Why Does My Pond or Lake Smell?
Do you dread changes in the wind because the smell of your pond or lake wafts into your home? Do you avoid gatherings or cookouts down by the water because of its unappealing odor? You’re not alone.
We’ve all walked past stagnant, a stinking pond and lake at some point in our life (and a lot of times we wish we hadn’t!), but have you ever wondered where that smell is coming from…or how to stop it?
Let’s first look at the causes. The bad pond or lake odor you notice comes primarily from three sources:
1. Rotting Plants, Fish, and other Organic Matter: When something rots, it smells-this is a simple fact of life that has us routinely taking out the trash and hunting through the refrigerator for foreign smells. But, what occurs in lakes and ponds that make the odor so pervasive? It’s the lack of oxygen.
Many rotting things in your pond are digested by aerobic (oxygen breathing) bacteria, and this occurs both quickly and largely without odor. If given enough oxygen, these hungry little bacteria will clean all the odors and decaying matter out of your pond.
Unfortunately, this is not what happens in most ponds-stagnant water instead has the tendency to develop into distinct temperature layers. Water warmed by the sun remains toward the surface, and cooler, denser water stays on the bottom. Being sealed in by the upper, warmer layer, the bottom layer receives no oxygen. Eventually fish and bacteria use up all the available oxygen in this area, and this is when things get bad.
What happens is that all inanimate organic matter (dead fish, leaves, grass clippings, sticks, fish waste, dead plants) sink to the oxygen-less, or anoxic, area at the bottom of the pond. Here, the only breakdown and digestion that occurs is done by anaerobic (not oxygen breathing) bacteria.
Not only are these bacteria seventeen times slower at breaking down organic matter than aerobic bacteria, but they also produce nasty smelling pond odors as a byproduct. These odors include the rotten egg-like hydrogen sulfide, methane, and ammonia.
Ever see bubbles rise to and burst on the surface of your pond? That’s likely anaerobic bacteria, releasing their pungent pond odor byproducts.
2. Turnover: Pond or lake turnover is often a reason why your water smells really bad at different times. It occurs at least twice a year in the spring and fall (sometimes more if there are heavy rainstorms) where the upper and lower levels of your water body mix together.
The resulting solution is low in oxygen and high in noxious gasses (and this very dangerous for fish). On top of this, all of the bad odors and decaying material once trapped at the bottom are mixed into the water column all at once, making your water smell quite awful.
3. Odor Producing Algae: Certain kinds of algae simply smell bad. Ponds with heavy concentrations of cyanobacteria or chara algae, for example, will emit a musty, earthy odor. So not only will your pond look bad because of the large algal blooms, but it also smells bad because of the algae!
Now let’s look at the solution to pond and lake odors. The fix for pond and lake odorsis Eco-Friendly Aeration with the MARS System, which targets the causes of odors by doing the following things:
* Oxygenating ALL areas of the water column so aerobic bacteria get to the organic matter and do its work without odors
* Mixing the entire pond from top to bottom, avoiding layering and stopping the harmful and odor producing effects of turnover
* Preventing algae by breaking down the organic matter before algae has the chance to use it to fuel its growth
The MARS Aerator’s patented Double Bubble(TM) Technology both mixes & aerates your pond-keeping it healthy, clear, and most importantly, odor free!