Long Term Benefits of Aeration
Extend the Life of Your Pond
Maintaining a healthy level of DO at the bottom of the pond allows aerobic bacteria and other microbes to aggressively decompose the organic litter build-up on a continous basis. This will slow down the euthrophication process and extend the life of your pond.
Improved Water Clarity
Water is often discolored or murky from suspended organic particles. Aeration establishes healthy levels of DO throughout the entire water column. This promotes healthy strains of aerobic bacteria that will break down these particles resulting in improved water clarity.
Reduce Weeds and Algae
Phosphorus, nitrogen, and carbon are the main cause of nuisance algae blooms. When high levels of DO are maintained, naturally occuring aerobic bacteria compete with the weeds and algae for these available nutrients. They use the nutrients for growth and reproduction. These bacteria then become food for other organisms that bioaccumulate the nutrients into the food chain for the fish. So not only does aeration help reduce the nutrients available for plants and algae, but it also converts those nutrients into a form that promotes a better fishery.
Very little phosphorus is needed to support algae blooms, and once phosphorus enters a pond's ecosystem it is very difficult to remove. In addition to reducing the sources of input, the best approach is to bind the phosphorus up so that it is not available for the plants and algae. Aeration accomplishes this by causing the phosphorus to precipitate out with naturally occuring iron. This oxidation reaction only occurs in the presence of DO. Once bound to the iron, this new form of phosphorus precipitates into the sediments where it remains unavailable for plant and algae growth as long as sufficient levels of DO are maintained.
Reduce or Eliminate the Need for Chemicals
By targeting the source of the problem, not just the symptoms, the need for applying sometimes harmful chemicals to your pond is greatly reduced—saving you time and money.
Promote Healthier and Larger Fish Populations
Adequate supplies of DO at the pond bottom means an increase in the amount of area fish can inhabit. When the bottom layer of a pond is depleted of DO and high in ammonia and hydrogen sulfide, the fish population is confied to living only in the warmer upper layer. In late July and August, this layer often gets too warm for the fish and they become stressed. This results in slower growth and a higher susceptibility to disease. Aeration eliminates the layering, and allows the fish to utilize the entire pond. Now the bottom is a healthy ecosystem that supports aerobic bacteria, microorganisms, invertebrates and aquatic insects. This provides an additional food source for the fish, and results in a healthier population with better growth rates.
Prevents Summerkill and Winterkill
During the winter, ice forms a seal at the surface of the water and prevents the pond from receiving oxygen from the atmosphere. Plants will continue to photosynthesize through the ice until snow blocks out the sunlight. When this happens, the plants begin to die and decay causing even higher demands on the now limited supply of DO. If the pond already has a high biological oxygen demand (BOD) due to conditions such as excessive organic material in the bottom or banks, DO concentrations can be reduced and harmful gases increased to levels that result in a partial or total fish population die off.
By late July or early August the DO levels get depleted near the bottom and the fish get confined to living in the top layer. DO production is highest in the late afternoon following a full day of photosynthesis. During the night, DO production stops, but DO consumption (or BOD) continues and starts to deplete the DO reserve that was built up during the day. This results in a delicate balance of supply and demand. The lowest levels of DO occur in the morning around sunrise, so if you see fish swimming close to the surface in the early morning, your pond is probably a good candidate for a summerkill. What causes a summerkill to occur are events that tip this delicate balance by either decreasing the DO production or increasing the BOD. The four most common cases are:
- Extended days of cloudy skies with little wind.
- Excessive amounts of nutrients entering from runoff triggering algae blooms that cover the surface of a pond. A sudden die off of the algae results in a big increase in the BOD.
- Thunderstorms that produce heavy downpours of cool rain and strong winds can result in an inversion or mixing of the top layer with the stagnant bottom layer. This mixing results in low DO levels and often toxic levels of hydrogen sulfide, ammonia and/or methane gases throughout the pond.
- Improper application of aquatic herbicides. Killing too many plants and/or algae at one time leads t a dramatic reduction in DO production and the decaying plants increase the BOD.
Aeration prvents winterkill and summerkill by creating good circulation and maintaining high levels of DO throughout the pond. Creating a healthy ecosystem on the bottom also prevents the build-up of toxic gases.
Mosquitoes thrive on calm, stagnant water. Aeration reduces their breeding success by keeping fresh water circulated.
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