A small pond or water feature can turn any backyard into an oasis. Backyard ponds need maintenance, though. Aeration is just part of the equation, but it’s an essential part. Without proper aeration, organic debris can’t break down, causing algae blooms and fish die-offs.
Alternatives to Aeration
Some property owners refuse to aerate their ponds. They assume that since natural bodies of water receive adequate aeration through the wind, rain, and other surface disturbances, the same should apply to their backyard ponds. Most people who fall into this category do not keep fish or aquatic plants, so they use alternatives like harsh chemical water treatments to deal with algae blooms.
That’s a big mistake. Backyard ponds can serve as a valuable habitat for local wildlife. Harsh chemicals designed to prevent algae blooms contaminate the water and can cause problems for birds and other beneficial animals. They can also contaminate the surrounding soil. Property owners are much better off using the natural products found at livingwateraeration.com, even if they do not plan to keep fish.
Reasons to Aerate
Need more reasons to look into pond aerators? That extra oxygen isn’t just beneficial for fish. It’s essential for improving the overall health of the pond ecosystem. Even small ponds provide benefits to the local ecosystem, but not if they aren’t properly maintained. Here’s why aeration should be a part of every property owner’s maintenance plan:
1. It Reduces Pond Muck
For those who swim in their backyard ponds, muck can be a serious nuisance. It smells bad, feels gross between swimmers’ toes, and can provide a habitat for leeches. Aeration combats muck by encouraging beneficial aerobic bacteria. These bacteria dissolve the organic matter and stop it from accumulating in the form of pond muck.
2. Improve Water Quality
Those nutrients don’t only accumulate at the bottom of ponds. They can also become suspended in the water column, giving the pond a murky, dirty look. Reducing excess nutrients improves clarity while simultaneously reducing both algae and weeds.
3. Eliminate Unpleasant Smells
Ever noticed an unpleasant smell emanating from a small, unmaintained pond? That unique odor is a combination of carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide. These chemicals are produced by anaerobic bacteria during the digestion process. Introducing extra oxygen in the pond encourages the proliferation of beneficial aerobic bacteria, which don’t produce these harmful gasses.
4. Get Rid of Temperature Gradients
Anyone who has ever gone swimming on a hot day has probably noticed that the water at the top of the pond is much warmer than it is even a foot down. That’s the thermocline. Aerating the pond will help to eliminate the thermocline, which forms a border between warm surface water and cool deep water. With proper aeration, swimmers should notice no more than a few degrees of temperature difference throughout the pond, no matter how deep they go.
5. Support Healthy Fish and Plants
Ponds of all sizes can support fish and plants, but only if they’re properly aerated. This is especially problematic in cooler climates. When the water freezes over in the winter, the gasses created by anaerobic decomposition get trapped beneath the ice, displacing the oxygen. The consequence is almost always a serious fish kill. Keeping the pond aerated throughout the winter allows oxygen to continue getting through so even cold-weather property owners can overwinter their fish.
It should now be clear why every pond, no matter its size, needs adequate aeration. Now, it’s time to take a look at what options are available for getting the job done.
Diffused aeration systems are perfect for large bodies of water and small ponds more than six feet deep. They aerate the water from the bottom up. Most models run on electricity, but they’re designed to be efficient. Some high-end models also include additional features like air compressors, pressure relief valves, valve outlet assemblies, and gauges.
Technically, windmill aerators are also diffused aerators. The difference is, they’re powered by the wind, not the conventional electrical grid. They cost more than traditional diffused aeration systems, but property owners can expect to make up for that increased initial investment in long-term energy savings. These units can also be installed anywhere, regardless of power availability.
Like windmill aerators, solar aeration systems can be set up anywhere. They don’t require any kind of electrical hookup and can run for up to three days with little to no sunlight. Property owners who live off-grid love how convenient and quiet these are. Just make sure to purchase a high-quality model. Cheaper solar aerators don’t tend to provide adequate results.
Shallow Pond Aerators
For the purposes of determining the right aeration system, any pond less than seven feet deep can be considered a shallow pond. Shallow pond aerators are more energy-efficient than larger, diffused aerators. Garden pond aerators are similar but are made for even smaller ornamental or koi ponds.
Surface aerators are only suitable for very shallow ponds. They work by increasing aeration on the surface of the pond, not from the bottom. Since they can move an incredible amount of water and add a lot of oxygen, they’re almost always the best option for extremely shallow ponds.
Tips for Choosing the Right Product
Serious aeration systems are an investment. It’s worth taking the time to investigate all available options. Here’s what to keep in mind:
- The depth of the pond
- The area of the pond
- The pond’s primary use
- Power grid accessibility
- Monthly operating costs
- Initial investment cost
- Brand reputation and available warranty
When in doubt, it’s always best to ask a professional. Property owners should always buy pond aerators from specialized vendors. That way, they’ll always be able to make informed decisions.
The Bottom Line
Backyard ponds can be absolutely beautiful. Without proper aeration, they can also turn into mucky messes remarkably fast. Property owners owe it to themselves, their families, and the local wildlife to take responsibility for maintaining their ponds. Get started on the right foot by installing a high-quality aeration system.