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Try a farm co-op and get AlSO4 aluminum sulfate (Iron content does NOT matter)...400 pounds of alum and 200 pounds of Hydrated Lime (Calcium Hydroxide) will make sure it clears. Almost every "city water" treatment plant has used alum at one time or another to clear drinking water...it's safe.

Turn off your aeration while treating and leave it off overnight after treating...apply the alum slurry first, followed by the hydrated lime application...



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A post by mglanham showing some results.

Here is an update on my pond progress. On Sunday, I mixed 700lbs of Alum in trash cans with a trolling motor. I threw half of it from shore and the other half from a boat. I also did the hydrated lime. I only treated one half of the pond, but there was a good wind which I believe carried the Alum to the other side of the pond. When I was finished I noticed absolutely no difference.......I left thinking I hadn't applied enough.

I returned three days later to check on things and the second picture shows you what I saw.













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what an amazing transformation!


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With a one year old Black Lab that makes several trips a day in our small (clay soil) pond is there any chance Alum will help our pond stay clearer? I guess what I'm asking is, does Alum have a lasting affect or does it work once and when the water gets stirred up again it's done. Thanks!

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Thanks for all the help guys!

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3X8, Alum binds to the ionically negative (colloidal) clay. In almost all cases, the alum, while still in the stirred up clay by the dog, will make the clay settle back out very quickly.

Eventually, the dog and fish will slowly make all the alum migrate deeper into the softer silts and to the deepest portions of the pond that rarely get disturbed.

So, to answer your question, yes, it will help, but it depends on just how much and how long.

If your pond clears on it's own already, I would just broadcast Alum granules into waters 3 feet deep and shallower. I wouldn't worry about creating a slurry first.



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Thank you Rainman! smile

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I'm trying to clear my pond up here in East Texas with Gypsum. My local ag office suggested this route instead of aluminum sulfate due to PH problems we already battle here in the piney woods. I got four pitchers of pond water and then mixed two tbsp of gypsum in one of the pitchers with tap water. I then added increasing doses to each of the samples. one tbsp in the first, two in the second and three in the third. waited overnight and there was no change. so I started over and added four to the first one, six to the second and eight to the third. the one with eight tbsp of gypsum slurry mix seemed to clear slightly overnight. I figured my pond to be 1.65 acre feet of water, or about .30 surface acres. based on the recommendations of my ag office, I need 1200 lbs of gypsum? does that sound right? I'm going to try the aluminum sulfate test the same way, but it is about $40 for 50lbs and the gypsum was $10 for 50 lbs. My PH level is between 6-7, how bad will the aluminum hurt it? Anyone ever use liquid aluminum sulfate? I'm reading that if I follow it up with lime, I shouldn't have too much of a ph problem, but im not trying to spend $750 either! No fish in the water as of yet, its a new pond with lots of clay turbidity. our whole property is clay pretty much. any advice?

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Use 50% HYDRATED Lime per pound of Alum, and your pH will rise slightly when done.

Go to your local grocery store that sells McCormack seasonings and buy a small container of Alum (used in canning to keep things crisp).

It will take about 400-500 pounds of Alum and I'd suggest 300 pounds of Hydrated lime and the ending result will be a slight increase in pH.....do NOT use AG lime in place of Hydrated lime!!!!!

After the pond is clear, if you can, get about 5 tons per acre of pond and watershed spread with AG lime for long term (years) calcium and increased pH

You will need tons of gypsum.....way less cost with alum....never add alum alone!! Read the Clay kicks Clay Butt threads in the muddy water section you created this thread in.....it explains the proper ways to apply Alum and Hydrated lime....done wrong, or under dosed, it will not work!



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This seems to be a pretty hot topic, and a very good read. I must ask though, as I research Alum for pond use, most of what I find is mixed with a buffering agent, in most cases this appears to be sodium carbonate (soda ash) at around 20% of the total volume. I happen to have about 400lbs of sodium carbonate left (that I sealed my pond with) so I'm wondering about obtaining the alum and mix myself. Lime has always been a no-no in my location due to our soil make up so I'm guessing I'd be better off using the soda ash..?? I have been asking around about Alum and I haven't found a source anywhere close. I assumed being in the middle of mainly Ag country I'd be able to obtain enough to do my 2.5 ac ft pond. Going to need to find a source of Alum first I guess.
Any thoughts on the sodium carbonate?? I didn't see that mentioned by anyone as a buffer for Ph control..

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I used the alum/lime last spring and it worked to clear up my water to around 36" from 9 to 12" of green water and detritus by reducing/tying up the phosphorous . My calcium ppm is low in my pond and if you use soda ash it can reduce the calcium/hardness in your water.


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I found out today that my Local Helena retailer has it right here. The Alum sulfate that is.. Got lucky I guess. I'm still wondering about using the sodium carbonate in place of lime though..Our soil type here is such that acid has to be added for many chemical applications and a couple of our local chemical reps say don't use lime here, I'll be sorry if I do, so I need to research that a bit more.

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Where is your PH now? And from my experience I would stay with Rainmans recommendations. When I treated my pond (3+ acres) with 2 to 1 ratio the pH did not change much at all. The alum is an acid and will drop the pH, the lime will keep it around the 7 range if it is mixed and added correctly. Hay, I am no expert but passing along my experience.


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I'm in the 7.4-7.6 range depending on time of day.
I guess I still need to do more research. The chemical applicators and farmers here don't use lime in the NW (very NW) corner of Kansas, go in the other direction normally. I can't even find lime within 200 miles of here. Locals keep telling me no on Lime and use soda ash.. I need to find out why Lime in particular, is recommended over Sodium Carb.. is it based on water PH only?? What I find in research shows in becomes active with the bottom compounds as well. Don't know how credible it is but KU study shows a graph that says PH above 7.2, Not to add any Lime. Apparently I'm just not finding the right data to tell me why 1 over the other. Not trying to be difficult here, I just need to understand.

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I suspect locals are talking of not liming a pond due to higher pH soils. But I would suspect that's not the case when one adds an acid to the water. You could run a pilot test. Take pond water sample, like 5 gals, add the alum ck pH before and after. Add lime and or soda ash and check for pH increase. Another thing is when adding lime your water hardness and or calcium should come up. Soda ash will lower water hardness/calcium. Fish need the water to have some water hardness/calcium but I don't recall what the water hardness/calcium ppm needs to be, but maybe someone else will jump in here.


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TGW1, I think I will try some sampling before I boff the whole deal. :-)) And I think you're right on the high pH soils..In my case after completing the seal, I piled a 8-12" layer of this soil on top.

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Where can i get alum in bulk near denton texas or the dallas metroplex

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Originally Posted By: Snipe
I'm in the 7.4-7.6 range depending on time of day.
I guess I still need to do more research. The chemical applicators and farmers here don't use lime in the NW (very NW) corner of Kansas, go in the other direction normally. I can't even find lime within 200 miles of here. Locals keep telling me no on Lime and use soda ash.. I need to find out why Lime in particular, is recommended over Sodium Carb.. is it based on water PH only?? What I find in research shows in becomes active with the bottom compounds as well. Don't know how credible it is but KU study shows a graph that says PH above 7.2, Not to add any Lime. Apparently I'm just not finding the right data to tell me why 1 over the other. Not trying to be difficult here, I just need to understand.


Snipe, first off, if the "locals" are talking about using HYDRATED lime (Calcium Hydroxide), they are talking about adding it to soils, and yes, you'd be sorry you did...it would burn plants and kill them....HYDRATED lime is used with Alum to offset the acid created from Alum, NOT as any form of soil amendment!

Ag Lime and Hydrated lime are not remotely similar.

DOLOMITE AG lime is simply finely crushed limestone and is used in ponds for a few reasons. It adds the essential salts of Calcium and Magnesium for fish bone and scale growth. It stabilizes and reduces pH swings. it adds hardness, it can not raise pH above a very safe 8.2. It promotes nutrient uptake by O2 producing plants and helps create beneficial algae blooms...all these things reduce stress on fish while increasing growth rates and potentials. If you decide to apply alum yourself, USE Hydrated lime, regardless of your water/soil pH!!! A relatively rapid change in pH, up or down, will badly stress and potentially kill all your fish.Adding AG lime to soil or water will NEVER hurt or make you "sorry"...it just may not be needed in some areas, but it is NOT just for raising pH in a pond...(that's just an added benefit).

Ag lime is also readily available around KC and St Joe...I'm sure several co-ops around you have or can get Ag Lime, but again, Ag lime is NOT what is used with Alum! I know every Walmart or big box home store has all the pelletized Dolomite ag lime you'd ever want or need. Home Depot has, or can order Type S Hydrated Lime (lowest prices too), which is used for concrete...almost any concrete plant has countless tons of it on hand too.

FWIW, a pH of 7.4 is what fish blood runs....water of the same pH is the least stressful on fish and reduces the salt loss from gills and kidneys. A higher pH is better than a lower pH. A hardness and alkalinity (due to calcium and magnesium) over 20 but kept around 150ppm, is optimal.

I wonder who is telling you not to add lime to a pond....is their experience based on growing plants, or fish? There are myriad myths and ideas on what is needed for a pond. In my experiences, areas primarily used for farming and livestock could not care less about a pond used for primarily growing fish...the ponds in these areas are primarily just a water source, for irrigation and drinking by livestock....fish are just an afterthought for a lazy day.

Last edited by Rainman; 11/24/18 09:44 AM.


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Rainman, I do believe there is some misunderstanding on my end just because of the questions I've ask around Locally, about. My fisheries Biologist is concerned about the interaction of the bottom soil type with the Hydrated Lime-he's my source, and says I may be sorry because of our super high pH soil here, that I put in on top of my seal. He has no exposure to the Alum w/Hydrated Lime in small ponds in this part of Reg 1 in KS because we have no clay particulates in soil here. With that said, sounds like the info I'm getting-whether correct or not-is based on suspended clay particulates only and no other compounds.
After asking around, again, just locally, people here are familiar with Ag lime, but not Hydrated lime. My Agronomist says we don't use Ag lime because it's totally unnecessary for AG use and normally, an acid solution is used here to lower the pH for better growing conditions. I understand this is not in the water use situation WE are discussing now, and that may be some of the information I'm confusing here. In a few of the items I've found for use in pond clarification products in the Alum category, I've found 2 commercially packed products with the main makeup being Alum and both use Sodium Carbonate as the buffering agent to keep pH in check. Both products advertise no pH change if applied correctly, and both come premixed in powder form with 1 being 20% sodium Carb and the other just says 15-40% buffering agent-which is sodium Carb. The item I DO find interesting is both products are mixed directly with water right out of the container and then applied...It's my understanding this is not the recommendation when using Hydrated lime as it becomes a paste?? So, with that being said, is the only difference the fact you can mix sodium carb with Alum together for a 1-time app vs 2 apps or is there some data available that states 1 is better than the other for a given application area/scenario?? I'm not finding the answer to why to use 1 vs the other, yet the commercially available items I find use sodium Carbonate.
And again, not trying to be difficult, I'm trying to get educated on why 1 chemical make up is better than the other. I guess I need to hear the explanation of why I CANNOT use the sodium Carb and should ONLY use Hydrated lime.
Sorry if I'm a PITA..:-))

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Snipe....I don't see why you could not use Sodium Carbonate or bicarbonate with alum....the only purpose of the buffering agent is that it makes the acidic alum, pH neutral. I do know from real world experience, the Alum amount required will be higher if broadcast spreading dry alum, regardless of what the pre-packaged products claims on application rates state. This fact is simply due to how Alum works when falling through the water column. FWIW, Alum with Hydrated Lime is a net +6 ionic charge. There are aluminum polymers in liquid form that do not effect water pH when applied, but the cost is as much as 4 times the dry Alum/H-Lime combo cost, yet the liquid polymers are applied faster, and have as high as a +14 ionic charge. In LARGE bodies of water, the labor cost savings on the application time required could make the liquid more cost effective.

As to why the pre-packaged flocculants use sodium carbonate or bicarbonate over H-Lime is probably due to it not forming a paste or because it is easier to produce the buffered pellets in a factory setting....I have no clue as to why either. What worries me with sodium carbonate or bicarbonate is, at a 20-40% rate by weight, it can not chemically offset the acidic value aluminum sulfate has...buffer %'s, as stated on MSDS labels, would not be a balanced chemical equation and would "theoretically", result in a pH drop. Real world application often defies the theory though, and the pre-packaged products are often used, though at much higher than claimed application rates they state for desired results. Calcium Hydroxide (Hydrated Lime) is FAR more caustic than either of the other buffers. And Hydrated Lime is required at a 42-50% by weight ration to become pH neutral....Chemically, carb and bicarb can not balance the Aluminum Sulfate's pH to neutral.

I guess now I am wondering why you want to apply Alum if you have no colloidal clay issues....are you wanting to bind available phosphorus in the pond?

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Rainman, this was a double barreled question that I was looking for an answer for both😁😁.. I can see now that there’s WAY more to this than I had previously thought and in both of my situations it’s going to more more important in one BOW than the other. I will be in touch with you as one of the projects is 135 surface acres and we may need your services to make this work.

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Originally Posted By: Rainman
... neutral.

I guess now I am wondering why you want to apply Alum if you have no colloidal clay issues....are you wanting to bind available phosphorus in the pond?


Snipe,

Did you answer this question and I just missed it?

Another question, have you had your water tested to determine it's alkalinity? My understanding, and it is limited, is that if the alkalinity is high enough in a BOW, there may be no need to add the hydrated lime as the water can buffer the Alum treatment on its own. Have you tried adding Alum to a water sample to see the impact on its Ph?

Sorry if I'm "muddying the water" with my questions......just trying to learn smile


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Originally Posted By: Rainman
Snipe....I don't see why you could not use Sodium Carbonate or bicarbonate with alum....the only purpose of the buffering agent is that it makes the acidic alum, pH neutral. I do know from real world experience, the Alum amount required will be higher if broadcast spreading dry alum, regardless of what the pre-packaged products claims on application rates state. This fact is simply due to how Alum works when falling through the water column. FWIW, Alum with Hydrated Lime is a net +6 ionic charge. There are aluminum polymers in liquid form that do not effect water pH when applied, but the cost is as much as 4 times the dry Alum/H-Lime combo cost, yet the liquid polymers are applied faster, and have as high as a +14 ionic charge. In LARGE bodies of water, the labor cost savings on the application time required could make the liquid more cost effective.

As to why the pre-packaged flocculants use sodium carbonate or bicarbonate over H-Lime is probably due to it not forming a paste or because it is easier to produce the buffered pellets in a factory setting....I have no clue as to why either. What worries me with sodium carbonate or bicarbonate is, at a 20-40% rate by weight, it can not chemically offset the acidic value aluminum sulfate has...buffer %'s, as stated on MSDS labels, would not be a balanced chemical equation and would "theoretically", result in a pH drop. Real world application often defies the theory though, and the pre-packaged products are often used, though at much higher than claimed application rates they state for desired results. Calcium Hydroxide (Hydrated Lime) is FAR more caustic than either of the other buffers. And Hydrated Lime is required at a 42-50% by weight ration to become pH neutral....Chemically, carb and bicarb can not balance the Aluminum Sulfate's pH to neutral.

I guess now I am wondering why you want to apply Alum if you have no colloidal clay issues....are you wanting to bind available phosphorus in the pond?

We are having 1 of the BOW's samples tested. The "jar" test was done several months back and although it cleared substantially and there is some minor sediment in bottom of container, it appears there is still a greenish tint that remains. My personal pond, the jar test reveals similar results so I added some alum sulfate to my personal sample and it cleared substantially more and looks like tap water.
I'll have more to come on the larger BOW as I'm "helping" but not the man in charge.

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Originally Posted By: Bill D.
Originally Posted By: Rainman
... neutral.

I guess now I am wondering why you want to apply Alum if you have no colloidal clay issues....are you wanting to bind available phosphorus in the pond?


Snipe,

Did you answer this question and I just missed it?

Another question, have you had your water tested to determine it's alkalinity? My understanding, and it is limited, is that if the alkalinity is high enough in a BOW, there may be no need to add the hydrated lime as the water can buffer the Alum treatment on its own. Have you tried adding Alum to a water sample to see the impact on its Ph?

Sorry if I'm "muddying the water" with my questions......just trying to learn smile

No issue here Bill D, I'm trying to learn as well. We have sent samples to a facility to check the exact breakdown on the large body.. I have not yet tested my personal water but may have to do so.
The folks I'm working with on the large BOW have protocol to follow and I'm hoping to involve Rex on this.

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Snipe, do another jar test on your pond water, but let it sit undisturbed for at least 5 days in a dark closet. You will likely discover the "green tint" is an algae and it will sink or float after dying in the dark. Alum will coagulate and sink the live algae. An algae bloom in your pond is a very good thing, as it is the base of your entire food chain. Visibility with a secchi disc should be 18-36 inches in a "health" bloom....less visibility could cause issues after several cloudy days by the algae dying off and the decay using up all oxygen and suffocating the fish.



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