what can i do for brown water

August 7, 2010

hello, i could really use some advice. i'm wondering what i can do for brown water. it is all brown looking, it is not algee, but i'm not sure what it is.. any ideas.

my bio filter is getting all full of brown slimmy stuff. i spray it out daily to get rid of the grim.

thank you for any help at all..

Comments (36)

  • j-bg00d

    Is your water like "Tea Color" brown or like chocolat milk brown.

    If its like a Tea color. Try using "Activated Charcoal" in a nylon or a pouch of somekind that will allow water to pass through it and float that in your skimmer, falls or bio falls. This will help at least give the water some clarity.

  • bumsi

    This is my promlem too. My water is Tea color, and I have put Activated Charcoal about 3 weeks ago, I am putting Bacteria every week, I am also putting every week "SAB Stream & Pond clean Extreme". I have this pond for 4 years, never had problems. The pond is 11'x12'x2 1/2', good pump, good filter, I am cleaning filter every day, I am using quilt batting to help it, but now nothing is helping my tannin. Anybody with the fresh idea? How about Horton?

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  • loriques

    it is like ice tea color. i put in some stuff that is supose to help bind the small particles and sink them so the filter can catch them, but it is not working.

    i was thinking of using the quilt batting but if it is not working for bumsi i don't know what eles to do. i will try the charcoal. it has not worked for bumsi but it may work for me. i so hope. my pond is rather new about 3 months old. this has been an issue for me since i started the pond.. i'm also using koi clay and good emzimes with barley in it. still nothing is working. any ideas

  • mike_il

    The first thing is take a white coffee cup of water from the pond and look at it in the sunlight. This will give you the color of the water against the white background. Then take a clear glass of pond water and hold it up to the sunlight. This will allow you to see if particles are floating in the water. This will give a good idea where the problem is coming from. Until the source is gone you are going to have a hard time getting rid of it.

  • diggery

    Hmmm...responded to this post yesterday but...????

    You're fighting a losing battle unless you first eliminate the source of the brown water. Likley tannins from decaying leaves/debris or perhaps submerged pots with peat in the planting medium.

    It's an exercise in futility to treat *symptoms*. Always search for the root of the problem and correct it first. Once the problem is eliminated, the batting should do the trick. Sorry - in a rush here but search for Horton's post using a trash can & batting to filter your water.

    Follow his advice and you will be enjoying clear water this time tomorrow:)

  • cweathersby

    My water is brown too. But it's not just tannins. It's mud. I cleaned out the bio filter last night and it was 300 gallons of pure brown mud. It isn't infiltration. If it was it would be red clay. I don't know how to fix it!

  • jennyb5149


    I second all the carbon suggestions. My neighbors tree hangs over my pond so every time it rain, the water that runs over the seed pods on the tree must absorb some tannins or something but the end result is ice tea pond water.

    I put a media bag of activated carbon in the biofilter and the brown water issue started to clear up. THe water isn't crystal clear; more like....hmmmmmm...don't know how to describe it, if I put some pond water in a clear glass it has a definite light yellowish tinge to it. But, I figure it's a POND for pete's sake not an aquarium and I don't have to have sparkling Evian type water in there! LOL

    The water still will turn brown after a rain and will take a day or two to clear up afterwards but it is much, much better than it was!

  • sleeplessinftwayne

    It sounds like you didn't wait for the normal cycling with an algae bloom after the pond was filled. Do you have a clear bottom without rocks? Not all algae is green and gummy stuff sounds like something rotting. Is there an odor? It could also be excessive Bentonite clay. Are you sure you got koi clay? That would be calcium Bentonite rather than sodium Bentonite. How much are you adding? David described a gel like clump that sometimes forms, that is rather unpleasant. I don't remember that it was all through the water though. Stop putting stuff in the pond for at least a week using the quilt batting, especially if you have a Skippy or similar filter. If you rinse the filters, don't use water from the tap. Rinse them in a bucket of pond water. You may just be overwhelming the system with too much stuff. I haven't needed to add enzymes or barley straw in 6 years. I have had to do water changes because the raccoons dumped flower pots in the water and got it muddy. Activated Charcoal is expensive but is great to clear up tannins from all the red oak trees in the yard. It doesn't do anything for mud. Have you used a test kit? Ammonia will often make the water tea colored.

  • jalal

    Patience is the key. Barley straw takes up to 6 weeks to work in a pond. (which is why I don't use it--season here too short) The koi clay takes at least two weeks before you notice much of a difference. Dead algae is brown as well. If you are spraying your biofilter daily with just tap water you may be killing the good bacteria daily--chlorine/chloramine in the water. It would be better to remove the biofilter media into a laundry tub of pond water swish it around and repeat with another container of pond water. If there is a lot of sludge in your biofilter shopvac it out before you put the media back in. If you have room quilt batting will collect the tannis/dead algae but it has to be cleaned regularly. A new pond takes a least 6 to 8 weeks to cycle. Heavy feeding and too many fish can also contribute to brown water. Like sleepless said too many products in a pond only make things worse. All you really should be adding is a dechlorinator if you have chlorine/chloramines and the koi clay is fine--it will also cause your filters to clog more as it helps settle out algae/heavy metals etc.

  • loriques

    thank you all for your advice. i think i have a couple diffrent factors in the brown water. the pond is right under a walnut tree. so i think i have some issues with tanning due to the walnuts when it rains. also, there is alot of particles in the watter floating. i am cleaning it daily with a net to try and keep the leaves out, but it is a battle to keep on top of it.

    i am using koi clay, i have only used it twice so far. and i follow the directions.

    i know there is alot of silt, because the filter is full of it. but i do use the pond watter to rinse out the filter and water fall box.

    there is alot of green slimmy stuff like alge on the sides of the pond. but i think that is the good stuff so i have not tried to clean it off.

    i did not ever get a alge bloom in the pond after setting it up. i thought i was because i used benifictal bacteria from day one and due it being in the shade most of the day.

    i'm still working on it. but it is not a totally bad thing i think. i can still see the fish on the bottom it is just hard to see them untill they get closer to the top.

    oh yeah, i don't have any rocks on the bottom.

    i'm sure when i bring in the fish for the winter and i drain the pond it will get out all of the silt, maybe i can do better next year. i have fixed some of the issues with run off that i was experiancing. so that should help.

    i got some of the active charchole stuff, but i have not put it in yet since i'm treating the pond with malafix and premafix. but once i'm done with the seven days i will most definatly try it.

    about the quilt batting. how exactly do i use it. i am using a sup pump for the pond, i have it in a net laundry bag so the fish don't get sucked in. i was thinking maybe i could put the quilting inside a laundry basket and put the pump in the middle of it. what do you guys think..

    thanks again for any help at all.. shalom, laura

  • sleeplessinftwayne

    Where is the filter located? It is not going to do much good if it is in the pond. Can you describe the pump/filter arrangement you have now? The most efficient arrangement is to place the batting after the pump and before the water re-enters the pond. Otherwise the gunk will just settle out and back into the water.

    Sump pumps are not really recommended for ponds. They are not built to run 24/7 and will eventually overheat. Save up for a regular pond pump and use the sump pump as a backup or for water changes.

  • loriques

    i am using the sup pump and the tube goes up to a water fall basin thingey. i can't remember the name for it. inside of it i have matel mats, the black, green, blue and gray ones. this is the only filtering system i have right now. but i am saving up for a regular pump and another filter system. i'm just way confused on what type i need. a neighbor has a black one that is outside of her pond with a uv filter in it also. it sort of looks like a small propane tank, but it has cleared her pond up so well. i need to find out the name of it.

    thank you for any help at all.. the pump is a cyclone. it said on the box that it was for pond use also and that it was for continouse running. i so hope it does not over heat and hurt my fish.

  • jalal

    Matala mats are easy to clean. All you do is pull them from the filter/container and bang them against the pavement or fence. If needed swish them in a container of pond water and bang them again on the pavement. It sounds like you could put a piece of quilt batting either on top of the matala mats or in front of the blue mat which if I remember correctly is the finest mesh? Make sure its a full quilt bat not the broken up stuffing stuff.
    Not sure why you would drain your pond for the winter unless its a preform? If its a liner pond you don't need to drain it in fact it's better for next year start up if you don't. Otherwise you'll just be dealing with new pond syndrome again next year. I live in Zone 3 and let my pond freeze every year (the fish come indoors). Water lilies go in the deep end--4 ft deep and as they've survived every year for the last 6 years I don't think the pond freezes solid even though I know the ice is at least 2 ft thick. I leave my bags of filter media in the pond and in the spring jump start the pond with the indoor pond water (300 gals). I can't usually do this till the end of May or early June as it takes that long for the outdoor pond to be thawed and close to the indoor pond temperatures. I also do a good cleaning in the fall after the fish are removed and again in the spring before the fish go out.
    As for buying a new pump. You'll need to post info on pond gals, waterfall, skimmer etc for recommendations from the many knowledgable people on this forum. External pumps are more energy efficient and you don't have to get in the pond for pump maintainance. They are usually more expensive though but the US has lots of sources for them not like here in CD. If you go with an external pump you'll have to add some kind of prefilter for the pump like a settling chamber or even a skimmer. Lots of stuff to consider.
    Keep using the koi clay--it's good stuff. I've been fighting algae this year as well due to the weather changes but this week (after 3 weeks of koi clay) is finally clear to the bottom. And theres maybe 6 weeks left before shutdown!

  • loriques

    i found part of my problem. it rained and rained last night and today. when i went out to the pond to ck the water level i found two places where mud was running down my bank and into the pond. so in between the rain showers i have been outside working on building up like a dam in the areas where the water is going in. i built up the edges of the pond next to the bank where it makes a nice lip like area where the pond liner goes up and over real steap. this i hope will keep the water from running down in the pond. the water running down was putting alot of mud into my pond. i think this is alot of my problem.

    but now i'm still working on the fix. does anyone have any sugestions. i would post pics but i droped my camra in the pond yesterday when i was trying to take a pick of the fish..

    this has been a big learning experiance.

  • jr2010

    Try to replace some of the water, alittle each day and keep cleaning your filter

    Here is a link that might be useful: Backyard Garden Ponds

  • LindaH7

    Hi. I woke up today with a tea colored pond that was absolutely crystal clear yesterday. I have read all of the explanations, but here is something to defy them all. Yesterday I set up my pond to do a routine water change by setting out 6 18 gallon buckets with our well water . . . just as clear as the pond. But the gH of our well water is 100 ppm, and goldfish need harder water so I added food grade calcium chloride to TWO of the buckets to bring them to 300 ppm. The other 4 buckets get Epsom salt.

    Last night we had a VERY heavy rain. Guess what? The water in the two calcium added buckets turned tea colored along with the pond. The water in the other 4 buckets stayed clear. What other explanation for this can there be, except that something in the rain has reacted to the raised calcium levels in the buckets and the pond? This is not due to run-off mud/debris, leaves/sludge/tannins, rotting vegetation or fish because none of these things were in these two buckets.

    What does anyone think of this? What chemical substance in rain water might cause this? I would appreciate any suggestions or thoughts. Thanks!

  • waterbug_guy

    Thanks for the pic, always helpful.

    In most cases I'd say tannins or mud as a standard knee jerk response. But you have a great accidental experiment here that show tannins and mud are very unlikely the cause. Don't see a lot of organic matter in the brown tubs I assume and you have clear tubs. And multiple tubs which is really lucky.

    We can also rule out bacteria because this happened so fast.

    That leaves chemical reaction imo...at least I can't think of anything else. But I sure would have assumed the pond would have turned brown long ago.

    I'm guessing you have iron in your well water?

    I have to assume pH is why tubs and and pond turned brown, that the iron oxidized. It's always possible something else happened that you're unaware of, but in this case, because you have multiple tubs, it seems unlikely something strange happened.

    Epsom salt I assume caused the iron there to become iron sulfate.

    The pH of normal rain in the US is 5.5 in the west to 4.5 in the east. But "heavy" rain from thunderstorms can be 2. That could have caused an iron oxidizing reaction. Tannins for example is acid from organic material reacting with iron to oxidize so I assume the acid rain did the same.

    To make a better guess I think you'd need to test the KH of the water in the tubs and pond. Testing pH at this point probably would only be misleading, but if you have a pH test kit that test could be done too. You'd also have to know what minerals you have in the well like with a drinking water analysis.

    It would also be interesting to see what happens if you add calcium chloride to a clear tub and/or acid to a brown tub. Also would be interesting to see if you could duplicate the experiment by filling a tub of well water, adding the same calcium chloride, waiting and adding acid to see what happens.

    This is one of the best, maybe thee best, accidental greatest pond experiments I've ever seen. It could help a lot of other pond keepers with why water turns brown.

    I've read thousands of pond posts over the years and have long complained about crap info in forums. But it's little gems like this that shine a bright light and change my thinking. I for one am going to consider more than just organic matter from now on. Thanks, you made my day.

  • LindaH7

    Hello Waterbug Guy. Thank you so much for your response. I agree . . . this was a great accidental experiment, and I could not help but run with it. This kind of thing always intrigues me. So I did run some of the tests that you suggested yesterday. The one that helped to lead to a logical answer was to put calcium chloride into one of the remaining clear tubs of well/rain water. Even after a good hard stir it remained clear! So I was wondering why that was . . . could the very hard rain have super aerated the water to cause a reaction? It certainly wasn't happening now.

    My husband was pondering the situation too, and he pointed out that the two brown buckets and the waterfall part of our pond were behind the drip line of a massive maple tree we have up on the hill. (See photo) You can see some of the maple leaves dangling above them in the picture. Someone else mentioned tannins, which I know can affect water if you let them collect in the water, and that is one of the reasons, (besides predatory birds and frogs), that I keep our pond netted all year.

    All that being said, I went back on the internet to do some research, and it would appear that TANNINS are the culprit, (so I believe now it is in fact an organic problem). Here is what I found as I posted it in a water garden forum on Facebook:

    Fishpond Tea!

    Okay, for those who are interested, here is the theory behind the mystery of the fishpond turned to tea: literally, the brown coloration is a kind of "tea" called "tannins".

    Tannins are a broad class of acidic organic compounds found in plants called polyphenols. They are what gives the tea in your cup it's color, and they are also responsible for the enchanting colors seen in flowers and in autumn leaves. Plant parts containing tannins include bark, wood, fruit, pods, flowers, leaves and roots. These compounds get their name because they have been traditionally extracted from various species and used in the process of transforming animal hides into leather, called "tanning", wherein they preserve the hides by inhibiting microbial damage.

    Certain trees are known to be tannin rich including oaks, maples, birches, willows, and pines. The substance is concentrated in the waxy surfaces of their foliage. These tannins are water soluble.

    Our little pond sits partly below the canopy of an enormous maple tree, and the other night's pounding rainstorm literally beat the tannins out of the leaves, where they collected in the water containers that were below it. So, my husband picked up on this because the two buckets that were under the tree line were the only two that were affected, along with the pond, which is also partially under the maple canopy. The fact that these three areas were the only ones containing calcium chloride was coincidental and actually had nothing to do with the situation.

    In larger bodies of water, the tannins would be further distributed and unconcentrated, but in my small artificial closed pond the substance has nowhere to go. This is a problem because it can have a major impact on animal digestion since they are also known to inhibit the absorption of nutrients in their food. Therefore several successive partial water changes are prescribed in order to dilute it away, and I need to get to it before the fish are harmed. Good for me that I have 4 buckets of clear water ready to get me started!

    It does indicate that yesterday's storm had many effects besides wide spread flooding on the east coast. This pond has gone 7 years now, and this is the first time this ever happened. Oh yeah, that was an epic rain!

    Here is where I got much information, if anyone wants to know more: A study from Cornell University's Department of Animal Science on Plants that are Poisonous to Livestock: "Tannins: Fascinating but sometimes dangerous molecules" http://www.ansci.cornell.edu/plants/toxicagents/tannin.html

    So that's my theory and my plan. What do you think Waterbug Guy . . . does it hold water? LOL

  • LindaH7

    Well, I did a 65 gallon water change with my 4 remaining buckets, and the pond is definitely less brown. Yesterday I could see only about a foot down, but now I can just make out things on the bottom, about 2 1/2 feet down.

    Just to tie up a few loose ends from the previous post, you had said, "Epsom salt I assume caused the iron there to become iron sulfate." No, because there was no epsom salt in the two brown tubs. I only added calcium chloride to those two, and I was going to add epsom salt to the remaining 4 but had not done so before the storm.

    Yes, we do have iron in our well water, but it would have been consistent for all 6 tubs.

    Being very curious myself, I did test the kH, gH, and pH in everything yesterday. Results:
    Pond - 8/12, (pm, day before storm): pH = 8.5, (pH is high due to baking soda buffering), gH = 300 ppm, kH = 143 ppm.
    Pond - 8/13, (am after storm), pH = 8, gH = 200 ppm, kH = 86 ppm. (Assuming much added rain water diluted the mineral and carbonate content of the water.)
    Brown Bucket with calcium chloride: pH = 7, gH = 200 ppm, kH = 36 ppm. (No baking soda added)
    Clear Bucket: pH = 7, gH = 100 ppm, kH = 36 ppm. (This is exactly the same as our tap water is.)

    The only way to prove positive if the tannin theory is true is to have the water tested for tannins. To this end I did collect a couple of cups of the brown tub water in a jar, and popped it into the fridge, in the event that I can find someone who can test it.

    I did make an unclear statement in the previous post regarding using a net to keep tannins from getting into the pond. What I meant is that the net prevents falling LEAVES from getting into the pond, which can break down and release tannins. I'm sure you understood that, but it was unclear in the way I wrote it.

    So, IF this is true, it would change the way we assume tannins get into our water, but I think it has to rain very hard to cause this kind of result. Even so, with small, closed system ponds, it could be an occasional problem. I can't see any way to fix it besides doing water changes . . . something easier in small ponds than in larger ones.

    The color does give the water a "natural" appearance like I have seen in small ponds and streams in the woods.


  • waterbug_guy

    could the very hard rain have super aerated the water to cause a reaction? It certainly wasn't happening now.
    Not really imo. Water at the surface would already have max O2.

    Just to tie up a few loose ends from the previous post, you had said, "Epsom salt I assume caused the iron there to become iron sulfate." No, because there was no epsom salt in the two brown tubs. I only added calcium chloride to those two, and I was going to add epsom salt to the remaining 4 but had not done so before the storm.
    My thinking was if all the tubs had iron that the Epsom salt would convert the iron into iron sulfate which is clear/white/blue. I'm not sure what's needed to make iron sulfate oxidize and turn brown.

    Yes, we do have iron in our well water, but it would have been consistent for all 6 tubs.
    The Epsom salt would have (I think) changed the iron to iron sulfate. So the form of iron in the tubs would be different I think.

    The tannin theory is certainly plausible. I'd never heard of tannins washing off leaves before, which sure doesn't mean it isn't possible. I've only seen it when leaves and bark were actually in the water and decaying a bit. I have seen tannin from bark laying on concrete stain the concrete after a rain.

    The one problem for me is that in 7 years this has never been seen before in this pond. OK, super heavy rain. But in 7 years? And in the fall I assume some leaves from that tree ended up in the pond. That just doesn't sound right. Not saying it isn't right, just doesn't fit too well to me.

    The problem for me is there's a clear tub right next to a brown tub. In a heavy rain storm, wind blowing, the water coming off the leaves missed the clear tub completely? I'd expect the rubs to have different amounts of brown at least. To my eye the picture looked like the clear tub was perfectly clear.

    One more experiment would be to cut a branch off the tree and put it into a bucket of well water and beat the heck out of the leaves, branch. Then leave it for a day just to see what the water does.

  • waterbug_guy

    I did a bit of research on tannin in leaves and did see it was in the waxy coating but also in the cells on the surface. It makes the leaves bitter tasting so it reduced the chance of being eaten. In a live leaf most of the tannin I think is encase in cells. After the leaf dies and dries the tannin can be leached out.

    It rarely rains here but did yesterday. On my walk today I was looking at leaves and bark on the sidewalk and tannin stains. Eucalyptus tree bark on the sidewalk had very dark brown stains on the sidewalk. Dead leaves on the sidewalk had a slight brown stain. What I didn't see on sidewalks that had a Eucalyptus tree above it was any staining except from the dead leaves and bark. These are really big trees and so to my thinking I don't think tannin washes off live leaves at least in any great amount or the sidewalk would be very darkly stained.

    I searched but couldn't find out if leaves from a live tea plant would make tea. I don't think it does. I think the leaves have to be dead and dried before the tannin in cells can be released. Maybe someone knows if this is true or not.

  • sue_ct

    This would be an easy experiment. Remove a bunch of live leaves from the tree, maybe one smallish branch and put them a bucket over night with the well water. If it doesn't turn brown after having green leaves soaking in it, then it probably doesn't get enough from just dripping of the leaves to turn it brown, either.

    I have hard water and it does have a large iron content, and people used to complain about brown staining on clothing in the wash. The water company sent out information about how to prevent that, and one was not using bleach. Bleach contains chloride. I believe there was a chemical reaction between the iron and the bleach that would cause brown staining. So a chemical reaction to iron is certainly something to consider. But I just wonder if there is enough iron to cause that much brown.


  • LindaH7

    Hmmm. Lot's of food for thought. I will try out the experiment. I'll let you know. Thanks again.

    Yeah, that bugged me that a tub sitting just 10 inches away from a brown one would be perfectly clear. I will say that I noted that the tub closest to the hill was a little darker in tea shade then the one next to the clear one. And the pond was very dark, but the tree would drop water right into the waterfall.

    Another person I talked to about this also finds it incredulous that I can get any tannin in the pond when there are no leaves in it. Well, trust me, I recently cleaned that pond, and maybe there are 3 individual leaves that somehow got through the net. That is it. And the change from clear to brown was overnight. There was nothing gradual about this.

    Guess I'll go back to the thinking chair. Thanks.

  • LindaH7

    Also, as for not having heard of people having this problem after it rains, see posts 8 and 11 in the above discussion thread. Seems to identify a similar situation.

  • sue_ct

    I missed where anyone had said that they never heard of pond water turning brown. I have occasionally seen people post that ponds suddenly turn brown, even once or twice associated with rain, but frequently no one is able to figure out exactly why. It is never because someone just moved their pond under a tree, lol. When someone who has had the pond in the same place for several years says it suddenly turns brown, it elicits questions and sometimes information about new chemicals being used, run off into the pond, a build up of leaves in the pond, etc. Also your tree is a maple tree and one of the previous posts was a walnut tree and I think that person was speculating that it was the walnuts not the leaves causing it. Anyway, if you soak the leaves and get the brown that will certainly make it seem like that was what caused it. Maybe it will help other people as well.

  • waterbug_guy

    I have read many posts that talked about rain and brown. My assumption, and the assumption of others, is something washed into the water, mulch, soil, bark, leaves. The assumption has always been tannin as far as I've seen.

    A common problem with posts is the poster doesn't always want to figure out if it's tannin or mud. O they don't know if it happened over a day or a week. So there's that.

    This case is really different. Lots of great info. Water tests before and after, all the tubs, exact time frame, pictures and someone willing to do some experiments. Rain does seem to be a component...but what? I'm starting to doubt the dozens of times I posted "must be tannin".

  • sue_ct

    I think it is very interesting and I hope you do the experiment with the leaves in a bucket of water because I would be very interested in the outcome. Please update us if you do. If there is that much tannin in green leaves that comes off that easily, It would certainly be helpful to know. If your Maple tree can do that I would also be interested in trying it with other trees to see if the variety matters or not. It could help a lot of people with "brown water" mysteries. I actually have a red maple in my front yard, so I could try it too. I have had brown water in my pond in the past but always from leaves in the pond and it cleared up when I cleaned out the pond in the spring and restarted the filter after winter.

  • LindaH7

    I also posted this story on Facebook, on the Water Gardening and Garden Pond Enthusiasts Club page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/10329584116/10152259598224117/?comment_id=10152263661229117&notif_t=group_comment

    I had a comment from Greg N Robin Boyer saying, "What have you done, if anything to clear the water. I live in Stafford, Va (just up the road from you) and we got a large amount of rain as well. My pond is under elm and maple trees. My water was crystal clear before the rain and is now looking like tea. Do I wait it out? Do I do a partial empty/add?"

    My response was: "I did two partial empty / adds and it worked pretty well. The best idea is to dilute it, because it can't be filtered away. Our pond is about 800 gallons. I removed and replaced 75 gallons with clear water, and that increased visibility from 1 to 2 feet down. Today I did another water change of 90 gallons, and the pond almost looks clear again! Probably one more water change will bring it back to clear, or very nearly. I heard that using activated charcoal in the filter can also help, but not very much, so I would save that for a final clean sweep.

    I am glad you mentioned that you also had the same result after this last big storm. There are ponders who tell me it is impossible to get tea water from tannins unless the leaves are actually IN the water and decomposing, but after what I just went through, I beg to differ. LOL

    Let me know how it works out for you. I will be interested to hear.

    Also, may I ask a couple more questions? How long have you been operating your pond? I have been operating our pond for 7 years. Secondly, in the time you have been operating your pond, how often have you had this problem of your pond going from crystal clear to looking like tea after one heavy rainstorm? This was the first time this ever happened to our pond, which leads me to suspect it takes a very hard and sustained rain to cause this. What do you think?

    FOR SUE: I will do the experiment with the leaves this coming week. (Heading into a busy weekend.) I will let you all know how that goes. I am trying to think of how to artificially re-create the right conditions. Maybe I should blast the leaves with my garden hose set to full-hard? LOL This is making me laugh!!! I can't believe I am writing such a thing! Have a good week-end all.

  • sue_ct

    Funny, I have an in ground fountain/birdbath in my front yard, but not directly under the tree. It ALWAYS gets very brown from the maple leaves that fall into it in the fall, and I have to bail it out every spring, its really gross. Even when I clean it in the fall there remains some leaves on the tree that make their way in every year during the winter. But I have never had brown water from green leaves in it. It is not within the canopy of the tree, though. Something I could do, as could anyone with a Maple or other tree they want to test, is put a good sized bucket under the tree next time there is a good hard rainfall predicted and one outside the treeline, and see what happens. Unfortunately, we just got one in the last couple days, and another one is not in the forecast yet. Can we all reconvene here when the next big rain storm is moving across this part of the country and see how many types of trees we can test, lol?

  • LindaH7

    I'm in Sue. Although the kind of rain we had that night/day was very severe. Did you all see the reports on the national news about all the East Coast flooding as a result? Our local newscaster estimated that we got 6 weeks of normal rainfall in 6 hours! Fortunately for us, our house is on the side of a big hill, so our basement stays dry, but some local roads were flooded out. We had similar flooding a couple of years ago where the storm drains looked like fountains and there was a fast moving new stream running through the woods behind our house, and nearby bridges were destroyed, BUT the rain that caused those problems had gone on and off for three whole days. It did not change the color of our pond.

  • waterbug_guy

    I am glad you mentioned that you also had the same result after this last big storm. There are ponders who tell me it is impossible to get tea water from tannins unless the leaves are actually IN the water and decomposing, but after what I just went through, I beg to differ. LOL
    I assume I'm "ponders"?

    For the record I never suggested it was "impossible". It would be stupid imo to jump to such a conclusion with so little info. Trying to formulate theories that can be tested is not the same thing as fact, although jumping to conclusions is certainly standard in the pond forum world. I believe I said several times the tannin theory is plausible and was first to suggest a way to test the theory. Yes, I see problems with the theory, that's not the same as thinking it impossible.

    And that is why I find pond forums to be really crappy places to discuss ponds...because you can't. It always comes down to twisting words, hyperbole and personal attacks...whatever it takes to create the appearance of being right without any desire for actual info. Good day.

  • waterbug_guy

    Sorry, I forgot to add LOL at the end. I know in recent years it has becomes proper forum etiquette to add LOL after trashing another person. That way you can always say, hey it was just a joke or lighten up dude. So...LOL

  • LindaH7

    Really sorry Waterbug guy. I was looking for an answer to this problem, and this was not the only place I posted my question. Besides this one, and the Facebook page, I also posted this on two other internet forums. In the other two I got the impression that folks, (ponders), felt I have to have leaves and sludge in the pond that I don't know about because that is "the only way it happens." So when I wrote to the person on the FB page, my comment reflected that. I had no thought of "trashing you", and I certainly didn't mean for you to take it personally, but I can see how that happened, and I really do apologize. You have been very encouraging and the most helpful of everyone I connected with regarding this situation. Very sad that I ended up insulting you.

    Incidentally, the FB page person did respond to my questions as follows:

    "My pond is only 5 months old....and it is the second time. Do you remember that rain we had back in May/June that dumped several inches of rain? And of course this latest round of rain caused it. I also did a partial drain/add....but only one. I haven't done anything to this one yet. My yard is heavily wooded. There is no sludge or runoff in the pond....which makes me think it is something coming from the trees. I also have no dead plant material in my pond. My pond is only 270 gallons though....it is just a baby. "

  • sue_ct

    I know exactly what kind of rain the east coast received, because I am in Connecticut, lol. Hence "Sue_CT" . My next question may seem overly simplistic, but how much has that tree grown in the last couple of years, and was it overhanging the pond when you had the previous rains that did not turn the pond brown? I am not sure the difference between the 2 heavy rains would be significant, since if it washes off the leaves, it would still do so over 2 or 3 days, it might just turn the pond brown a little more slowly.

  • LindaH7

    Hi Sue. Sorry, I missed the CT hint. You know, I can't say how much the tree has grown because to me it has just always been huge. I suppose it has grown but I never paid attention to it. Also, this is the first year that I installed a UV clarifier into the pond system. Before this, crystal clear water was something difficult to get and hard to keep. My biggest problem was fighting green water, so if brown got in there, I probably never noticed that either. I guess from now on I will be more aware.

    In any case, a couple of water changes seem to deal with the problem quickly and efficiently. Though the water may not be "crystal clear", it is clear, and certainly clear enough to remain enjoyable. I can see the fish again, even at the bottom, so I am glad.

  • ladyfixer62

    I just had this happen.I have several factors to consider.It has been raining and the pond was full of debris from tree pollen and tree bud "cases".I had also just placed my plants in the pond including a black elephant ear.My pond is a raised one and gets no runoff.I have no idea what to do.Live in NC.Any new updates on this problem? Thank you.

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