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, etc. As these materials begin to decay they utilize the oxygen available in the water. As the organic material builds, more oxygen is used. The presence of muck or a rotten egg smell are sure signs that the bottom is lacking in oxygen and the lake bottom could benefit from reduced muck. Muck reduction is the foremost and necessary step towards a clean lake bottom or pond bottom.
When oxygen is depleted in a water body, anaerobic bacteria partially break down the sediment. In the process, they expel hydrogen sulfide. Hydrogen sulfide is the rotten egg smell present when you stir up the muck in most lakes or ponds. The cause of the odor is a lack of oxygen. Hydrogen sulfide is not only highly toxic to aerobic bacteria; hydrogen sulfide is also toxic to insects, and is toxic to fish at levels of 0.3 mg/l (a very low amount). The anaerobic bacteria also release ammonia into the water column. Ammonia feeds weeds and algae, and is toxic to fish at levels greater than 3.0 mg/l. Also released are methane, nitrogen gas and carbon dioxide. These also are toxic to aerobic bacteria, insects and fish. Carbon dioxide and methane kill fish at levels greater than 30 mg/l. Ultimately, the causes of organic sediment (muck) accumulation, unpleasant odor and fish kills in lakes are a lack of oxygen and high levels of toxic gases.
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. However, bottom oxygen tests in the middle of the night may show no oxygen because plants take up oxygen during the night. Lack of oxygen also depends on the time of year. Just a few hours without oxygen is enough to kill the beneficial bacteria and insects that feed on organic muck. These bacteria play a major part in muck removal.
Clean-Flo’s Process of Natural Muck Removal
If oxygen is present throughout the water column at all times, beneficial aerobic microorganisms and insects feed on the organic sediment which will ultimately result in a cleaner lake bottom. It is similar to bacteria and insects feeding on compost. The bacteria feed on the organic sediment, and the insects feed on either the bacteria or the muck, or both. Bacteria are 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 exude an enzyme to soften the tough walls of the cellulose cells. CLEAN-FLO accelerates this process for the sake of muck removal by adding our natural vegetable enzyme, CLEAN & CLEAR.
In addition, the Clean-Flo inversion and oxygenation system will provide oxygen throughout the pond to maintain aerobic decay. Once oxygen is available, our microorganisms and enzymes have proven to be very effective in reducing the build-up of muck that results from anaerobic decay in aging ponds.
Natural Alternative to Dredging for Sediment Removal
For sand, silt and all but organic sediment, dredging is the best and only method. We know of no other method of inorganic sediment removal than dredging. Yet, according to the USEPA, dredging does nothing to improve water or fish quality and to clean lake bottom. On the contrary, it mixes phosphorus and nitrogen and other pollutants from the muck into the water column. Dredging does nothing to reduce algae. 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).
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 our natural C-FLO+ living organisms and Clean & Clear natural vegetable enzymes are very effective for organic sediment reduction and surely improve water quality, for far less expense and inconvenience.
Our Natural Muck Reduction Products
Installing one of our inversion oxygenation systems along with the products below is the best way to naturally reduce muck.
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™ 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 – 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.
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.
Clean-Flo’s Muck Removal Success Stories