Early fall is a great time to assess your needs for pond aeration over the winter.
Did you find dead fish in your pond when the ice melted or was there a foul odor emanating from your pond last spring? If you had either of these conditions, it is time to consider winter aeration of your pond.
Most ponds are not self-sufficient in oxygen production during the winter months because they don’t have enough aquatic plants to produce oxygen and the number of fish may exceed the amount of oxygen needed. During the winter a cap of ice and snow tightly seals your pond from natural aeration. Oxygen is consumed by dying plants and decomposing organic material on the pond bottom. Fish in your pond die when the oxygen level goes below what they need to survive. The decomposition process also releases toxic gasses that are fatal to fish.
Circulating water in your pond and creating a small opening in the ice is necessary to allow air to mix with water and to release toxic gasses. The most efficient way to do this is with diffuse aeration. Diffuse aeration is simply a small compressor mounted near the pond with an airline going into the pond and to an underwater diffuser that bubbles air to the surface of the pond. Many people assume incorrectly that it is these tiny bubbles of air that saturate the water with oxygen. This is not true. The air bubbles are simply an efficient way to move a column of water upward to the surface of the pond. This moving current of warmer water helps keep a space open in the ice-covered pond and allows for mixing of the water with the atmosphere to absorb oxygen for fish to breath.
There is specific equipment designed for aeration and this equipment can be long lasting and easy to use. It is important to use compressors and diffusers that are efficient in order to adequately oxygenate the water and at the same time to keep electrical bills low.
Aeration equipment used in the winter can also be suitable for summer use in your pond to improve water quality and your enjoyment. This can make your investment in pond aeration something that you can enjoy year-round.