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Thread: Tea colored pond water

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    4

    Tea colored pond water

    I just joined. Looking for answers. My pond is two years old. Doing pretty good. Fish look good. My water is clear, but looks like tea. I do have rocks in the bottom and plenty of plants. I tried charcoal, but it turned my water a dark gray/brown color. I got scared and removed it after about5-6 days.
    Any suggestions.
    Still learning....bclady

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    1,127
    Hi welcome to the board

    The tea colour is from tannins. Tannis are result of run off from bark mulch or leaves around the pond. They can also occur from heavy silt layer in the pond......has the pond been cleaned out in that last year or so? Have you done any major water changes, has the skimmer and bio-fallls beed cleaned out of excess crud?

    When you say charcoal I'll assume that this is Activated Carbon bought from a pond store or a pet store...this should not have negatively affected the water colour at all. In fact depending on the amount used, it should have cleared the water to a gin clear colour.

    The dark colour on the rocks is algae and just a natural part of the pond

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    6
    My pond is 2 years old and this year I've been having the same problem. Although the water looks clear - it's has a brown or tea tint. After perusing many, many posts on this forum, and trying activated charcoal, I determined the only logical problem left was silt build-up. The only mechanical filtration I have is a foam prefilter around the pump, and the foam in my pressure filter. So, I went out and bought a 22x22x1.5 sheet of Nu-Foam - cut it into 3 pieces and layed one across the stream bed just past my waterfall. Well, lo and behold, it clogged with fine silt overnight. I'm 5 days into the Nu-Foam and cleaning it every single day - and the pond does seem to slowly be clearing. That said, the Nu-Foam is degrading fairly quickly - and I don't want to permanently have it layed across the stream, so I've ordered a Matala filter retrofit for my pressure filter to replace the original foam in hopes that it will do a better job on the finer particles. Hope this helps!

    Pond Facts...
    ~ 1,300 gallons (not metered) - 1,000 gallon main pond with 80' stream
    3,500 GPH pump
    Tetra PUV-2500 Pressure Filter (running at about 600 GPH)
    No skimmer or bio-falls
    15 fish (4 Koi, 4 Shubunkins, 6 Sarrassas, 1 feeder Goldfish)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    4

    bclady

    Graham,
    Thanks for your prompt reply. Yes, pond was cleaned March '09.

    Water changes....Rain water? Pond fillup? both of these. Lots of rain
    this year in TN. Also lots of evaporation due to heat...so fill up pond for about 15-20 minutes.

    Skimmer and biofalls were cleaned, plus, I clean skimmer like every other day cause it's always full of crud. So, I know it's working there.

    Activated Carbon (sorry), yes that's what I'm talking about. Pellets I put into bag into skimmer. But, I didn't put as much as I was suppose to. Afraid of what it might do to the water.

    As for the dark on the rock, it makes the pond water look dark too. Should I have put the carbon in the waterfall basket?

    Sorry for all the questions.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    4
    tilithfo,
    Thanks for your information which I read with great interest. I have no idea what Nu-Foam is or a Matala filter. But I will be checking google. I do have a skimmer that has a filter in it, and then there's the basket where the water come out at the top of the stream. See how much I don't know. I need to learn a lot more about what I'm doing. Thanks again.
    bclady

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    6
    Do a forum search for it - several people were using it to filter silt. You can buy it at Wal-mart or Joanns - it's typically used for cushions. Again, as I noted, it's doing a great job - but it's also breaking down rather quickly. Since mine was continuing to clog daily, I broke down today and made a stream & rock bed cleaner - 3/4" rigid PVC about 4' long with a female hose coupling on one end, a male on the other, and a ball valve to control the pressure. Added a straight bore brass nozzle, and then proceeded to work it through the bottom of the pond as well as the stream. It really stirred up quite a mess - had all 3 Nu-Foam pieces at the waterfall and had to clean them about 10 times - as well as the pump pre-filter clogged. But now the pond is clearing nicely - hopefully the brown tint will be all gone by tomorrow. As soon as everyhthing clears I'll probably need to clean the pump pre-filter again. I'm not worrying about the pressure filter right now - will clean that when the Matala filters arrive. In the mean time I still have the Nu-Foam working just past the waterfall.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    1,127
    BC rain water or top ups are not water changes. This of the pond as a toliet so all the fish poop dead leaves stuff that blown in or washed in is still there. It all beaks down becoming pollution called DOC's, dissolved organic carbon. All this organic feeds algae and bacteria

    In a well maintianed pond a large amount of water should be removed on a regular basis. This can amount to 25% to 40% and should be done every week to 2 weeks. with a major cleaning and water in the fall and the spring.

    The AC won't do much for the algae so its placement location doesn't really matter

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    6
    Quick update - crystal clear water this morning, and all fish accounted for!

    Graham - a question for you. I still noticed some silt had resettled over the rocks. Stirred this up again this morning to try and get it pumped up to the temp Nu-Foam pads. That said, do you have any experience with something called a "mini-vac"? I saw it on the web - pretty inexpensive - uses hose pressure to vacuum and catch debris and silt in a bag. If it works, it looks like a better way to clean the stream and pond bottom.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    6

    Temporary Nu-Foam Filter

    Here's a couple pics of the temporary Nu-Foam filter in action. Again, it's located just past the main waterfall in the stream that feeds the pond about another 70' downstream (so it's as close to output of the pump as feasible). I've also included a pic of the pond and stream although you can't see the waterfall (it's in the top center of the pic under the hemlock tree).

    So again - the Nu-Foam has done an incredible job filtering out the fine suspended particles, but it's not a long-term solution - besides being unsightly, it breaks down too fast. Hopefully with the major cleaning this past weekend I'm done for the season and the brown or tea water problem is solved.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Temp Nu-Foam Filter - W.jpg   The Whole Ecosystem - W.jpg  

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    7
    I too had tea-colored water. I solved the problem but don't which solution really did the trick. I simultaneously used activated carbon and placed a sheet of NUFOAM material behind the skimmer's filter pad. It was amazing the fine particulate matter the would pass through the skimmer's primary filter pad and caught by the NUFOAM pad. Every other day I would pull out the NUFOAM pad to rinse it off and place back into action. After about 3 weeks time the water clarity improved and tea-color was eliminated. Again I don't know which solution really did the trick. Any ways, I now still continue to use the NUFOAM because it does filter out the fine stuff very well.

    Dennis



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