From The Dock – Should I Install Aeration?
Lake levels are declining. Water temperatures are rising. During summer months, ponds are challenged to maintain desired oxygen levels. These factors create the perfect storm for water quality issues that harm fish. Is it time to install aeration?
We consider aeration systems an “insurance policy for your lake investment”. You paid a large sum to construct the pond. Average cost to stock a three-acre lake for bass angling is approximately $1,950. You purchased a $900 fish feeder and lovingly dispense $600 in high protein pellets annually to grow a strong bass food chain and big bluegill for kids to catch.
The lake’s management plan is meeting goals. After several patient years, you can’t get your hand around the bluegill and bass look like footballs. The investment is paying priceless dividends in family fun. Your crop of healthy fish now has “significant” value. How do you nurture it? Our recommendation— aeration.
The current drought is taking a toll. Average depths are diminished. Shallow water warms quickly. If you’re feeding fish, increased fish waste is like fertilizer. It contributes higher nutrient levels that potentially grow above average plankton. Dense plankton consumes substantial oxygen. Monitor pond water quality by observing color tones. Emerald green with18 to 24-inch visibility is desirable. Pea soup color with12 to15-inch visibility and fish gulping the surface should sound alerts and immediate need for aeration.
Another concerning event in our region is “turnovers”. During summer months, ponds develop thermoclines. They occur when temperatures stratify the water column into two zones, as Bob and Chad say, like a layer cake. The top portion contains oxygen, the bottom doesn’t. Turnovers often cause fish kills. They may occur after seasonal temperature shifts or sudden influx of cold rainwater from a large thunderstorm. Cold water is heavier than warm water. When running into the pond, it sinks to the bottom and suddenly pushes the dead bottom zone to the surface, suffocating fish. Aeration balances oxygen from top to bottom and reduces turnover risk.
Our staff doesn’t want to appear alarmist, but we greatly respect the investment and value of your mature lake. Determine the current surface acreage and average depth. Call Chad for a quote on an “insurance policy”. Or give him the address of your property. Our aeration manufacturer can pull up a satellite photo, calculate the surface area, and develop a proposal showing recommended placement for bottom diffusers. We’re dealers for windmill aerators if you don’t have power to the pond.
We appreciate your business,
Bob Lusk – Matt Rayl – Chad Fikes – Walter Bassano