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Are there any plants or fish that will help "clear up" muddy water?
We have a small lake, or a large pond in our backyard which is really muddy. The water quality is excellent (it was just tested) though unfortunately, it doens't look as pretty and inviting as it could. Its about 16,000 cubic meters, or 565 034.667 54 cubic foot, and at it's deepest point is only about a meter and a half or 5 feet. I'm kind of hoping there's something kind of life form we could safely add to the water to eat the dirt... Is this even possible?
I work at a garden centre, and we usually tell people to try using either water cress or just ordinary straw to 'clear up' murky water. I'm not sure what it is about them that do the trick, but everyone I know who has tried it swears by it.
If you look around in Swamp areas you will find many types of Hosta and "Skunk Plants", they look like Hostas, and Moss. I think that Moss would be a great help. It would add a nice ground cover fill instead of having just mud. I would also check out any varieties of the water Lilly family. Lillys that can grow near water not necessarily in the water. I'm not an expert but I hope I may have helped. Check out the moss, I think that would be a big help. Good Luck!
First let me say I worked at a Garden Center for several years and know a little bit about products for water features, though, not an expert by far. Muddy water is different than cloudy water. Muddy water usually takes care of itself as the soil in the water settles. if you have ducks that stir up the bottom foraging for tasty morsels, good luck. If the water is cloudy, there may be organic solutions available to you. I would check in with the closest retail store to see what products are available in your area (as weather conditions are important) in order to solve your problems. Products that clarify the water are available. Barley balls do a good job to keep algae at bay and clarify the water, however; you will need a lot for the size of your pond. The other thought I have is, "what kind of water filtering system do you have? Even larger bodies of water can be filtered and good cleaning maintenance of the filtering system can rid your water of unwanted particles. Good luck to you. Having a pond in perfect condition is a constant maintenance issue. Oh and be careful adding water plants that are invasive in nature. you will have a real problem trying to rid of them later. There are a few water plants that will not grow as quickly and can be thinned as needed. Natural grasses are best in areas around the waters edge.
Thanks to all of you for the great answers. I love the idea of water lilies and grasses to help filter the water. Actually, we don't have any kind of mechanical filtering device... I didn't realize you could get one for such a big pond. I'll have to check into that as well.
I had a smaller pond than yours on my previous property for 30 years and I found that early in the spring there would be a period of murkiness and sort of an algae rise--stuff that had been happily on the bottom of the pond through the cold months would float up and look, well, pretty disgusting. And then, all on its own, the pond would clear itself. In fact, what I learned about my pond was this: the less than I did, and the more that Mother Nature did, the healthier the pond was, meaning that the fish and frogs and plants did *much* better after I disconnected the filter we had in the beginning and did nothing further than run a very small aerator in the winter to keep just a small area clear of ice so the over-wintering animals would not suffocate under the ice.
Now, your pond is larger, and yet I would imagine it will be much the same. Expect a period of general yuckiness early in the spring. Add plant material that will grown underwater to help aerate--plants breath in CO2 and breath out oxygen. (There are lots of great online pond resources including the oldest US pond specialist, www.Tricker.com)
There are also several types of mollusks that aerate--snails and such--and they could be added as well. And once things seem to be okay, then take your hands off it and allow nature to do what nature does best: live!
I moved in the fall to a larger house on a smaller lot and miss my pond soooooo much! We are hoping to add one next year. This summer, I will really miss falling asleep to the frogs in my pond croaking--a few optimistic males looking for a few willing females.
Love your pond, it's filled with life!
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