Diagnosing Water Quality Issues

Cool Weather Is the Best Time
to Diagnose a Water Quality Issue

clear water diagnosis

The goal is clear water, right? I mean you don't add a pond to your backyard to see your fish only when they come to the surface. You want crystal clear water all the time! So if you're having water clarity issues and the temperatures are cool in the morning -- perfect!

Cool weather helps with the diagnosis process. Let me explain...

If your water isn't clear, it can be one of two issues:

  • Living, single-celled algae. Caused by too many nutrients in your pond and too little filtration/plants/beneficial bacteria.
  • Suspended debris. This can be dead algae that was growing on the rocks, liner, dead plant growth, or run-off or dirt washing in.
These two conditions can look very similar to the untrained eye, so the best way to determine what sort of clarity issue you have, get a glass and fill it with pond water. 

green pond water
This lovely green water is caused by single-celled algae.

murky cloudy pond water with debris
Yuck! That's a lot of suspended debris in this water.

What does the cool water have to do with it? Each of these issues must be treated differently to be corrected. There's no one product that's going to take care of both conditions.  So, diagnosis is the key so you can begin to correct the problem. In cool weather, like early spring or fall, your water is colder, and this is important because...

In cool water single-celled algae doesn't grow! 

If you look at your pond first thing in the morning and it's really clear and then gets progressively worse as the water warms up, then you have an algae problem. If during cool weather your pond is still not clear, then you have a suspended debris issue. 

Again, treatment for each problem is entirely different, but once it's diagnosed, you have something to work with. For green water, you want to follow these steps. For suspended debris, you should try this. If you're experiencing a suspended debris issue, cleaning your pond is the best, most effective way to get rid of the debris. But we have some other very good options that work as well. We'll have to ask some more questions about your specific situation to determine the best method. Please stop in Cool Ponds so we can help!

Good luck with your diagnosis!

Thanks for readying,
Staci Wicker
Cool Ponds Co-Owner


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