Natural Pond & Lake Muck Removal

As ponds age, they accumulate years of organic material from runoff containing grass clippings, leaves, branches, dead and decaying aquatic weeds and algae, fertilizers, leaking septic waste, animal waste, and more. As these materials decay, they use up and deplete dissolved oxygen. As the organic material accumulates, more oxygen is used until it is entirely depleted. The presence of soft black muck or a rotten egg smell are sure signs that the bottom is lacking in oxygen and that the lake bottom could benefit from reducing muck. Muck reduction is the foremost and necessary step towards a clean pond or lake bottom.
Numerous biochemical processes occur in this kind of environment. When dissolved oxygen is depleted in a water body, anaerobic bacteria partially break down the bottom sediment. Hydrogen sulfide is produced as a byproduct. Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) creates the rotten egg smell present when you stir up the muck in most lakes or ponds. H2S is highly toxic to aerobic bacteria. It is also toxic to insects and fish at levels of 0.3 mg/l (a very low amount).

In an oxygen-deficient environment, anaerobic bacteria also release ammonia and phosphorous into the water column. These nutrients accelerate the growth of weeds and algae. Ammonia is also toxic to fish at levels greater than 3.0 mg/l. Methane, nitrogen gas, and carbon dioxide are other negative byproducts of anaerobic digestion. They are toxic to aerobic bacteria, insects, and fish. Carbon dioxide and methane kill fish at levels greater than 30 mg/l.
muck removal services
The primary causes of organic sediment (muck) accumulation, unpleasant odor, and fish kills are a lack of oxygen and high levels of corresponding gas byproducts.

Clean-Flo’s Process of Natural Muck Removal

While bottom oxygen tests may show that the bottom is oxygenated, these tests are usually made during the day, when aquatic plants are putting oxygen into the water. Although it is commonly understood that plants need carbon dioxide to grow, it is less well known that plants also need oxygen to metabolize sugars produced during the day by photosynthesis. Bottom oxygen tests in the middle of the night may show depleted oxygen because plants are using it when photosynthesis is not occurring. These low readings are a more accurate reflection of the amount of oxygen that is actually available to aerobic bacteria and organisms that require oxygen to survive.
Lack of oxygen also depends on the time of year.  During warmer months, ponds and lakes tend to stratify.  Colder water on the bottom becomes depleted of oxygen because it does not mix with water on the surface where oxygen is continually replenished by the atmosphere.  The process of stratification is seasonal:  in the spring, warming surface water stays on the top, and oxygen depleted water stays on the bottom.  In the fall, as the surface water cools, it sinks to the bottom and replaces the water on the bottom.  This natural process is known as inversion.

Oxygen is absolutely critical to a balanced and thriving ecosystem.  A few hours without oxygen is enough to kill the beneficial bacteria and insects that feed on organic muck. These organisms play a major part in muck removal.

Macaleer 6 2018
If oxygen is present throughout the water column at all times, beneficial aerobic microorganisms and insects feed on the organic sediment which ultimately results in a cleaner lake bottom.

The process is similar to that of bacteria and insects converting organic matter into compost. The bacteria on a lake’s bottom feed on the organic sediment, and the insects feed on either the bacteria or the muck, or both. Bacteria provide high-protein food for insects. The bacteria convert organic sediment into carbon dioxide and water, and a microscopic amount of inorganic “ash”. In this process, the bacteria release enzymes that soften the tough walls of the cellulose in plants and make them digestible to aquatic organisms that feed on them.   CLEAN-FLO accelerates this process for the sake of muck removal by adding our natural vegetable enzyme, CLEAN & CLEAR.

The Clean-Flo inversion and oxygenation system will provide oxygen throughout the pond to maintain aerobic decay. Once oxygen is available, microorganisms and enzymes used in bioaugmentation have proven to be very effective at reducing the build-up of muck that results from anaerobic conditions in aging ponds.

Conventional Dredging for Muck Removal

For heavy accumulations of inorganic sediment (sand, silt, and clay), mechanical dredging is the only method of deepening bodies of water.  However, people are often led to believe that mechanical dredging is the only option available to them for removing heavy accumulations of organic sediment too.  This is a misconception that may lead to unnecessary and expensive consequences.

According to the USEPA, dredging does nothing to improve water or fish quality and to clean a lake bottom. It does not reduce algae, odor, or fish kills, and does little to improve fish health and growth. On the contrary, dredging mixes phosphorus and nitrogen and other pollutants from the muck into the water column.
 For these reasons, the EPA has issued criteria for dredge water that is re-introduced into lakes, to limit the amount of pollutants that mix with lake surface waters. Researchers have found that to limit the re-introduced pollutants to only ammonia and manganese (two of over thirty water pollutants), it is necessary that the dredged water be oxygenated (G. Fred Lee, et al).

Natural Alternative to Dredging for Muck Removal

If bottom sediment consists primarily of organic matter, Clean-Flo provides a natural alternative to conventional dredging that achieves all the benefits without its many drawbacks and costs. Our approach is known as Bio-Dredging and consists of a combination of engineered mechanical and biological systems. Our inversion-oxygenation systems and bioaugmentation programs are designed to return the bottom to aerobic conditions and accelerate the digestion of organic material.

Although dredging can deepen a lake, making it more difficult for submerged vegetation to grow, dredging does nothing for water quality, nothing for algae, little to reduce odor and nothing to prevent fish kills or improve fish health and growth and unable to make clean lake bottom. The combination of the CLEAN-FLO Continuous Laminar Flow Inversion-Oxygenation System and Clean & Clear vegetable enzymes is very effective for organic sediment reduction. This improves water quality and the lake’s ecosystem for less expense and inconvenience than that of conventional dredging.

Our Natural Lake & Pond Muck Removal Products

Installing one of our inversion oxygenation systems along with the products below is the best way to naturally reduce muck.

C-FLO+ Disks

C-FLO+ are specially formulated slow release disks consisting of beneficial microbes with natural plant enzymes which feed on organic sediment (muck) at the bottom of all water bodies.

Clean & Clear™ 

C & C CONCENTRATED ENZYMES is a special blend of non-toxic enzymes from nature that acts as a catalyst to biodegrade non-living organic matter and reduces available nutrients in the water, thus improving water quality.
C-FLO P (1 lb.)


C-FLO P – microbial pellet formulation to consume bottom organic sediment, while insects feed on the micro-organisms and fish feed on the insects. Muck disappears while fish thrive on natural food.
Inversion Oxygenation Helps Reduce Organic Sediments and Milfoil in Lake St. Catherine
Adding one of our aeration systems to the body of water will increase the muck reduction benefits of these products. In addition to C-FLO+, C-FLO P and Clean & Clear Concentrated Enzymes, we offer other natural muck reduction products.
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Improve your water body now!

The following bioaugmentation products are beneficial for all water bodies to reduce nutrients, improve water quality, reduce organic muck and stimulate beneficial diatom growth that will convert nutrients into healthy food for fish.  Best results are achieved with our aeration and oxygenation system.

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