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How to Use Aeration for a Cleaner, Clearer Pond

Having adequate oxygen content throughout you pond is vitally important to overall pond heath and contributes significantly to the process necessary to maintain a cleaner, clearer pond. Having a pond aeration system is almost always the first thing necessary to accomplish this.

We are frequently asked what can be done to improve a pond or small lake. After listening to clients describe their pond and their objectives, more times than not, my first suggestion is to aerate the pond to improve circulation and oxygenation.

Most pond and lake owners have a very specific vision of what they want: whether it’s a thriving fishery, or a clear swimming hole, or a wild and woodsy nature attractor. One of the key elements to any healthy pond is adequately oxygenated water. A few ponds are already naturally aerated, but most others need a little help.

What does aeration do and how does it help my pond?

Aeration is simply a method of mixing air into your water or, more accurately, mixing your water to expose it to the air. Either way of thinking about it, the goal is to circulate the water and get more oxygen dissolved into it.

Water with low oxygen promotes the growth of anaerobic bacteria resulting in anaerobic decomposition of decaying materials in the pond. This type of decay gives off foul smelling and toxic gases like methane and hydrogen sulfide. Aeration helps to resolve this issue by getting adequate amounts of oxygen dissolved into the water, resulting in a cleaner, healthier pond.

By oxygenating the water thoroughly, beneficial aerobic bacteria carry out the break-down of organic materials. This eliminates the production of methane and other problematic gasses and speeds up the reduction of organics and muck.

Muck, the thick sludge that settles at the bottom of your pond composed of decaying matter can be a problem in any pond by overloading it with nutrients. Aeration increases the amount of dissolved oxygen in your pond, allowing beneficial aerobic bacteria to thrive and consume those nutrients, reducing the accumulation of muck. It also agitates the water, combating further buildup, and helps to keep the water clear.

Aeration also moves and circulates water making it more difficult for some aquatic pests to get a foothold. Many types of problem algae, and insects like mosquitos need stagnant water. Adequate circulation can dramatically reduce these problems in your pond.

Aeration is also important for your fish and other aquatic organisms in your pond. When water is still, oxygen gets used up, leaving most of a pond uninhabitable. Aeration circulates the water in your pond or lake, oxygenating the water at all depths. This allows the entire water column to support fish life, eliminating the danger of a sudden inversion which can cause a fish kill. Warm surface water may be well oxygenated and support fish, but colder, deeper water may be oxygen depleted and deadly. If sudden mixing occurs during a storm, the “averaging” of the oxygen level will leave the entire pond unable to support fish. The result can be a catastrophic fish kill.

Likewise, when a pond freezes over in winter the water can’t receive oxygen from the air, so the fish and biological processes happening in the pond can slowly deplete the oxygen supply. Aeration can keep a portion of your pond from freezing over, increasing the chance of survival for your fish. By keeping open water, your pond can take up oxygen and release harmful gasses that would otherwise be trapped under the ice.

What Options are Available for Aeration?

The two main types of aeration are Diffused Aeration and Surface Aeration. Diffused aeration can be accomplished with Windmills, Solar Powered Compressors and A/C Electric Compressors each connected to air diffusers at the bottom of the pond. Surface Aeration can be accomplished with Fountains and High Efficiency Surface Aerators and Circulators. There are benefits to each type and some systems are better suited to particular situations than others.

Because we work with all types of aeration equipment, we can recommend what is best for your pond based on your objectives. If you are interested in starting the discussion about aeration, please give us a call toll free at (877) 389-2514.