Why Aerate Your Pond?

Why Aerate a Pond?

You have probably heard of aeration if you have a pond in your outdoor space, but do you know what it does for your water? What’s the purpose of aeration, and is it necessary for your pond? How can you tell if you need it? A few reasons right off the bat: aeration reduces pond muck, improves water quality, and reduces the risk of fish kill! Let’s look closer at the aerating process. Once you have an understanding of what it does to your water, you will be able to decide if your pond needs it.

The Process of Pond Aeration

For a healthy aquascape, water must absorb enough oxygen to combat muck build up. It also needs to release carbon dioxide and other gases that it can trap without circulation. Aeration infuses oxygen into your pond or lake. 

The water can get murky, smelly, and become rather gross if it isn’t getting enough oxygen. When water is still, the exchange of gases can only happen on the surface. Just think about all of the water molecules that are on the surface of your pond in comparison to the entire pond. The amount of gas exchange that happens on the relatively tiny surface is not enough for your pond. Oxygen cannot travel throughout the entire pond fast enough to keep it healthy. This is where aeration can help.

Benefits of Aerating Your Pond

1. Aeration reduces pond muck

Nutrients accumulate at the bottom of a pond over time, slowly becoming muck if not properly treated. Pond muck is an unpleasant sight. You can feel it between your toes when you walk in your pond, it can make your pond smelly, and it provides a potential habitat for leeches. Aeration will fend off the accumulation of slowly decomposing nutrients by circulating your water and encouraging an  environment for beneficial aerobic bacteria to thrive. Anaerobic bacteria reduces muck and prevents its accumulation. 

2. Improves water quality

While anaerobic bacteria accumulates at the bottom of your pond, it can also stick around throughout your pond. This can cause the water to look murky and unappealing. Aerating your pond will increase water circulation, improve water quality and purity, decrease the collection of the anaerobic bacteria that could be causing murkiness, and you will see a reduction in algae and weed growth. 

3. Reduces the risk of fish kill

Your fish need oxygen too! If there isn’t enough oxygen in the water, the fish will start to suffocate. You may notice your fish coming up to the surface frequently to gulp air if your pond lacks oxygen and your fish could die if you ignore this problem. Check out our blog on fish kill if this is a problem you need more information on.

Koi are very popular fish to add into backyard ponds. Whether you built the pond yourself, or you have a natural pond in your backyard, making sure to give them enough air is crucial! We’ve had many customers ask us for tips when building a koi pond, and we’ve found a lot of helpful insight with this Koi Pond Building Guide!

How to Aerate Your Pond

You need to create movement in order to aerate your pond. This is to ensure more water molecules spend time exposed to air. Here are some ways you can do this.

1. Pond Fountain Water Feature

One way to aerate is by adding a pond fountain. The constant running water will expose lots of water molecules to the air. Pond fountains are not only aesthetic but can aerate your pond. However, it may not be enough depending on the size of your pond. Beware of factors that would indicate a fountain being an insufficient aerator. Some signs would include a pond depth of more than 6 feet or fish constantly coming to the surface for air.

2. Pond Aerator System

Another good way to ensure enough gas exchange is occurring in your pond is to add an aeration system or an air pump. The surface area, depth, and even shape of your pond will determine the size of the aerator you will need. You can get away with using a smaller system if you have a waterfall or fountain already installed. Consulting with a professional, or giving us a call, is always recommended to pick the right system for your pond.

Sub-surface aerator working in pond

3. A Sub-Surface Aeration System

A sub-surface aerator sits at the bottom of your pond and is a great option for combating anaerobic bacteria build up in your pond. Anaerobic bacteria lives at the bottom of pond water where there is little to no oxygen. This bacteria eats on organic matter such as dead leaves and other debris that is in your pond. This can create a septic condition very quickly, and is a gross state that you will want to avoid. These systems sit quietly at the bottom, and won’t garner the attention that a pond fountain or display aerator will! 

An Alternative to Pond Aeration Systems

Floating & Underwater Plants

Plants will help oxygenate your water, and look very good in the process. But unfortunately they may not be the complete solution, and let’s take a look at why. While floating plants can add a small amount of oxygen to your water, and we recommend getting a few for the aesthetic, they decrease surface area of your pond. It’s much more efficient for water to have air contact, which negates the plant’s oxygen benefit. Even though water lilies are very pretty, their oxygen benefit is negligible compared to an aeration system. 

But what about underwater plants?

Having underwater plants will take care of the surface area issue, but it doesn’t account for plants only producing oxygen during photosynthesis. When it gets dark, the plants are no longer contributing oxygen to your water, and they don’t stop needing oxygen. Many types of plants store enough oxygen in their cells to get them through the night. They do not produce enough of an excess during the day to properly oxygenate the water. 

Temperature of Your Water

The water temperature has an effect on how much oxygen it can hold. Hot water holds less oxygen than cold water. This means that you will need to pay attention to your pond during the warm summer months. Do the fish start to die when the weather starts warming up? If so, this is because the water needs more aeration during the summer to provide enough oxygen. Just adjust your aeration system during the summer to keep your fish happy and healthy.

Ready to Start Aerating?

Is your pond dirty and smelly all of the time? Are your fish dying for no apparent reason? Most likely your problem is that your water is lacking oxygen. We’ve helped many people choose the right system for their situation. It’s what we love to do! Give us a call, and we’d be happy to help you to choose an aeration system that is right for your pond. With the proper system, your water will stay clean and fresh, and your fish will be grateful for it!