October 7, 2019

Causes of Murky Pond Water

Murky pond water, muddy pond water, cloudy pond water…all of these problems have one common denominator: high turbidity. Turbidity is caused by suspended inorganic and/or organic particles that cause cloudy or murky water. There are different levels of turbidity too. The more floating particles, the more turbid and the cloudier the water.

Murky pond water is a common complaint from pond owners. There are many factors that can cause murky water and sometimes there is more than one creating the issue. Here are some questions every pond owner needs to ask themselves when attempting to diagnose murky pond water.

Have you taken a glass of pond water and let it sit for 24 hours? If not, you need to try this. If the water becomes clear after the 24 hours you have something in your pond preventing debris from settling. If the water remains cloudy then there is a preexisting condition.

Common reasons the water becomes clear in the jar:

  • rowdy fish like Koi
  • fish population is too high for the size of the pond
  • muskrat problem
  • frequent, heavy recreation use of the pond

When the water remains cloudy there are a lot more causes to consider and questions to ask. How long has your water been murky, since it was constructed or for the past week? If the water has been murky since it was dug, then it is most likely because of the material the pond floor consists of and/or what is around the edges of the pond. For example, if the pond has a clay bottom there is probably clay (inorganic) particles floating in the water making it cloudy. You also need to consider how old the pond is. It can take up to 2 years for a new pond to settle out. Pond dye can sometimes help settle out these particles. If dye and time doesn’t work, then you will have to get a flocculent like Alum.

Another cause of persistent murky pond water is not having sufficient rip-rap (rock area around pond). Without rip-rap the edges of your pond will erode and constantly pour loose particulate into the pond making the water murky. If your murky water situation is new, reflect on the past week or so…have you had a lot of rainfall? Have the temperatures been really hot and sunny? Significant rainfall will stir things up. Hot, long, sunny days will accelerate algae growth (organic particles) that can turn ponds really strange colors: bright green, red, blue-green, and brown. If rainfall is your issue, you need to wait and give your pond some time to settle. If algae growth is your problem you will need to get a pond algaecide.


The take away from this blog is to pinpoint the cause(s) of your muddy water so that you can effectively start to clear your water. Keep an open mind, your muddy water could be caused by the way your pond is constructed combined with an algae problem. Figuring out this problem will take some trial and error.

Contact Pond Champs for more information.

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