Water colorant products have uses besides their most obvious one: improving the coloration of lakes and ponds, particularly those that occupy yard settings or manicured woods settings. Below, we give an overview of some of the purported uses of water colorant products and evaluate the legitimacy of each.
1. Improving Water Color
Pond dye improves water color by coloring away sediments that give ponds and lakes a greenish brown color. Depending on a water body’s water turnover ratio, the rate at which old water cycles out as new cycles in, a full application usually lasts 6-8 weeks. With a 1-gallon supply of maintenance strength dye that covers 2 acre feet of water costing roughly $50, dye offers an affordable way to maintain an improved appearance in a pond or lake.
2. Protecting Fish Against Predators
Some owners of fish stocked lakes apply water colorant to make their fish more invisible to predators. Although not intended as a protector of fish against land and airborne predators, when applied in sufficient quantities, dye can indeed make fish harder to see. In most cases, this is a potential side benefit of applying colorant to improve water quality.
3. Preventing Algae Growth
While some dye companies promote their products as algae killers, pond dyes are not algaecides. Their reputation for killing algae comes from that fact that, when applied in sufficient quantities, they prevent sunlight from reaching deep growing algae. Applying dye after algaecide may help to preserve algaecide’s effects, but it won’t kill away algae that threatens to overtake a lake or pond’s surface.
4. Preventing Freezing
If you live in a moderate climate and apply dark colorant to your lake or pond in the winter, you may keep it from freezing due to the heat absorption quality of the dye. However, there are also colorants that are marketed as “temperature raising,” with their purpose being to prevent lakes/ponds from freezing solid and killing certain fish, such as ornamental varieties.
5. Improving Property Value
While improved landscaping and other improvements to an out of control pond or lake may improve your property’s value, simply applying dyes won’t. Dyes can, however, make your property more attractive to potential buyers, as lakes and ponds that have poor color can become eyesores that decrease your property’s attractiveness.
6. Keeping Away Unwanted Pests
The idea that colorants keeps away unwanted pests, such as snakes, snapping turtles, and insects is a myth based on the impression that such pests wouldn’t be found in a beautifully colored pond or lake. Because lake/pond dyes are food grade dye, they aren’t harmful to fish, reptiles, or other creatures, and therefore don’t serve as a preventative for pests.