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#496805 - 09/24/18 02:38 PM Red/Brown Clouds In Water?
RCCPonds Offline


Registered: 09/24/18
Posts: 2
Loc: Michigan
Hello,

We live on a 1.5 acre neighborhood pond along with 8 other homes. The pond is roughly rectangular shaped with homes on two sides and open space on the other two sides. The pond is roughly 15 years old and 15-20 feet deep. There are two inlets from road and yard/sump pump runoff. There is one outlet that drains into a creek. We assume it’s also spring fed given the fact that there are numerous springs in people’s yards around the pond. Even when we have a dry spell the water never drops below the point to where it’s not continuously draining into the creek. The water is generally cold/refreshing throughout summer and it does not freeze solid in the winter. I have not done a secchi disk test but I would guess it to be around two feet typically. We live in a heavy clay soil area. This is our second summer living here and no pond maintenance has ever been done to our knowledge.

This summer has been dry up until the end of August where we had a rain storm that yielded about 3” of rain in a day causing the pond the rise about a foot for a couple days. About two weeks after that rain event we could see large clouds of brown/red in the water, we’re talking multiple 250 sq. ft. masses visible from our deck looking over the pond. The brown/red stuff isn’t on the surface of the water, more so suspended. The water has an odor to it that can be smelt from just sitting on the deck. Not a horribly offensive odor but a strong pond/swamp odor. The brown/red areas are defined, we can be at our beach and have normal “clear” water in one spot and then move over a foot and it goes right from “clear” to where you can’t see the bottom in a couple inches of water. I attached some pictures of the “clouds” (not easily captured), the brown/red when it washes up on the sand, and some pictures of it in a glass. Note that in a glass it seems that 80% settles but it still has a smell. We’re assuming whatever it is, it will eventually settle, but we would love to figure out what it is because whenever we swim, last summer and this summer, that smell stays with us after we dry off. The smell is just definitely stronger right now.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/FCoyqQeJ4Jjt2pyh9

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#496838 - 09/25/18 11:53 AM Re: Red/Brown Clouds In Water? [Re: RCCPonds]
ewest Offline
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Lunker

Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 19590
Loc: Miss.
What could have washed in from the rain ? Like fertilizer for example or runoff from a cut grass field or crops ? A guess is something added fertility to the pond which resulted in a plankton bloom (can be green , brown or red tinted). Part could also be suspended clay that washed in or was stirred up with the rain.
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#496845 - 09/25/18 03:52 PM Re: Red/Brown Clouds In Water? [Re: RCCPonds]
DonoBBD Offline


Registered: 06/13/12
Posts: 1957
Loc: Ontario, Canada, Eh.
It looks like plankton to me too. It would be cool to try to get it under a microscope.

We have these clouds up north. If we don't get the water for the sauna off shore far enough we will get plankton in the water. It has what I would call a orange/red colour to it.

P.S. dead ones will settle out like scum.


Edited by DonoBBD (09/25/18 03:55 PM)
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7/8th of an acre, Perch only pond, Ontario, Canada.

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#496857 - 09/25/18 10:12 PM Re: Red/Brown Clouds In Water? [Re: RCCPonds]
DannyMac Offline


Registered: 04/15/18
Posts: 48
Loc: Bexar county Texas
Nowhere near you guys here in central Texas, but we received about 18 inches of rain over three weeks with one tropical rain (no thunder) dumping five inches over about eight hours. I got runoff from adjacent but wild areas. We're now at very nice temperatures, like an early fall for central Texas, BOW top to bottom at 72 down from 80, so I put aeration on 24/7. The fish are eating their feed well. During this spell of wet, I added a shot of bacteria. With the rain and runoff, besides a silted pond, I have had several algae bloom events, explosion of green with sunlight, green turning to brown in the afternoon but all gone by twilight, all of which are like rivulets on the surface currents. I have had a lot more green algae forming on the pond edge. The BOW lately developed a yellow-green surface scum, but it seems to not affect the fish.
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#496858 - 09/25/18 10:32 PM Re: Red/Brown Clouds In Water? [Re: RCCPonds]
scott69 Offline
Lunker

Registered: 07/12/08
Posts: 1032
Loc: Chambers county(Valley), alaba...
i guess i have dealt with all of the water colors mentioned above. i posted a pretty nasty reddish surface scum a month or so ago. i fertilized my lawn with 34-0-0 and not long after received a pretty good rain. my yard runoff is within 75 ft of my pond. up until then i was fertilizing the pond, but having a hard time establishing a good bloom. after the lawn fertilizer washed in the pond it got REALLY green. i am not sure if that was what caused it or not. recently i am seeing a greenish algae of some type on the surface. it is very thin (not fa). seems like the more you do to manage a pond (fertilize and feed the fish) the better chance you have a causing a negative impact.

i would recommend to the original poster not to eat any fish during the times he can smell that pondy smell. my old and current pond both get that smell from time to time. it definetley gives the fish a strong taste.
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#496876 - 09/26/18 12:02 PM Re: Red/Brown Clouds In Water? [Re: ewest]
RCCPonds Offline


Registered: 09/24/18
Posts: 2
Loc: Michigan
Originally Posted By: ewest
What could have washed in from the rain ? Like fertilizer for example or runoff from a cut grass field or crops ? A guess is something added fertility to the pond which resulted in a plankton bloom (can be green , brown or red tinted). Part could also be suspended clay that washed in or was stirred up with the rain.


Yes I assume fertilizer runoff was prevalent. Thanks for mentioning the plankton, after looking into it more I think you're spot on. The clay typically settles pretty fast. Is there anything that can be done to neutralize the fertilizer runoff from the pond side of things? I can't tell 40+ neighbors to stop fertilizing their lawns.

Thanks.

Originally Posted By: DonoBBD
It looks like plankton to me too. It would be cool to try to get it under a microscope.

We have these clouds up north. If we don't get the water for the sauna off shore far enough we will get plankton in the water. It has what I would call a orange/red colour to it.

P.S. dead ones will settle out like scum.


We are going to try to borrow a microscope and take a peek at them, something neat to show the kids, although it may scare them from swimming.

Is there anything that can be done to the pond to help with the smell? Is the smell the dying/decomposing plankton? Anything we can do to speed up the process?

Thanks.

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#496880 - 09/26/18 04:24 PM Re: Red/Brown Clouds In Water? [Re: RCCPonds]
Jim Wetzel Offline


Registered: 08/16/17
Posts: 367
Loc: Holts Summit, MO
Pictures I see indicate a dense population of water fleas in the shallows and near surface. They are zooplankton that typically like to hang in water with low light levels. In most settings they will be deeper down where light levels or low dissolved oxygen levels makes foraging by plankton feeding fishes less profitable. When blooms are really dense you can see the water fleas throughout much of the water column although they will form what look like storms that can even approach edges of pond. If water quality in depths of pond or lake become poor, then the water fleas can crowd into shallows giving appearance of high abundance. Smell noted may indicate later is at play. Dead water fleas and exuviae from molting water fleas can also concentrate in shallows and blow up to water, air and land interphase of littoral zone.
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Cooperative Research / Extension
Lincoln University of Missouri

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