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If anyone has multi-year experience with muck digesting pellets, I'd really like to understand how that's going. Thanks!

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Hello. I'm a fellow pond owner up here in Northern Michigan (Traverse City area) 3 years ago we moved into a house with a natural pond. The first Summer the pond stunk (literally) and had huge algae growth. I was too busy that first Summer to do much about it though.

Two Summers ago I tried to do some manual removal of muck in my 20x40 foot spring fed pond. I would estimate that the pond should be 8-10' deep but was only 4 or so feet deep. I used a diaphragm pump and it worked well (unlike the trash pump I tried before it) but I underestimated the amount of time it took and amount of muck in the pond. (Being spring fed my pond is very cold and even in waders it was hard to stay in there for too long.) At the end of a few days with the rented pump I ended with perhaps 5 cubic yards of good dirt for the garden but this was only a small dent in the pond's accumulation. I introduced rainbow trout at the end of that Summer (2011) and they've done very well since (although the frog population hasn't fared as well!)

In 2012 (last year) I added a diy aerator system (single disk, weighted tubing, and an air pump on shore)that has run 24/7 ever since. Being spring fed and having constant year round in flow and out flow I don't know if I need the aerator but I really want to tackle the muck and deepen the pond. I also used the muck away pellets last year and did notice a difference. For starters there was much less algae bloom growth (perhaps due to the aerator?) The area around the shore went from black to tan and I could see the bottom around the shore for the first time. I also noticed less smell from the pond than in previous years. I continued the aerating and muck away treatments through the winter. I have yet to do a stick test in the middle to see if the 4' depth has improved any.

This Summer I'm contemplating switching to the CFlo and enzyme treatment to see if I think it is better, worse, or any different than the muck away pellets that I'm almost out of. I'd be interested in seeing this post continuing and seeing what results (or lack of) that you've been seeing and what changes (if any) you are trying this year.

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Just a thought. If raking seems to improve muck elimination then would that seem to suggest that composting is taking place by adding dissolved oxygen and mixing like the composting that takes place for gardening? And would adding KOI carp that grooms the bottom also aid in the mixing of the bottom muck. To test this thought out the next time I go kayaking I know of an area where the carp are very thick and so I will test the bottom for muck. The down side of the large number of carp is the water is very muddy.


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Mixing sediments to aerate them significantly speeds decay of those sediments. Aerobic digestion (oxygenated) is a lot faster than anaerobic decay (no oxygen).


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Color me skeptical. We humans are very good at seeing things subjectively if we want to. And how many other factors could be at play? How much bacteria can you add that isn't already there? How much more likely is it the native bacteria is more likely to work in conjunction with aeration (aerobic decomposition) than adding some exotic strains?

When used with aeration I'd be more inclined to believe the aeration did 99.9 percent of the beneficial results with native bacteria which is already there and adapted to the pond. But hey that's my opinion and you know what they say about opinions.

I once used some bacteria and was astonished to see my filamentous algae disappear. For a time I was a true believer. Over time with this particular trout pond I have noticed this occurs every spring about the same time without adding bacteria. This occurs when water temps warm up a little and Chara (another form of algae but looks more like a plant) becomes established and out competes the FA. Haven't added bacteria in years, and the same phenomenon takes place every year in the spring, after a previous fall drain down when the Chara is dried out. Once the Chara reestablishes itself in the spring - boom the FA is gone. Happening right now.

Last edited by Cecil Baird1; 06/11/13 05:33 PM.

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Originally Posted By: Bill Cody
Mixing sediments to aerate them significantly speeds decay of those sediments. Aerobic digestion (oxygenated) is a lot faster than anaerobic decay (no oxygen).


Exactly! That is why some septic tanks use aeration and sewage treatment plants uses massive amounts of surface aeration.


If pigs could fly bacon would be harder to come by and there would be a lot of damaged trees.






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Any updates Bob?

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I, like most, was skeptical about pond bacteria years ago. ***Disclaimer*** I own a fish hatchery and a pond and lake management business and have our own line of bacteria products. I have had the luxury of experimenting with all kinds of beneficial bacteria using other people's money. Some of these pond and lake projects are 6 year "experiments" . What I learned mostly is that the bacteria will work, but it takes time and it takes the correct dosage. A decade of building up muck may take a couple years to get back to normal, especially in the north east where water temps are not in the bacteria optimal operating range for very long. Some ponds were black muck right up to the edge and now they are rocks and tan color non-organic silt. As for the muck pellets, we use a 1oz. about the size of a golf ball. Getting rid of weeds and adding aeration greatly increases the effectiveness. The weeds and especially stuff like blanketing charra prevent O2 from getting to the muck and almost render the pellet useless. Get some Grass Carp first if you have a lot of weeds. We also designed a pelleted corn gluten pellet that has sucrose and bicarb additives that supercharge the bacteria.

Last edited by ewest; 09/10/13 07:59 PM.

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Originally Posted By: Smith Creek Fish
I, like most, was skeptical about pond bacteria years ago. ***Disclaimer*** I own a fish hatchery and a pond and lake management business and have our own line of bacteria products. I have had the luxury of experimenting with all kinds of beneficial bacteria using other people's money. Some of these pond and lake projects are 6 year "experiments" . What I learned mostly is that the bacteria will work, but it takes time and it takes the correct dosage. A decade of building up muck may take a couple years to get back to normal, especially in the north east where water temps are not in the bacteria optimal operating range for very long. Some ponds were black muck right up to the edge and now they are rocks and tan color non-organic silt. As for the muck pellets, we use a 1oz. about the size of a golf ball. Getting rid of weeds and adding aeration greatly increases the effectiveness. The weeds and especially stuff like blanketing charra prevent O2 from getting to the muck and almost render the pellet useless. Get some Grass Carp first if you have a lot of weeds. We also designed a pelleted corn gluten pellet that has sucrose and bicarb additives that supercharge the bacteria.


Thanks for the information! You are welcome to PM me and tell me wat you think is effective.

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I have to say that the bacteria did not make a noticeable difference after 2 years. Aeration is the key in my opinion. My theory is that the bacteria are already there and I think some here have eluded to that. I just need to cultivate the bacteria that are already there by aeration. The key word there was cultivate! The bacteria that I am after is the kind that live in the presence of oxygen, which are 30 times more aggressive of muck removal than the Anaerobic version. Aeration, Aeration, Aeration!

I would not recommend adding bacteria for muck removal... Sorry if I'm the Debbie Downer here for anyone in the bacteria selling business!

Bob

Last edited by Bob VanOrman; 11/04/13 08:47 AM.

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Bob,

I couldn't agree more. I think much of the credit that goes to adding bacteria should go to aeration which eliminates anoxic conditions where aerobic bacteria can get to work.

I also question the idea of adding exotic strains of bacteria that aren't adapted to a particular pond, as are the bacteria that are already present. And furthermore bacteria like any other organism has a carrying capacity -- so more is not necessarily better.

Last edited by Cecil Baird1; 11/04/13 09:17 AM.

If pigs could fly bacon would be harder to come by and there would be a lot of damaged trees.






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Bacteria are most beneficial IMO when algaecides have been recently used because many algaecides also kill bacteria. Thus reseeding the pond with beneficial decomposing strains of bacteria makes sense to me.


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Well don't want to buck the system here but it has worked for me. Along with my air of course. If you don't have air in your pond dont bother even using any kind of bacteria. The last 2 years out of 3 I have used a differenct product and I have seen results. Course I can't sit here and say would I or wouldn't I have had the same results without using it cause I don't know?? I do have an area of my pond though that has gone from 6 or so inches of muck to about 1.5 inches. So something is working. I think a combination of the 2 is the best. Just don't over do it. I only use 2 one pound bags for my 1 acre pond. 1 in June and 1 in August.

Like I said though I have had air running all 3 years also so I can't sit here and tell you that it's all the bacterias doing cause I am sure that it's NOT!!

RC

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There has been interest about this on the BP forum lately. I see several fellow Michigan pond owners doing experiments with various enzymes and bacteria in summer of 2012.

Bob VanOrman, Slivers, CoachB? Loretta? Any progress to report since then?

Vasteras70, this is a good read for you!

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Bump, Bump. Anyone?


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I just discovered a product that is an enzyme and bacteria product.you can brew the product with a quart of the product a quart of molasses and four and a half gallons of water. You can keep brewing the product with what you make.so the price is very reasonable.I have started to treat my pond and I have placed some measuring sticks in the muck and it appears to be digesting some of the muck.I haven't been able to get any aeration setup yet.

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What is the name of the product?

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Cool CB, this is such an interesting topic I'm glad someone has more info. Name of product+1. How did you find this product? Do you know what the molasses does?


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This subject could go on and on that's for sure! In 2010 I used Muck Away one year.... Did not much care for it... I switched to a product called C-Flo in 2011. Been using 2 bags of it ever year now. I have seen it work first hand for me along with my air. Although I do, do a couple other things to help this process along.

1. I use air and C-flo combination now for 4 years.

2. I walk around in my pond a lot along the shore in my waiters (why) you may ask? Well I believe it helps break the muck up and stir things up some. Gets things working.

3. I will take a rake a heavy garden type rake drill a hole in the top of the handle and drag it behind my boat around my pond. (In the spring mind you before my chara sets in) I believe this helps dig into the first few inches of the muck and once again gets things activated and moving.

I know by doing these things I have lost at least anywhere from 6 to 12 inches of muck over the last 4 years depending where you are in the pond.

Here is what I can see from it.

1. Pond seems to be much clearer cleaner and no stink.
2. I still have some but not near as much algae in the spring.
3. My fish seem to be very happy and look better than ever!
4. I can actually feel rocks and bottom under my feet when I walk around my pond now. They are still about 3 inches under muck but at least I can feel the now compared to when I first started.

Others are skeptical and that's fine, that's what this is about talking things out and what you think does or don't work.

This is what I can tell you.

Ben. Bacteria by itself is not no quick fix. It takes work and a combination of the things I am doing to help it along.

Now here is the question that I don't know? How much muck would I have lost if I just used air and walked around my pond and pulled the rake behind my boat and never use any B. Bacteria? I don't know cause I started using it right away and never looked back as my process worked so well for me.....

RC


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Good info RC, thanks.
Does anyone know at what temp(water) the bacteria works best?


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Yes your water temp really needs to be about 55. Closer to 60 or higher is best. At least with the product I am using.

RC

Last edited by RC51; 08/11/15 10:06 AM.

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Thamks RC


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Pond update from my post in '13. I ran out of bacteria supplement last year ('14) and got lazy and didn't get any more. By the end of this Summer ('15) the muck is definitely worse and I'm having algae blooms. Have been running the air 24/7 for the last couple of years. I know the diffuser is dirty and what used to be small bubbles are now big ones but it's a small pond (20'x40') and other than that the only change has been the stopping of bacteria additive. My hope and plan is to somehow try and tackle the muck (again) with a pump or small DIY type dragline and then start up bacteria and air again.

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I haven't been around for a while but I'm still managing my pond. Two summers ago I decided I would seriously try some bacteria in my 1 acre pond. The pond was 11 years old and surrounded by trees. So the muck on the bottom was getting deeper. I decided to conduct the best experiment I could easily do to measure weather the muck was disappearing. I put a rod down in the pond with a marker to measure the muck level. I use Muck Away pellets and follow the manufacturer's dosing recommendation. They claim it will digest 5 inches of muck per season and that's about what I have measured each season over the past two years. During this test I have not changed any other variables. I have always had aeration in the pond and I am running this the same as always. The only change has been the addition of the pellets. I also noticed another benefit. My pond has two sections. In one section I have always turned the aeration off in the winter because the family likes to skate on this part of the pond. Her in MN my pond is iced over from mid November to Mid April. I restart that aerator in mid March each year. Each spring when I restart the aeration in that part of the pond I do it very carefully because it stirs up a lot of hydrogen sulfide when I start it up. Last spring (the first spring after the start of my bacteria test), I noticed that I had no rotten egg smell at all coming up with my aeration when it was first started. I think this may be the added bacteria doing its job. I will see if this holds true again this coming spring when I start it up again. So far I'm happy, I've lost 10 inches of muck in two years and much less danger in the spring when starting up the aeration. I'm sold.


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One thing I do to stir up any muck that is within ten feet or so of the shoreline is I mix a small portion of sinking catfish food in with my floating fish food (about 10% sinking). I hand feed all around the shore line. I use the CC to root around in the muck for the sinking food.

I scatter the food all along the shoreline normally, but occasionally I will stay in one spot and watch the fish feed. As they clean it up will throw out some more. After a few minutes of feeding in one spot I can see the CC rooting all around the bottom looking for that feed that hit the bottom. In fact I have some CC that really do not like to come to the surface to feed.

If you have CC it is just one way to let them do the work instead of wading around the pond or raking it yourself. The CC do a good job of finding and cleaning up the feed. They stir up the bottom in the process.

Last edited by snrub; 02/07/16 08:37 PM.

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