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Water turned chocolate brown
#460884 12/24/16 10:25 AM
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My 2 acre, 25ft deep, 3 yr old pond has been a beautiful blue/green for the first 3 yrs of it's life until this past Aug when it turned yucky brown with no surface matter floating. Concerned that it will remain this way and not sure what to do about it pro-actively especially at this point in the season?

Re: Water turned chocolate brown
Titan88 #460886 12/24/16 12:10 PM
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Your first challenge is to figure out what changed to cause the color change? Any fish or critters in there that finally got big enough to stir bottom sediments? Heavy rains wash in silt/mud? Something is agitating the sediments that are likely the color of the water.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 12/24/16 12:11 PM.

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Re: Water turned chocolate brown
Bill Cody #460911 12/24/16 07:31 PM
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I really can't think of anything that may have corresponded to it. Is there a chance that it just naturally changes back to clarity in the spring time with the additional sunlight and changing of the season? It's never been this color before.

Re: Water turned chocolate brown
Titan88 #460912 12/24/16 08:31 PM
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It could be a phytoplankton bloom and your chocolate may be a shade of reddish brown algae bloom that can form in late fall. Try the jar settling test to get a better idea if it is algae or sediment. If it is sediment something is happening on the pond bottom sediment layer.
http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=396493

Last edited by Bill Cody; 12/25/16 12:25 PM.

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Re: Water turned chocolate brown
Bill Cody #460962 12/26/16 11:39 AM
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FYI....jar test was negative for sediment but wouldn't think algae this time of yr?
Any input on treatment from here?

Re: Water turned chocolate brown
Titan88 #460967 12/26/16 01:23 PM
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I suggest you allow the jar test to proceed for a few more days to see if the brown is caused by ultra small particles that settle extremely slowly. Also we have to consider a build up of tannin or stain (typically brown) from build up of organics that leach brown tannins into the pond. Some ponds & and lakes have perpetually various shades of light to dark brown from various amounts of tannins depending on the type & amount of deposited of organics.

As an algae expert, I know it is very possible to have an algae bloom any day of the year - even under the ice, certain species of cold water adapted algae can form blooms. Often the blooms under ice are not noticed and do not cause problems - depending on the bloom species.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 12/26/16 01:25 PM.

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Re: Water turned chocolate brown
Bill Cody #460974 12/26/16 07:40 PM
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my old pond would do the same thing most warm months. it was down in a hollow and didn't get much wind, but when it did get really windy it would seem to temporarily clear it up. i could also ride around in my little boat with the trolling motor and tell that i was stirring it up. what i am getting to is that it seemed to only be the top few inches.

my new pond had an odd color once this year. from a distance it had a kinda hazy blueish green color. within a few days it got really clear. i assume some type algae bloom died.


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Re: Water turned chocolate brown
Titan88 #460976 12/26/16 08:12 PM
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Surface - subsurface laying of colors you describe where you can see it swirling is definitely some sort of an algae bloom. Late season early winter blooms are often temporary and rarely harmful.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 12/26/16 08:14 PM.

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Re: Water turned chocolate brown
Titan88 #460977 12/26/16 09:25 PM
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If it's sediment you can try gypsum or alum. If it's an algae bloom an aeration system might help to burn up organics.

Re: Water turned chocolate brown
Bill Cody #460981 12/27/16 07:57 AM
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Originally Posted By: Bill Cody
I suggest you allow the jar test to proceed for a few more days to see if the brown is caused by ultra small particles that settle extremely slowly. Also we have to consider a build up of tannin or stain (typically brown) from build up of organics that leach brown tannins into the pond. Some ponds & and lakes have perpetually various shades of light to dark brown from various amounts of tannins depending on the type & amount of deposited of organics.
As an algae expert, I know it is very possible to have an algae bloom any day of the year - even under the ice, certain species of cold water adapted algae can form blooms. Often the blooms under ice are not noticed and do not cause problems - depending on the bloom species.

Originally Posted By: Bill Cody
Surface - subsurface laying of colors you describe where you can see it swirling is definitely some sort of an algae bloom. Late season early winter blooms are often temporary and rarely harmful.


Without having seen it, Bill perfectly described our tannin heavy big pond. We're having the same brown bloom right now, and historically our blooms are temperature sensitive. We'll have another algae bloom in middle to late January, and then another around the middle of march. Often, by the time tilapia are stocked, there is little to no algae in the pond.

Once our overnight water temps hit a sustained temp in the low 60's, the aquatics start growing and our algae and algae blooms are light to nonexistent until the water temp drops back down in the fall.

Last edited by FireIsHot; 12/27/16 07:59 AM.

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Re: Water turned chocolate brown
Bill Cody #460985 12/27/16 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted By: Bill Cody
Surface - subsurface laying of colors you describe where you can see it swirling is definitely some sort of an algae bloom. Late season early winter blooms are often temporary and rarely harmful.


I'm with Bill. That layering is an indicator of a type of algae bloom.


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Re: Water turned chocolate brown
Titan88 #460989 12/27/16 11:24 AM
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Our pond will do this in the winter right after a thaw or melt. We have a gravel road out front and when the wind blows from the road to the pond fine dirt will stick in the ice and snow. When this melts the pond will turn brown on us. This fine dirt will settle out in time but is really fine.

The water gets clearer as the water temp drops. We can see over 4 feet when all summer 18-24"s max is all we can see. After a good thaw it gos back to 20"s or so but quite sure its the dirt from the road.

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