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#460816 12/23/16 12:55 PM
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I just had a new pond built in all clay. The capacity is just over one acre foot. I would like to find a source of local bulk alum in NW Arkansas. The feed stores only have the little four pound bags. I would like to clear this pond before it is stocked. It hasn't filled at all yet so I have plenty of time, and I know it will be muddy until plants establish in a year or two. Any ideas on where to check?

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Maybe Rainman can help you John. When my pond filled it was real muddy for a few months and gradually cleared a bit till I limed then cleared after about two or three months enough for the fish to be able to find their food

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First thing to do to clear a new pond is establish a good thick vegetative cover on the watershed. Muddy runoff and exposed banks will continually contribute to suspended clay and periodic long term cloudiness. Rip-raped shorelines (any sizes of materials, even broken waste concrete) especially placed down wind helps a lot to reduce resuspension clay on the wave washed banks. Plus the rip-rap is very good fish habitat - win-win. Once clay colloids are resuspended it takes a long time for them to settle depending on the type of clay. Check with agricultural-farm supply places for alum. Explore with good homework quick lime (aka hydrated lime, calcium hydroxide) as a more common but less effective than alum substitute. Alum and quick lime are often used together for very good results. Each can quickly and strongly adjust the water pH if the pond water is not well buffered i.e high alkalinity - hardness. Hydrated lime is considered to be a strong base & caustic, and care should be taken when applying. Don't treat it lightly. Avoid breathing the dust and do not allow it to contact skin or eyes.
Page 27 of Management Guide for Ponds and Small Lakes in Kentucky.
http://fw.ky.gov/Fish/Documents/FarmPondBooklet.pdf
NOTE: the dosage to use are suggestions and starting points depending on the conditions. Higher dosages are sometimes needed. Do some jar tests to help determine proper dosage.
http://soiltesting.tamu.edu/publications/SCS-2013-02.pdf

I wouldn't try to chemically clear your pond until the watershed is vegetated. Before then IMO chemically clearing it will be a waste of time and effort. In the meantime stock your fatheads in early spring. Feed thm a little crushed fish food regularly. They do not need clear water to thrive.

IMO Usually, I would not aerate your new pond until you can get acceptable clarity. Aeration tends to keep micro-clay particles moving in suspension. Aeration's job is to keep water moving.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 12/23/16 04:43 PM.

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Thanks, Bill. I have plenty of time on this project. We received just over a half inch of rain today. The new pond has a puddle in the bottom. I plan to get it vegetated as soon as annual rye will grow. Might mix some perennial rye seed in with it as well.
I have had good luck with annual rye in the past. By the time it dies off, the summer grasses have established.

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Try Helena Chemical in Pine Bluff, AR


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I would, but Pine Bluff is 208 miles from here. Arkansas is not a really small state.

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Originally Posted By: John F
I would, but Pine Bluff is 208 miles from here. Arkansas is not a really small state.


John, I don't know where you are at, "NW Arkansas" is all I had to go on.....

What is the closest town?


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Most all Ag-Farm elevators-supply likely deal with Helena. Helena Chemical has alum. Make sure you add fescue and perennial rye to the annual rye seeding. Lightly work in and it is best to roll it to get good soil seed contact. Three things make grass grow well: water, water, water. Your exposed soil should have enough basic nutrients to grow grass. It has little problem growing weeds. Maybe add a light dose of fertilizer before planting. Fertilizer runoff will grow lots of FA algae in the new pond.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 12/24/16 12:19 PM.

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esshup, PM sent.

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Bill,
My pond builder is coming back in early to mid March depending on weather. He is bringing a tractor and box blade to smooth everything out. Afterward, we will seed and rake it in, and follow with a lawn roller. There are thousands of bermuda grass sprigs buried in the top soil that was disturbed, and now on the dam on top of the clay. By mid to late summer, most of the rye and fescue will be choked out by the bermuda if we get anything close to normal rainfall. The back of the dam has a gentle slope, probably 4 or 5 to 1.

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What a surprise! I looked at the 10 ft across puddle in bottom of the new pond just a bit ago and it is crystal clear. Yesterday a couple hours after the 0.55 inch rain, it looked like creamed coffee.
Maybe I won't need alum? Maybe there is some natural alum in the clay? The 13 month old minnow pond about 60 feet away has never cleared more than maybe 8 inches visibility. Baffling!

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All ponds are very definitely different. Some soil combinations settle noticably faster than others.


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It's all hard red and gray clay in both ponds. I'll keep you posted as it fills up. We are supposed to get thunderstorms and 70 deg again tomorrow. 59 deg right now at 8 PM.

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No two ponds are alike, no matter how close together they are. Why? I have no idea.

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John, I have multiple sources for Alum. Just let me know where you are.



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After the last rain six days ago, the new pond is a puddle about 30 x 40 feet by maybe two feet deep, and it has cleared again to a completely clear state, as far as I can tell.

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Follow up: The new pond now has a little over four feet of water and is still completely clear. I can stir up the clay, and it will settle in a few hours. My minnow pond right next to it only has about 6 inches visibility, but looks green. Plankton?

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Planktonic or algae bloom is my presumption, with a deep green color. Only a 6" clarity is a very heavy bloom, and could cause a DO crash with a few cloudy days.



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Rainman,
The water is cold. It had a little ice at one edge this morning. Maybe its a mixture of algae and clay. It's right between two clear ponds.....don't understand how it can be so different. Nothing to stir up the bottom unless tadpoles or FHM will do that. It has an excess of tadpoles holding over winter.

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I watched a school of FHM cloud up the water around a pile of feed. Dropped in a coffee cup full of sinking fish feed then watched with Aquaview camera and they stired up the bottom till I could no longer see. Done this several times and places when the pond was new enouh to still have a large FHM population.

But there would have to be something on the bottom they wanted to eat, I would think, for them to stir it up.

I would go scuba diving late summer first year of pond after FHM had time to spawn so lots of them in the pond. Would lay on the botton anywhere above the thermocline (no aeration at that time) and within a minute or two a school of FHM would be grooming all the hair on my legs, arms and head trying to find something to eat on my body. Feels really weird to having dozens or maybe a hundred tiny fish trying to pull all the hairs off your body. If FHM had a single tooth, they would be dangerous. Wife and daughter would hang legs off dock and let the FHM give them a leg massage/tickle.

If the water is warm enough for them to feed, and if you had an algae bloom on the pond bottom, and the FHM were hungry, I can see where they potentially could stir the bottom up if you have a good population of them.

Try this. Pre soak some feed so it will sink (or use sinking catfish food if you have any). Place it carefully in about six inches to a foot of water in a pile (don't spread it out). Observe for 5 minutes. If there becomes a muddy cloud around the area, they are feeding. Do it mid to late afternoon when water is warmest and fish most active.

Maybe they are just hungry and eating algae off the bottom.

Last edited by snrub; 02/10/17 08:06 AM.

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Another example of "no two ponds are alike".

I would treat the forage pond with alum when you have the chance.


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Originally Posted By: esshup
Another example of "no two ponds are alike".

I would treat the forage pond with alum when you have the chance.


I still don't understand it. It's in between two clear ponds in the same soil. I don't have any good way to apply the alum. I bought some last year, mixed it with a third quicklime. Made a slurry in five gallon buckets and flung it over the pond out of a small bucket. I guess the droplets weren't small enough because nothing happened. I used 12 pounds of alum and it's only about 18,000 gallons. Huge population of FHM and Gams. I don't want to kill them. Maybe when the drought ends I could pump out of one of the clear ponds and displace the muddy / green water.

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I filled a gallon glass jar from my forage pond two days ago and let it sit in the garage for two days. It still looked like limeade this evening, so a few hours ago I put three teaspoons of USP Alum in it and stirred it in vigorously. It hasn't cleared one bit, so it must be a plankton bloom. Visibility is a max of about eight inches. There are thousands of FHM and Gambusia in that pond. How do I clear it without a D.O. crash?

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Bump

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Per Scott - treat pond with alum, will strip phosphorous from water column dropping to bottom robbing plantonic algae nutrient necessary for growth. Aeration helps prevent low DO events. Alum. Aeration.


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