Murky water in Pond

Have a wildlife pond and last year could not get water clear. Tried oxygenating plants and barley straw. Pond is 4ft x 5ft  approx and have added 3 oxygenators  do I need more? 



  • marshmellomarshmello Posts: 683

    Is it located in full sun ?

  • LizzyT2LizzyT2 Posts: 7


  • marshmellomarshmello Posts: 683

    There lies the main problem - the sun !!

    To improve water quality you must shade more then half the surface water from the sun. You need a good selection of pond plants  like marginals, deep and floaters to help you. Tall planting schemes around the front and sides of the pond will also help cast shade onto the surface.

    The link below which I contributed on has more info - you may find useful as it holds more info. There is also another but I'm unable to find it, when I do I'll post it onto this thread.

  • LunarzLunarz Posts: 93

    I have recently bought a solar powered, floating pond pump, which was only £15 (good old eBay) and it is doing a good job of aerating my tiny wildlife pond - before I had it, it used to go stagnant quite quickly, which meant a lot of work with buckets and water butts to get rid of the stagnant water and replace it with fresh rain water.  Now it seems to be stable and doesn't smell bad anymore.  It also means that when the sun is shining on the pond, I have a little fountain, which the birds sometimes wash under.  The pump just stops as soon as the sun goes in or at night.  Might help?

  • I use a solar fountain in my wildlife pond too which keeps the worst of the blanket weed down, though I still have to twirl a stick occasionally, until the waterlilies leaves start spreading, after that the pond is fine without the fountain.

  • I'd get a bag of daphnia or water fleas from an aquatic store and add them. They eat greenwater algae and bacteria as long as they don't get eaten by fish or damaged by pumps. They breed quite quickly but they'll take a bit of time to conquer it - perhaps a few weeks. The more you add, the faster they'll tackle the murk. As with most wildlife gardening, it's the base of your trophic pyramid that's the most vital.

    Watercress is also a fantastic native biological control which will grow from cuttings, or more usefully, supermarket bunches. Remember that submerged plants won't grow well in murky water due to low light levels, so as has been said marginal or tender floating plants like water hyacinth are more useful until the water clears.

  • LizzyT2LizzyT2 Posts: 7

    Thanks to everyone sure I will get sorted now! 

  • Hi what are good plants to keep wildlife ponds clear?I have a large planter pot pond with tadpoles for about 4 months now and had to change water because went stagnant, think it's because it gets 1 or 2 hours of sun there each day I decided to empty the water out and taken out the weed that was in,rinsed 2 rocks,and have added some fresh tap water.I have left it standing for 2 days and added my plant,can't remember what it is my sister give it me from her pond,I bought some Elodea 3 bunches and have put that in the gravel and am going to add my tadpoles back tomorrow.How do I keep the water clear,I read to keep it shaded and just have sun on the plant/plants is that right? really want this little pond to work and with the help you can offer me hopefully it will.

  • LynLyn Posts: 8,055

    If you want a wildlife pond it's best not to have it clear, the creatures like to hide in the murky water.

    I would have thought tadpoles would have turned into frogs long ago, mine have been out for months, although I have read that if they are not in their ideal conditions they will wait until next year to turn into frogs. 

    Mine is in full sun all day, the water is green but teeming with life so I will leave it. It has loads of oxygenating weed in it, never fill with tap water, can you save rain water, that's the best for top ups.

     I have just noticed you have made the pond in a planter pot, is there a ramp for creatures to get out?. 


    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 
  • Hello yes there is a branch in there which reaches well over the top of the pot for any frogs to come and go,I only changed the water because it stank like drains,and I do try to use rain water when there is some,but on this occasion I used tap water and have left it to mature before putting tadpoles back in!

  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 14,129

    Lyn, I always top mine up from the tap. The water here is fine, and mercifully for us, un-metered.

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 19,692

    Small ponds will tend to be greener than bigger ones as they heat up more quickly in spring, creating the perfect conditions for algae etc. It's important to have some 'muck'in the bottom for wildlife though. Make sure you remove any leaves or debris falling in - that will help. I use a handful or two of watercress in spring which absorbs many of the nutrients blanket weed feeds on, and that will clear it quickly - just chuck it in and it will root, or tuck it in somewhere at the edge. It's easy to pull out if it grows too much, and just spreads across the surface helping to give some shade too. Full sun is best for a pond, but as long as it gets some sun through the day it'll be fine. Good luck with it Wendy image

    My tiny pond is now very clear but has plenty of stuff for any little creatures. The tadpoles all 'frogged' successfully ! 

  • How long should I leave tap water to stand before adding back my tadpoles?


  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 42,720

    What are your tadpoles feeding on?  They usually feed on decaying matter and daphnia (water fleas) and other tiny creatures in the water.  If you're putting fresh water in the pond where are they going to get their nourishment from?

    A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in - Greek proverb 
  • Right ok so should i buy some daphnia and put them in,not sure what to do? they do have pond weed in the bucket there in at moment. I read they eat algae,noticed them eating off the side of pond before!

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 42,720

    Newly hatched tadpoles eat algae - as they develop they become omniverous eating plant matter/algae and daphnia and other small invertebrates.  You can buy daphnia from most aquatic centres and pet shops, but the pond water you threw away probably had plenty in it.

    Will you be able to keep the pond from freezing over winter?

    A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in - Greek proverb 
  • Well the pot is about 18 or 20 inches deep so hopefully it will survive! So what can I feed the tads in the bucket with while my pond settles?



  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 42,720

    A pot of water 20" deep will freeze solid in a hard winter and your tadpoles will die - have you got somewhere frostfree where you can move it if we get bad weather this winter?

    I would get a bag of daphnia from an aquatic store for your tadpoles.

    This may be helpful


    A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in - Greek proverb 
  • It is buried in the garden,should it just leave them in the bucket that there being held in and look after them in doors,got me worried now image two of the tads are nearly frogs,so what shall I do!




  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 42,720

    Ah, well ... fingers crossed then image

    Remember to float a ball on it or keep an area ice-free in some way to prevent noxious gasses building up in the water underneath the ice

    A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in - Greek proverb 
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