Commonly Asked Questions About Pond Saver

What is Pond Saver?

Pond Saver is powdered product, comprised of a proprietary mix of several strains of beneficial aquatic bacteria. These bacteria have interesting and useful appetites, which effectively clean out your pond or lake. Cloudy water is cleared up and offensive odors are eliminated. 

How Does Pond Saver Work?

The activity of the bacteria bring about the cleaning of the water of...

Nitrates and Ammonia

Some of the bacteria consume nitrates (NO3) and ammonia (NH4), and convert the nitrogen to Nitrogen gas (N2), which then diffuses out of the water and back into the atmosphere.  Nitrates and ammonia are important plant fertilizers.


All of the bacteria strains will consume the soluble phosphate (PO4) in the water, another important fertilizer. However, in this case, the phosphate is incorporated into the bacterial population.  When the bacteria die, the trapped phosphate will be released again, thereby returning to the water. Therefore, the reduction in phosphate is only temporary, since bacteria are reproducing and dying constantly.


All the Pond Saver bacteria also consume organic materials in the water. This includes dead plant or animal material, sludge, and some organic chemicals. This effectively removes the cloudiness from the water, resulting in a nice clear appearance.

Foul Odors

Finally, several strains of Pond Saver bacteria were selected for their ability to break down smelly sulfates in the water. The activity of these bacteria will reduce or eliminate those foul odors that are characteristic of stagnant, dirty ponds. 

What about the fish?

The bacteria in Pond Saver are natural, beneficial aquatic strains, they are harmless to fish and other wildlife. These bacteria, and others like them, are normally associated with balanced aquatic ecosystems. 

What about lily pads and other desirable plants?

Pond Saver will not affect you rooted plants. This is because these plants can obtain their fertilizer and mineral nutrition not only from the water, but also from the soil.  The bacteria will not immediately effect the nitrate and phosphate composition of the bottom sludge layer, so rooted plants will still have this rich source of mineral nutrition.  Remember, Pond Saver does not kill anything, not even plants. It only affects on the nutrient composition of the water.

How Is Pond Saver Applied?

There are two different application rates: the larger initial application, and the smaller maintenance, or booster doses:

Initial Dose Rate

Pond Saver is applied initially at a rate of 3 lbs. per acre-foot of water, or 1 lb. per every 15,000 cubic feet. It should be applied directly to the water. Just apply the dry Pond Saver directly by mixing it in a bucket with some pond water, and distributing it in the shallow areas along the water’s edge.

 (Remember, Pond Saver does not affect live algae, so it should not be sprinkled on top of floating mats of algae. Pond Saver must get into the water for the bacteria to work.)

Booster Dose Rate

Every 2 to 4 weeks, the bacteria population should be boosted with another application of Pond Saver at a lower dose rate. The booster dose is about one-sixth of the initial dose, or one-half pound of product per acre-foot of water. Since every pond is different, the frequency of booster doses may vary from every 2 to 4 weeks. We suggest that you begin applying booster doses every 3 weeks. If that works well, you can try extending it to every 4 weeks.  If 3 weeks does not work well, then switch to a 2-week interval between doses.  .

Aging the dissolved product

There has been much talk about boosting the bacteria population by soaking the dose of Pond Saver in a bucket of pond water overnight to allow the bacteria to start reproducing.  There is some logic to this, but there are problems, too.  If the temperature is high, and you wait too long, then the bacteria population reaches a critical point. Then it crashes, dying in its own waste. This can happen within 24 hours or less, depending on temperature. Therefore, if you are soaking the product to boost the population before applying to the pond, you should wait no longer than 2 to 4 hours. However, the product will work even when the dry powder is placed directly into the pond. Therefore, if aging is problematic or inconvenient, don’t bother. Just apply the dry Pond Saver directly by mixing it in a bucket with some pond water, and distributing it in the shallow areas along the water’s edge.

What is an acre-foot of water?

An acre-foot is a volume occupied by one-acre area that is one foot deep.  It is the same as a half-acre area that is 2 feet deep. In other words, acre-footage can be calculated by multiplying the acreage by the average depth. In terms of gallons, an acre-foot of water is the same as about 325,000 gallons.

What if I don’t know the average depth?

If you don’t know the average depth, use half of the maximum depth. But don’t use any number higher than 6-feet. If the average depth is more than 6-feet, use 6.

What if we don’t know the acreage?

For small ponds, people often measure them by length width and depth. In that case, multiply the length x width x average depth. The answer is the water volume in cubic feet.  For every 15,000 cubic feet, apply 1-Lb of Pond Saver initially. So if you take the volume of the pond in cubic feet and divide it by 15,000, the answer gives you the Lbs of Pond Saver to use for the first dose. After that, apply one-sixth this amount for follow-up booster doses.

What if I only know the pond size in gallons?

An acre-foot of water is the same as about 325,000 gallons. So apply 3-Lbs for every 325,000 gallons for the first application (the big dose). After that, apply one-sixth this amount for follow-up doses.

Will it work if the pond is already overpopulated with algae?

In this case, the product will clean and clear the water, but you might not notice it will all that algae. In such a situation, you need to remediate the algae problem first in one of two ways:

  1. Physically remove the algae by harvesting it off the surface and taking it out of the pond; OR
  2. Apply an approved algaecide to eliminate the algae.

You can then treat the water with Pond Saver after you have eliminated the excessive algae population. (If you use the algaecide, you must wait a week to 10 days for the chemical to dissipate before adding the Pond Saver. Otherwise, the bacteria may be killed by the algaecide.)

What about ponds with a filter system?

Some filter systems can also filter out some of the Pond Saver bacteria. The product will likely still work, as the bacteria will continue to clean the water even as they are trapped in the filter. Removing or sidestepping the filter is an option, but is usually not necessary.  The circulation of the water should be continued, nonetheless.

Does the water need to be aerated?

Aeration is very helpful. The water must contain a healthy amount of dissolved oxygen to support the bacteria population. A lake or pond with a large surface area may be able to maintain plenty of dissolved oxygen merely by surface diffusion and wind chop.  Otherwise, mechanical or physical aeration is recommended. Aeration can be accomplished by a bubbler, a small fountain, or a waterfall.

Can I use chemical pesticides in combination with Pond Saver?

No. Chemical algaecides can kill the bacteria, so the two should not be applied together.  Pond Saver should not be applied until 10 days after the last algaecide treatment. Then, algaecide use should be minimized or kept in reserve on an as-needed basis. 

What about water colorants?

Those water colorants which control algae by reducing the amount of sunlight that penetrates the water do not seem to bother the bacteria, and are safe to use with Pond Saver.

Can Pond Saver be used with irrigation water?

Yes. The bacteria in Pond Saver are natural and safe, and will not harm plants, animals, or man.

Can Pond Saver be used in reservoirs used for drinking water?

No. Pond Saver is not intended for use in drinking water. This product has never been legally registered or tested as a treatment for drinking water. It should not be used for treatment of drinking water.

Can Pond Saver be used in chlorinated water?

Chlorine will inhibit the growth of the Pond Saver bacteria. However, chlorine rapidly dissipates from standing water. Much of it is gone in 24 hours. Some people will replenish evaporated water from their pond with chlorinated tap water. Since the new chlorinated water is immediately diluted in the old water, the chlorine levels do not get high enough to affect the bacteria population. In such cases, this small amount of chlorine is not significant enough to be a problem. But if you deliberately add chlorine to your pond, then that is a different story, since high levels of chlorine will kill the Pond Saver bacteria.