One of the most quintessential aspects of fall is the changing of the leaves. The once green landscape takes on beautiful yellow, orange, and reddish hues. As the leaves become less green, the air becomes sweet and crisp. Pond owners may find themselves glaring at the changing leaves, instead of admiring their beauty. The changing leaves means extra work needed to maintain pond clarity.
As the leaves reach their final color stage, they prepare to leave the tree and make their way into your pond. Unless they are scooped out or prevented from entering the pond all together using a net, they sink to the bottom of the pond and begin to breakdown and form sludge. The breakdown process can lead to unpleasant aromas and poor water quality.
What is sludge?
Sludge is the layer of black/brown muck at the bottom of your pond. It’s nearly impossible to keep your pond free of any sludge. Sludge is leaves, lawn clippings, fish waste, and other organic material that has settled to the bottom of the pond, breaking down. If there’s only a small amount, the good bacteria can handle the breakdown, leaving your water nice and clear. During the fall, the leaves may be falling faster than you can scoop. The sludge slowly grows as more organic material settles to the bottom of the pond.
The beneficial bacteria that quickly break down sludge and other organic material in the pond become less active as the water temperature drops. The naturally occurring beneficial bacteria are aerobic, and require oxygen to survive. The bottom of the pond can have insufficient levels of oxygen without proper aeration. Nozzles, waterfalls, spitters, and the wind usually aren’t enough to oxygenate the water in the deeper parts. An aerator will pump water directly into the bottom of the pond, where it’s needed most, helping the good bacteria. An aerator will also help keep the pond oxygenated during the winter.
Once the good bacteria start to die off, the bad bacteria take over. The bad bacteria do not need oxygen to function because they’re anaerobic. They work more slowly than the good bacteria, and as they break down organic material they release harmful gases like phosphorus, nitrogen, and hydrogen sulfide, which makes your pond smell like rotten eggs. The bad bacteria can not break down the organic material faster than it accumulates, so the layer of sludge grows even more. It creates a cycle that makes the bottom of the pond lose even more oxygen.
What does sludge remover do?
smartpond® Sludge Remover is a little bit of magic that uses good, revitalizing bacteria to breakdown the organic waste in your pond. It’s natural and chemical-free, only using deionized water and specially selected heterotrophic bacteria strains to get the job done. smartpond® Sludge Remover contains 1 billion CFU (colony forming unit) per ML (milliliter) while other companies use 500,000 million. It’s safe for your pond life and the environment. Heterotrophic bacteria need organic material to survive, they break it down for energy.
Sludge Remover can be used preventatively to breakdown sludge before it gets out of control. It can be also be used to improve water clarity. Murky water is often caused by floating debris. The good bacteria will break down the organic matter in the water, and boost beneficial microbes. Adding sludge remover will also help your pumps work more efficiently. The bacteria will break down any debris buildup on the filter.
Sludge remover is your best friend and secret to clear water during the fall. It’s important to breakup sludge before winter, when you close your pond. As the surface ices over, the gases become trapped and can be harmful to your pond life. Using a sludge remover will help boost the overall health of your pond in the fall, and prevent sludge from building up due to the falling leaves and other debris. You will be able to enjoy your pond while you enjoy the season of comfy sweaters and warm drinks!