What is muck and why do I have it?

Muck in scientific terms means a build-up of organic particles.

Muck in simple terms means your waterbody needs attention.

As a plant, leaf, log, or other organic debris sits in water long enough, decomposition takes place. Decomposition is a natural process. Basically, friendly bacteria living in the water start to gently erode plants, leaves, logs, and other carbon-based organic materials. When all goes well, the detritus erode into particles so fine they’re essentially invisible.

Why do I have it?

If you have a mushy sediment bottom it means that friendly bacteria started the break-down, but were unable to finish.

The most common reasons are:

To re-activate the bacteria and start decomposition, you need to address the oxygen levels, water movement, and if possible — water temperature.

Muck accumulates because there is debris and not enough decomposition.
© Copyright Stephen McKay

Simply put, the most effective way of getting rid of this problem is to displace the layers. Agitate the bottom. By doing so, you create water movement and increase oxygen levels.

After agitation, the water will likely cloud for a while before dispersing to it’s normal clarity. Think of kid’s feet on the bottom of a swimming hole; frequently agitated, the water briefly clouds before settling. Organic buildup is more difficult in high traffic areas of the water. Great for muck prevention!

For methods on how to fix this, see our How to get rid of Muck article.