Water temperatures soon will warm and stratify into zones that significantly influence fish and water quality. Without aeration, fish are restricted from using the full water column. Deep, bottom areas become stagnant.
Aeration is considered a key feature to increase pond productivity. Generally accepted theory:
- As ponds age, they build-up organic matter on the bottom, especially ponds with fish feeding programs. Fish waste, silt, and other material create sludge. Since there is no oxygen on the bottom, the material has no opportunity to breakdown and dissipate. Aeration provides the catalyst to initiate recycling.
- Aeration is considered an insurance policy to limit potential fish kills from spring or fall turnovers. It’s very disappointing to speak with folks who have invested thousands of dollars and five-plus years to grow big fish only to lose them overnight from a turnover. Use of aeration does not guarantee you will not experience a fish kill. Such incidents can be caused by toxic plankton events or other causes not related to oxygen levels.
Biologists believe aeration improves pond environments dramatically. It helps keep water quality predictable. Beneficial bacteria reduces sludge and nutrients that feed annoying algae. There are fewer incidents of undesirable odors. Aeration allows fish to thrive in optimal environments, experience improved growth rates, and vigor.
Aeration is beneficial to consistent pond performance. Pond environments receive life-supporting oxygen from the atmosphere when air and water contact each other at the surface. Oxygen also comes from photosynthesis of algae and plants below the surface. These processes are affected by weather, available wind energy (wave action), and sunlight. Unpredictable weather can create stagnant water and low oxygen levels. If there is no sunlight, there is no photosynthesis to create oxygen. In stagnant water, there is no physical energy to help water and air exchange gases. When these conditions exist, water forms well-defined layers of different temperatures. These conditions create poor conditions for fish and other organisms.
Aeration improves oxygen levels in depths greater than six-feet by injecting compressed air to bottom diffusers shown above. Diffusers disperse air into micro bubbles that push a sustained flow of water upward. Rising air bubbles create current that transfers low-oxygen water to the surface. Thousands of gallons of water are mixed continuously. When foul water contacts oxygen and sunlight on the surface, it is cleansed and recycled. Temperature layers that cause thermoclines are disrupted. Oxygen levels increase. Harmful pond gases are expelled. Pond serenity is not disrupted. You are assured the pond is getting needed oxygen. Fish are able to inhabit the entire water column.
Below illustrations are great before and after examples of aeration. The left side shows what percentage of the water column can become unproductive when a thermocline exists. The right side depicts how dense columns of air bubbles from bottom diffusers lift stagnant bottom water to the surface. When water reaches the surface, it is cleaned and re-circulated throughout the pond.
Using Google Earth photos, our consultants custom design systems by analyzing total surface acreage, average depth, and pond shape. After calculating gross gallons of water in the pond, they determine the size compressors and bottom-mounted air stations required to recycle the water column, on average, every 48-hours. The plan also illustrates recommended locations for air stations to attain maximum circulation.
Is it time to consider aeration for your pond or lake? Let us know if would like our consultant to draft a proposal for your pond.