I am a new pond owner - we bought a house in Vermont last year with a ~1/3 acre pond. The pond is about 8 feet deep in the middle. When we bought the house the pond was very dark in color - almost black. In the middle of the summer when things were very dry the pond turned to a reddish brown color. I was told by a local caretaker that was because the bottom is clay so it was suspended clay particles. I tested mixing in some alum in a glass jar and the water cleared (the sentiment actually appeared to both sink and float to the top.

I am wondering what my approach to pond management should be. I would ideally like the pond to be clear and swimmable. I was also planning on stocking trout. The caretaker tells me that the pond has leeches and that adding aeration would increase my cloudiness problem. Any thoughts on what I should do? Muck reducing bacteria? Aeration? I don’t want to spend a lot of money and just make my problems worse, and there really are no “pond companies” locally to ask. Any advice would be much appreciated.