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#415374 - 06/13/15 04:35 PM Need Help! "How to clean a tannic pond?"
thecamelman79 Offline


Registered: 06/13/15
Posts: 4
Loc: eastern North Carolina
Hello to all the fellow pond owners out there!

First and foremost this is my first post to this site and would like to thank everyone in advance for any advice you can offer me.
I have two ponds fairly close together that where dug for their clay, sand, content to be used as structural fill for the homestead lot. They are both about 50' wide and 100' long ovals, approximately 7'-8' deep in the center. so my best guess considering the slope from 0 to center and curvature of the oval is that they are around 300,000 gallons each. They are surrounded by swamp land that was created when the beavers decided the dam up a small creek at the rear of the property. The ponds are about 15 years old now and nothing lives in them beside giant bull frogs and water bugs. The water to me looks and smells tannic. Visibility is around 1'-2' normally, and 3'-4' deep on a good day. The water feels slimy to touch, but leaves you skin feeling coated when let to air dry. I don't know what the PH is but I plan to test it next week. The water it self is feed by the ground water table, and rain.
My question is what would be the most cost effective way to clean these ponds up, so I can let the kids swim in them, and possibly stock them with Cat Fish or Koi for them to throw their poles at once in a while?

A few more details about the pond is that their is no permeant power out at there at the lot yet, and hoped not to have to install any for a while. All power is from two generators I have out there, some solar cells, and car batteries, connected to invertors. There is a 120' well on the property that if need be I can draw from. I have lots of 8" and 2" pipe. A garden hose sump pump, 1 1/2" grinder pump, 3" grinder pump, 50 gal sand filter. A few dozen plastic rain barrels, rain gutters, filter fabric, and lots of miscellaneous construction material let over from projects I've completed over the years.

I don't mind getting creative with what I got, but don't want to go at this in the wrong direction, throwing money into a literal hole in the water buying a bunch of chemicals I may or may not need. Any ideas you guys have would be greatly appreciated. I'm really looking for a long term solution here, something that is cost effective, and in harmony with the nature around me.

Thanks again,
Camel

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#415375 - 06/13/15 05:08 PM Re: Need Help! "How to clean a tannic pond?" [Re: thecamelman79]
Bob-O Offline
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Registered: 01/24/06
Posts: 2380
Loc: Butler In. Very NE corner
Hello and welcome to the site. I know very little about changing water conditions except that aeration is always helpful but doesn't seem likely in your case. If you want a clearer BOW do not put in Koi. they root around in the bottom and just constantly stir it up. Catfish will do so to some extent but are at least catchable. Koi are difficult to fish for or at least were for me, I ended up shootin or spearin them out. I only put in six and it took a long time getting rid of em. If ya put in some predators you will need forage for them unless you can feed yr around. Might want to consider HSB and Bluntnose minnows, Spotfin shiners and maybe GSH. Good luck and do not hesitate to ask ?s. Guys much smarter than I will chime in.
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#415381 - 06/13/15 07:07 PM Re: Need Help! "How to clean a tannic pond?" [Re: Bob-O]
Bill D. Offline


Registered: 10/19/14
Posts: 5876
Loc: Boone County Illinois
Originally Posted By: Bob-O
... Guys much smarter than I will chime in.


Hey Camel,

Since Bob has set the posting rules as "smarter than him" all I can do is say Welcome to PBF! smile

Bill D.


Edited by Bill D. (06/13/15 07:45 PM)
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#415434 - 06/14/15 10:38 AM Re: Need Help! "How to clean a tannic pond?" [Re: Bill D.]
Pat Williamson Offline


Registered: 08/08/14
Posts: 2765
Loc: Oakwood,Texas
Camel
Welcome to the forum
Bob- o is sharper than he lets on .... Get the water cked and post results and we will go dome there.

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#415435 - 06/14/15 10:52 AM Re: Need Help! "How to clean a tannic pond?" [Re: thecamelman79]
DonoBBD Offline


Registered: 06/13/12
Posts: 1992
Loc: Ontario, Canada, Eh.
I am betting high iron. A high iron water will feel slimy and leave a film as you stated. It will make a whole different group of alga and bacteria then other water.

99.9% of the time its tannins. Tannins reacting with iron will give you a black film and the iron will not oxidize well.

A test will tell you right away and then you can arrange making the right moves with out wasting time and money.

Cheers Don.


Edited by DonoBBD (06/14/15 10:56 AM)
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#415438 - 06/14/15 11:41 AM Re: Need Help! "How to clean a tannic pond?" [Re: thecamelman79]
Rainman Offline
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Registered: 06/06/07
Posts: 7022
Loc: St Louis, MO area
Very soft water will give a slimy/coated feel also. Fish don't like soft water. The water tests will definitely be your first step before any adjustments can be known.

As for the original post, leak and other litter containing a tannin, stain the water. There is just not a lot you can do to prevent or remove the staining
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#417485 - 07/02/15 12:19 PM Re: Need Help! "How to clean a tannic pond?" [Re: thecamelman79]
thecamelman79 Offline


Registered: 06/13/15
Posts: 4
Loc: eastern North Carolina
Ok guys, thanks for the advice you gave me. Although I decided to go for broke!

I striped down to my skivys and waded through a 1/4 mile of foul smelling swamp land out to the beaver damn with my chain saw over my shoulder. Once I got there I proceeded to chop away at the dam until it broke almost sweeping me down river but I managed to catch my self on a tree near the bank. Over the next two days the water level receded about 60' from the old shore line , and continues to recede effectively lowering the water table by a good 4' or so.
Next I took one of my 1 1/4" grinder pumps and my big 2" grinder and put them as deep as I could go into the pond. Unfortunately I only had about 20' of dicharge hose, enough to make it to shore, but not near enough to get to a spot where it wouldn't simple drain back into the pond. So I had to figure out a way to get the water another 140' . I look around and found a few 20' sticks of 8" & 10" pvc, some 6" rain gutter, and some 4" coregated pipe. Next I found a bunch of old car tires, pallets, brick, and1x4 that could be used for leveling and supporting the pipe and gutter I had. I then proceeded to build the most redneck version of a Roman aquaduct ever built. CCarefully leveling and building a pillar every 5' or so making sure it was dead level or had a slight downward slope. It ended up being about 5'6" tall at the pond side and sloped to zero in 140' or so. Finally I setup my most fuel efficient generator, bypassing its on board fuel tank and connecting it to a 40 gallon fuel barrel I had and let it run for the last week effectively draining the pond out. Now I have a low power mag drive 3/8" pond pump with a float switch that is light enough to be ran off of my 3 panel solar array. This has so far been about to keep the incoming ground water and rain from refilling the pond. With the pond empty its easy to see why the water was so tanic as there is a 1' to 2' layer of pine straw and leaves covering the whole basin. My hopes are now to keep the pond pumped and dry long enough for that pine straw to dry out enough that I can do a controlled burn of the whole bowl. Once I've burned every thing out I should be able to diconnect the sump pump in to middle and hook up my aquaduct in reverse and fill the pond back up with clean fresh well water. Hope fully this should give me a much cleaner pond!
If anyone has any comments or suggestions I'm eager to get your input as I'm really winging this whole thing. Heck one good idea from you guys could save me alot of hard ache if I'm going about this all wrong.

Thanks,
Camel

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#417490 - 07/02/15 01:27 PM Re: Need Help! "How to clean a tannic pond?" [Re: thecamelman79]
canyoncreek Online   content


Registered: 05/07/13
Posts: 2044
Loc: West Michigan
Do you have the option after the straw/leaves are burned to dig down and take the 2-3 feet of muck that is under the dry stuff out while you went through all this effort to expose the bottom?

Knowing what is at the bottom of the muck is very important. In addition, unless you plan to do this all again, you will still end up with lots of old decaying leaves from the past that will VERY slowly breakdown with the right water conditions and aeration but you can speed that up majorly by getting it a nice clean base with an excavator or some other improvised way to remove the muck.

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#417491 - 07/02/15 01:40 PM Re: Need Help! "How to clean a tannic pond?" [Re: canyoncreek]
esshup Offline
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Registered: 01/26/09
Posts: 24033
Loc: Grovertown, Indiana
Another vote for mechanically removing it all. After going through all that time and trouble you are over half way there.

Removing the muck will also allow your pond to live longer, and will make managing/maintaining it a lot easier (and less costly) over the upcoming years.
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#417630 - 07/03/15 10:41 PM Re: Need Help! "How to clean a tannic pond?" [Re: thecamelman79]
thecamelman79 Offline


Registered: 06/13/15
Posts: 4
Loc: eastern North Carolina
I just checked and the closet rental yard that has one big enough to do it in a day or two wants $350 a day. ...that a big chunk of change to dump into a hole in the ground, especially if it take two or three days. I supose their is no cheaper way to attack this aside from a wheel barrel and shovel and that might just be toture. On another note my sump seems to be keeping the basin free from most of the standing water but it is still really squishy and you really cant walk in the base with out losing a shoe......its probaly going to take a long time to dry out

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#417640 - 07/04/15 12:50 AM Re: Need Help! "How to clean a tannic pond?" [Re: thecamelman79]
John Monroe Offline
Member

Registered: 06/03/02
Posts: 1105
Loc: East Central Indiana
Here is my thought. When my pond opens up from the ice thaw in the spring I have a dark tea color I think caused by the large amounts of of lilies that die in the pond. As new lilies and vegetation grows and we get rains my pond becomes very clear. So I have wondered if pond vegetation somehow eliminate tannon. I like a clear pond so I just have minnows in it and no fish that roots the bottom and stirs up the mud.


Edited by John Monroe (07/04/15 12:52 AM)
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#417653 - 07/04/15 07:25 AM Re: Need Help! "How to clean a tannic pond?" [Re: thecamelman79]
Dave Davidson1 Online   content
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Registered: 01/04/06
Posts: 13986
Loc: Hurst & Bowie, Texas
If you think the water is tannic, toss a couple of fish in a bucket of it. If tannin, they will die within an hour.
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It's not about the fish. It's about the pond. Take care of the pond and the fish will be fine. PB subscriber since before it was in color.

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#417655 - 07/04/15 07:30 AM Re: Need Help! "How to clean a tannic pond?" [Re: Dave Davidson1]
esshup Offline
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Registered: 01/26/09
Posts: 24033
Loc: Grovertown, Indiana
It depends on the amount of tannic acid in the water. My pond turns brown and visibility drops to about 30" when the water enters the pond from running through the woods first. The fish are fine.
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3/4 to 1 1/4 ac pond LMB, SMB, PS, BG, RES, CC, YP, Bardello BG, (RBT & Blue Tilapia - seasonal).

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#418884 - 07/19/15 02:32 PM Re: Need Help! "How to clean a tannic pond?" [Re: thecamelman79]
thecamelman79 Offline


Registered: 06/13/15
Posts: 4
Loc: eastern North Carolina
Well ive managed to keep the water level down now for a few weeks but its still muck up to my knees and real soft. Its too the point that I would like to rent an excavator to clean out the bottom of the pond but I'm really wondering if I might get the machine stuck which would be horrible. The pond is surrounded by trees with only one clearing big enough to get the machine in so the pond will have to be dug from the inside so I cant dig from the shore. Anyone have any experience with how longrit may take to dry out?

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#418886 - 07/19/15 03:14 PM Re: Need Help! "How to clean a tannic pond?" [Re: thecamelman79]
esshup Offline
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Registered: 01/26/09
Posts: 24033
Loc: Grovertown, Indiana
"keeping the water level down" and drying it out are two different things. When muck is taken out of a pond and placed in piles on shore, it takes about a year to dry out. So if water still collects in your pond, it'll never "dry out".

If the soil is hard under the muck, and it's only knee deep, then it can be dug out without getting stuck. If you aren't experienced with an excavator, and you are worried about getting stuck, then you shouldn't do it DIY, you should call in someone that knows how to run the equipment. It would be an expensive tow bill..........
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3/4 to 1 1/4 ac pond LMB, SMB, PS, BG, RES, CC, YP, Bardello BG, (RBT & Blue Tilapia - seasonal).

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#427606 - 10/26/15 05:26 PM Re: Need Help! "How to clean a tannic pond?" [Re: thecamelman79]
3z3k3l Offline
Member

Registered: 01/31/05
Posts: 111
Loc: Dallas, TX
Hey Camelman, any update on what you decided to do? You can get a lot done with an excavator in one day.
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