Thin oil slick on my pond

Mike56(7a)November 25, 2012

This morning I found a thin oil film on my pond. I have a 1 HP Tsurumi submersible pump, about 8 months old that I installed this spring replacing the old one after it quit.

My question is, can something other than the pump be causing the very thin oil film? Decaying leaves, dead frog in the intake or other? The pump is still running and the pond has not iced up at all yet.

Has anyone else seen this condition? Do I need another pump?


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I noticed this a few days ago on my large mud bottom pond with no pump or any other motor-driven devices in it. I thought it was maybe from run-off from the road that feeds into the creek, which feeds the pond---but there has been a lot more rain in the past with no oil film, so I don't think that's it.

My pond is 110x50' and the oil is over pretty much the whole surface. It is a very light film, though.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2012 at 6:28PM
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Hmmm, That is interesting. Maybe others have seen this and can offer an explanation. We have not had any rain to speak of lately. I am just hoping its not from my pump.

Thanks for your reply spanky
Mike .

    Bookmark   November 25, 2012 at 6:49PM
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I believe that it may be vegation decaying combining with soil elements that produces the oil. I have found this in my small shallow cement mixing trough that I use to grow various water plants in. No fish. I just hose it off until it washes over the sides of the trough as the trough sits on a concrete slab. Once the decay is over the oil will probably disappear with weathering. Have not noticed it in awhile.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2012 at 4:11AM
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sleeplessinftwayne(z4-5 IND)

I have seen such films in lots of situations where no petroleum oil was present at all. The most interesting and colorful was where something made of iron was involved. As the iron began rusting a film that appeared oily would form on the surface. These films often seem to be a result of oxidation whether the decaying object is organic or non-organic but they can be something else entirely.

Short of having the film tested by a lab, all you can do is flood the pond to get rid of the film and try to locate the source.

Possible sources might be conifers, fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides, oil treatments for trees, rotting wood that has a high pitch content, lots of acorns rotting on the bottom, a dead critter on the bottom, wood preservation treatments and likely a whole slew of other things.

You can check the pump by putting it in a container of warm water and watching to see if the film appears on the surface of the water.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2012 at 2:31PM
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albert_135(Sunset 2 or 3)

I like terrestrial_man's suggestion that it might be decaying vegetation. We've an old hot tub converted into a outside tank and many mornings when the air temperature is below freezing and the water temperature is near freezing there is foam around floating cattail leaves. Something is happening around vegetation at these temperatures.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2012 at 3:26PM
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Thanks all for the replies. Yesterday I added water to the pond allowing the film to run off through the high level over flow pipe. Today I only saw trace amounts of the film in 2 places arround the edge of the pond where the surface flow is near nonexistant.

I do have 3 long iron stakes to suport a net accross the front of the pond for preditor control and will check the filters out for something dead tomorrow.

At least it does not seem to be from the pump :-)

    Bookmark   November 26, 2012 at 6:22PM
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I have just found an oil slick on my two small ponds (adjacent).

No oil has been near them that I am aware of. However, two possibilities spring to mind:

1. Deposits from smoke of passing farm vehicles (unlikely as these vehicles have been passing forever)

2. A bird has dropped a piece of animal fat in the water (some people do feed that to birds !)

    Bookmark   October 25, 2014 at 8:15AM
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I have seen a film from a rotting fish when I disturbed it.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2014 at 3:45PM
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I think you had a visitor. Herons always leave oil slick when visiting our pond.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2014 at 12:42PM
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Posted by LJS8510 10 (My Page) on Sun, Nov 9, 14 at 12:42
I think you had a visitor. Herons always leave oil slick when visiting our pond.

I was interested to read this but none of the ponds that I have built have been accessible to herons and the current ones do not have a heronry anywhere nearby.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2014 at 3:18PM
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Following the onset of rain over the last month or so, the oil slick on my two ponds has now disappeared.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2014 at 3:22PM
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