## How do I know which aeration system is right for my pond? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Q: How do I know which aeration system is right for my pond?

Tim – Warren, OH

A: Yes, aeration systems can be confusing. If you’re not used to working with calculations that involve a lake’s surface area, depth and shape, deciding which system fits your fish pond can be a complicated matter.

Well get out your tape measure and calculator, because we’ve made the process easy. Here’s what you need to know to pick the right aeration system for your needs.

Pond Size

First, you’ll need to determine the size of your pond or lake so you can select a powerful enough aeration system to handle it. To calculate its surface area, measure the length and the width, multiply them, and then divide that number by 43,560. Each aeration system lists the pond surface area that it can handle on the package for easy selection.

Pond Depth

Once you know your pond or lake’s surface area, you then need to figure in its depth. It plays an important role in the system compressor’s efficiency and aeration area—the deeper the pond, the more area one diffuser can handle; the shallower the pond, the less area it can handle.

Look for the system that will handle the surface area at the depth of your pond. Ponds less than 6 to 8 feet deep will benefit from an efficient shallow water system, like the Airmax® Shallow Water Aeration System. It allows for multiple aeration plates that can be spread across the pond for more efficient aeration where the lack of depth reduces the area a diffuser can handle.

Pond Shape

Finally, take a look at your pond’s shape. If you have a round pond, it’s relatively easy to fit an aeration system, like the Airmax® Deep Water Aeration System, based simply on its size and depth. If you have a long, narrow pond or one with odd shapes or coves, however, you may require additional diffusers for optimum circulation.

Still having a problem figuring out the aeration puzzle? Let us help! We can look up your pond via satellite and size the aeration system for you along with a layout for diffuser placement. Just give us a call or shoot us an email!

Pond Talk: Do you remember the first aeration system you installed in your lake? How was it different from the one you use today?

## Is it too cold to treat my pond with the ClearPAC® PLUS? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Q: Is it too cold to treat my pond with the ClearPAC® PLUS?

Steve – Denham Springs, LA

A: The Pond Logic® ClearPAC® and ClearPAC® PLUS combine PondClear™, Algae Defense®, EcoBoost™ and Nature’s Blue™ Pond Dye to combat algae and suspended debris and beautify your lake or pond. Some components of this super-pack have temperature limitations while others can be used year-round. Let’s take a closer look at each one.

PondClear™ (and MuckAway™)

Beneficial bacteria that break down muck and suspended debris, such as those found in PondClear™ (and MuckAway™ in ClearPAC® PLUS), can be used when water temperatures rise to more than 50° Fahrenheit or so. Though that temperature is not a definitive starting point, the bacteria will become more effective as the temperatures rise. Bottom line: When your underwater thermometer tops 50°, it’s time to start treating your pond or lake with ClearPAC®.

Algae Defense®

This algae-destroyer can be used to treat troublesome floating filamentous algae, bottom growing chara or the planktonic algae as long as it’s green and growing, and the water temperature in your pond or lake is above 60° Fahrenheit.

EcoBoost™

EcoBoost™, which is a bacteria booster rather than an actual bacteria, has no temperature restrictions so it can be used year-round to bind phosphates that find their way into your pond or lake. You can use EcoBoost™ throughout the spring to give you a head start on pond season.

Pond Dye

The final ingredient in the Pond Logic® ClearPAC®, Nature’s Blue™ Pond Dye, is not temperature-sensitive, so it can be used year-round to give your pond or lake that aesthetic appeal throughout the winter months. And if spring storms are preventing you from standing next to your pond pouring in a quart of dye, try Pond Dye Packets—all you do is toss the water-soluble packet into the water and head back to your warm and toasty home!

Pond Talk: What changes do you have planned for your fish pond or lake this year?

## How do I restart my aeration system after storing it for the winter? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Q: How do I restart my aeration system after storing it for the winter?

Allan – West Jordan, UT

A: Pond season is quickly on its way—and wouldn’t it be nice to restart your aeration system with the flip of an on-off switch? Unfortunately, it’s not quite that easy. If the aerators in your fish pond or lake were shut down for the winter, they’ll require some basic inspection and maintenance to ensure they’re ready to run.

Don’t worry. We’ve made the annual chore easy with these five aeration system maintenance tips.

As part of your overall aeration system maintenance, the first thing to do is take a look at your air filter. Is it caked with dust and debris? Does it need to be replaced? A new air filter, like Pond Logic® SilentAir™ Air Filter, should ideally go in every six months or every three to four months if it’s in a dusty environment. A clean filter allows clean air to pump through the compressor, which means it will endure less wear and tear—and last longer.

You can try to clean the air filter, but its performance will still be reduced (note: never place a wet element back in the filter!). Many times, it’s easier to simply replace the filter element rather than the entire filter unit.

Next, take a look at your diffusers, particularly if it has been a few years since you’ve brought up the diffuser plates. Give them a light cleaning and inspection to make sure you see no cracks or tears. When running, a properly functioning diffuser should release small air bubbles; large bubbles may indicate some damage. If the diffuser sticks are beyond repair, replace them with Pond Logic® ProAir™ Membrane Diffuser Sticks.

Was your aeration system producing less air last year than the season before? The piston may be wearing out. Get out your Pond Logic® Piston Compressor Maintenance Kit and repair or replace any parts that are worn or malfunctioning. Quick repair of the compressor will ensure your fish pond or lake gets proper aeration all summer long.

4. Slowly Flick the Switch

Once you’ve performed these maintenance chores, introduce the aeration slowly. Doing so at full force may cause the water to mix too quickly, which can cause your fish to stress. Instead, run the system for an hour the first day, two hours the second day, four hours the next day—essentially, doubling the running time each day until your run time reaches 24 hours.

5. Check the Manual

Of course, if you get stuck or need technical guidance, see the Airmax® Aeration System Product Manual for additional tips and maintenance instructions.

Pond Talk: How long does it take you to get your aeration system up and running in the spring?

## How Do I Revive My Aeration System After Storing It For The Entire Winter? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Q: How Do I Revive My Aeration System After Storing It For The Entire Winter?

John – Sumner, IA

A: If you turned your aerator off and stored it for the winter they are a few quick steps you can take to have your aeration system prepped and installed for the spring. If your winter has been anything like ours in southeastern Michigan, spring already seems upon us.

Here’s 4 ways to prep and install your aeration system for spring.

1.)  Change the Air Filter: The air filter is vital for providing clean air through the compressor. With a clogged air filter, performance diminishes and over time can cause irreversible damage to the compressor. We recommend changing your air filter every 3-6 months depending on the environment.

2.)  Check for Air: Before installing the unit and connecting airlines it is best to do a quick check for air. Turn the unit on and ensure air is coming out of the flex hose(s). If you have a multiple diffuser plate system, make sure that the valves are not completely shut off. In the event where air is not coming from the flex hoses, you may need a maintenance kit to replace worn seals.

3.)  Reinstall the unit: To reinstall the unit, you’ll want to reposition the cabinet so it is sitting level, reconnect the airlines and plug it in. Adjust the airflow as needed, which you’ll need to do anyway if you have multiple diffuse plates. Adjust the flow so each air plate receives equal amounts of airflow and keep in mind that longer runs and deeper plates will require more airflow to operate than shallow plates and shorter lines. It usually takes a few minutes between adjustments to see the effect at the diffuser plant, so be patient!

4.)  Proper start up: Introduce your aeration system slowly in the beginning, and gradually increase its running time each day. Start by running it for an hour the first day, two hours the second day, doubling the amount of time each day until you can successfully run it for 24 hours. If you run the system immediately for 24 hours upon returning it to the pond, you could cause the warm and cold layers of water to mix too quickly which may harm fish.

These quick steps will ensure your aeration system is back up and running to keep your pond clean, clear and healthy for years to come.

POND TALK: Do you use your pond for recreation in the winter?

## Can I add barley to my 1/2 acre pond? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Q: Can I add barley to my 1/2 acre pond?

Bill – Ashville, OH

A: Barley straw and ponds have some great chemistry. As a barley straw bale breaks down in water, it produces and releases many chemical compounds—and one of them may actually control algae growth.

How? Scientists from the Ohio State University Extension report that the compound interferes with and prevents the new growth of algae cells. As the old algae cells naturally die off, few new algae cells are produced—thereby controlling the overall algae population.

Sounds like a perfect solution for your 1/2 acre lake, right?

Well, barley straw will technically work to control algae in all that water—but you’ll need a ton of barley to accomplish it! More precisely, you’ll need as much as 112 pounds per 1/2 acre of surface area, according to OSU experts.

That’s great if you live next to a barley field, but that’s not a reality for most of us …

And accessibility to all those pounds of straw isn’t the only challenge. The bales are also tough to handle. In a small 1,000-gallon pond, small bales of barley straw can be used and tucked away in the filter, out of view. But in a sizable pond or lake, large bales are cumbersome to haul and position.

Not only that, but they also need to be broken apart to allow the right amount of oxygen in the middle of the bale so it properly decomposes, which means all that loose material will float to the pond’s surface and really make a mess of things.

Rather than wrangle all that barley straw, try an Airmax® Aeration System instead coupled with a beneficial bacteria product, like MuckAway. The aeration system will circulate the pond water, allowing the bacteria to break down all the muck.

Low amounts of nutrients in the pond means less food for plants and weeds—and that’s some chemistry every lake owner should understand.

Pond Talk: Do you prefer aeration and beneficial bacteria over barley straw? If so, why?

## What should I do if I have a power outage over the winter and my aeration stops? | Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Q: What should I do if I have a power outage over the winter and my aeration stops?

Johnny – Point Marion, PA

A: Power outages happen. Whether they’re caused by Mother Nature, like hurricane Sandy, or the result of an accident or a blown transformer, chances are pretty good that you’ll contend with at least one lights-out experience this winter—but your chandelier won’t be the only thing not electrified.

Out in your lake or water garden, your aeration system will also shut down when the electricity stops. No aeration for an extended period of time means your pond’s water quality could suffer and your fishes’ health could be compromised.

Don’t worry: If you’re prepared, a power outage won’t be a big deal at all. Here’s what you need to know.

Your Fish will be Fine …

As long as the water temperature remains cold and your pond is relatively free of dead or decomposing debris, your fish will survive the power outage without even blinking an eye.

Thanks to one of the many unique properties of water, cold water retains more dissolved oxygen than warm water. “Think about how much bubblier a cold soda is compared to a warm one,” describes the United States Geological Survey. “The cold soda can keep more of the carbon dioxide bubbles dissolved in the liquid than the warm one can, which makes it seem fizzier when you drink it.”

It’s the same thing with oxygen. Colder water molecules are more densely packed and can therefore hold more oxygen, which your fish and other pond inhabitants need to survive.

In addition, the pond should not have a lot of dead or decomposing materials, like leaves and plant matter. All that breaking-down vegetation depletes the water of oxygen while imbuing it with harmful toxic gases like ammonia.

Bottom line: If your water is cold and your pond is clean when the power goes out, your finned friends will be just fine, short-term.

After the power is restored and the candles are blown out, plan to head out to your aeration system and assess the situation. Any built-up air pressure could prevent the aerator from turning back on, so you’ll need to relieve the air pressure by pulling the relief valve or disconnecting the airline before you turn the system back on again. In addition, condensation could form on the motor, which will need to be wiped down to prevent rust from forming.

To protect your aerator from the elements—which could cause an isolated power outage in your pond or lake—make sure it’s protected. Larger units, such as those for ponds and lakes, should be in a cabinet; smaller units, such as those for water gardens, should be hidden within a faux rock, like the Pond Logic® TruRock™ Small Boulder Cover. It’s designed to blend into the landscape while protecting pond equipment.

Pond Talk: In case of long-term power outage, would you ever use a generator to power your aerator? Why or why not?

## Can I move my diffuser plates all to the shallow end of the pond so I can skate on the other side? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Q: Can I move my diffuser plates all to the shallow end of the pond so I can skate on the other side?

A: Though it would be nice to have the best of both worlds, a pond that’s aerated with diffuser plates is not safe for ice skating. Here’s why:

The reason you run a diffuser through the winter is to aerate the pond and move the water surface to maintain a hole in the ice, allowing for gas exchange. This ensures the water in your lake is well-circulated and your game fish and other underwater inhabitants have enough oxygen to get them through the cold season.

The trouble is that the ice that forms on the surface of water that has been moving for even a short time can be porous and not suitable for skating. Even movement on one end of the lake and not the other can make the ice at the edges unsafe.

If you want to use your pond for skating, plan in advance. Before the ice forms:

1. Shut your aeration system down completely. It’s critical to do this before the ice starts to build on your pond’s or lake’s surface for the safety of those who will skate on the pond.
2. Stow components away. Your airline and plate may stay in the pond, but the system’s cabinet and compressor should be stored indoors to prevent condensation and rusting.
3. Have an emergency plan, just in case. While you’re prepping your lake for ice skating fun, now’s a good time to make sure you have water safety items available, too, like a Taylor Made Life Ring. If the ice breaks, a safety preserver like this can save someone’s life.

Even if ice skating isn’t your thing, it’s still important to follow this all-or-nothing aeration strategy. Running your system “part time” could cause condensation in the unit from the hot compressor cooling, causing rust to form. It could also allow moisture to get into the airline, which could then freeze.

Bottom line: If you plan on skating on your lake or running your aeration system “part time” for whatever reason, it’s best to shut it down completely. Otherwise, keep it running all season to ensure good water quality for your fishes.

Pond Talk: What’s your favorite wintertime activity at your pond or lake?

## I want to install aeration. Which system do I buy for my pond? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Q: I want to install aeration. Which system do I buy for my pond?

Cindi – Troy, MT

A: Choosing the right aeration system can be quite a puzzle to solve, particularly if you have an oddly shaped lake or pond. But with these three keys that we’ve provided below, you can unlock the secret to selecting the right system for your pond or lake.

Pond Size

First, determine the size of your pond or lake so you can choose the right size aeration system to handle it. To calculate its surface area, measure the length and the width, multiply them, and then divide that number by 43,560. Aeration systems list the pond surface area that it can handle on the package.

Pond Depth

Once you know your pond or lake’s surface area, you then need to figure in its depth. It plays an important role in the system compressor’s efficiency and aeration area—the deeper the pond, the more area one diffuser can handle; the shallower the pond, the less area it can handle.

Look for the system that will handle the surface area at the depth of your pond. Ponds less than 6 to 8 feet deep will benefit from an efficient shallow water system, like the Airmax® Shallow Water Aeration System. It allows for multiple aeration plates that can be spread across the pond to compensate for the shallow depth.

Pond Shape

Finally, take a look at your pond’s shape. If you have a round pond, it’s relatively easy to fit an aeration system, like the Airmax® Deep Water Aeration System, based simply on its size and depth. If you have a long, narrow pond or one with odd shapes or coves, however, you may require additional diffusers for optimum circulation.

Still having a problem figuring out the aeration puzzle? Let us help! We can look up your pond via satellite and size the aeration system for you along with a layout for diffuser placement. Just give us a call!

Pond Talk: What problems have you experienced when trying to figure out what type of aeration system to install in your lake or pond?

## My pond is spring fed, so I don’t need an aerator, right? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Q: My pond is spring fed, so I don’t need an aerator, right?

A: Great question! First off, let’s tell the folks at home the differences between a catch basin pond and a spring-fed pond.

A catch basin pond is a reservoir filled with precipitation runoff—and pollution, in some cases—from the surrounding area. A spring-fed pond, however, is fed by a spring or ground water, which keeps the pond full. If you have cold areas of water in your pond, that could indicate that you have a spring-fed pond.

As the fresh water flows into the lake or pond from the underground aquifer, the water does move somewhat. But it doesn’t keep it agitated enough to naturally aerate it and maintain good water quality.

Preventing Thermocline

Whether you have a spring-fed or catch basin lake or pond, it’s critical to keep the water aerated. Why? Because doing so prevents thermocline, which is when the water forms layers, or stratifies, depending on the water temperature.

During the summer in a pond that’s not properly aerated, the water at the top is warmer and full of oxygen while the deeper water remains cooler and nutrient-rich. This phenomenon causes the fish to hang out at the pond’s surface. As the seasons change, however, the pond water does a “turnover,” which is where the warmer, oxygen-rich water sinks and the cooler, oxygen-depleted water to rise—leaving your fish gasping for breath.

Obviously, you don’t want that to happen! So you should aerate your pond, even if it’s spring-fed. The action created by an aeration system, such as the Airmax® Deep Water Aeration System and the Airmax® Shallow Water Aeration System, effectively moves the water and causes the shallow and the deep water to mix. The Deep Water Aeration System is powerful enough to aerate ponds up to 3 acres and can be adapted to fit any shaped pond. The Shallow Water Aeration System is ideal for shallow lakes or ponds that require multiple aeration plates due to depth restrictions.

The result: oxygen is spread throughout the water column while dangerous gasses, like ammonia, are released at the water’s surface—and that means happy fish, good water quality and a healthy lake.

Pond Talk: Would you prefer to have a spring-fed or a catch-basin pond on your property?

## How can I keep mosquitoes away from my pond? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Q: How can I keep mosquitoes away from my pond?

A: Buzzing, biting, irritating mosquitoes are the bane of pond and lake owners. Besides causing itchy welts, these little blood-sucking insects can transmit dangerous and deadly diseases, like malaria, dengue, yellow fever, West Nile virus, dog heartworm, and equine encephalitis.

Before we get into how to eradicate the little pests, let’s first learn their life cycle.

Eggs, Wigglers and Tumblers

Mosquitoes begin life as tiny eggs on the surface of fresh or stagnant water. Twenty four to 48 hours after they’re laid, they hatch into mosquito larvae, a.k.a. “wigglers.” The little half-inch larvae live on the water surface for four to 14 days, and they eat algae, plankton, fungi and bacteria and other microorganisms that float by. As the little wigglers develop, they molt four times and, after the fourth molt, they go into their pupa stage. Mosquito pupae, commonly called “tumblers,” live in the water from one to four days. When they emerge from their pupal case, they’re full-fledged adults – and the females are ready to suck your blood.

Deterring Mosquitoes

To crush these tiny vampires, your best bet is to prevent the females from laying eggs in the first place. Here’s what we recommend:

•  Remove the habitat: Because mosquitoes prefer to lay their eggs in stagnant water, cut down dead debris around the edge of the pond with your Airmax® Pond Rake and Weed Cutter as these calm, secluded areas are perfect for developing wigglers and tumblers. Also drain containers with standing water, like buckets, gutters and ditches, and regularly change the water in animal troughs, pet dishes and bird baths.
•  Keep the water moving: In your pond or lake, use an aeration system, like the Airmax® Large Lake Aeration System, to keep the water moving. The females won’t want to lay their eggs in agitating water, so this preventive measure can cut down tremendously on the mosquito population.
•  Resort to mosquito dunks: If all else fails and you get swarmed whenever you get within 50 yards of your lake or pond, Mosquito Dunks® or Mosquito Bits® provide an excellent temporary solution. These mosquito destroyers contain Bt-israelensis (Bt-i), a specially formulated biological pesticide just for mosquitoes. They’re safe for use around fish and plants, and they provide relief for up to 30 days.

Of course, you may not be able to completely eradicate the mosquitoes, but you can at least suppress them using these measures. You can also contact one of the state, county or city mosquito control organizations, which can help with larger-scale efforts. For more information, check out the American Mosquito Control Association at www.mosquito.org.

Pond Talk: What do you do to control the mosquito population around your pond or lake?