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Dummy's DIY guide to clearing water
#518616 03/31/20 07:49 AM
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Okay, I've read Rainman's threads here but I can be a little dense, so I figured I'd ask that 'stupid question'.

Here is a pic representative of the water my pond; it is roughly 0.4 surface acres, currently 10.5' max depth (7' average depth), with 1.5' or so until full pool/bottom of overflow.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

I believe a big reason for the 'chocolate milk' is the drought we had right after the pond was dug last summer, making ground cover nearly impossible to establish, so when it rains the watershed picks up all the exposed dirt and clay on the ground and takes it into the water. After 3-4 days of no rain the water *slightly* clears...visibility is <6".

I put grass seed out around 3 weeks ago, and it is starting to grow in the warming, wet spring; I anticipate in another 3-4 weeks I'll have solid cover nearly all the way around the pond which will hopefully help minimize dirty water. I've also thought about doing some rip-rap around part of the eastern bank for erosion considerations.

As grass does its thing, I'd like to work toward getting the water cleared up some. I don't want gin clear but better color and visibility than muddy would be ideal. I've read about broadcasting alum and powdered lime (individually, in a water slurry), but suppose I need a little more clarity (pun intended) on this process. I'd like to apply from the shore if possible and I have a 1/2hp transfer pump that should throw pretty close to the middle of the pond.

Pond has 400 3-5" panfish and 10lb FHM in it, and there is a single 9" aerator disc about 24" off the bottom in 10.5' of water.

I should probably do the 'bucket tests' to confirm how much alum is needed, and get some sort of pH and/or alkaline test kit...but if my math is correct I've got roughly 3 acre-feet of water. Based on Rainman's original post, am I correct in thinking 200lb alum and 100lb lime would likely work for an initial treatment?

Property is in Clark County, IN so hopefully I wouldn't have TOO much trouble sourcing these from a farm store.

Greatly appreciate the advice and insight!

Re: Dummy's DIY guide to clearing water
Paul FNG #518638 03/31/20 06:37 PM
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I would not focus on obtaining clear water in your new pond until:
1. all the grass is well established. A fully dense grassed water shed is almost a necessity for obtaining clear minimal suspended clay water. Mud exposed shorelines also contribute significantly to wave silt-clay induced turbidity. See item 3.
2. the pond is at full pool. More than normal areas of exposed dirt embankments promote turbidity.
3. IMO stop aerating until the water becomes clear close to 2ft+ visibility. Daily aeration keeps ultra small silt-clay particles moving in the water column. How can they settle if the water mass is moved, circulated and turned over daily? At this point in the pond's condition and life span aeration is defeating the purpose of clear water. When the pond clears to your satisfaction then consider starting the aerator. New sportfish - recreation ponds generally do not really need to be aerated and circulated for the purpose of preventing fish kills because new ponds normally have a low BOD (biochemical oxygen demand). Special situations do exist. High BOD water causes oxygen shortage fish kills.
4. As long as 1 & 2 apply, alum and lime are not appropriate and cost effective. If you use alum now, conditions of 1 & 2 will reintroduce the turbidity.
To get the clearest water the quickest in a new pond, the shoreline embankments down to 3 ft deep should be lined with some sort of stone. At a minimum the down wind shoreline should have protected shorelines.

From your picture the pond looks like it still needs 14"-2ft of water to achieve full pool status.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 03/31/20 06:39 PM.

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Re: Dummy's DIY guide to clearing water
Paul FNG #518664 04/01/20 06:21 AM
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Bill,

I greatly appreciate the advice and reality check. I'll let mother nature do her thing the next few weeks in establishing grass all around the pond/banks and cease aeration in the meantime.

I'll get some rip-rap and do the eastern/northeastern banks since our prevailing winds are southwesterly...wish I had known that last year, I'd have had the builders put the stone in. Oh well, another project...

I am currently about 18" from full pool and thankfully now have more grass than that picture reflects.


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