Time to take a look at muddy waters

Posted by: roundy

Time to take a look at muddy waters - 05/09/19 12:47 PM

My 2 acre pond is right at full pool now and I think it's time to start dealing with muddy water. There was a lot of dirt work done around pond to get more water flow to pond last fall, a lot. Replanted with pasture mix and winter wheat and that seems to be doing well as per pictures. I have a ring around pond that is slowly greening up but will still need a bit more work to get a good stand of ground cover. About three weeks ago I fertilized and seeded these areas and things are starting to happen now.


This was a jar of water 3 weeks ago:



Same jar of water today:



I'm thinking of having ag lime broadcast heavily around the pond to try and clear up the water. Any suggestions or comments?
Posted by: Matzilla

Re: Time to take a look at muddy waters - 05/09/19 01:38 PM

hows the wind/wave action?
id rock under that tile outflow - I'm assuming what the pvc is near the corner in the picture

Once your vegetation takes hold it'll improve the water clarity greatly - especially when you consider how wet this spring has been in our area so far.
Posted by: Joey Quarry

Re: Time to take a look at muddy waters - 05/09/19 02:06 PM

Muddy water caused by suspended clay particles can sometimes be corrected by spreading broken bales of high quality hay or barley straw in the water around the shoreline. Acids formed during plant decay can cause clay particles to settle.
Approximately two bales of hay per surface acre should clear the water. Do not use too many bales and do not use uncured or fresh cut vegetation. Either mistake may cause a fish kill. To determine if this method may work, add two tablespoons of vinegar to your water sample. If it clears overnight, use of bales will probably work.

https://ag.purdue.edu/agecon/Documents/FAQ11.pdf
Posted by: roundy

Re: Time to take a look at muddy waters - 05/09/19 02:09 PM

That is a 8 inch inflow pipe from the next draw over, no rock under it. The pond is sunk a bit all around the normal ground height so I don't think wave action is too bad. I'll be able to tell better now that pool level is more normalized. Pond has always been very muddy, but there has always been quite a bit of exposed clay on pond banks and drainage areas.
Posted by: roundy

Re: Time to take a look at muddy waters - 05/09/19 02:39 PM



I also noticed in this picture from earlier this spring that there was a semi-clear band of water around the perimeter of the pond. I wondered if this was just seepage at the time, but now wonder if this could be from ag lime runoff clearing edge. Water is a least 3 feet higher now.
Posted by: teehjaeh57

Re: Time to take a look at muddy waters - 05/09/19 03:46 PM

Hey Roundy

Per the other posts - once shoreline vegetation establishes you'll have far less erosion issues and should result in cleaner runoff.

I see from your jar test photos there is at least some improvement in settling - that's good, means you don't have a really bad ionic imbalance. I've seen some jar tests that didn't clear even months later. Those scenarios with significant imbalances had to resort to pond water amendments [Gypsum or Alum/lime treatment].

The experiment proposed by Joey is something I'd recommend...barley straw bales have been reported to be effective on speeding up the clarification of turbid ponds, and is likely far less expensive and labor intensive than amendments. The bale method does require some patience, however, as results aren't instantaneous vs amendment route.

Hope some of this helps...if you feel the need to go the alum/lime treatment route, Rex Rains is a great resource. He restored a planktonic algae/turbidity/phosphorous issue in my pond with a treatment and I probably turned back the clock 5 years on my water quality.
Posted by: roundy

Re: Time to take a look at muddy waters - 05/09/19 04:17 PM

Thanks for info on my muddy water problem. I added the two tablespoons of vinegar and we'll see what happens. Will wheat straw work or regular hay? I don't think we have much barely raised around here, but I never had cause to ask either. A substantial portion of my pond watershed is planted in wheat or oats this spring, if the straw was left in the field, would the run off work? Assuming the vinegar test plays out positive.

I don't need clear water just so it doesn't look like choco milk and will be a healthy environment to grow my fishery.

Thanks again to all the posters on this thread and my many previous questions. I watched this weeks pond boss video on Facebook, that is some good stuff. I would highly recommend it, great way to spend an hour.
Posted by: teehjaeh57

Re: Time to take a look at muddy waters - 05/09/19 04:47 PM

No clue on hay vs barley straw - Lusk always recommends barley straw and literature I've read also cites it - no experience using it or hay to handle turbidity so I'm not an authority. All things being equal I'd try to at least source the barley if it's available just to be safe using something known to work. I don't understand why barley would work better vs various hays...

If you can be patient, the water will likely clear on it's own based on my experience...if you're like me and patience isn't one of your virtues, think about gypsum or alum - the former of which I believe is significantly cheaper to source but believe it requires more to effectively treat.
Posted by: Joey Quarry

Re: Time to take a look at muddy waters - 05/09/19 09:55 PM

I would assume barley works better because alfalfa fields usually have a higher percentage of weeds and assorted grasses?
Posted by: roundy

Re: Time to take a look at muddy waters - 05/09/19 11:46 PM



Looking at some pictures I took last weekend, I do think the pond is clearing a bit. The above picture was after 4 inches of rain last week and pond filling at least a couple of feet. Just a casual observation shows a few inches of clarity around the frog and the pictures at begging of thread showing zilch. I put a couple of tablespoons of vinegar in my jar in middle of afternoon and so far no change that I can see yet. I will post comparison tomorrow after 24 hrs. Sometimes I canít see the Forrest for all the trees.
Posted by: roundy

Re: Time to take a look at muddy waters - 05/10/19 02:48 PM

Here are results of adding two tbs of vinegar about 24 hours ago. In this particular case, I would say there was minimal change.



I imagine the best treatment will be to let some time pass and see what things look like in another 30 days. It's hard to be a responsible adult and be patient.
Posted by: Bocomo

Re: Time to take a look at muddy waters - 05/10/19 03:46 PM

Now try this one:

Buy some alum from the grocery store (used as a pickling agent). You can buy some made by McCormick's (the spice company) off of Amazon for about $4.

Set up several jars. Add 1 tsp to the first, 2 tsp to the second, and so on, mix immediately, and see how much it takes before the water clears.
Posted by: Mike Whatley

Re: Time to take a look at muddy waters - 05/10/19 06:43 PM

My understanding is that barley "straw" helps to control algae. I dont think it has much affect on turbidity caused by sediments floating in the water.

I've not been able to source barley locally, but have used wheat straw in baskets with limited success last year. I'm trying it again this year as well.

The decomposition of the "straw" produces hydrogen peroxide which doesn't kill algae, but supposedly hinders its growth. Its important to know you need to use straw...not hay. Hay contains a lot of seed you dont want in the pond. Straw is mostly stems.

Now...I have heard of pond owners using whole bales of straw to help clear muddy water on new ponds with some success. How they used it (whole bales in the water or broken up on the banks), I'm not sure of.

I use baskets with flotation so the sun can hit the wet straw. And it's a lot easier to pull a basket out than a bale of wet, rotting straw.
Posted by: teehjaeh57

Re: Time to take a look at muddy waters - 05/11/19 12:10 AM

https://ag.purdue.edu/agecon/Documents/FAQ11.pdf

High quality hay or barley straw.
Posted by: roundy

Re: Time to take a look at muddy waters - 05/11/19 12:35 AM

Thanks TJ and all the rest who offered well considered options. I think it will be best to let 30 days pass and do another jar test now the the greenery is coming on and rainy season will be over. I will update then. Thanks again.
Posted by: Dave Davidson1

Re: Time to take a look at muddy waters - 05/11/19 07:15 AM

If it is suspended junk from rain, it ought to sink.
Posted by: roundy

Re: Time to take a look at muddy waters - 05/14/19 09:53 PM



I forgot about the jar in the cabinet for a few days, then run across it today. It is very clear, with just a hint of yellow tint. The acid worked it just took a few days. I went to pond a couple days ago and it is still very murky, no change at all really. The plan is still to wait 30 days and then what things look like.
Posted by: roundy

Re: Time to take a look at muddy waters - 05/15/19 09:45 PM

Stopped in at the pond to check how the wheat crop was doing and checked out the water clarity too. Lots of tadpoles of different sizes and a few inches of clarity at the edges. The depressions in the picture are interesting, any clue what may have caused them?
Posted by: Mike Whatley

Re: Time to take a look at muddy waters - 05/16/19 05:35 AM

Looks like small beds.
Posted by: roundy

Re: Time to take a look at muddy waters - 05/28/19 12:02 AM

Took stock of pond water clarity today. I was pleasantly surprised at the water turbidity after a hard charging two inch rain event Friday and Saturday. Not great but definitely not the chocolate milk Iíve had in the past. Grass is filling in on the bare bank spots and since Iím at full pool there is much less sparsely covered bank exposed. I could see a few inches down into the water, before after large rain event, nada just brown clay colored water. Iím starting to get faith this make work out after all. Need to do my homework on a sechi disk, I might be able to use one soon.
Posted by: roundy

Re: Time to take a look at muddy waters - 06/20/19 09:20 PM

Water clarity update, very happy to see progress being made. This is a sample of pond water after a 1 1/4 inch rain yesterday. Able to see minnows all around shore line now, things are looking up. Lots of obviously yoy hatchlings.
Posted by: Clay N' Pray

Re: Time to take a look at muddy waters - 06/24/19 05:44 AM

Here is the difference in water clarity between my gypsum treated pond and the water inlet that feeds it.
Heavy suspended clay but it settles out well if I use heavy lime and gypsum each spring.I use the pelletized gypsum and make a slurry with it.
Posted by: roundy

Re: Time to take a look at muddy waters - 06/24/19 10:46 AM

CP - that is my next angle of attack if the water doesn't continue to clear. I plane to ramp up to the full-on alum treatment option, hopefully, that won't be necessary. Thanks for the visual.
Posted by: roundy

Re: Time to take a look at muddy waters - 07/13/19 06:55 PM


Update:
Water seems to have cleared of clay. Picture is "greener" than actual water, due to color enhancements to bring out fish better. Looks like hybrid bluegill on nest are as fine are quite yellow at edges. Lots of 3/4 inch yoy swimming around the area. Seems patience paid off once again.