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Brown Water

Brown water can be notoriously difficult to clear. It is mainly caused by loose soil or tannins in the water. Below are a few tips for how to diagnose brown water!

06 August 2020

Brown water is an uncommon problem that pond keepers may face throughout their time owning a pond. There are only two reasons why your pond may be brown; tannins or loose soil.

The first question you need to think about is if there is soil in the pond. If there are Koi with live plants, it is likely that the Koi has disturbed the plant and the soil has become animated in the pond water, giving the water a brown appearance.

If your pond has a tree nearby, then the leaves or other organic material may fall into the pond, releasing the tannins into the water. The tannins can also be released into the water if your pond has a significant amount of plantlife; the plants can release tannins into the water through a natural process. 

An easy way to identify the cause of the brown water is to take a glass of water and leave it on a surface for an hour. When you check on the glass, check for the following:

  • If there is a small mound at the bottom of the glass then this is soil.
  • If the water is still brown, then it is likely to be tannins.

How to treat floating sediment

To treat any fine soil or sediment that is in the pond, you will need a fine filter foam. This will catch any fine soil that is passed through the filter. You may need to replace one of the foams in your filter system.

Alternatively, you may want to vacuum your pond, use a net with a fine mesh or do a partial water change. This will help remove any sediment and slugde from the pond. If you do a partial water change, don't forget to dechlorate the water if you are using tap water.

It can be difficult to remove fine silt from your pond. If you are having major problems removing the soil from the pond, the last thing to do is to completely change your water. But this should not be the first thing  you do; you will be disrupting the ecosystem that has been created in the pond.

How to treat the tannins

The first thing you must do is to cut back any plants that have become overgrown for the size of your pond; it is also a good idea to check for any sticks, leaves or other organic material on the surface or bed of the pond. If your pond is near a tree or has a lot of plant life which can release leaves onto the pond surface, you can use a pond cover net to catch the leaves before they enter the pond.

Tannins can only be treated through the use of healthy bacteria; this can be developed by using gels and treatments such as the PondXpert Gel Balls.

The healthy bacteria will spread across your pond; reducing the levels of tannins, Ammonia, Nitrites and Nitrates in your pond. 

We would also recommend doing a partial water change, which will help to dilute the levels of tannins in the water. But again, don't forget to dechlorate in the water if you are filling it up with tap water.

The quickest way to treat the tannins is to use activated carbon; if you fill a mesh bag with the carbon and hang this into your pond, this can help tackle the tannins in the water. 

If you need any advise, please contact us.

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