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We have a swimming pond full of slimy pond gunk that stinks. Help!
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Ask Our Pond Experts

We have a swimming pond full of slimy pond gunk that stinks. Help!

Asked By: Steve of McDermott, OH

A: Yuck. In some luxe-minded circles, mud baths are all the rage. However, muck baths with their putrid odors aren't very vogue. What causes all that slimy, stinky sludge, and how can you get it under control before swimsuit season? Cleaning, aeration, and beneficial bacteria will make muck history in your swimming pond in no time.

What is Muck

Muck is a natural byproduct of the decomposition of organic debris, like dead algae and decaying plants. The foul smell is caused by waste gases released by anaerobic bacteria chowing down on this detritus, which is why your pond might smell like sewage.

Ponds become particularly mucky when they sit stagnant for long periods or get excessive leaves from nearby trees. All that organic material builds up, breaks down, and eventually decomposes.

When muck squishes between your toes, you release the trapped gases—an unpleasant sensation that will quickly remove swimming from your agenda.

How to Clean Muck From the Bottom of a Pond

If your swimming pond is slimy and stinky, you can remove the muck and its resulting odor. The cost to dredge a pond can be prohibitive, but there are simple sludge removal options that won’t break the bank. Here's a three-step solution that will help:

  • Add Good Pond Bacteria: If the water temperatures in your pond are above 50°F, toss in Airmax MuckAway muck-eating tablets. These beneficial bacteria help break down the decaying debris on the pond’s bottom and eat through two inches of muck per month! The bacteria strains in MuckAway devour detritus and release harmless, odorless gas that escapes the water unnoticed.

  • Install Diffused Aeration: If you haven’t already, install an aeration system and turn it on slowly over a few days to acclimate your pond to the oxygen infusion. Start on day one for 30 minutes, then double the uptime each day until it’s running 24/7. We carry aerators for any size pond—from shallow water gardens to 12-acre lakes. They include diffusers, air pump compressors, cabinets, airlines, and a free mapping service that takes the guesswork out of installation.

  • Perform Pond Maintenance: For a sparkling-clean swimming pond, add essential maintenance chores to your to-do list. Regularly rake out dead vegetation, keep plants trimmed and pond weeds managed, and do what you can to prevent leaves and debris from decomposing in the water. The Jenlis three-step mechanical control system makes these chores easy: cut through weeds with the Weed Razer, remove debris with the Weed Raker or Razer Rake, then roll the Muck Razer along the bottom to agitate muck and loosen stubborn roots.

  • More Tips for Removing Sludge From a Pond

    By using beneficial bacteria, adding aeration, and removing debris, you'll be well on your way to a sludge-free pond that's perfect for swimming and summer fun. If you are up to your neck in muck and don’t know where to start, contact us! Give us a call at 866-POND-HELP, and our friendly pond techs will walk you through the best solutions.

    Read more about keeping your pond clean and clear in the following articles:

    What is Muck and How Do You Remove Muck?
    Aeration for Muck Reduction and Water Clarity
    How to Reclaim Your Lakefront Shoreline
    Turbidity in a Pond Explained

    Last Updated: May 8, 2024