How To Keep Pond Water Clear Naturally {The Simplest & Chemical Free Ways Explained}

Are you looking to keep your pond crystal clear without chemicals? Did you know that a little algae is nature’s way of dealing with excess nutrients? In this article, we’ll strike a balance between a healthy and clear pond that is aesthetically pleasing, but free of harsh chemicals.

How To Keep Pond Water Clear Naturally. Plants, algae eaters, beneficial bacteria and active maintenance measures will help steer you away from harmful chemicals that only clear ponds temporarily, but harm the gentle ecosystem of life inside your pond. 

Does My Pond Need To Be Clear?

A clear pond is a matter of choice. It provides us with more visibility to see our fish swimming around gracefully. It could be a matter of pride and accomplishment to keep a crystal clear pond, but is it worth it?

No one wants a pond full of gunky algae and slime floating on top. The pond functions as an ecosystem and a little algae is part of what keeps it balanced. They feed off excess nutrients and don’t disrupt your fish if maintained at smaller levels.

Harsh chemicals are used more often in the US with more emphasis placed on keeping a pristine pond. Other countries seem to allow more color or cloudiness that comes with plants and algae residing in a pond’s ecosystem that isn’t out of control or very unsightly.

How Do I Keep A Clear Pond Without Chemicals?

The following suggestions will help you to naturally treat or maintain your pond while saving you money and worries on buying chemicals that you don’t wish to use.

  • Add more plants.
  • Add beneficial bacteria.
  • Use a biofilter.
  • Stock algae eaters.
  • Avoid overfeeding.
  • Oxygenate the pond.
  • Clear debris.
  • Accept small amounts of algae.

Which Plants Help Clean Up A Pond?

The right plants will help to provide shade from direct sunlight that promote the growth of algae and harmful bacteria. Water lilies and water lettuce are two types of floating plants that protect your pond from receiving too much sunlight while promoting oxygenation.

  • Water lilies
  • Water lettuce
  • Barley straw

Barley straw has also proven to be effective in bunches to attract algae and make it cling to it. You can remove the barley straw with the algae attached to it for easy clean up. There are many more plants that could help to clean up your pond naturally and we suggest further research for the right options to suit your pond.

How Does Beneficial Bacteria Clean Up A Pond?

Beneficial bacteria eats up nitrites in a pond that causes the water to turn green. Grow the bacteria and let it consume the nitrites. The algae will compete to eat up the nitrites, but the beneficial bacteria will get there first and starve it out. Algae won’t be able to feast or grow.

Beneficial bacteria is sold in shops and it’s a popular choice for maintaining a healthy pond. They are safe for fish unlike chemical algaecides. Follow the instructions on the bottle or container and choose between dropping a tablet or pouring it in liquid form.

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How Can A Biofilter Clear Up My Pond?

A biofilter helps important bacteria grow and fight off the algae that turns your water green. Lava rock or bioballs get into the gravel on the bottom of the pond and fill up any spaces to reproduce healthy bacteria.

It’s a better option than power washing your pond’s rocks because this invasive and powerful approach will disrupt the water quality and kill healthy bacteria that takes time to grow and thrive. We don’t want to kill the bacteria will the algae. A biofilter helps to promote good bacteria and your fish will not be bothered by it.

Which Algae Eaters Will Clean Up My Pond?

The list of algae eaters is long and extensive. Choose wisely from a plethora of fish, but remember to measure out your pond and take stock of your water parameters. Carp will grow very large and may not be suitable for your smaller pond. Other fish that are used to warmer or colder climates may not adjust to the temperature fluctuations of your pond. Here are a few of our favorites.

  • Pond loach
  • Koi
  • Flying Fox
  • Mollies and Guppies
  • Grass Carp
  • Siamese Algae Eater

Snails and shrimp also feast on algae at the bottom of your pond, but they also leave a lot of waste behind. Choose algae eaters that fit the size of your pond and are hardy enough for winter months or else you’ll have to remove them and bring them inside if your pond freezes over.

Will Overfeeding Or Overstocking Dirty My Pond?

Too much food or too many fish are going to affect your pond’s ecosystem in a negative way. If you see excess food floating around, you’re overfeeding. Stay there for five minutes and see if there are leftovers. Scoop them out to avoid harming your pond’s water quality.

Too many fish means your filtration system is working overtime to clean up the mess they leave behind. The lack of oxygen and filtration will stress the fish and cause the algae to thrive instead.

How Do I Oxygenate My Pond?

Your fish need oxygen and when the water is warm, the pond will have a difficult time holding onto it. An aerator helps especially if you notice your fish swimming to the surface and gasping for air.

In winter months, make sure your pond doesn’t completely freeze over. Keep a hole open at the surface and use a deicer in the coldest climates. The hole will help aerate the pond and keep it oxygenated. More oxygen means fewer algae blooms.

What Can I Do To Clean Up My Pond?

  • Pond netting
  • UV lights
  • No need for perfection
  • Chemicals?

Keep an eye out for the surrounding area and above your pond. Are leaves or debris falling into it often? Remove leaves, mulch, sap, pollen, soil or consider a pond netting to help with this. UV lights help reduce algae as well, but many people don’t like the way they look or don’t want them to take up additional space.

Accept that small amounts of algae are going to be present and your pond doesn’t have to be as clear as glacier water. This is an ecosystem with bacteria, plants, fish and other creatures who don’t require a completely transparent habitat.

The final option of using chemicals should be taken with a grain of salt. They will treat the symptoms of the green or brown water, but it will continue again. Then you dump more chemicals and repeat the process. This will eventually harm your fish and plants.


We hope our suggestions will help you keep a clean pond, but lessen your concerns about making it perfectly clear. Good luck with your pond maintenance and we hope to help with anything else that has to do with ponds or aquariums.


Brian Arial

Brian Arial has kept fish for leisure and worked with fish stores for most of his life. He enjoys writing and caring for aquariums and ponds.