Check for the cause of any cloudy water. Scoop pond water up with a clean, clear glass jar. Put the jar of pond water in sunlight for 4 to 5 days. Algae will move about constantly in the water and will turn the sides of the jars green or brown. Silt will all settle at the bottom of the jar and will not move about.
Treat the pond for excess silt. Throw in 100 lbs. of hay to treat silt caused by clay soils. Treat a pond with hay no more than five times a year, treating as needed. For other types of soil, add agricultural lime or agricultural gypsum as the manufacturer suggests.
Check the sides of ponds for erosion, which could add silt to the pond water. Mammals like muskrats or beaver will cause holes or crumbling sides. Repair the sides of the pond with tight-fitting rocks like rock rip-rap or fencing that does not rust. The rocks or fencing will discourage animals from digging. Hire a pond contractor to do the work if necessary.
Remove excess leaves and pond weeds with a pond skimmer or rake. Rotting leaves or weeds can cause the pond water to turn brown and cause a large buildup of ammonia that can be fatal to any fish or creatures living in the pond water. Rotting leaves and weeds can also help trigger a population explosion of algae. Taking leaves off of the pond’s surface is enough. Digging to the bottom of the pond is not necessary.