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How do I start up my aeration system for the spring?| Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Q: My pond has some filamentous algae growth around the edges. It’s too cold to treat, right?

Q: How do I start up my aeration system for the spring?

Molly – Provo, UT

A: If your Airmax® Aeration System has been sitting idle for the past four months, it’s about time to get that thing cranking again. Here’s a seven-step checklist to follow when air and water temperatures start heating up this spring.

  1. Change Your Air Filter: Your air filter, which prevents debris from entering your air compressor, can be cleaned periodically to remove light debris – but it should be replaced every three to six months for maximum system performance and longevity.
  2. Check, Clean Side Intake Air Filters: Take a look at your side intake air filters on your cabinet, too, and make sure they’re clean and unobstructed.
  3. Ensure Cabinet Fan Works: To make sure fresh air will tunnel evenly through your cabinet, flip on your fan and verify that it’s working properly.
  4. Purge Membrane Diffuser Sticks: Though they’re virtually maintenance-free, these diffuser sticks, which deliver the air bubbles to the water, should be purged and inspected before they’re submerged.
  5. Airlines Cleared: It could still be icy in your pond, so check your airlines for ice buildup. To clear them, pour 1 cup of isopropyl alcohol through the airline running out to each plate, turn on the compressor and push through the line to free any tiny icebergs.
  6. Start Your Engines – Gradually: To prevent shocking your pond, follow your aeration system’s initial seven-day startup procedure. On Day 1, run the system for 30 minutes and then turn it off for the rest of the day. On each day following, double the time: Day 2, run for one hour; Day 3, run for two hours; Day 4, run for four hours; and so on. On Day 7, begin running it for 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  7. Pressure Check: Once your system is up and running, make sure that its pressure gauge stays within the normal range of 5 to 10 psi. An easy way to do this to mark the gauge upon initial start up and check it regularly to verify pressure has not significantly risen above or dropped below your initial reading.

Following these simple steps will guarantee a smooth start to aerating your pond this spring. If you’re ever in doubt, check out your owner’s manual or contact one of the experts at The Pond Guy®.

Pond Talk: Are you planning to add any fish or plants to your pond this spring?

Keep Your Pond Healthy All Year- Airmax(r) Pond Series™

I think my aeration airline is clogged or frozen. What should I do? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Q: I think my aeration airline is clogged or frozen. What should I do?

Q: I think my aeration airline is clogged or frozen. What should I do?

Ben – Franklin, PA

A: We all know how important an aeration system is in your pond or lake – but it doesn’t do much good if your airline is clogged or frozen! If you don’t see bubbles at the surface and your compressor is running, here’s what we recommend to troubleshoot a closed line:

  1. Gauge Check: First of all, check your air pressure gauge. Is it reading higher than normal? If so, your compressor is struggling to push the air through the blockage, which is creating increased pressure in the line.
  2. System Check: Next, disconnect the airline at the compressor and check to see whether air is coming out. If it is, your compressor works just fine – but your airline might have ice blockages. To melt them and open the flow back up, pour 1 cup of isopropyl alcohol through each airline (or the airline you believe is clogged or frozen).
  3. Maintenance Check: If no air is coming out of your compressor, you might need to do some maintenance on it. Over time, seals and moving parts will wear and break down, causing decreased system performance. The Airmax® SilentAir™ Piston Compressor Maintenance Kits include a range of washers, gaskets and hardware that will get your compressor humming again.
  4. Air Filter Check: While you’re doing maintenance on your air compressor, it’s a good idea to check your air filter, too. If it’s full of gunk and debris, consider replacing it with the SilentAir™ RP Series Compressor Air Filters. They’re designed to be replaced every three to six months for maximum system performance and longevity.

Pond Talk: Have you had a lot of trouble with frozen airlines this winter?

Maximize System Performance & Longevity- Airmax(r) SilentAir(tm) RP Series Compressor Air Filters

I am going to add an aeration system this year to my 1-acre pond. What are my options? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Q: I am going to add an aeration system this year to my 1-acre pond. What are my options?

Q: I am going to add an aeration system this year to my 1-acre pond. What are my options?

Doug – Cordova, AL

A: Now that’s something we like to hear! Aerating a pond, which involves pumping life-sustaining oxygen into the water via a bottom diffuser, is good for your fish, good for your water quality, and good for minimizing algae blooms.

It can be tricky figuring out the right aeration system for a pond, particularly if it’s oddly shaped, but it’s important to get it right. If your aeration system is not sized correctly, you could risk reducing the oxygen levels and building up toxic gas in the water, resulting in an increased chance of fish kills, algae blooms and thick pond muck – not something you want in your pond.

We offer aeration options for ponds of all sizes and shapes. Choosing the best Airmax® Aeration System for your pond will depend on two basic factors: your pond’s volume and its shape.

Pond Volume

You need to know your pond’s water volume in order to select a unit that’s capable of circulating and oxygenating all the wet stuff in your pond. To calculate your pond’s volume, you’ll need to measure its length, width and depth.

Of those numbers, depth is the most critical component when choosing an aeration system. The deeper your pond, the more efficiently and effectively a bottom diffuser plate will aerate it. If your pond is shallow or irregularly shaped, you’ll need more diffuser plates to adequately aerate the water.

We offer made-in-the-USA aerators for both shallow-water and deep-water ponds of various sizes, including:

  • Shallow Water Series™ Aeration System: We suggest this system for ponds up to ½ acre and up to 6 feet deep that require multiple aeration plates due to depth restrictions. It’s designed to provide maximum aeration and circulation in even the shallowest water bodies via its powerful dual-diaphragm compressor and weighted diffusers.
  • Pond Series™ Aeration System: We recommend this single-plate to four-plate system for ponds up to 4 acres, up to 21 feet deep. It can be easily adapted to fit small or odd-shaped ponds for maximum aeration and even circulation.
  • Lake Series™ Aeration System: For ponds up to 6 acres, up to 50 feet deep, try this system that’s capable of aerating even the largest ponds and lakes. It features a more spacious Airmax® Composite Cabinet with enhanced cooling and minimal maintenance.

Pond Shape

Finally, pond shape plays an important role in ensuring proper aeration. For simple, contiguous shapes like circles and ovals, a standard aeration system like the Pond Series or Lake Series will fully circulate all of the water without the risk of stagnation. If you have an odd-shaped lake or one with interconnecting segments and angles, consider using a system with multiple aeration plates.

Now sure how to calculate your pond volume or choose the best aeration system for your pond or lake? Call us at 866-766-3435 for our free aerial mapping service, or use our Online Aeration Mapping Service for sizing. We’ll help you to make the right aeration decision – for you and your pond!

Pond Talk: What advice would you give to someone installing an aeration system for the first time?

Create the Perfect Pond - Airmax(r) Pond Series(tm) Aeration Systems

If I run my aeration all winter, do I need to do anything special? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Q: If I run my aeration all winter, do I need to do anything special?

Q: If I run my aeration all winter, do I need to do anything special?

Jay – Gretna, NE

A: Running your aeration system through the winter is an excellent idea. Aeration helps to break down leaves and debris that make their way into your pond or lake, making cleaning and maintenance easier come spring. The water movement creates a hole in the ice, which allows for gas exchange and keeps water open and available for visiting wildlife. Aeration also circulates the water column, infusing it with oxygen for your fish and plants.

We highly recommend running aeration all year long—except if you plan on doing winter activities on your pond, like figure skating, ice fishing or playing ice hockey. The constant friction created by the water movement weakens the ice that forms, and that could be downright dangerous.

So if you plan to run your aeration system through the winter, here are three winter tasks to add to your to-do list:

  1. Move your plates into shallower water. Following your aerator manual’s recommendations, move the plates from the deepest areas of your pond to shallower areas. This will give your hibernating fish a warmer place to hunker down when the water temperatures get especially chilly. When the plates are closer to the surface, they will also help to keep a hole open in the ice.
  2. Check the aerator regularly throughout the winter. After a heavy snow or a storm, head out to the pond and inspect your aeration unit. Remove accumulated snow around it, particularly any that’s blocking the air discharge vent. If you lost power during a storm, check your GFCI; you may have to reset it.
  3. Be smart and safe. When your aerator is on during the winter, the ice that forms can be thin and uneven, so make sure you keep safety equipment out by your pond. A Life Ring or life vest, rope, blankets and a first aid kit are critical items to have on hand that can save someone’s life.

If you have more questions about running your aerator during the wintertime or need help with your system, contact one of our Pond Guys or Gals or post a comment on our blog page.

Pond Talk: What kinds of differences do you notice in your pond in the spring as a result of running your aeration system in the winter?

Be Prepared for Any Winter Scenario - Taylor Made 20 Inch Life Rings

I heard you can lose fish during the winter. How do I prevent a winter fish kill? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Q: I heard you can lose fish during the winter. How do I prevent a winter fish kill?

Q: I heard you can lose fish during the winter. How do I prevent a winter fish kill?

Jon – Little Suamico, WI

A: Imagine being cooped up all winter long in a room with no ventilation and no fresh air. Pretty claustrophobic, right? Now add the stench of decaying garbage and other waste buildup … it’s likely you wouldn’t last until spring.

It’s a similar situation with your fish.

In colder climates that freeze over the winter, decomposing vegetation and waste beneath the ice layer releases toxic gases that build up, displacing the oxygen that the fish need to survive. When that O2 is replaced with ammonia and other harmful gases, the result can be a winter fish kill.

So how to do you prevent this from happening? Aeration with an Airmax® Aeration System.

Open a Window!

An Airmax® Aeration System sized for your lake or pond moves the water below the frozen surface, which keeps an air hole open in the ice. This ventilation allows the harmful gases to escape while bringing in fresh oxygen for your fish. The aeration also injects oxygen into the water via the bubbles that come out of the diffuser or air stones.

Provide Year-Round Oxygen

For the health of your fish, we recommend you run an aeration system year-round—unless you plan to use the pond for winter activities, like ice skating or hockey, that require a solid and safe sheet of ice. In that case, follow the instructions in your product manual to safely turn off your system.

Create a Warm Zone

If you plan to run your system year-round, move the diffuser plates into shallower water during the winter months. This will allow your fish to hunker down in your pond’s warmer depth for the winter. It will also prevent the rare “super cooling” effect, in which the water temperature dips below freezing and over chills your fish.

Pond Talk: Have you ever experienced a winter fish kill? What changes did you make to prevent it from happening again?

Aerate Your Pond in All Seasons - Airmax® Pond Series™ Aeration

If I’m going to shut my aerator down for the winter, when should I do it? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Q: If I’m going to shut my aerator down for the winter, when should I do it?

Q: If I’m going to shut my aerator down for the winter, when should I do it?

Syd – Jackson, WY

A: Ice skating, hockey, curling, broomball, ice fishing—part of the joy of having your own pond or lake is all the wintertime sports that can be played on the ice. These frosty, fun activities are the main reason why folks shut down their aerator for the winter, as keeping one running will create a hole in the ice and make the ice sheet unstable.

If you plan to turn your lake into an ice rink this year, turn off, pull out and store your aerator before the ice begins to form. Why? Because if ice that forms on the water surface has been moving for even a short time, it 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.

Here’s the shutdown process we recommend:

  1. Unplug and 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 the cabinet and compressor away. Your airline and plate may stay in the pond, but the system’s cabinet and compressor should be stored indoors to keep dry and prevent condensation and rusting.
  3. Cover flex tube and airlines ends. Doing so will prevent debris from entering and plugging up the airlines.
  4. 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.

If you’re not using your pond for winter activities, keep your Airmax® Aeration System operating all season long so your fish will survive a winter fish kill caused by lack of oxygen. Don’t forget to move your diffuser plates out of the deepest water. This will give your finned friends a safe zone and prevent the super-cooling effect that happens in the chilled winter water.

Pond Talk: What are your favorite wintertime sports?

Be Prepared for any Pond Scenario - Taylor Made Life Rings

I am seeing quite a few tracks near my pond. Who do they belong to? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Q: I am seeing quite a few tracks near my pond. Who do they belong to?

Q: I am seeing quite a few tracks near my pond. Who do they belong to?

Shawn – New Hudson, MI

A: Water attracts all sorts of critters. From bugs, birds and deer to reptiles, raccoons and muskrats—and even an occasional coyote or bear—wildlife of all shapes and sizes frequent ponds and lakes. If you’re experiencing visitors like these near your pond, that’s great! You should be excited that the animals are using it as a natural resource!

To help you decipher what’s leaving behind those tracks, here’s a quick rundown of the most common critters we find near ponds and lakes:

Muskrats: Measuring about 2 feet long and covered in thick dark brown or black fur, these medium-size semiaquatic rodents are often found in wetlands and near the water’s edge. They have long, vertically flat tails covered with scales, which help them to swim. When looking at muskrat tracks, the hind feet will be larger than the front feet, and you’ll see a distinct mark from their tail that drags along the ground.

Raccoons: These little masked bandits, which will sometimes make a meal of your game fish, are very intelligent and have extremely dexterous front paws. They walk with their feet flat on the ground and can stand on their hind legs to examine objects with their front paws. When examining raccoon tracks, you’ll see the flat-footed footprints with claws on all the toes. Their front foot and opposite hind foot tracks will be side by side or close together.

Deer: Widely distributed across the country, deer—which are pretty good swimmers, by the way—prefer to live between forests (for cover) and grassy fields (for food), though you’ll find deer tracks anywhere around your pond. Unlike raccoons, deer walk on their hooves, or their toe tips that are strengthened by a thick horny covering. When looking at deer tracks, you’ll see the outline of their hooves, which will look like upside-down hearts.

Turtles: Terrestrial and amphibious turtles have short, round, sturdy feet to bear the weight of their heavy shells. They also have long claws that they use to help them clamber onto rocky shorelines and floating logs. You’ll most likely see turtle tracks near the water. The marks will look almost oval with toes or claw marks on one side of the oval. You may see a tail or shell drag mark, too.

In most cases, these critters will do little or no harm to your pond or lake. They do leave waste behind, but we can keep that in check with aeration and bacteria usage. So have fun identifying your little visitors!

Pond Talk: What’s the strangest animal track you’ve identified near your pond or lake?

Bind Phosphates and Enhance Natural Bacteria - Pond Logic(r) EcoBoost(tm)

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