Why Is My Pond or Lake Not Clear?

Ideal water clarity for a pond or lake is between 2-3 ft. Too much sunlight will quickly grow weeds. Erosion and runoff are the main reasons for muddy water.

By  •  • 2 minute read

Have you ever woken up to a muddy or murky pond?

You aren’t alone! It is very common for ponds and lakes to appear murky for a short time.

The true test for water clarity is a using a clear bottle with a water sample. Often what we see is not really the true water clarity. Refraction is the ability of light to reflect light from suspended particles in the water. This is most often the reason most people think their pond is not clear.

Textbook ideal water clarity for a pond or lake is between 2 to 3 feet of visibility. And is measured by using a Secchi disk. When a pond has too much sunlight it will grow weeds.

It’s important to know what exactly is causing the cloudy or murky water so you can know how to treat it and prevent it. The most common reason for muddy water is rainfall. And rain creates erosion and runoff creating muddy water.

However, fish, turtles and waterfowl can also be a reason your pond is staying stirred up. Spawning can cause fish to fan beds for laying eggs creating cloudy water.

If you pond is turning a bright green and cloudy, it more than likely a phyto-plankton bloom. These occur in ponds and lakes naturally and can grow and die without the needed nutrients or sunlight.

Shorescaping with grass and aquatic marginals can both keep your pond or lake healthy. But sometimes, it’s just a matter of letting it work itself out. If you have a lot of waterfowl, you may need to remove some of the population.

Additional information:

Clemson University - Muddy Water, Surface Films, Foam and Slimes

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Filed in: Lake Management , Pond Management , Retention Ponds & Charlotte, NC • Tags: water-clarity , Charlotte NC , Pond Management & Lake

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