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#538865 08/16/21 09:29 PM
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So I have mentioned about our drought out west drying up my pond this year, for the first time in at least 15 years. Well I was checking it out tonight trying to see if digging it deeper would be an option while it was mostly dried up. Well I found there is about 16-18" of muck on top of a fairly hard bottom. My question is about the muck, my in-flow of water looks crystal clear as it flows into the pond, where would 18" of muck come from, is it plant residue breaking down, or does the bottom soil turn to muck after having water continuously on it for 15 years or is this just a result of slight silt amounts in the inflow settling out over time? I'm just really curious... Mostly wanting to know if it will eventually fill in again if I try to dig it deeper? I'd love to dig it down 10' deeper than the current depth so it would hold water in drought years so I don't lose all the years of fish development and plant growth and etc that it takes to make a healthy pond... Plus 10' would give it enough room to silt in until my days are done, otherwise maybe 6 to 8' would be plenty deep... My pond at overflow level is about 5-6' higher than current bottom level. Anyway appreciate your thoughts on this topic... Thanks Jeff

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Muck accumulates from anything organic going into the pond. Dust, pollen, leaves, etc., etc. It also builds up from any organics that the stream washes into the pond.

16"-18" isn't too much in that amount of time, I have seen that much build up in a few years in ponds that are surrounded by woods and have a tremendous amount of leaves enter the pond in the Fall.

Digging it deeper won't prevent the muck from building up, but it will give you a MUCH longer time before it gets shallow enough that you have to clean it out.

When I renovated my pond we dug it 21' deep in the deepest part.


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Thanks for that explanation, it really surprised me to see that much had accumulated, but there are trees and lots of plant growth in the pond and I guess without much water that ever goes over the overflow, I guess most everything would settle out there... So if I dig it deeper this time, it will probably take some kind of dredge to clean it out next time, won't be easy that's for sure.... better go plenty deep this time, so I don't have to redo in my lifetime... Thank you... J

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Skunked,

For the muck there are a lot of interesting videos out there. On youtube, DirtPerfect and letsdig18 show how they build and clean out ponds. Aeration can also help with Muck build up. If you aerate it can remove muck. At Indian lake they were able to aerate, remove nutrients, and its estimated they are removing one foot of muck per year

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Jeff - the muck covering the hard pond bottom is partly due to what others suggested. Depending on the amount of external inputs the addition the muck can easily be mostly due to nutrients in the pond growing the internal food chain consisting of all sorts of plants from microscopic algae (phytoplankton) to fish that eventually die and sink to the bottom. Think of it in terms of you collecting all the grass clippings from your fertile lawn each year and what the amount of this clipped / mowed grass biomass would be if it was not able to be decomposed and then it would lay as an accumulating dead annual layer on your lawn. This is basically what happened in your pond. The pond each year grows lots of plant material, most of it dies, sinks and is not able to decompose quickly due to lack of oxygen on the bottom. Lack of oxygen in the sediment results in black smelly muck.

Lack on oxygen( anaerobic ) on the bottom sediments causes very slow, I call it "dirty' decomposition that allows the muck to relatively quickly accumulate on the bottom. In a normal pond this muck accumulation can easily increase at 1" or more per year. This equates to your example observed in your pond 18" of muck in 15 years.

The previous video shows that bottom aeration can help keep oxygen on the bottom of the pond where oxygenated sediments (aerobic) will decompose relatively quickly and cleanly and the recycled nutrients will tend to keep the food chain active and growing. With proper active bottom aeration the muck buildup is minimized and the life of the pond is a lot longer before it needs to be rebuilt or dug out.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 01/07/22 09:11 PM.

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Thank you guys very much this is very useful info for me... I have a single aerator in my pond, but it sounds like I need to increase the capacity, plus it's only been in there a couple years out of the 15, so it probably didn't have time to do much with the build up. Great info and I sure appreciate your expertise, I wouldn't have thought of this. Thanks Jeff

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Anyone ever had luck with muck remover chemicals?


Im going to ask a lot of questions, but only because I'm clueless


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Originally Posted by CityDad
Anyone ever had luck with muck remover chemicals?

Sure! How much muck do you expect to remove per year (in inches)?


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Originally Posted by esshup
Originally Posted by CityDad
Anyone ever had luck with muck remover chemicals?

Sure! How much muck do you expect to remove per year (in inches)?

I'm jumping in because I would like to understand muck treatments as well. Last year, we added "muck eating bacteria" to our pond and plan(ned) to do it this year as well. Unfortunately, I did not take before or after measurements to know how effective it was (I plan to do that this year). Then I came across this:

https://www.gvsu.edu/wri/director/assessment-of-the-effectiveness-of-muck-digesting-bacterial-95.htm

This is part of their Summary statement for the study:

"This study provides clear evidence that the application of Mukk Busster pellets do not result in a reduction of organic matter. Regardless of treatment factors and sediment volume, there were no statistically significant differences in changes of organic matter between treatments with pellets and those without pellets."

This study looked at only 1 particular product (Mukk Busster) so hard to say if these findings are just telling of that specific product, or is indicative of muck eating products as a whole. I looked up Mukk Busster and it seems to mostly be enzymes with some bacteria.

I would be curious to hear about success stories using muck eating products. If it boils down to specific brands and product lines, I want to make sure I'm not wasting a LOT of money on something that doesn't work.

Thanks!

Last edited by zuren; 03/24/22 09:59 AM.

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Originally Posted by zuren
Originally Posted by esshup
Originally Posted by CityDad
Anyone ever had luck with muck remover chemicals?

Sure! How much muck do you expect to remove per year (in inches)?

I'm jumping in because I would like to understand muck treatments as well. Last year, we added "muck eating bacteria" to our pond and plan(ned) to do it this year as well. Unfortunately, I did not take before or after measurements to know how effective it was (I plan to do that this year). Then I came across this:

https://www.gvsu.edu/wri/director/assessment-of-the-effectiveness-of-muck-digesting-bacterial-95.htm

This is part of their Summary statement for the study:

"This study provides clear evidence that the application of Mukk Busster pellets do not result in a reduction of organic matter. Regardless of treatment factors and sediment volume, there were no statistically significant differences in changes of organic matter between treatments with pellets and those without pellets."

This study looked at only 1 particular product (Mukk Busster) so hard to say if these findings are just telling of that specific product, or is indicative of muck eating products as a whole. I looked up Mukk Busster and it seems to mostly be enzymes with some bacteria.

I would be curious to hear about success stories using muck eating products. If it boils down to specific brands and product lines, I want to make sure I'm not wasting a LOT of money on something that doesn't work.

Thanks!


How deep is the pond in question, and if it's over around 6'-8' then the next question is are you going to aerate the pond?


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I'm not sure how much bottom muck the bacteria products remove, because my pond is just a year old. I have noticed that the autumn leaves are mostly on the bottom at the edges of the pond, rather than in the middle. That's where they float to naturally and become trapped among shoreline plants. Perhaps the muck is much thicker in most ponds around the edge?
My problem was clarity, and I did find a bacterial product which certainly helps to remove organic solids from the water and improve clarity. I tried two different types.
The liquid bacteria/enzyme product available at the farm store had no effect that I could measure from Secche disk readings.
After more research I sought a product that contained Barley straw, because apparently rotting barley straw provides specific benefit to the bacteria. I found an effective bacteria/enzyme product which contains also barley straw. It comes in a bucket of dissolvable packets, so you use so many packets depending on the pond size. The results last Fall: Secche disk readings doubled !! The product: PondFit.
I'm waiting for higher water temperature before adding a Spring dose.
Of note - last year my pond had zero flow-through, so the PondFit could not have washed out. In a pond with flow-through, it seems obvious that such products would have limited time in situ to act.


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I have not, I have two medium-sized ponds in my backyard. One is big enough to swim around in and do a couple of laps if you are feeling up to it. However, I tried some of the basic chemical muck removers and had no luck. If it had an effect, it wasn't enough to notice.

I do have a partial solution. If you are looking for something to prevent you from sinking in the muck while you are in the pond, I would try the MuckMat from Goodbye to Muck at https://goodbyetomuck.com/muckmat I bought one two years ago. It basically just creates a large area where you can stand on without sinking. I didn't have many weeds but it supposedly kills them off too. But for creating a swimming area which you can use to step out of the pond, it is great.


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