 at 3:56PM
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tomkaren(z9 Citrus Co FL)

Have you found out wether you green water (floating algae) or something else clouding your pond?

If you have algae floating in your water, I found the best way to clear the pond is patience and more plants. Barley straw works sometimes to clear out floating algae.

Whomever at Aquascape decided that a pond full of rocks is the way to go should be required to clean your pond for free forever. Since you have them I'd now leave them.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2008 at 7:14PM
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txgdnr(7TX DFW)

You can use a vacuum to help clean the bottom & rocks if you don't want to take them out. However, it will be more difficult to keep you pond clean. Sandy gave you good advice, to help with your problem.
Good luck

    Bookmark   May 9, 2008 at 7:19PM
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sleeplessinftwayne(z4-5 IND)

Keeping the water clear and colorless is only one of the things that the rock on the bottom affects. That only makes the appearance less appealing. The worst affect is it can contribute to making the water toxic. When the rotting gunk gets to be too much, it produces methane and fish begin to die. You may notice bubbles rising from the bottom. Another unpleasant result is the odor which is reminiscent of raw sewage and of course that is exactly what it is. The AC can help there but the only real solution is to get rid of the debris under that rock layer. There are some forum members who have managed to escape these problems but they are in the minority. I have read their descriptions of their pond setup and think it may have something to do with the amount of air mixing with the water. Maybe Cliff and Joanne will post to tell their side of the issue. Sandy

    Bookmark   May 10, 2008 at 2:34PM
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ccoombs1(7B SC)

Sandy is right....the rocks might make it LOOK like the water is cleaner by trapping all that gunk in the bottom. But by trapping all that rotting fish poop and uneaten food, the fish are being forced to live in a filthy environment. The gunk rotting in the bottom breeds bacteria and parasites, and also allows the formation of hydrogen sulphide gas, which is deadly toxic to all living creatures in the pond.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2008 at 9:07PM
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I use quilt batting around my pond pump and change it about once a week. If the water gets bad I change it every couple of days and it really does clean it great.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2008 at 12:28PM
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johnkr(z5 PA)

Jeanne, any filtration will help reduce brown water. I think a pressurized filter would be ideal for a pond your size, but quilt batting would certainly help.

Charcoal works great if you have odor or chemical pollutants. I use it during the winter when my biofilter is shut down. I think your problem is caused by particles in the water.

I don't have rocks at the bottom of my pond, but I do have river rocks on my plant shelves. Rocks definitely require more work. I have to vacuum them several times during the Summer and I remove them every spring for a complete cleaning. They do give a natural appearance in exchange for a lot of hard work.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2008 at 10:41PM
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sleeplessinftwayne(z4-5 IND)

Tannic acid is present in oak and walnut leaves, redwood and to a lesser extent in other plant material. It is released as the material degrades. As the material degrades it becomes more fragile and can break into smaller pieces so of course there could be particles in the water. I have filtered pond water and cleaned out all debris, replaced the quilt batting and wound up with sparkling clear brown water. As soon as the clarcoal is put in the flow of water in the Skippy the color begins to disappear.
Fish poop can also turn water brown and usually very cloudy. There are likely to be particles in the water, too. This is a biological process that is controlled by filtration and microbes in the filtering material. In large quantity it can be stinky and promote the growth of anerobic bacteria. AC can remove the odor and color as long as the original source of the problem (fish poop) is removed and aerobic microbes re-introduced and contaminated filter material cleaned.
Green leaves rarely cause brown water. I have never heard that they do but on the chance they might, I will go with rarely. Sandy

    Bookmark   May 13, 2008 at 8:34PM
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fredinva(Z7 SW Va)


One thing you haven't tried yet: P A T I E N C E
Betcha in a month, witout fussing with it, it will be clearer!!!!


    Bookmark   May 13, 2008 at 10:05PM
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Thanks everyone for all of your advice. I think I will take out the rocks on the bottom of my pond for now and leave the rocks on the plant shelves to try to get rid of some of the hidden debris. I'm also going to try the activated charcoal and some barley extract....and then if all else fails maybe I should take Fred's advice and just have some P A T I E N C E!

    Bookmark   May 14, 2008 at 12:16PM
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sleeplessinftwayne(z4-5 IND)

Jean, just to get a better idea of why AC is used and it's effects you might want to do a search on Activated Charcoal or brown water for this forum. You can find boxes for search terms in the Gardenweb banners that head this thread and the forum first page and other places.
I think you could eliminate the barley extract for now. You can always use it later. In research done by the Extention Services, Barley has not lived up to the noise about it. It is pretty expensive and is only useful for some types of algae. Hydrogen peroxide does it as well and cheaper. Sandy

    Bookmark   May 14, 2008 at 6:31PM
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I agree with removing the rocks on the bottom. But I have had good experience with barley straw (not extract). So good, in fact, that I think it's a miracle product. When I first start up my pond in the spring, it is usually cloudy and a little brownish. Within 24 hours of introducing barley straw, the clarity is noticeably improved. Within a couple days, my water looks like a pristine mountains stream. This happens for me consistently everytime I introduce the barley straw so I know it's no coincidence. I think the straw is a lot less costly than the extract.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2008 at 9:21PM
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I buy the barley straw bales at our local water gardening center. They're not cheap - about $9.99 apiece. They last about three months. I float two of these in my pond behind some marginal plants (they have corks inside the mesh bag so that they float. You could probably make your own with mesh, cork, and barley straw; I'm just too lazy to do that. Anyway, I do think they help with water clarity in my pond. Another thing to try is koi clay. It will improve fish color and improve water clarity as well. My water is mountain-stream clear right now although I have a thick blanket of algae on the walls of my 1700 gallon pond. Your setup sounds similar to mine - a Savio skimmer/waterfall/pump setup. There is biotape underneath the filter in the waterfall. I do try to keep the filters inside the skimmer clean by hosing them off at least twice a week in summer but I generally leave the waterfall filter alone unless it gets terribly nasty as I don't want to upset the biological filtration. I don't have rocks in the bottom of my pond. I do a 10% water change weekly in the warm months.

I'm not sure what exactly worked to clear up my pond last year (built in February of 2007) but I think it was probably a combination of all of these factors (including maturity of the biological filtration) plus plants: a combination of marginals, anacharis, water hyacinth, and water lilies to provide 65% surface coverage . Anyway, as someone said above, try some of these things until you find a combination that works for your setup and be patient in the meantime. Be sure and check your ammonia and nitrite levels. As long as they're okay, your fish will be fine, even with cloudy or murky water. It's always better to find a natural balance for your pond with plants, mechanical filtration, etc. rather than trying to add chemicals or do major water changes which don't result in a balanced system.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2008 at 11:34PM
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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

Last month I redid a 5x10 foot pool that has been running continuously since 1982 . It had become overrun with marshmallow and brazilian pepper . Have always used this primarily for a rainwater storage with water garden as a second use. Anyway since I didn't have a thousand galons of rainwater on hand ,filled it from the tap. I had completely forgotten how long it takes to cycle a pond out lol. Finally the lilies and the other plants are beginning to recover.. Jumped the gun and fertilized the lilies. water went from brown to brilliant green lol. I'd completely forgotten how long this process takes!! Since I've been keeping ponds since the mid fifties you'd think I'd have learned to be patient?? . Anyway it is finally moving in the right direction. Plants are showing vigorous new growth and I can see some objects on the bottom lol.
Now if we would just get a good rain to get rid of the tap water lol. gary

    Bookmark   May 15, 2008 at 3:08AM
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Gary I am in Fl also. I'm wondering about this stuff you call rainwater. Remind me what it is, I seem to have forgotten. Glenda

    Bookmark   May 15, 2008 at 9:21AM
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Jeanne, I was having the same problem in a pond half the size of yours.I thought my filter was sufficent, but thought what the heck.I got a piece of fuzzy matierial like a fake fur, and lay it around the top of the rocks in my bubbler.In less than a week my water is clean and clear.I can see the bottom now!!! I had to take and rinse the thing off once a day for the first four days.Now I love to just sit and watch the fishies!

    Bookmark   May 15, 2008 at 11:20AM
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glad2garden(5, Chicopee, Mass)

Have you tried pond dye? This works for me when the water turns green with algae. It seems to halt the growth of the algae and clears the water. The dye turns the water a nice shade of turquoise!

Also try putting a bunch of quilt batting in an area that the water can flow through, like just before the waterfall. I buy a bag of high loft quilt batting in queen size for about $10, and this lasts a long time. If you want you can just throw it away when it gets saturated with green stuff, or you can rinse it with a strong spray of water and reuse it. It will totally clear my soupy green pond in a week.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2008 at 10:10PM
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I've had my pond for 8 years. It's 2K gal., 30", deep, Skimmer and Biofalls, 2800 gal/hr pump, rubber liner, rocks on the bottom, sits in full sun and about 2 doz Goldfish, give or take, and local frogs and turtles, two water lilies and some marginals.
Number one I think your pond is to new to suffer from fish fouling unless you have some really big fish, but it could have some kind of debris like leaves or mulch that blue in over the winter. If your water fall does some splashing I see no reason to use an aerator, you can us the aerator in the winter if you turn off the falls. My pond is not pristine, but I can still see to the bottom a little green water (very little) sometimes, but that is what happens in nature. I have string algae in early spring till I vacuum the winter stuff out, then I seed it and let it settle. My suggestion would be to buy a pool vac., the kind that hook to your garden hose, put a piece of PVC pipe on the snout and a nylon stocking as a filter bag. Now you can reach in and around the river rock on the bottom. If you have Goldfish you need not feed them everyday, twice a week should do, and that will cut down on pollution too. I wouldnÂt use a water dye, after all you are trying to clear it, and donÂt forget, itÂs a pond not an aquarium. __ JMO

    Bookmark   May 17, 2008 at 5:29PM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

Cliff and Joanne don't have rocks on their pond bottom, only on their "beach" but I do and for over ten years with no problems.

There is no reason for the OP to remove her rocks, they aren't going to turn her pond water brown on a new pond.

Likely peat moss, manure, leaves or mulch has gotten in there and stained the water brown.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2008 at 9:57PM
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I've been there too. As a matter of fact, our 10,000 gallon pond was so green that we didn't see our fish for ten years. Then, we learned about filtration and in building the system we have now, our ponds are always clear. If anyone wants a diagram of this filtering system, let me know and I will send you one. I also promise you that if you built it properly and make it large enough not so much for the size of the pond but for the amount of fish you have, you will never again have a green pond or suffer from hair algae.
Do it the natural way with filtration. No more barley straw, u.v. lights and/or chemicals. You won't believe how well this filtering system works until you make it.

Yours Koily, Lorraine

    Bookmark   May 17, 2008 at 10:17PM
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You don't say whether the water is a cloudy brown or a clear brown, like tea. I find that every spring, just about now, when the oak tree pollen is plentiful, the water in my pond looks like strong tea. It's just tannins from the oaks and won't hurt the fish or the pond plants. In a few weeks, it will have cleared up on its own.

I would be concerned, however, if it turned murky, muddy or cloudy brown.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2008 at 10:18PM
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sunderella(Z5b MO)

I went through this for 4 years, the pond was in place when i bought my home. I might add I was pretty clueless at first.

I have to agree about the rocks on the bottom creating the brown, I had done enough reading on goldfish forums that I finaely was a little better educated about water quality. SInce I removed all rock big and small from the pond, I have awesome water with just routine shop vac'ing the bottom.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2008 at 4:52PM
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Hi Lorraine....I would like to see a diagram of your filtering system. I can't imagine not having to use barley straw or algaecides.

Thanks for the advice.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2008 at 4:54PM
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I, too have had green water in my new pond for the past 6 months and have tired everything. Everyone tells me to leave the gravel at the bottom and just be patient, but that is so hard. I have tried water changes, heavy beneficial bacteria products, barley straw, and everything else. Has anyone had the Aquascape Microfalls system, and has success with adding a filer pad to the skimmer? It only comes with the net and brushes, but I feel that I am just recycling the fine floating algae back into the water.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2008 at 5:40PM
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pat_c(5/ N W OHIO)

Here's an old trick Horton taught me years ago. Take a clean tall kitchen trash can. Cut a series of holes in the side at the bottom. Do this on only one side of the trash can. Get a box of poly batt at walmart. Unwind it and stuff it in the bottom of the trash can and set the trash can at the edge of the pond with the side with the holes facing toward the pond. Then run a hose from your pond to the top of the trash can. The water will fill the can and run down thru the batt and filter. Then it will run out the holes in the can back into the pond. Run this for 2-3 days and I promise the pond will clear. You will have to clean the Batt evry so often but it will trap all that suspended algae. I only had to do this once and my pond cleared and stayed clear.
I do agree with the others that rocks on the bottom only invite trouble. They look good for a week and then spoil the pond beacuse they WILL get covered with algae. Then, you can't see them anyway so what's the point?
The only other product I ever had good luck with is ALgaefix. But Once I used the Horton method, I no longer had to use that! Good luck, we have all been where you are.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2008 at 5:48PM
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That is quite clever. Basically a temporary extra filter.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2008 at 9:30AM
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Hi Lorraine, (koilady)
I am also having a problem keeping my pond clean. I tried barley pellets and it turned a horrible brown and never cleared up. I also tried Laguna clear fast and it cleared for a couple days, but went back to cloudy again. I would like to know more about your filtration system.


    Bookmark   May 20, 2008 at 11:13AM
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Hi Yardgirl78......I have the Aquascape Microfalls system also but mine has a filter (like a furnace filter) in my skimmer. I have to hose it off about once a week because it gets very dirty. Maybe you could buy one and put in your skimmer. I'm sure it would help.
I had trouble with the clarity of my water also and tried everything. But the nice people on this forum gave me some good advice. I bought some activated charcoal...put it in a pair of pantyhose and place in my waterfalls box. Also I cut down on feeding my fish from everyday to twice a week. Also, I bought some hornwort (a submerged plant) and put in my pond. I have white gravel and river rock in my pond. It does make it more difficult to maintain. I'm thinking about taking out the rock on the bottom and just leaving the rock on the plant there won't be as much debris trapped under the rock. Good Luck!

    Bookmark   May 20, 2008 at 12:29PM
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First time on forum although I have been reading and following the advice of many for quite sometime. But now I have an issue I can't seem to resolve. I have the same set up and problem as Jeanne- May 2008, although I know Jeanne's issue was solved. My pond is 12x 23 and 30" deep, rock bottom with skimmer and waterfall. I have done what Sandy and others have suggested, i.e. 9lbs of activated charcoal in the waterfall, batting in the skimmer (which works fantastic removing particles), hornwort & hyancinths plus lettuce, I cut down on feeding. And even though my water is very clear now (which is a big improvement itself)it still has the tannic / tea color which really doesn't allow the koi to show off there bright colors. I then added "SAB Extreme Debris" to break down whatever leaves etc, may remain and then added "AquaClear" once a week. I was thinking that the soil from my water lilly's & grass that I spilt up in the spring caused this? I use pea gravel on top of the soil, but I have had this problem last year also, this is my second season since installation. In a way the color makes it look more realistic but it doesn't help the true color of the fish. Do I just live with it? I can send pic's if needed.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2008 at 11:46AM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

If your water is clear but brown tinted like iced tea then tannins are the problem. If you used peat based soil to pot your waterlilies and other plants than that is the culprit.

No chemicals will remove this color but activated charcoal should. Of course, if the reason the water is brown isn't corrected it might not change it.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2008 at 9:01PM
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I did (out of lack of knowledge) use just reg Miracle Grow potting soil with pea gravel on top. The AC has been in the waterfall for a month now, is that enough time for it to start working? should I repot my water lilly's and grasses to see if it clears up? what is the best way to re plant them? I appreciate the help,

    Bookmark   July 23, 2008 at 11:37AM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

Miracle Gro potting soil is full of peat moss. That is your problem.

You should plant pond plants in clay garden soil. Not bagged potting soil.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2008 at 5:19PM
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sleeplessinftwayne(z4-5 IND)

Bagged clay is available. You can get it at places like Lowe's and they even sell a type that has been fired in a kiln and can't cloud the water. You can also go to Walmart and get a large bag of Special Kitty cat litter. Just check the label to make sure it is really clay. Sandy

    Bookmark   July 25, 2008 at 2:24AM
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prairie_bogger(6a (KS))

I use Special Kitty cat litter exclusively (just because it's the cheapest all-clay product I can find) and get good results. Of course, the Walmart check-out people always look at me funny when I buy 10 bags at a time. They probably think I'm one of those crazy cat-hoarding people...


    Bookmark   July 25, 2008 at 1:29PM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

There is a huge difference between bagged clay and bagged potting soil!

    Bookmark   July 26, 2008 at 2:09PM
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I will re pot them in the "special kitty" cat litter. My lasy 2 questions then is:
1. How long before I see results, is my AC still good after 1 month or so or do I change it?
2. Should I do a 50% +/- water change ?
Thanks for all the help.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2008 at 9:40AM
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First of all, PM, you should read GardenWeb's terms of service, especially about advertising.

Secondly, what is in this "magic" product, other than a lot of fancy salesman talk?

You registered yesterday to promote your product and have contributed nothing else to this forum. Why should I waste my time with you and your product?


    Bookmark   August 23, 2008 at 10:00AM
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My sentiments exactly. If I needed the stuff, I wouldn't buy it for that reason. Glenda

    Bookmark   August 23, 2008 at 10:16PM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

Water changes don't help pea soup algae blooms, they just prolong the agony but they will help tannin brown if the source of the tannins is removed/stopped.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2008 at 2:00PM
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nelsonjv(SF, Calif Zone9)

#1. Patience
#2. add bacteria
#3. activated charcoal

If this doesn't work, refer back to #1.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2008 at 8:30PM
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Dear KoiLady,
I am new to this forum and would like to have a copy of your filter system you offer. My 5000 gal pond is 3 feet to 6 feet deep and has been green for the three months I have had it. I tried everything even the Pond Magician that magically made my money disappear. I have two fishmate 3000 filters and a pump that puts out 6000 gal per hour at the head height. My drain is 3 inch diameter at the deep end and I have many sets of waterfalls. I do not have very many plants. I have 35 Koi, 3 over 30 inches, 10 in the 20 inch range and smaller ones. I purchased them from the widow of a KOI lover and she wanted me to take them all. I had 3 feet of visibility and then I tried the PM stuff my visibility went to 3 inches and stayed there for three applications (6 weeks)of PM. I stopped the PM and I got 6 inches of visibility over night and now for three days it is gaining one inch a day. I purchased two king sized batting materials and a laundry basket to stuff it in. I have not found the Activated Charcoal yet in Tucson. I would like to look at your filter and see if I can get to enjoy my fish.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2008 at 6:02PM
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One of my KOI pond friends suggested adding catfish to my KOI pond to clean it up. Is this a bad idea?

    Bookmark   November 30, 2008 at 6:08PM
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horton(6 b Ontario.)

ricasdad, catfish will not do anything to clear up the green water problem you have with your pond.
As koilady wrote in her post, good filtration is the key.
I would add good BIOLOGICAL filtration, plus lots of patience, but you sound like you are running out of that.LOL

Mechanical filtration alone will take forever to clear green water, if it ever does!

You say you do not have many plants. That, with the fish load you have, could be the main reason your pond water is not clearing up. There is nothing in the water to eat up all the ammonia and nitrogen that is being produced by the Koi from their waste.

What and how much/often are you feeding the fish?
Too much food will add to the problem, whether it is going through the fish or just rotting away on the bottom.
[That is where the catfish would be somewhat helpful to eat the stuff off the bottom!]

As I am sure you know by now, Koi love to eat plants, so if you had a portion of your pond barricaded off, with netting to keep the Koi at bay. Then fill that area with submerged and floating plants, it would go a long way to help clear the water.
Or build a separate plant pond that the water runs through to be filtered as it goes back into your main pond.

If you know some one else that has a pond, with clean, clear water. Ask them for a bucket of the sludge out of their filter. Pour this sludge directly into your pond, it will seed the needed bacteria, into you pond water.

Read the article linked below, by Norm Meck, it has all the information on the why's and who's and what to do's of green water.

Let us know how you get on with it all.

Here is a link that might be useful: Green Water.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2008 at 7:57AM
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Horton, Thank you for replying.
I have (two) high pressure filers with UV lights. I checked the water visibilty tonight and I now have 20 inches of water depth before my net disapears into the green. This is much better than the 3 inches of a week ago.
I am using the tips from this forum.
I feed my KOI once a week with enough to eat in 5 minutes. After reading the attached article I am backwashing my filters too often (twice a day). I don't know what plants to buy in the winter. I am in Tucson so it does not freeze. For us cold weather is less than 60 degrees.
Thnaks again.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2008 at 8:37PM
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horton(6 b Ontario.)

ricasdad, it sounds like there has been a break through at last.
Good luck with it and enjoy seeing your fish!

    Bookmark   December 2, 2008 at 7:00AM
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Update to my pond,
I can now see the bottom of the 6 foot depth. The black drain is visible against the black plastic backgroud. Thank you all very much. I was worried that I may have lost a KOI that was rotting away in the green water.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2008 at 9:44PM
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Hi there,

Am new to this but have been searching for answers to my pond problem. It is similar to this thread. It is a new pond 3-4 wks old approx 16ft x 10ft x 2-4ft(deepest),and I put some clay soil into the pond for the plants. Sitting outside I have a biological gravity filter (foam layers, volcanic rock & a UV light)(Fishmate) with a 5500 litre per hour water pump. I realise my pump is be a bit underpowered but the flow rate over the waterfall looks ok.
What I want to know is will my pond ever clear (Husband is giving me grief over adding the clay soil!)with this pump (I have also added some extra fine filter sponge into the filter as well)or will it the clay particles always be in suspension as fish & flow keep moving? Do I need extra P A T I E N C E? It would be nice to see my fish someday.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2009 at 8:45AM
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Did you cover the soil with gravel, that is neccessary otherwise it will get stirred up especially if you have fish. Otherwise yes patience is needed. Many places have not yet had warm enough temps to get the cycle flourishing and the start up cycle can be a long and annoying process.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2009 at 12:07PM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

Did you put the clay soil right on top of the liner or is it in pots?

I have two small liner ponds that have clay on top of the liner with waterlilies planted directly into it but no fish or pump to stir it up. When the second one was new it did take several weeks and use of a flocculent to get the clay to settle down.

These ponds are crystal clear but look like chocolate milk when a raccoon gets in when we forget and leave the covers off. It settles in a couple of days. They have trampled all the pea gravel down into the clay.

I would not have a clay bottom with fish or pumps/fountains unless I was prepared to have muddy water like a natural pond.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2009 at 5:52PM
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I have been ponding for 13 years in the tropics. I also maintain a few and install water lilies for clients. No two ponds are alike. Ponds will never look like aquariums so once that is understood you will become more accepting. Ponds will become clear, partially clear, cloudy depending on the situation. Patience is the key to a clear pond especially for new ponds and ponders. Ponds may look great for a few days or one day look awful. High pH is another problem with very new ponds. Water changes in some instances create more problems...we have a pond that we changed and cleaned it after ten/eleven years. The pond remained clear for most of that ten year period. We only drained it after it developed cracks. So that is not bad for a old pond. We have running a sand and gravel filter (swimming pool) and a homemade bological/mechanical filter. The sand and gravel filter feeds the biological filter. In the bio filter we have lava rocks, quilt batting and sponge filters at the top. Sometimes we had to clean the batting and sponge twice a week when the pond was really dirty now it is sometimes twice a month. We have gravel at the bottom and that has nothing to do with turning the water brown. Give the pond time to stabilize, if it is floating particles treat it with a clarity treatment that will sink those particle to the bottom. I use fertilizer tabs all the time to fertilize my lilies and have never had an algae bloom. Just remember to cover the hole after you fertilize, just squeeze the top of the soil back. The most problems I have had with ponds is with high pH and toads. They crap all over the pond and lay too many eggs. The crap and the eggs create many problems with the balance of the pond. My solution was to build above the ground so that eliminated the toads.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   June 20, 2009 at 10:24PM
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Like so many people new to this game, they all try to become God and think perfection is immediate.
Just sit back and let nature take its course. The pond will balance, become incredibly clear and life will be good.
If you're impatient run a tub full of water, drop your fish in it and enjoy yourself for a couple of days.
Just relax.
This is not rocket science.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2009 at 11:28PM
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horton(6 b Ontario.)

Islandgal and Aquata, both of your post were right on the button.
Time and patience is the key.

I also agree with you too Islandgal about toads, they can upset the balance of a pond quite quickly around their breeding time. Several breeding toads can produce masses of spawn and subsequent tadpoles that can overwhelm the oxygen level in a garden pond.
I transport them out of my pond and yard, into the wilds, every time the toad colony gets to big.
Your photographs are beautiful, it looks like an island paradise, just so lush and colourful!

    Bookmark   June 21, 2009 at 7:31AM
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Thank you Horton for stopping by my blog and your comments. I think patience is a word many people do not understand. It is not the next day nor the next week. Ponds may take many months to stabilize.

Here is a link that might be useful: my rustic bajan garden

    Bookmark   June 21, 2009 at 6:19PM
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Pond Magician? Holy Cow! How did we ever make it through the last thousand years?


    Bookmark   June 21, 2009 at 6:52PM
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Thank you people,

I reckon patience it is then.
I was only worried cos this was the first time I've used clay (no pots straight onto liner). My last pond I just used soil & it cleared after a couple of weeks. I don't expect perfection, good grief you should see my garden, not only are the weeds are winning, but they are forming regiments and are preparing to take over the world! My only consolation is that I am providing a great natural environment for bugs & birds. One benefit of having cloudy water is the hope that if I can't see them, neither can the heron!

    Bookmark   June 22, 2009 at 9:20AM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

Koi will dig in any soil they can get to. with koi are not going to be clear. Commercial koi breeders raise their koi in mud ponds not clear swimming pool type pond though.

Raccoons will also dig in soil and stir it up with their feet if they can wade into it like they could mine before covers.

Crystal clear water does increase the risk of predation by birds.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2009 at 11:14AM
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Riverdown, if your problem continues, you can try using a flocculant, such as Eco-Floc, which binds suspended particles together so that the filters can catch them.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2009 at 12:55PM
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Thank you nancym, I have been researching the web & found a UK website that sells a flocculant. My pond is clearing v, v slowly and after 8 weeks I can now vaguely see the fish when they come to the surface. I think I will give it a helping hand tho as I've been reading that all those fine particles aren't good for gills. I'd post a picture of the pond if I knew how, I'm not very computery!

Thank you all for your help & advice. I'll keep you posted!

ps Buyorsell888, I would love to have racoons in my garden, I love the idea of them having a swim and rooting around in the pond. I know they probably are a pest but still, you gotta admit they're quite cute looking. Here in the UK we don't have such exciting animals, badgers & foxes are quite boring by comparison.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2009 at 8:10AM
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horton(6 b Ontario.)

Riverdown, believe me, if you ever witnessed the devastation resulting from a raccoon's frenzied hunt for fish in a garden pond, you would have second thoughts about how cute they are.

They are cute alright as long as you don't have them trying or succeeding to eat your fish. They leave no stone or plant untouched in their crazed fishing spree.
They are also known to carry Rabies and would rip open and possibly kill, a small dog or a cat in a flash, with their long sharp claws.

Yeah, they are cute from a good distance away!

    Bookmark   June 25, 2009 at 9:31AM
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hardin(7 SE OK)

I have been fighting the 'new pond' algae bloom and hopefully I am now seeing daylight. There are several things I did.
1) Removed river rock from bottom of the pond.
2) Added barley straw to top of filterfalls.
3) Added Activated charcoal.
4) Using quilt batting, changing out twice a day.
5) Cleaning out skimmer filter each day, rinsing in a bucket of water from pond. YUCK!
It's been a week since all the above has been going, and I can almost see the bottom. Before, I was unable to see the goldies if they were deeper than 4 inches. So its a huge difference already.
Good Luck.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2009 at 2:03PM
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Gosh, that's really opened my eyes, vicious little blighters aren't they? I've been browsing the other threads and have just been shocked by a photo of a frog with a goldfish in its mouth & other associated horror stories, aaargh! I think I'll be grateful for fox poo, herons and the occasional clumsy dog!

Hardin you work too hard!I feel exhausted just reading your list.

Thank you all for being so friendly & helpful, this site rocks!

    Bookmark   June 26, 2009 at 5:30PM
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hardin(7 SE OK)

It doesn't seem like work to me. Course some call me crazy when I say I love to mow and weedeat, too.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2009 at 11:18PM
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nbacres(4 NW IA)

I may have a little "don't quite get it" understanding on putting plants in pots with clay. I bought some Special Kitty Cat Litter and lined the flower pot with a coffee liner, put my plant's roots in and filled pot in with kitty litter, added a layer of pea gravel on top.

Well, after I added water, it looked like concrete. Will the roots really glow out of the litter? I'll wait to hear advice from all you pros before I replant my other water plants.

Yup, I'm trying to clear up the brown water by 1) vac the bottom (done); 2) use quilt batting with barley log (done); 3) add activated charcoal in the upper waterfall pond (well, I at least got the charcoal bought!); 4) repot water plants in kittie litter (THIS ONE HAS ME STUMPED).

Any help would be appreciated.

Happy Ponding & Gardening

    Bookmark   June 29, 2009 at 4:42PM
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They sure will. But they need to be fertilized about once a month with fertilizer tablets pushed down into the soil to have nice plants with lots of blooms. Also after planting them in the kitty litter and putting the stones or gravel on top, I would rinse them by letting the water from the hose run through them. Then when lowering them into the pond, let them down very slowly so as not to muddy up the water too badly.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2009 at 5:11PM
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Hi There,
Just a final follow-up. Pond now cleared beautifully, patience is a wonderful thing isn't it? LOL!!!

    Bookmark   July 1, 2009 at 7:45AM
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nbacres(4 NW IA)

pikecoe: Thanks for the encouragement :-)

So far the plant hasn't drooped so I think I'll continue repotting the other floater planters tonite.

Whew, didn't know what I'd do with the kitty litter if it didn't work (don't have any cats!). Wait, will kitty litter kill weeds???????????

    Bookmark   July 1, 2009 at 10:11AM
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hardin(7 SE OK)

Update on pond: Water is clear. Looks good and nice to see the fish again. Patience is hard to come by, but necessary in our line of play.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 1:06PM
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sleeplessinftwayne(z4-5 IND)

Congratulations!! It is so great when everything is finally in sinc. What is not so great is when the balance gets out of whack again. Oh well, it's just a problem to be solved. Sandy

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 3:28PM
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Ohmygosh! This is a gold mine of information! I have a wine barrel pond that is working fine (except for the always present stringy green algae). However, my son decided to build some wine barrel ponds to sell and he is having some trouble with brown water and a whitish something growing on the barrel and plants. It feels slimy and when rubbed off it breaks into small flakes. I think I understand what to do about the brown water but what is this white stuff? And could a scoop of muck from the bottom of my clear pond help the new ponds or would it just spread the green algae? Any advise will be greatly appreciated. Lorrie

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 2:53AM
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sleeplessinftwayne(z4-5 IND)

The wine barrels are not sealed. The wood is rotting. Maybe you can recover by drying the barrels throughly and applying a couple of coats of a wood sealer. Sandy

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 3:43PM
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Hi Koilady, You mentioned a diagram of your filter solution to your ponds green water problem, could you send it to Wanda at Thanks

    Bookmark   July 14, 2009 at 12:54PM
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Koilady....I am also interested in any filter that works. One never know when thing will go wrong and a back up is always a good idea.


    Bookmark   July 18, 2009 at 9:13PM
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Hopefully you have found a way to clear up your pond, but if not you might want to look at this website. This product along with good filtration has solved my problems. Also the customer support is excellent.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2010 at 11:06AM
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I have a 100 gallon preformed pond with a 1600 gph pump. I have a pre filter on it then it goes up to a 12 inch water fall with a bio filter with lava rock and pea gravel, then down a stream about 15 feel long and back into the pond. My water is very soft well water. I have 6 gold fish the largest being about 4 inches long. I add pond-zyme to it every week. My problem is that I can not get rid of the green algae ( pea soup) . PLEASE HELP ME

    Bookmark   June 23, 2010 at 1:02PM
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There are several things that will help clear pea soup algae. One of them is to shade the pond. Do you have any plants to compete with the aglae for nutrients? Since your pond is small, you might be able to erect a large umbrella over the pond, if you can find a way to anchor it.

Or, you can get a small U.V. sterilizer from Lowers or Home Depot. With the proper flow, they are very, very effective in clearing pea soup.

You probably don't have a skimmer, but a lot of people have found some very creative ways of using quilt batting and Nu-Foam to strain pea soup algae from the water through their skimmers.

Maybe some others will have some ideas for you. ;=_

    Bookmark   June 24, 2010 at 9:07AM
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I have green water and can't get it cleared up. It hold approxamately 9000 gallons of water, no rocks or anything on the bottom. Have hyacinths in the pond and they are fed 3 times a day by my dad. does anyone have any ideas about how to clear up the green. I built this for my dad and really would like for him to be able to enjoy it. He has 11 Koi in this pond, I also have a filter on it , a waterfall and a center filter in the pond. HELP

    Bookmark   May 3, 2011 at 10:30PM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

With that much water you are either going to need to buy a UV or add a ton of plants which is difficult with koi since they like to destroy them.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2011 at 12:35PM
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sleeplessinftwayne(z4-5 IND)

I would go with a UV. Your dad is feeding too much but I understand that. (I am assuming you mean he feeds the fish, not the water hyacinths.) You will just have to increase the filter capacity. Quilt batting is a great help. I don't understand the center filter. Can you explain?

    Bookmark   May 4, 2011 at 7:28PM
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This thread has been really helpful.

I have a small 900 gallon pond with a waterfall and a bio filter. Rubber liner with only about 4 large rocks near the waterfall. Most years I have had the string algae and pea soup, but usually that clears up by the end of May with barley bail and filtration. I usually have very clear water and a mix of koi and comets, 11 in all, some medium size (3 inches longer than my hand).

Well, last fall was the start of my pond's demise. I had a unusual year, some health problems and was not able to get out there and maintain the pond in the fall. I left the netting off (for leaves) too long and unfortunately was not able to do the fall clean-up like I usually do, but I did clean it up in November a bit and removed my filter like I always do for the winter.

It got oddly warm in December but I couldn't run the filter since it was already out. I put the pond heater in which keeps it barely above freezing. By January, three fish were dead. By February, 5 more were dead. I was really in shock, as I've had this pond for 15 years and never lost a fish, even with low maintenance.

In the spring, 2 more died and just one left. The bull frog was also dead and of course the water was very foul, lots of string moss and pea soup water. The remaining fish seemed very hardy and I put him in a bucket while I did the spring cleaning. I do a big clean-out, drain the pond, scrub the liner and rocks, everything. New water, new bio filter, cleaned that up, etc. Put the one fish back in and he was fine, though more skittish than normal (they usually come to the surface when they see me.) The water seemed OK for a few weeks...

Then we got a ton of rain, almost daily, for three weeks.

Since then, pea soup and I cannot clear it up. And this morning I found that the last fish died. Basically, now I have no fish and a pea soup pond that smells pretty fishy. Zero frog, no life at all. Unless you count algae which has gotten very bad, even with a barley bail.

I am working on getting this water into shape before I go get ANY more fish, but am just writing this to show how badly a pond MUST have fall maintenance. You simply cannot ignore it. I'm pretty well shocked by the whole thing, some of my fish were over 15 years old, raised from fry. I've had notions of just filling it up and planting some perennials in the space and giving up.

I'm going to try balancing and clearing the water, as I said and giving it one more go, however... but I hate to subject any new fish to what is out there right now!

    Bookmark   May 13, 2011 at 12:30PM
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@keithdirt.... Your story sounds exactly like mine except we just bought our house in november and the previous owner assured us that he cleaned up the pond in the fall. After our winter and the pond thawed out we found 10 dead koi (the oldest being 15 yrs old) Our pond is between 900-1000 gallons too.
We started from scratch 'emptying the pond and getting rid of the 12-15 inches of sludge. We now seem to be on the right track with 3 shubunkins, 3 comets, 2 small koi and 4 feeder goldfish. Keeping our fingers crossed!

    Bookmark   May 15, 2011 at 12:27AM
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contraryjim(z8 WA)

IMO,filtration is key to a healthy pond. second is being able to kill the raccoons that come by. filtration, both mechanical & bio is important. The bacteria that provide your bio filtration have limited capacity and so the flow rate of water needs adjusting to enable a efficient bio action - one can use a T diverter so that water not going to the bio filter gets shunted back to the pond. I used to check pH etc frequently, but without any problems havn't in a number of years. Raccoons are my problem

    Bookmark   May 15, 2011 at 4:37PM
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i have a 13 by 20 foot pond that holds 1500-1800 gallons. i have a skimmer with a 3000 gph pump and a biofall with give or take 30 is also about 3 feet deep. on the last week of may it was kind of chilly, around 70 and at that time it was crystal clear.but then the heat came and the algae grew like crazy. my water got really dirty for about 3 days. and now its in the process of clearing again. why? its still hot and humid.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2011 at 2:25AM
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I find the basic ket to clear water is a really good filter that is way oversized for the pond, and a really good UV light that is also way oversized for the pond. My pond is 4,000 gallons in full sun, but my filter is designed for 16,000 gallons and my 4 x 40 watt UV is designed for clarifying 16,000 gallons. Basically overdo everything by a factor of 3 to 4 and your pond water will stay clear. String algae still forms, but looks good and the fish like it. And you still have to periodically scoop waste off the bottom to keep tannic acid out of the equation.

I think the biggest mistake most people make is sizing the filtration and UV "properly". You want to really overdo it, and your water stays very clear.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2011 at 11:49PM
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Hi. I have a 2500 gallon pond and I've found the KEY to a clear pond is a UV system. That's a ultraviolet lamp . This hooks into your filter system . Get about 30 watts for the size of your pond and you will be amazed on how WELL this works.also make sure your filter system is adaquate for your size pond. Hook the UV STERLIZER up AFTER the filter and. You will have crystel clear water! I no longer battle with pea soup water thank GOD! The UV STERLIZER is the secret to a clean clear pond. I hope I've helped you! Good luck and happy ponding.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2011 at 2:03PM
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AFter reading advice on this site I went to menards looking for the pipes / valves needed to make a filter out of either a tote or a garbage can. Not finding the pieces needed I bought a rain water holding container, added the egg crate foam bed topper and in 2 days I have a nearly clear pond! I am thrilled! I was not able to use the bottom hose adapter as it did not allow the water to escape as fast as it was going in, too small. Just wanted to pass this on as it was so simple and so satisfying!.
I also support the UV clarifiers. No algie. Oh, my problem was from the decaying leaves as my ponds are under trees. I get not only leaves but some seed pods when the trees I have begin leafing out. This next fall and spring I will place a screen over the ponds to catch more or these irritants

    Bookmark   July 10, 2011 at 9:32PM
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I have a new 90 by 40, 7 ft deep pond. Total gallonage 125000. Water is green and I can't get rid of it. Water test says high free phosphorous which must have been in the well water I used. 14 ppb. I don't know what normal phosphorous levels should be, but I'm wondering if anyone has had this problem.

I've added a few dozen water hyacinth, lily pads, lotus, water mint, But I don't know what it takes to absorb this phosphorous. No fis yet. Also have a large aeration fountain

ppreciate any advice

    Bookmark   July 17, 2011 at 12:49PM
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This is a lined pond correct? That's one big pond if it is.
Just to be clear is the phosphorous reading you posted the well water or pond water?
How long has the pond been filled and what type and size of filtration are you employing?

Depending on how much sun the pond gets water lettuce would help remove phosphorous,they don't like excessive sun. Any plant that is not potted in soil and will grow in the pond would help for that matter. Fish would only make the problem worse at this point. When planting lilies you must be carefull to bury the fertilizer in the soil so it does not leach into the pond water.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2011 at 4:24PM
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Thanks for all the great info. We just bought a house and inherited a 750 gal. koi pond. It has UV filtration and good circulation, I guess, but my husband and I literally knew NOTHING about koi ponds when we moved in. As it turns out, we enjoy it very much and would love to clear the water so we can enjoy the fish even more. there are 3 12" koi, 1 5" koi and one fancy goldfish - not too many I think. I realize now that we are definitely overfeeding (just following directions on the food which says 3-4 X/day in warm weather - yikes!) so there's one place to start. 4 days ago, we did a complete pond clean out - emptied the water, scrubbed the sides and bottom and refilled. We also replaced the UV bulb, which was burned out when we moved in. When hubby turned the pump back on (after backflushing) a BUNCH of sediment emptied into the water, ruining the clarity right off the bat :(. After running the system for about a day and a half there were very hopeful signs of clearing and the fish were having a field day playing for like 3 hours that day. Then the weather got hot and, you guessed it - the water turned to greenish-brownish pea soup, about 6-10" of murky visibility. A neighbor gave us a dose of Aqua-Clear crystals, which did nothing. I am planning to make Horton's secondary trash can/batting filtration system, but is there anything else I can do? The pond is shaded at least half the day, we do have one pot of water lilies and just bought 4 water hyacinths which we hear will propagate quickly. thanks for such a great forum!

    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 7:18PM
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We took a stock water tank,filled it with sand like 3/4 had water come in top run down thru sand back in pond, 2 days pond was clear.Its a pretty large pond

    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 11:58PM
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Algae build up can be cleared by various things. First try the micro crustaceans that are normal-daphnia, ostracods, rotifers. The Biological Supply Houses are a GREAT source for clean cultures.

Then the followup is to mine out the nutrients with an easy clean floating plant-myriophyllum grows and milks out nutrients and can be raked and composted onto beds.
THEN take out the nutrient sources-you may want to edge the pond to prevent runoff if you fertilize.

Take water test and seee what is going on-recall you need nitrogen, phosphorus and potash for plants plus some micros. IF you have a huge on ANY of these-then take steps to limit that nutrient.

My bet is phosphorus.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2012 at 12:14PM
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One year in the spring my hubby made a filter out of a big water stock tank ,he put rocks on bottom poured sand up half way,the water came in the top filtered down thru the sand, came out the bottom,my pond was spotless in like 2 days.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 4:53PM
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rapidwiz(Zone 5)

I had a algae problem, nothing seemed to work until I read from a person on the forum, do a 25% water change which did the trick. I kept a house UV on anyway, but definitely do a water change. As someone described it, water evaporating and then you just topping up, leaves the water toxic and full of gunk.

Do a 10% water change over 3 weeks if you haven't tried this yet and see if this helps. I was reluctant, but it did the trick for me in the spring when the algae bloom kicked in. I will do the same this year.


    Bookmark   April 4, 2012 at 12:11PM
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I realize this is an old thread but, like a lot of people here, I had some seemingly unmanageable green and murky water issues. I'm in the process of using the "Horton" trick (garbage can with fiber batting in the bottom) and after only a day I can see twice as deep. I cleaned the batting today and, wow, you can really see how well it worked by what was cleaned out.

Fingers crossed but it's looking great. Thanks!

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 4:09PM
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Using Horton's method, if the tall garbage can is say 2 ft tall, how do you get the water uphill through the hose? Does one have pump it up there?

    Bookmark   December 29, 2012 at 11:50PM
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horton(6 b Ontario.)

Patti, yes you will require a pump to move the water from the pond up into the garbage can or other type of container that holds the quilt batting ( or some other type of filtering material, such as old woolen sweaters).
You will also require an outlet at the bottom (or thereabouts) of the container to allow the filtered water to flow back into the pond.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2013 at 8:55AM
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Thank you for posting this question.... and thank you glad2garden for your answer!!! The quilt batting is clearing our pond right up!!

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 6:46PM
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What about the UV Bulb -- how does that affect the water and keeping it clear?

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 6:48PM
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I have a uv bulb(9watt) in my pressure filter setup, and it keeps everything clear! I had an otter get in a while ago and the pond was a cloudy mess, but two days later everything was crystal clear again!

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 1:48AM
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Listen to "Horton".........
also...I filter with floater plants...water lettuce...hyacinth....hope everyone enjoys ponding in 2013! Dave in WV......

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 9:07PM
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I have been following this link for a bit now & have found many a good idea. Last year I built a small (+-300g) pond, outfitted it with plants, goldfish, & a 330 pump/filter kit which did very well- for a time. My waterfall is pathetic, I am constantly clearing the spray head & now am experiencing the "tannin/green water experience". I am in the process of 1) increasing pump size (tried 700gph-still wasn't enough: 2)adding UV (should it be through pump or filter?) & adding external filter. I agree w/the poster that said to go above what is estimated for pond size, but am still at a loss for just what gph to shoot for. And should the uv be on the pump or the filter? Any help would be most appreciated- I have had successful ponds before but this is my first in North Carolina & my first post to this forum; not sure if I am in the right place or??

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 11:51PM
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Try a product called SeClear. I know people are not as fond of chemicals on here, but it is a great product. It kills some of the algae with its algaecide product, but it also clears up the water. It helps lower phosphorus levels and helps clear up the water.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 10:33AM
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My pond is less than a year old and I, too, have green water. I tried the poly batting in the can to filter the green floating algae from my pond and was not successful. Either my batting wasn't dense enough? Or my algae is to fine? I held a glass to collect the filtered water and dipped one in the pond and both were the same green.

Following the failed algae filter I ended up draining about 60% of my water. I did find my young koi hiding below. I hadn't seen them in days and wondered if they were even still present. I refilled and declorinated and the water is better but still a green cloudy color. I have removed some of the rocks and plan on removing more, which is frustrating because a majority of my time was spent placing the rocks in the pond. :) But alas, I will prevail and have clear water!

I'm going to try patience for a few weeks and see if it clears. I wouldn't be nearly concerned except I only placed my koi in the pond about a week before the water clouded and I'm curious to watch them and make sure they are healthy!

    Bookmark   June 20, 2013 at 8:49AM
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Lots of good ideas here, thanks. Yeah, I had green water, brown water and lots of string algae last year. I'm in Northern Colorado, zone 5.
I have an 1100 gal pond, 30" deep with a simple pondmaster 2000 mechanical filter that sits on the bottom. We have 12-15 fish (1 koi and goldfish and 1 hifin shark who is an algae eater.) I also add Aqua One or similar beneficial bacteria all year round - the regular formula during the summer and the cold water kind from Sept until April or May.
This year I got on top of the string algae early - in March as the sunlight is increasing. I learned the hard way that if I don't do that and stay on top of controlling it early then it's a constant battle to try to clear it.

Several things are keeping my water very clear this year - we can see down to the bottom. 1) Keeping a .3 % salt (pond salt) level in the pond. For my size pond I added about 30 lbs of salt in a new water pond (since we drained & cleaned it completely last year). I bought a mesh bag and added about 5 lbs of pond salt every few days and left it in the waterfall to gradually increase the salinity level. This does a great job of keeping the string algae under control. My pond store will do a free salinity water test so I brought in a water sample every week until the level was point 3 %. It is good for the fish and the koi, goldfish and a Chinese hifin shark are all active, healthy and look great.
2) The water was cloudy until I added the activated charcoal filter pad to my filter. What a difference! The water cleared in 3 days. Now it looks great.
3) Netting out the gunk at the bottom every few days to reduce the load on the filter.
4) We bought inexpensive bird netting and cover the pond when the leaves start to fall. This helps a lot with reducing tannins. Some leaves still get in and I net them out.

Yes, patience is really important since all ponds must become eco-balanced and you can't rush the process. Since we drained and cleaned it completely last summer it didn't completely balance before the cold weather but is working nicely now, looks balanced and is doing great.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2013 at 10:01PM
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Finally clear water! After trying several things on these posts I have crystal clear water. My pond is about 1000 gal. and 34inches at its deepest with 2 shallows, 4 lilies, 6 water hyacyths, 7 red minnows, and 7 small comets. New water 2 months ago after we moved in (10 inches of sludge and dead fish in the bottom)
Things that worked;
rocks are only on the shallow shelf area, where they can be brushed weekly,
adding benifical bacteria at 2X the recommended rate for 3 weeks,
homemade filter (made from a milk crate , lava rock, cut up chair cushion foam, and quilt batting, made a sack to encase the pump with filter stuff, wrapped it in quilt batting and closed it up with zip ties, too about 30 min.) I pull the filter out of the pond once a week and hose it off and dump it back in.
I brush off the rocks once a week with an old corn broom and skim out debries 2X week.
I can now see all the way to the bottom, even a 1" pebble.
It took about 8 day for the water to fully clear after putting in the filter rig.
I'm in the desert and get lots of sun plus pinon needles falling in.
The best advise I got was calmness and wait.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 8:16PM
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I started using the batting this morning but my pond water is coming through green. It is a clear green with no string algia. Just cannot see through it in the pond. We have added a biological filter and aireator and a dose of Tetra Pond Algia Control. But nothing clears it yet. We added the homemade biofilter about a month ago, The areator this week along with the Tetra Care. It hold about 500-1000 gallons. Has at least 30 gold fish and one Koi which all appear to be very healthy. It is lined with rubber roofing. Any suggestions. I know patience but the only improvement I have seen is some slight clarity of the green color. Also put netting over the top to keep leaves and the cats out. Dipped alot of leaves out of the bottom before running the temporary batting filter. Help!!!

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 9:36AM
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I have had a pond now for 3 years and have been constantly fighting the water clarity issue. Being above the 49th parallel, we have brief (5 month) summers, which sees very long daylight hours (gets dark around midnight on the solstice) so algae blooms are hard to battle. I have tried introducing as many plants as possible to get as much shade as possible on the pond, as well as beneficial bacteria, and using a ionizer which introduces copper into the water to fight the algae. I will also try a few of the suggestions posted here, like extra filtration, activated charcoal etc, but just wondering if there are any other Canuck ponders, that have fought these battles and won ?

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 10:17PM
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Hi everyone, I am the webmaster for the Koi Club of San Diego and as such I am always looking for new material for the site. We have a pretty informative site, with links and articles from some of the top in the field. If you would like to submit an article or story, pictures or what ever please contact me at
good stuff on algae by Norm Meck water quality expert.

Here is a link that might be useful: ponds

    Bookmark   August 16, 2013 at 10:49AM
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Shalom, plants are great for filtration. I only use batting and gravel to hold in the batting and for plant support, fertilize with either job tomato spikes or miracle grow plant spikes. Has worked well for about 8 years, maybe longer I can't remember when I first started doing this.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 8:54PM
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topsiebeezelbub(z7 Al)

My water turned brown overnight when a few pecan leaves blew into the pond...tanin. I cannot imagine changing the water every few days to keep it from turning tea color...its a pond not a swimming long as its not algae don't worry.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2013 at 3:13PM
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Hi. I am new to this site but I would like to share my experience with my pond I have had over fifteen years. I have numerous goldfish and one koi. I don't have an algae problem because my pond is primarily shaded. I have a rubber lining and recently removed the rock from the bottom of the pond because like many of you experienced, it traps a lot of gunk. After removing the rocks my pond got muddy. My biological filter system is a lot like many of you have had success in. It is an above ground plastic tall 3 ft bucket. It is filled with lava rock and on top every spring I throw watercress on top and it take root into the lava rock. I never ever have had a algae problem and monthly testing always indicates water quality is safe. All my fish are happy and healthy, I owe it all to my filter system. Now that I disturbed the bed which held a lot of gunk from leaves, I have took some of the lava rock out of my filter and added batting as many of you have said helped, in hoping to speed up the clearing up process. I am also going to take the advice of using a milk crate in the bottom of the pond, use my left over lava rock, add more bating and lay my pump it. This should help speed thing up to my pond clearing up sooner. I only did one water change in all the years we had this pond and my water was cloudy and the quality was not good. I won't even think of doing a water change unless my tests tell me my water is not safe for my fish. I also added beneficial bacteria after removing my rock just to be on the safe side and to also help speed up the breakdown of the particles. So in a nutshell, the lava rock biological filter system has been successful in the long run and I look forward to many more years of pond enjoyment.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 11:55PM
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