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Pond Solutions - Pond Supplies and Expert Pond Advice
America's #1 Pond Supplier - 1000s of Pond Supplies, Expert Advice
America's #1 Pond Supplier - 1000s of Pond Supplies, Expert Advice


Here's the top 10 steps to take to clean your large fish pond of unwanted algae, pond weeds and sludge and muck build up. (If your pond or water garden is smaller than this please check out our backyard pond and water gardening cleaning tips.)
1.  Get a lake rake and remove as much fallen leaves and dead aquatic weeds that you can.  We have a variety of lake rakes and aquatic weed cutters to use.  Do yourself a favor and have a 'party' or BBQ with family and friends (if your pond is big) and they can give you a hand especially if they will be enjoying it with you.  It can be a heavy and daunting task but one where time goes by quickly with friends, food and drinks and with stories to tell for years to come.  (Hey!  Remember when....) 
2.  Put that sludge, muck and dead aquatic leaves in a big pile or if you can, spread out in a garden or somewhere and use some of our PlanktoniX beneficial bacteria on it.  PlanktoniX works GREAT at decomposing organic wastes in OR out of the pond!
3.  Put in a proper size aerator especially a diffused aerator that you can use year-round.  Aerators add necessary oxygen to your pond for it to be healthy and for your fish to survive.  We can help you select one.  They're super easy to install and can last you for many, many years.  Their benefits are substantial and they're very energy efficient and much more efficient than a fountain or waterfall that don't oxygenate to the bottom of the pond - which is what you want.
4.  If you have lots of green water algae I need for you to understand what causes it and why it's important you follow some very simple, yet super effective steps to get rid of it. 
Green water algae is caused by excess nutrients from fallen leaves, dead aquatic plants, fish wastes, sludge, muck, etc..  All of these organic wastes are providing food for your algae to grow!  So, go back to step #1 and remove as much fallen leaves and dead aquatic weeds as you can as this can save you a HUGE step and expense.  Also, do what you can to eliminate fallen leaves, etc. from getting in the pond in the first place.   We have a variety of pond nets and seine nets you can use to cover or seine the pond to do that.  You could also install a pond skimmer  (if you have a liner pond) that will siphon off the leaves and debris that blows into the pond and later sinks. 
5.  To treat the pond naturally, you need to add some PlanktoniX pond bacteria  (available in different sizes) which will start eating up the sludge, muck and other organic matter that is providing food for your green water algae (and unwanted weeds, too) to grow.  You can add several times the dosage and perhaps even a lot more than that to really have a powerful army of bacteria eating up that sludge.  (If you're interested in an accelerated decomposition of this organic matter, let us know so we can advise you how to do this.  We have helped save hundreds of thousands of dollars to many folks who thought the only option was to dredge their pond. )  Use the PlanktoniX faithfully all season long.  Don't skimp; don't forget.  PlanktoniX will be your #1 best friend to keeping your pond clean.  
6.  A lot of people want a 'quick fix' and want their green water cleaned NOW!  I'll tell you what you can use to do that but know that this is a temporary solution because more green algae will grow again because you haven't gotten at the root of the problem by eliminating all the sludge and muck in the pond that's feeding it and causing it to grow!  You'll actually be adding to the problem because your first 'treatment' of killing pond algae will cause the dead algae cells to collect on the bottom of the pond which gives more and more food for more algae to grow.  But, you want to know how to kill the algae now, and I'll tell you...
7.  You can use some Cutrine Liquid or Green Clean  (both available in granular or liquids) or a different algaecide but do know that some of these are restricted chemicals and cannot be used in every state.  You also cannot use these if your pond is not 100% contained on your property and has a small stream going to or from your pond.  In this case, your local DNR (Department of Natural Resources) has jurisdiction on what you can do, if anything to your pond because it would affect part of our public water system because water flows to or from your property from other properties.  

All of these algaecides work pretty much the same way.  They'll kill your algae and the dead algae cells will sink to the bottom causing more food for more algae to grow.  Copper sulphate creates almost a sterile bottom because the copper builds up in the sediments and the beneficial bacteria can't grow in it besides other helpful 'creatures'.  We don't recommend the use of copper sulphate nor do we sell it.  Cutrine Plus is a chelated copper and is more effective and safer to use because it doesn't 'release' the copper ions like copper sulphate does which harms the environment.
8.  You can use an aquatic sunblocker that will block a lot of the sun's rays from entering through the body of water.  Algae and pond weeds need sunlight and food to grow.  You starve out the algae from food by cleaning up the sludge and muck by using the PlanktoniX faithfully.  You starve out the algae and pond weeds from sunlight by using an aquatic sunblocker or 'pond dye' such as Aquashade or Black or Blue Vail.  For these aquatic sunblockers it's best to start EARLY in the season before the green water algae and pond weeds start to grow.
9.  Now, the pond weeds.  You need to have them properly identified.  We have a chart on how to determine what type of pond weeds you have.  If you're not sure, you may be able to take a sample into your local DNR or county extension office and they may be able to determine what pond weed you have.  Call beforehand to be sure if they provide this service. 

There's a variety of pond weeds; some are submerged or living totally below water like hydrilla and others may be floating like water lettuce or water hyacinths while some may be partially submerged that has roots that grow in the water and the rest of the plant grows out of the water like cattails do.  You need proper identification.  That's a must.  If not; you'll be wasting your hard-earned cash and putting chemicals in your pond for nothing. So, proper identification is crucial.  Then, you can go to our pond weed chart and see what chemical or 'aquatic herbicide' will work for those pond weeds.  Again - and just like for algaecides - you cannot use these chemicals if your pond isn't 100% contained on your property or if you have water that flows to it or from it.  You must contact your local DNR (Department of Natural Resources) on what you can do, if anything.  If you use something and get caught, it can be a huge fine for you besides polluting our public water system.  So, be warned and informed of this.
Most pond weeds do best by treatment early in the season, particularly if you're treating the whole body of water.  This 'nips it in the bud' and doesn't allow them to grow prolifically during the season and may kill them altogether - depending on the product. 
There is also something that's called, 'Sonar' which is a broad spectrum aquatic herbicide that works for a lot of pond weeds.  It's 'expensive' but can last for more than one season and often for 2 or 3 seasons. 
Always follow instructions for using pond weed killers.  When pond weeds and algae die they rob oxygen from the water and can rob your fish of oxygen they need to survive.  You can lose a lot of fish if you over treat the pond or don't follow instructions because of this.  A lot of times you can have that aerator I told you about turned on and that can definitely help A LOT.  Also, sometimes it's recommended by the manufacturer to treat 1/3 of the pond at a time and most of the reason is because of the dieing plants consuming oxygen and not enough oxygen is left in the water for your fish.  This may be more common with herbicides that act quickly whereas something like Sonar acts slowly but lasts for a much longer time.
Also, for cattails, it's best to treat them late in the season when the brown cattails have formed so the vim and vigor has left the plant and it's more easily treated and killed all the way to the roots. 
While we sell aquatic weed cutters I personally don't recommend them for weed eradication as cutting the plants down only encourages a stronger root system so more plants will grow and more robustly.  Use the right aquatic herbicide - aka pond weed killer - and at the right timing for best effects.  Some people have spent hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars dredging out large ponds and lakes.  This can be totally unnecessary with the right pond weed killers, instructions and timing of their use. 
10.  That's about it.  Clean the organic matter out as best as you can with a lake rake.  Get a proper size aerator and use it 24/7/365.  Use PlanktoniX all season long and use it faithfully.  Do what you can to eliminate as much organic matter or fertilizers from getting in the pond to begin with.   Use an aquatic sunblocker such as Aquashade or Black Vail, Blue Vail or Black/Blue Vail and start early in the season for best results to reduce or eliminate pond weed growth early in the season and use the right aquatic herbicide for the pond weeds you have to kill the weeds systemically.  Consider a broad spectrum pond weed killer than may last more than one season.  Remember to contact your local DNR as to what chemicals you can use, if any, if your pond and it's water flow is not 100% contained on your property.   The Department of Natural Resources has jurisdiction on what you can do and you can be issued a hefty fine for doing something you shouldn't besides it affecting the public water system for everyone.
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Post by Pond Solutions - The Leader of Fish Pond Supplies and Maintenance Info.
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Your pond is dirty, has green pond water, sludge and muck on the bottom and you want to know how to clean your pond.  You've come to the right place! 

Here's some tips if you're doing a big, 'Spring cleaning' which can easily be modified throughout the year by not removing all the water and doing a partial water exchange, if desired.  These are steps to take if your pond is say, less than 50' x 50' in size.  If it's larger than this size, check out our large fish pond cleaning instructions.
First, if you have fish, get yourself a large rubbermaid container, kiddie pool or large enough water-tight container and remove your fish, if you can, so they are not traumatized.  Put pond water - not tap water - in the container beforehand and make sure you have plenty of aeration from either a small pump or aerator.  You may need a pond net over it so the fish don't jump out, too.  You'd be surprised how high they can jump!
Next, sprinkle some Green Clean pond cleaner on any string algae.  This looks like long green hair.  Green Clean is an oxidizer and kills these algae cells by almost blowing them up to pieces.  Follow the directions on the package as to how long it needs to sit.  Sometimes it's a matter of a few minutes or so.  You'll see it foaming up and starting to work right away.  You may also be able to do this step if you have fish in the pond but you may have to treat it in sections instead of all at once.
Take your garden hose and hose down rocks, filter pads and place your pump at the bottom of the pond to siphon out all the dirty pond water and muck.  You may need to 'babysit' the pump so it doesn't get clogged up.  Sometimes tieing a large piece of nylon twine with a large filter pad around the pump may be enough to block out large leaves from getting stuck in the pump.  You can also drill holes in a clean, 5 gallon bucket and place your submersible pump inside there and let the holes in the bucket act as a filter so leaves (or if you have fish in there still) don't get sucked up by the pump.
After your pond is as clean as you want it to be, start filling it back up with your garden hose.  If you still have that handy 5 gallon bucket, you can get some Super Activated Filter Carbon and a Filter Media bag (or even a clean painter's bag from Home Depot or Lowes) and place the activated carbon in the filter bag and put inside the bucket.  Rinse the activated filter carbon out first as it will have fine black particles that you won't want in your pond.  Then, put your garden hose into the top of the bucket so the water runs through the activated carbon and out the holes and into your pond.  The activated carbon acts a lot like our water filters we have for human consumption.  It removes chlorine and chloramine from the water and a whole lot of other chemicals and ammonia.  You should always have this set up available particularly if you have fish.
After your pond is full of water and you've run the water through the Super Activated Filter Carbon, try to let the pond water sit as long as you can before you transfer the fish back to it as the water will now be a totally different temperature and a different water chemistry than when they were taken out and they can go into shock.  See our info on how to safely transfer your fish to your pond.
Once your pond is filled with water and you've cleaned and/or replaced any filter pads in your filtration system, it's time to turn the pump back on.  This should be on 24/7 for optimal aeration and circulation. 
After a day, add some good quality pond cleaning bacteria product to keep your pond clean and healthy.  We recommend PlanktoniX (available in different sizes) for large ponds and Microbe Lift  (also available in different sizes and types) for small backyard ponds and water gardens. 
If your fish are still in their 'hospital tank' or Rubbermaid container and are doing well, you can transfer the fish back into the pond.  Remember to do so gradually and follow the transfer fish protocol we have as a guideline for you.
It is important to note that UV Clarifiers and Sterilizers will kill your pond cleaning bacteria and nearly anything else that goes through the UV unit so be sure to turn this off when you add the pond bacteria and keep it off for about 2 or 3 days until the bacteria has found it's 'home' on where to grow in the pond, in the pond filter pads or where it decides.  After 3 days you can turn the UV unit back on until you add your pond cleaning bacteria again.
Do yourself a favor and faithfully use one of our pond cleaning bacteria products!  They are designed to eliminate a lot of this pond cleaning tasks that you've now done manually.  They break down sludge, muck, fallen leaves, uneaten fish poop, dead aquatic plants and organic debris that's blown in.  THEY are your #1 Friend to helping you clean your pond!  Really!  People try to make this difficult or are persuaded by some advertising ploy about other pond chemicals but sooooo much of cleaning a pond can be to use the pond bacteria faithfully - and, try to eliminate as much debris and nutrients from getting in there in the first place.
Whatever you do - DON'T use any chemicals whatsoever to clean your pond!  No Comet, Bleach, Soap or anything else.  Just plain o'l tap water, Some Green Clean - if you want - and a good o'l, VERY CLEAN broom with no chemicals on it. 
Remember - nearly every pond will turn a greenish color after it's been emptied and filled within about 2 weeks.  This is NORMAL and it's because the beneficial pond cleaning bacteria hasn't been established yet.  Give it some time and stay up on your dosage of pond cleaning bacteria to use.  Sometimes, almost overnight - the pond will appear clear again.  Follow the directions on the manufacturer's recommended dosage for starting up a new pond as to how much to apply and how often as it's always more at the start up of a new pond or a big cleaning like we just explained. 
Remember - it's all about the pond cleaning bacteria - not using pond chemicals (even though we sell them).  The pond cleaning bacteria such as PlanktoniX and Microbe Lift are your #1 Friend in cleaning your pond safely and effectively.
You can also add some organic barley straw, barley straw extract or pellets to your pond.  Barley straw has been used for hundreds and hundreds of years to reduce string algae from growing in water - particularly in water troughs for farm animals.  It can work similarly in ponds but water should be running through it like in a filter or waterfall unit - not laying on the bottom of the pond and becoming stagnant.  It takes weeks to activate barley straw itself, so start early in the season about 4-8 weeks before you think you need to. :)  Then, add another dose in the summer before the fall begins and water temperatures start to drop.  Whatever you do, DON'T rip up string algae out of the pond - CUT it as it grows from spores and when you rip it, you release millions of spores throughout the pond only to grow more soon thereafter! :( 
I do want to note that throughout the warm/hot summer months - much of this is NOT needed to clean your pond.  You can simply add your pond cleaning bacteria, rinse the filter pads with POND water - not tap water which will kill the beneficial bacteria that you're trying so hard to colonize and keep your pond clean.  IF you do a partial water exchange - which should not be necessary - be sure to run the new water through some Super Activated Filter carbon so it will take the chlorine, chloramine and other chemicals out of the water.  As a matter of fact, if you should ever accidentally 'overdose' your pond with a pond chemical, this Super Activated Filter Carbon will most likely remove it.  It can also help polish and make your water sparkle if you have some in the filtration system - if even in a fine mesh bag inside it or inside your waterfall unit. 
I hope this has been helpful to you.  Although we've been in business since the 1990s and have helped hundreds of thousands of customers over the years, we've recently started a Facebook page.  Please Like us on Facebook and receive updated information throughout the year, be notified of sales and other great features. 
 * If you don't have Super Activated Filter Carbon to remove the chlorine and chloramines out of the water, you can neutralize them with Ammo Lock II.  You can also add the water by spraying it up in the air, instead of laying on the ground and letting the water fall into the pond.  The spray pattern can help dissipate the chlorine into the air before it enters the pond.  As the old saying goes, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound a cure" and that's true.  You want to do your best to prevent your fish from going into shock and dieing from this new pond water chemistry and temperature they need to go back to.  If you don't have fish, it's probably not that big of a deal. 
Post by Pond Solutions - The Leader of Fish Pond Supplies and Maintenance Info.
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