Temperatures are starting to climb, a reminder that summer days are ahead. For many, thoughts of sunshine and long, warm days is a relief after a cold winter. For your fish, however, drastic temperature changes are not only stressful, but they can be life-threatening as well.
What is Summer Fish Kill and What Causes it?
Summer fish kill is just that… A die off of a large portion of your fish population.
As the air temperature rises, so do water temperatures. Dissolved oxygen levels decrease in warmer water, and in cases where temperatures fluctuate dramatically or when the water just gets too hot, your fish may end up without adequate oxygen to survive. Fish also become stressed during low oxygen events, leaving them more susceptible to disease.
There are other factors that can contribute to dissolved oxygen levels as well. One thing to consider is whether or not there is an inflow and outflow of water. Moving water tends to hold more dissolved oxygen, so if you have a significant rate of replacement, that can help lower the risk to your fish.
The size of your body of water also plays a role. The larger (and especially deeper) your water is, the less fluctuation in temperature and oxygen it will experience.
However, as summer progresses the oxygen at the bottom of your water starts to get used up. If there is nothing to circulate the water, the deeper water can become anoxic and the warmer water towards the top of the pond will hold more oxygen, simply because it is in contact with the air. This forces your fish to the surface and leaves them susceptible to an inversion, or a sudden mixing of oxygen levels.
How Can I Protect My Fish?
The simplest and most effective method of significantly reducing the chance of a fish kill event is to aerate your water. 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. 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.
Aeration is important throughout the year, and there are many benefits to aeration including reducing muck and keeping your water from stagnating. It also makes it harder for some aquatic pests to get a foothold.
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 a particular situation than others.
Because we work with all types of aeration equipment, we recommend what is best for your pond based on your objectives. We start by listing to your situation and then make a recommendation that fits. If you are interested in starting a discussion about aeration, please give us a call toll free at (877) 389-2514 for more information about which type of aeration is right for your lake or pond.