Aeration has become an increasingly popular topic amongst water gardening hobbyists because it is the easiest way to combat algae, mosquitoes, and keep fish healthy by circulating the water and diffusing oxygen. Standing water is rarely a beautiful sight, usually it is covered with green algae, inviting mosquitoes, and lacking healthy fish.
Fish may not breathe air like we do, but they still require oxygen, which they absorb in the water using their gills. Wind naturally circulates the water but only at the surface, so the deeper parts remain stagnate. Today, people use different types of aeration to add oxygen and circulate the water in their ponds.
Ponds need to have circulation to oxygenate the water and release the gases created by the breakdown of organic waste. Typically in a pond lacking aeration, the water at the top is slightly circulated by the wind periodically, but the bottom of the pond never is circulated (and can not receive sunlight for photosynthesis) so it slowly loses oxygen and becomes uninhabitable to pond life. The oxygen devoid part of the pond grows and during a storm, heavy rain or wind can churn the water, and the surface water mixes with the deeper water, the overall oxygen levels drop, making it harder for fish to breathe. smartpond suggests using fountains, waterfalls, and aerators to add oxygen to your pond.
Fountains and Waterfalls
Waterfalls and fountains are a common way to add aeration, as they are functional and decorative. Fountains pull water from below the surface and spray it into the air. Waterfalls pull water from the base of the pond through a pump and splash it over the surface of the water. Mosquitoes and algae flourish in calm water. Mosquitoes prefer to lay their eggs on still water. They will avoid the areas of the pond where the surface is agitated. Goldfish and guppies will help eat any mosquito larvae that do make it into the water.
Algae requires sunlight to bloom. In a still pond, they can sit at the surface and receive maximum sunlight. In a circulating pond, algae is forced to move around and spend less time at the surface photosynthesizing.
An aerator diffuses oxygen directly into the bottom of the pond. As the bubbles rise and pop, they diffuse oxygen and circulate the water. An aerator can provide a beautiful effect with its LED light ring to illuminate the bubbles at night.
Aerators directly combat anaerobic bacteria that can thrive at the base of ponds with low levels of oxygen releasing harmful gases and nutrients. Phosphorus is one of the nutrients made available by anaerobic bacteria which feeds algae blooms. An aerator will help increase the good bacteria and therefore combat algae and increase water clarity. Beneficial bacteria decomposes organic waste efficiently and more quickly than the anaerobic bacteria, helping water clarity.
Fish need adequate levels of dissolved oxygen to maintain overall good health in a pond. In the wintertime, fish become at-risk as the surface freezes over. Once the surface is completely frozen, there is no way for the water to oxygenate and release harmful gases. An aerator keeps a section of the pond open by circulating the water, and allows for the gases to release and the water to stay oxygenated. Fountains can be problematic in the winter if the water freezes, the pumps can burn out quickly if the water is unable to circulate and should be stored inside.
Aeration is a year-round need. Summer months are typically when ponds have lower levels of oxygen in the water. Warm water in general is able to hold less oxygen than cold water. Fish are more active in the summer, requiring more oxygen. Overcrowding becomes another issue, especially if the bottom of the pond is uninhabitable, the fish fight for oxygen closest to the surface. An aerator works at the bottom, where the oxygen is often most needed.
Aeration is a necessity for a healthy and beautiful pond. An aerator can be used along with a fountain to add decor and keep the water flowing. Aeration will keep fish healthy and help with nutrient build up, mosquitoes, and algae. Water treatments may still be necessary to assist with certain issues, aeration is the best way to keep the water clear and the fish happy all year round.