what's with this brown pond water?

laurieohAugust 16, 2009

First I had a problem with green, algae water, now it looks pretty clear, but it's the color of tea. What causes this and what can I do to correct it? I have a fair no. of plants and fish, good filtration (I think). Please advise.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
horton(6 b Ontario.)

Laurie, usually it is caused by leaves that fall into the pond and break down releasing tannins into the water.
Oak leaves are a common culprit.
Or it could be from run off from the surrounding soil, during a heavy rainfall.

A bag of Activated Charcoal, placed in your filter or on the waterfall, where the water can run through the charcoal, will help clear up the tea colour in the water.
If you go with the activated charcoal, be sure you rinse it through first with cold tap water, as it contains powdered up little bits of charcoal, that you don't want in your pond.

Some folks have had success removing the brown staining, by adding a layer of polyester quilt batting to their filter materials. The quilt batting is cheaper than the charcoal.
"Horton"

    Bookmark   August 16, 2009 at 3:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
laurieoh

Thanks, Horton. I currently have quilt batting in the filter, although to be honest, haven't been changing it daily, like I was in the beginning.
I don't have any big trees near the pond. The pond is near the deck, and the closest tree is a Northern bayberry and the leaves aren't falling from that, so I'm not sure that's the culprit. We haven't had much rain lately so I don't think it's runoff. It really has me stumped.

I will try the activated charcoal...where can I pick some up....can I use that from the aquarium section of a pet store or are there bigger bags at the pond store (and probably more $)?

    Bookmark   August 16, 2009 at 5:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
missa7(7/Okla)

What about something leaching out of the pots your plants are in?

Maybe the type of dirt or something in the dirt?

    Bookmark   August 16, 2009 at 5:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
horton(6 b Ontario.)

Laurie, yes the aquarium charcoal will do the job.

Missa's point about the soil in pots is worth taking a look at. Especially if there is any cattle manure in the mix.
"Horton"

    Bookmark   August 16, 2009 at 7:28PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mike_il(WChi)

Laurie,
Do you have barley in the pond?
Mike

    Bookmark   August 16, 2009 at 8:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

Did you pot your aquatic plants with bagged potting soil or any bagged soil that has peat in it? Peat will turn water brown in a heartbeat.

Ditto any mulch with peat or bark that might have washed in.

It won't hurt your fish. I'd rather have clear brown water than opaque green water..... which is what might happen again if you change out this brown water....

    Bookmark   August 16, 2009 at 9:21PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
laurieoh

I did not use prepackaged dirt or peat moss. We were doing some constructing on our property at the time, so I used fairly good clay-type soil from what was dug up at the time.

Mike, I have been using liquid concentrated barley straw extract the past few weeks (although I missed last week because I was gone). Could this be causing the problem?

I do agree that clear brown water is better than murky green water, but still would like to get a nice looking pond before summer is done!

    Bookmark   August 16, 2009 at 9:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mondotomhead

Laurie,

I, too, use quilt batting. I just rinse it off everyday until it becomes "ratty". Then I cut a new piece. A roll of that stuff can last quite awhile.

I had really brown water too. It was caused by the leaves I left in from the fall and compost that had run into the water. With all the rain we've had here the water is much better so maybe a partial water change would help you.

Jeannie

    Bookmark   August 17, 2009 at 8:52AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mike_il(WChi)

What kind of fish and sizes.
Mike

    Bookmark   August 17, 2009 at 7:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
laurieoh

I have all goldfish. I have one large one (8-10") and about 10 or so that are 3-4". The pond is 250 gallons with a stream and waterfall.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2009 at 3:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
sleeplessinftwayne(z4-5 IND)

Tea colored water can come from dead algae, too or precipitates. Let a glass of water from the pond sit for an hour or two and see if anything separates out. The Batting is good for removing that.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2009 at 4:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
lisamamon_aol_com

We have got a new pond (couple of weeks) and our water has turned really brown. After reading your messages I am wondering if it is due to the fact that out freestanding pond is next to a bush or that we brought a lilly from a garden centre and put it into the pond! Any suggestions please

    Bookmark   June 17, 2011 at 11:39AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

What is your waterlily potted in? If the soil has peat in it it will turn water brown.

It is a waterlily right? not a potted bulb lily that is certainly in peat based potting soil...

    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 1:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
southernponder(7)

Our fishpond is approx. 8,000-13,000 gallons. Problem for the past couple months has been the brown tea color water. All tests are great, except for the PH which is high. I am not sure if the high PH is causing this. There has been NO green algae in the pond this year. I hear that if you do not have ANY green algae then, this tea brown color could occur. I have tried the charcoal and matting - no difference. I changed a good 10-15% of the water. The bottom is rocks, and I do not see much dirt in it. We have natural bio filter that dumps into the pond via a waterfall. I am thinking on cleaning out bio filter and see if that makes a difference. But we have zero green algae, where I would hope for a little of this green algae on the rocks. But this is probably due to the high PH. Any thoughts? thanks guys

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 7:52PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Herron attack
Just want to vent. The day before Christmas I went...
Mike56
How To Get Rid of Pond Vegetation
I had a small pond deepened and it is great except...
alameda/zone 8
Black Magic Elephant ear plant
for the first time I have two balck magic elephant...
sandyl
Hardiest Nelumbo?
Any idea if there is one variety of Asian Nelumbo that's...
fireweed22
Waterproof concrete sealers are too expensive
I'm just getting into this whole water feature thing,...
marsrising
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™