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Why should I aerate my pond? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Q: Why should I aerate my pond?

Q: Why should I aerate my pond?

Marty – Crivitz, WI

A: We talk a lot about the importance of aeration in this blog – and for good reason. Aeration with the Airmax® Aeration System, which involves diffusing oxygen into the water below the surface, benefits the quality of your farm pond or lake in myriad ways, including these top five reasons:

  1. Reduces Pond Muck: Aeration cuts the nutrient load, like pond muck and other decomposing debris, in your pond. How? The increased oxygen and water movement provided by aeration helps to encourage the colonization of beneficial aerobic bacteria. These bacteria are responsible for digesting and preventing muck and nutrient accumulation.
  2. Boosts Oxygen Levels: Aeration also increases the amount of oxygen in your lake’s water. Beneath the water surface, the diffuser plates release tiny bubbles of oxygen. They disperse and circulate throughout the water column, providing life-sustaining O2 to beneficial bacteria, fish and submerged plants.
  3. Eliminates Thermocline: Aeration circulates the water and eliminates thermocline, which is a stratified layer of water between the warmer, surface zone and the colder, deep-water zone. Bottom diffuser aeration churns and mixes those temperature layers. The tiny air bubbles force the cooler oxygen-starved water to the pond’s surface where it becomes infused up with O2. The warmer, oxygen-rich water then drops down, fueling the beneficial bacteria.
  4. Improves Water Quality: By reducing the pond muck, increasing oxygen and circulating the water column, your water quality will improve. You’ll see reduced algae growth, clearer water, and happier, healthier fish.
  5. Reduces Winter Fishkill: Aeration also protects your game fish in the winter. As organic debris decomposes in your pond, gases are released into the water column. These gases become trapped when your pond freezes over, which reduces the amount of clean oxygen. If enough oxygen is displaced, your fish will suffocate. Running an aerator pumps fresh O2 in the water while maintaining a hole in the ice for gas exchange.

Pond Talk: What benefits have you seen in your pond or lake after adding an aeration system?

Keep Your Pond Healthy All Year - Airmax(r) Pond Series(tm) Aeration Systems

If PondClear™ and MuckAway™ are both beneficial bacteria products, what is the difference? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Q: If PondClear(tm) and MuckAway(tm) are both beneficial bacteria products, what is the difference?

Q: If PondClear™ and MuckAway™ are both beneficial bacteria products, what is the difference?

MaryBeth – Worthington, MA

A: In 1998, an American microbiologist worked out that the number of bacteria on Earth at that time was five million trillion trillion. This is the number 5 followed by thirty zeroes – an impossible number to comprehend.

That’s a lot of microorganisms.

With all those different types of bacteria, it’s safe to say that not all bacteria work the same way. PondClear™ and MuckAway™ both contain human- and animal-safe bacteria that will reduce nutrients and improve the overall health of your farm pond or lake, but they differ in the types of debris they target.

Suspended Debris

Pond Logic® PondClear™ focuses on debris that lives in the water column. The suspended material may cause your pond or lake to appear cloudy, but the beneficial microorganisms in PondClear™ disperse throughout the pond, consuming and digesting that organic matter, leaving you with clean, clear, odor-free water and a healthy ecosystem. It’s even safe to use in ponds and lakes that water horses, livestock, pets, birds and other wildlife, as well as those that contain game fish.

Sunken Debris

Pond Logic® MuckAway™ focuses on reducing sunken organic debris – also known as pond muck – that has accumulated along the beach, shoreline or pond bottom. The MuckAway™ pellets sink below the water’s surface and dissolve, releasing hungry beneficial bacteria that instantly begin consuming and digesting the settled debris. The all-natural muck buster is perfect for spot-treating trouble areas and controlling leeches by destroying their habitat. As with PondClear™, MuckAway™ is safe to use around horses, livestock, pets, birds, wildlife and in lakes that contain game fish.

A Perfect Pair

The bacteria in MuckAway™ and PondClear™ work well on their own, but they really take care of business when used together. Used as directed, this dynamic duo will begin working right away and deliver a clear, healthy, fresh-smelling pond within one month of use. If you have issues with water clarity, odor and muck, give these bacteria a try.

Pond Talk: How have beneficial bacteria improved the quality of your pond or lake?

Reduce Mucky Pond & Lake Bottoms - Pond Logic(r) MuckAway(tm)

Should I put catfish in my pond? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Q: Should I put catfish in my pond?

Q: Should I put catfish in my pond?

Francis – Avalon, WI

A: Of all the fish species you could stock in your pond, catfish is an excellent choice. These bottom dwellers live in inland or coastal water on every continent, except Antarctica, and include some of the most varied fish on the planet. Channel catfish, the most common type stocked for sport fishing, thrives in shallow waters like your pond or lake.

Feeding Behavior
Catfish are well known for being scavengers. They’ll eat just about anything they can find on the bottom of a pond. Their anatomy makes this task easy – they are negatively buoyant, which means that they generally sink rather than float thanks to a small gas bladder. Catfish also sport a flattened head that allows for easy digging through debris, a mouth that acts as a substrate suction and a body covered in taste buds.

To supplement the natural diet of the catfish in your pond, we recommend adding Pond Logic® EcoBoost™. It adds more than 80 trace minerals to the water, promoting the fishes’ health and speeding their growth. We also suggest feeding Game Fish Grower Fish Food to ensure your catfish have enough food and to increase their overall size.

Ideal Environment
Channel catfish prefer warmer water (about 60° to 70°F) in areas with little or no currents. They thrive in small and large rivers, reservoirs, natural lakes and ponds. Channel cats are cavity nesters, meaning they lay their eggs in crevices, hollows or debris, to protect them from swift currents.

In your pond or lake, catfish won’t reproduce if they lack an adequate spawning structure. We suggest adding a Porcupine® Fish Attractor to help improve fishing conditions and provide an attractive habitat for catfish to spawn and grow.

Troubled Waters
Because these guys are bottom dwellers, they can stir up a lot of debris or clay. That will contribute to cloudy, murky water. Aeration can help. Airmax® Aeration Systems increase the oxygen in your pond, circulate the water, promote the colonization of beneficial aerobic bacteria and help maintain clear water.

Ultimately, your decision comes down to personal preference. Catfish are well suited for pond life. They have little effect on the predator-prey relationship in freshwater environments compared to predators like bass or prey like bluegills. Plus, they make for good fishing. What’s not to love about catfish!

Pond Talk: What are your top reasons for keeping catfish in your pond or lake?

Promotes Fish Health & Bacteria

What kind of aeration maintenance should I be doing this season? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Q: What kind of aeration maintenance should I be doing this season?

Q: What kind of aeration maintenance should I be doing this season?

Bill- Cannon Falls, MN

A: With spring in full bloom, now is the time to tune up your aeration system. It doesn’t matter if you’re turning it back on after the long winter or if it has been running since last year – your aeration system is a very important in keeping your pond healthy, so keep it humming.

Spring Start Up
If you’re turning your aeration system back on in the spring, the airlines traveling from the air compressor to the diffuser plates may contain ice. Those frozen blockages will prevent oxygen from flowing into your pond. To break up the ice, follow these three steps:

  1. Measure 1 cup of isopropyl alcohol for each airline that runs out a plate.
  2. Turn on your compressor to push the alcohol through line and free any ice blockages.
  3. Follow initial startup procedure to avoid “shocking” in the pond.

Weekly Chores
Every week throughout the pond season, check the side cabinet’s air filter for debris, particularly if you live in a dry, dusty environment. Clean your air filter as needed because when it becomes clogged, your compressor and pump are forced to work harder – which means more wear and tear on those moving parts. When you clean the filter, make sure it’s completely dry before placing it back inside the cabinet.

Every 3 to 6 Months
Several times a year, block out some weekend time to perform these maintenance tasks:

  • Replace the air filter. Although you’ve been cleaning your air filter regularly, you will need to replace it every three to six months. We recommend Airmax® SilentAir™ RP Series Compressor Air Filter for Pond and Lake Series Systems. While you’re in the cabinet, make sure the aeration unit’s cooling fan is operating properly.
  • Check your pressure gauge. For Pond and Lake Series Aeration Systems, mark pressure gauge upon initial start up and check it every few months. Normal operation will range between 5 to 10 psi.

Every 12 to 24 Months
In addition to cleaning your aerator’s membrane sticks, you should also plan to do the following tasks depending on what aeration system you have installed in your lake or pond:

Your aeration system requires regular maintenance to keep it performing at its best. Doing so will extend the lifespan of the unit and ensure your system is running as efficiently as possible.

Pond Talk: What else do you do to make sure your aeration system is working well when you start it back up in the spring?

Kill Water Lilies and Other Emergent Weeds - Airmax(r) SilentAir(t) Piston Compressor Maintenance Kit

I had a bad duckweed problem last year. How do I prevent it this year? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Q: I had a bad duckweed problem last year. How do I prevent it this year?

Q: I had a bad duckweed problem last year. How do I prevent it this year?

Alex – Alvada,OH

A: As you know, Duckweed is a persistent pond pest. Dense colonies of these prolific plants can completely cover the surface of a lake or fish pond, causing dissolved oxygen depletions and fish kills. These tiny invaders need to be managed before they take over.

ID Duckweed

Transported by waterfowl, Duckweed is a very small, light green, free-floating plant that sports a single hair-like root and three 1/16- to 1/8-inch long leaves, or fronds, that resemble a four-leaf clover. It tends to grow in dense colonies in quiet water that’s undisturbed by waves, and it’s often mistaken for algae.

Though Duckweed colonies can provide a habitat for microscopic critters and forage for hungry ducks, the plant can wipe out oxygen in the water if it grows to cover a lake’s or pond’s surface. That could compromise your fishes’ health and cut off sunlight to underwater plants.

Plant Pest Control

Because Duckweed is such a small plant that spreads very quickly, it can be difficult to control – and so it’s critical to treat your pond or lake early in the spring when the growth first appears.

To manage these aquatic bad guys, you’ll need an herbicide. We recommend Sonar A.S., a weed killer that provides season-long control against unwanted plants like Duckweed. It’s designed for water bodies that have no water outflow, as it can take 30 to 60 days to control established weed growth and up to 90 days for full protection of your pond.

Sonar A.S. degrades quickly in sunlight, and so you must add Pond Dye at the time of treatment. The dye will shade the water and allow the herbicide to work effectively.

Short-Term Solution

If you want to remove the Duckweed for a short period of time but your pond or lake has an outflow that prevents you from using Sonar A.S., you can remove the tiny plants with the Pond Skim. The floating tool, which is 5 feet wide, collects surface debris when dragged across the water.

Pond Talk: How do you remove duckweed from your farm pond or lake?

One Treatment for the Entire Season - Sonar™ Fluridone Aquatic Herbicide

I have a lot of water lilies in my 1/2 acre pond. How do I control them? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Q: I have a lot of water lilies in my 1/2 acre pond. How do I control them?

Q: I have a lot of water lilies in my 1/2 acre pond. How do I control them?

Dan – Newnan, GA

A: In ornamental ponds, water lilies planted in pots are prized possessions—but in a shallow farm pond or lake, lilies living wild can be an invasive species that takes over the water surface in no time.

Of course, water lilies aren’t all bad. Their leaves and roots provide food for beaver, moose, muskrat, porcupine, and deer. Their seeds are gobbled by waterfowl, and their leaves provide protective coverage for largemouth bass, sunfish, and frogs. Left unmanaged, however, water lilies can restrict lake-front access, eliminate swimming opportunities and quickly take over shallow areas.

But before we get into how to control these beautiful but troublesome aquatic plants, let’s learn a bit about them.

Habitat, Growth

The water lily is a floating-leaved aquatic perennial herb that grows rooted in mucky or silty sediments in water 4 to 5 feet deep. It prefers quiet waters like ponds, lake margins and slow streams. When unmanaged, the plant tends to form dense areas covering hundreds of acres.

Each spring, new shoots appear from the rhizomes and grow up through the water until they reach the surface. The flowers appear from June to September. Each blossom opens in the morning and closes in the early afternoon for two to five consecutive days. After the flowers have closed for the final time, the flower stalk corkscrews and draws the developing fruit below the water.

The plant over winters underground as the rhizome. These rhizomes, along with the plant’s seeds, are how it reproduces. A planted rhizome can grow to cover a 15-foot-diameter circle in just five years!

Limiting Those Lilies

You can control water lilies with several different methods.

  • Mechanical Control: First, you can cut/harvest the water lilies or dig up the rhizomes to create open areas of water. If you cut the lilies, you must do so several times a year as these plants thrive in shallow water and grow rapidly. If you dig up the rhizomes, it can be an intrusive and costly though permanent process; they can be difficult to dislodge, but it can be done via rotovation (underwater rototilling) or excavation. Either way, mechanical control is a difficult method because the plant will likely regrow from seeds or remaining rhizomes.
  • Chemical Control: Another more effective method is to use reactive chemical treatment, like Shoreline Defense®, to manage lilies that are actively growing and have reached the surface. When applied directly to the foliage—along with some Treatment Booster™ PLUS to break down the plant’s protective surface—the herbicide’s active ingredient penetrates the lily and makes its way to the rhizome. Once it has turned brown, use a Weed Cutter to remove as much of the decomposing plant as possible to prevent an accumulation of dead material and muck. If you use this method, treat your pond in sections, dosing only half of the lilies at a time; if the weather is hot, decrease that to a third or quarter, waiting 10 to 14 days between treatments.
  • Preventive Control: In addition to mechanical and chemical control, you can also prevent—or at least slow down—the growth of water lilies by treating the pond’s water with Pond Dye. By blocking the sun’s rays early in the season, the lilies will not get the light they need to develop.

Controlling water lilies can be a challenge. But these methods, you can manage them and keep them contained in a particular area, making them a beautiful addition to your landscape.

Pond Talk: How do you control wild water lilies in your farm pond or lake?

Kill Water Lilies and Other Emergent Weeds - Pond Logic(r) Shoreline Defense(r)

I’ve heard a lot about Clipper Herbicide. What does it do? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Q: I’ve heard a lot about Clipper Herbicide. What does it do?

Eldon – Urbandale, IA

A: Clipper™ Aquatic Herbicide controls a wide variety of algae, floating weeds and submerged weeds, but its claim to fame is its ability to wipe out troublesome watermeal and duckweed—two aquatic weeds that can be difficult to manage in any pond or lake. In fact, when used as directed, up to 80 percent of duckweed and watermeal will be eliminated within the first application of Clipper™. Not too shabby!

Here are some tips for use:

  • Check your pH first: High pH levels will reduce Clipper’s™ effectiveness, so test the pH of your pond’s water with a pH Test Kit before using the herbicide. Apply it only when the pH is 8.5 and below.
  • Apply on a sunny morning: The herbicide is a reactive treatment that works better in the sunlight, so treat your pond or lake early in the morning on a sunny day. Hold off on adding light-blocking Pond Dye to your water, until after Clipper™ has had a chance to go to work on the weeds.
  • Spray and play: Applying Clipper™ to aquatic weeds is easy. Simply mix the amount of Clipper™ and water in a Specialty Pond Sprayer according to label instructions, and spray onto floating weeds and algae or place the tip beneath the water’s surface to treat submerged weeds. Over time, the weeds will begin to brown and die.
  • A little goes a long way: You only need to use 1 pound of Clipper™ per surface acre one to two times per year. Because it’s a contact herbicide, complete coverage is essential for effective control. You can reapply Clipper™ after 28 days if you find that you’ve missed some weed patches after the first treatment.
  • No temperature restrictions: Clipper™ can be used year-round in any temperature, but it should be applied only when the weeds are actively growing.
  • Rake away the debris: Once the aquatic weeds are completely dead, use a rake—like the Pond & Beach Rake —to remove the debris. This will prevent the foliage from accumulating and turning into algae-feeding muck.

Clipper™ Aquatic Herbicide can be used in a range of waterways, including bayous, canals, drainage ditches, lakes, marshes, freshwater ponds and reservoirs. It quickly and effectively controls watermeal, duckweed, water lettuce, giant salvinia, cabomba, Eurasian watermilfoil, hydrilla and curlyleaf pondweed. If you fight aquatic weeds in your lake or pond, consider using Clipper™. It’s good stuff!

Pond Talk: Have you tried Clipper™ in your pond or lake? If so, tell us how it worked for you.

The Pond Guy(r) Promote Fish Growth This Season - The Pond Guy(r) Game Fish Grower

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