Essential Guide to Pond Water Treatments and Bacteria

Pond water treatments are possibly the most confusing segment of pond products.  There are dozens of manufacturers offering products that run the gamut.  To help simplify, we will share the products we have on all of our trailers in our pond maintenance business. Products which we use regularly with great results.


We like to categorize water treatments into two segments: those that treat the cause and those that treat the symptoms.  Water treatments that treat the "cause" are generally beneficial bacteria which result in optimal pond balance, reducing or eliminating the need for "symptom" treatments.   However, "symptom" treatments (ie algaecides, de-flocculants, pH buffers, ammonia reducers, etc) are sometimes needed in even the most healthy ponds.


Start-Up Bacteria

Start-up water treatments contain a blend of beneficial bacteria formulated to provide a "kick start" to your pond in the Spring.  These bacteria are efficient at quickly reducing excess nutrient levels, clearing cloudy water and consuming sludge.  These bacteria are unique in that they become active at lower water temperatures than other bacteria - in the 50 degree range vs the 55 to 60 degree range - making them perfect for early Spring use. 


Our favorite start-up bacteria is Nualgi Ponds Nitrifying Bacteria.  Apply 1ml of liquid for every 1000 gallons once a week for the first 6 weeks of the season.  After that, apply once a month through the Fall.  


Maintenance Bacteria

Maintenance bacteria are applied throughout the season after the initial start-up bacteria application.  These bacteria are more targeted blends than start-up bacteria, specifically formulated to address pond health, sludge reduction and water clarity.


In our maintenance business we have what we refer to as "The Big Three".  These water treatments are applied on every maintenance call throughout the season, regardless of what is occurring in the pond at the time of visit:


Crystal Clear ClarityMax

Crystal Clear Biological Clarifier

Crystal Clear MuckOff


We have been using these products for years with fantastic results.  



A must to have on hand at all times if you are on municipal water.  You don't want to be caught scrambling if you experience an unexpected water loss. Also when performing partial water changes, or if your auto-fill is working overtime due to excessive evaporation.


AquaMeds DeChlor & More


pH Buffer

While high pH is a nuisance, low pH or a "pH Crash" can be a fish killer.  With a fast acting pH buffer you can address a crash quickly and save your fish.


AquaMeds Buff-It-Up


Ammonia Reducer

Like with low pH, high levels of ammonia are toxic to your fish.  Ammonia release is always occurring in your pond as a result of decaying organic material (nitrification cycle), fish respiration, etc.  Balanced ponds will naturally eliminate ammonia.  However, there are times when you may a experience an ammonia spike which must be neutralized immediately.


Crystal Clear AmmoniaFix



I know, "treating the symptom", but while the goal is to reduce or eliminate the need for algaecides, you most likely have, or will, experience times where a little help is needed.    


For string algae that is above or near the water level (ie streams, rocks) CrystalClear AlageOff is very effective.  Just turn the pump off, sprinkle on, wait 30 minutes, and turn the pump back on.


For string algae below water level, as well as plankton (green water algae), we have had great results with Microbe-Lift AlgAway 5.4.  This is a liquid product that is applied directly into the pond water.



These are used when you have persistent murky water (not green water).  De-flocculants should be used sparingly, as they can upset your pond balance with excessive use.


AquaMeds ClearShine



IMPORTANT NOTE:  When applying beneficial bacteria, you must turn off your UV for 48 hours after time of application.  Also, do not apply algaecides and beneficial bacteria at the same time.  Spread out the applications by several days.