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What is Pond Muck?

  • April 22, 2020
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What is Pond Muck? - Outdoor Water Solutions

Have you ever swum in a pond that smells bad, and when you get out you have black goo on your feet and legs? If your pond does not have aeration, chances are Muck has been accumulating on your pond bed since its inception. But what exactly is Muck? Muck’s physical appearance is often a blackish-brown slimy substance that will often time smell of sulfur or other pungent odors. Organic material of all kinds, such as grass clippings, droppings, dead organisms, and other forms of life will fall to the bottom and begin its transformation into this nasty smelling goo. Due to the anaerobic (no oxygen) nature of unaerated ponds, this organic material will slowly accumulate, all while leaching potent nutrients into the water column; nutrients that allow algae and other nuisance vegetation to thrive. In this way, Muck is a food source to all sorts of unwanted plants. Therefore over the years; ponds will get worse each season in regard to algae and other unwanted vegetation. Muck can also be a breeding ground for leeches, as they love to grow in it. This is just another reason on a long list of reasons to want to get rid of Muck if you have it or avoid getting it if you do not.

If there is nothing in place that can negate the large quantities of nutrients that accumulate in the pond, you can be certain it will only get worse with time. And because the pond is anaerobic, the processes that could break down this muck cannot occur, as they are aerobic (require oxygen). Due to the anaerobicity, this oxygen free zone along the bottom of the pond will produce harmful bacteria and hydrogen sulfide. As a result, other living organisms in the pond can be harmed from the production of these byproducts. So, what can you do to proactively assure that you avoid Muck accumulation?

Methods to Avoid Muck Accumulation:

Bottom Diffused Aeration – With a bottom diffused aeration system, you ensure that your water column is completely destratified. That means that there is little change in temperature and oxygen concentration the deeper you go. This type of system will assure that oxygen is present where the Muck has settled, allowing beneficial aerobic bacteria in the water column to breakdown the Muck, in turn, lowering nutrient concentration in the water. Often, people will start to regain depth in their ponds just from this change, depending on how many years’ worth of Muck a pond has accumulated. Additionally, if you are applying an herbicide or algaecide when needed, you are simply masking the symptoms of an already sick pond, and even making it worse. If the pond does not have aeration, those dead plants and algae will simply sink to the bottom and begin leaching nutrients, repeating the cycle.

Beneficial MicrobesThe aerobic bacteria that breaks down the Muck can be supplemented in high concentrations to ensure breakdown of matter on the bottom of the pond. With oxygen present, these bacteria will deplete the nutrient load and mitigate the foul odor often produced by stagnant ponds. At Outdoor Water Solutions, we sell a dry proprietary Barley Straw Blend of 5 strains of Microbes specifically designed for ponds and lakes. The bacteria come in water soluble packs that are easy to apply and require no preparation. Due to its dry nature, we can fit 20-50x live bacteria in the package when compared to a liquid product. This high concentration ensures that the bacteria can cultivate and thrive in the water column long enough to do its job.

Muck PelletsMuck Pellets are similar in function to the Beneficial Microbes, but vary in application. These pellets are formulated to sink to the bottom and eat the Muck in a localized area, quickly and effectively, whereas the Beneficial Microbes cultivate in the water column, spanning across the entire pond. The benefit of Muck Pellets is that if there is a Dock, loading zone, swimming area, etc. in a pond that has been overtaken by Muck, Muck Pellets is the product to go with. Due to the trace mineral base and enzymes that are present, the bacteria are catalyzed to degrade Muck and nutrients from their surroundings. The bacteria that are in the pellets are high volume waste consumers, meaning they decompose large quantities of Muck at a fast rate. This one tool can be utilized with other solutions mentioned to give you the best chance to reduce the amount of organic material you have sitting on the bottom of your pond.


Outdoor Water Solutions is one of the leading companies in the pond industry and sells a full line of pond microbes including the Lake & Pond Bacteria and the Lake & Pond Muck Pellets.  We also have super concentrated blue dye and multiple aeration options including electric, solar and wind powered.  Please email or call us at 1-866-471-1614 and we can provide you with a detailed quote.


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