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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?

Protect and Shade Your Pond- Pond Logic(r) Pond Dye

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 Pond Logic® 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 8 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

I think my aerator is undersized but how do I know? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Q: I think my aerator is undersized but how do I know?

Q: I think my aerator is undersized but how do I know?

Mitch – Roseburg, OR

A: As you probably know, proper aeration with a deep water or shallow water aeration system is key to a healthy pond or lake. When water circulates and moves, oxygen flows throughout the water column, the water temperature is even, and the fish and wildlife thrive. You’ll see no stagnant areas or catch whiffs of bad odors. Instead, you’ll have a welcoming, enjoyable body of water, perfect for play and recreation.

If you think your aerator isn’t doing its job, it’s easy to diagnose: Just take your pond’s temperature!

The Tools

To begin, you’ll need a non-floating pond thermometer, a long string, a tape measure, a waterproof marker, a stopwatch, and a pad of paper and pencil. Tie the string to your thermometer, and measure and mark every 24 inches down the length of the string with your waterproof marker.

The Technique

Once your tools are set up, gather them together, hop in your boat and motor to various locations in your pond.

At each spot, noting where you are, drop the thermometer into the water and take the water’s temperature readings 24 inches down at a time, from the top to the bottom. Let the thermometer rest long enough (5 to 10 minutes) to get the true temperature reading at your desired depth.

Repeat this process in different areas (particularly if your lake is unevenly shaped), taking notes all along the way.

The Results

Once you’re done taking your lake’s temperature, look at your notes. Is there more than a few degrees difference in any of your temperature readings? If so, you’re more than likely under-aerating your pond.

The good news is that The Pond Guy® offers a free aerial mapping service. We’ll measure your pond and tell you where the diffusers should be placed so that you’re getting even aeration throughout the body of water. Take advantage of this free service! Your fish will thank you for it!

Pond Talk: Do you have any tips for taking your lake’s temperature?

Let Us Map It & We’ll Guarantee It! - Airmax(r) Aeration Systems

I bought an aeration system this year. What maintenance should I be doing? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Q: I bought an aeration system this year. What maintenance should I be doing?

Q: I bought an aeration system this year. What maintenance should I be doing?

Gary – Saginaw, MI

A: Congratulations on your purchase of an Airmax® Aeration System—and good for you for thinking about regular maintenance, which will keep it operating well for years to come. Here are some things to inspect on a routine basis:

  • Check Your Cooling Fan and Pre-Filter: Regularly clean out your pre-filter and check to see that the fan is indeed operating. Hot air should be blowing out, not air being pulled in. An easy way to remember to do this is to always check your fan and shake off your pre-filter when you cut your lawn.
  • Check Your Air Pressure: Check to see that your air pressure has not risen or dropped significantly. Normal operation will range between 5 and 10 psi. Also be sure to check your pressure relief valve to make sure no air is escaping.
  • Check Your Air Filter: Clean and replace your air filter every three to six months, depending on your environment, and do not place a wet air filter back into the unit. For deep-water units, use the Pond Logic® SilentAir™ Piston Compressor Air Filter; for shallow-water units, use the Pond Logic® SilentAir™ LR Series Air Filter.
  • Purge Your Membrane Sticks: Once per year, purge your membrane diffuser sticks. See the product manual for additional instructions.
  • Use the Maintenance Kit: Finally, be sure to use your maintenance kit for the system you have installed. For shallow-water systems, use the Pond Logic® SilentAir™ Diaphragm Compressor Maintenance Kit every 12 months to keep your diaphragm compressor running its best. For deep-water systems, use the Pond Logic® SilentAir™ Piston Compressor Maintenance Kit every 24 months to keep your piston compressor humming.

Remember, if you have any questions, need additional information or want to read through some troubleshooting tips, refer to your product manual.

Pond Talk: What is your aerator maintenance routine? Do you have any tips to share?

Maximize System Performance - Pond Logic® SilentAir™ Piston Compressor Air Filter

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

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

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?

Breathe Some Life Into Your Pond - Airmax® Shallow Water Aeration Systems

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

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

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.

1. Replace Your Air Filter

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.

2. Check Your Diffusers

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.

3. Rebuild Your Pistons

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?

Breathe Some Life Into Your Pond - Airmax® Aeration Systems

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

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

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?

Airmax® Aeration Systems - Breathe Some Life Into Your Pond

How do I know if I have proper aeration? – Pond & Lake Q & A

Don’t Under Aerate
How do I know if I have proper aeration? Felipe – Moscow, ID

The bigger the better when it comes to aeration.

When purchasing your aeration system you were told it will promote a clean, healthy pond with less algae and clear water. With more and more customers installing aeration systems in their ponds now may be a good time to discuss some of the assumptions and mistakes made when choosing an aeration system.

An aeration system can make the difference when it comes to your pond’s health, so selecting the right system can be very important.  In the long-run there is no free lunch.  If you try to “Make Do” with a smaller aeration system than what is recommend, it may come back to haunt you.  When an aeration system is sized correctly it will eliminate any thermoclines (thermoclines are a separation of water based on temperature). Have you ever swam in your pond and felt very cold water at your feet? Most pond owners believe this is a spring, when in reality, it’s caused by a thermocline. Proper aeration improves water quality, breaks down organic debris (muck) and improves the overall ecosystem in your pond.  Aeration works by circulating the entire pond’s water column from top to bottom.  The tiny bubbles created by the diffuser forces cool oxygen deprived water from the bottom depths all the way to the pond’s surface. This circulation drives oxygen to the bottom of the pond allowing “good” bacteria to digest muck, reducing nutrients and increase the overall dissolved oxygen in the pond.  If the system is undersized it will not create uniform circulation and simply pump small amounts of the cool nutrient-rich water from the bottom of your pond to the top.  This is the equivalent of adding fertilizer to your pond.  This can result in additional algae growth, odors and even fish kills.  This can all be especially true during the warmer months of the year.

If you currently have an aeration system running and you are not sure if it is sized correctly, there is an easy way to tell with a thermometer and long string.  You will use the string to extend the reach of the thermometer taking temperature readings every 24 inches, letting the thermometer rest long enough to get the true temperature reading at your desired depth.  Take readings every 24 inches until you reach the bottom of your pond. If there is more then a few degrees difference in any of your temperature readings you are more then likely under aerating your pond.

If you haven’t purchased an aeration system yet take advantage of The Pond Guys and Gals, we offer free aeration mapping and technical support.

Don’t Under Aerate

Why Did My Fish Die Over the Winter? – Pond & Lake Q & A

Illustration of No Aeration Versus with Airmax Aeration

Pond & Lake Q & A

Q: I lost all of my fish after the winter. We love to catch fish in the pond and now we have to start over! What happened? And is there anything I can do to prevent this from happening again? – Alfred of Michigan

A: My first thought when I read this question was, “They don’t have an aeration system”. And after speaking with him, come to find out, he didn’t. This is usually always the case during a winter fish kill. Everything seems to be going just fine when all of a sudden one morning you wake up to discover a wave of fish floating on your pond’s surface. This is not a pretty sight, nor is it any fun to clean up. So what causes fish kill and what can you do to prevent it?

What Causes Fish Kill?
During the warmer months of the year a pond with no aeration will contain oxygen towards the surface of the pond. This is because there is an oxygen transfer from air to water at the pond’s surface. The bottom of the pond, however, will contain very little or no oxygen; Certainly not enough to support fish life. Also, the toxins associated with fish waste and other organic biodegradation tend to sink and stay at those lower depths of the pond, polluting the already oxygen-starved water. This unfortunately, condenses your fishes’ habitat area and forces them to live towards the surface of the pond.

There is also a difference in temperature from the bottom of the pond to the surface. The bottom of the pond will be colder than the pond’s surface. The reason for this is because the sun will heat up the surface of the water and since cold water is denser than warmer water, the cold water will fall to the bottom. This difference in temperatures can be quite dramatic at times. Have you ever jumped into a pond and felt the brisk cold water towards your feet? This is the thermocline border. This dramatic change in temperature can cause your fish to stress as they travel from a warm temperature to a cold temperature and back to warm. This stress can lower their immune systems.

During the colder months of the year, the oxygen as well as the thermocline will actually flip. All of a sudden the colder water containing no oxygen will mix with the warmer water with oxygen. As this mixing occurs, the fish are left with few places to go for oxygen and they will eventually suffocate.

Another issue during the winter are toxic gasses. As bottom organics (grass clippings, leaves, trees, twigs, fish waste, etc.) decay, they will create toxic gasses. When ice covers the pond’s surface, these toxic gasses are trapped underneath the ice and will cause a fish kill.

Preventing Fish Kills
Using an Airmax Aeration System is the single most important way to help prevent winter fish kills. The reasons are simple: With an Airmax Aeration System, a compressor sits on shore and pumps air down to a diffuser on the pond’s bottom. This air forces the cold water containing no oxygen to the pond’s surface. This water, because it is denser, will fall back to the pond’s bottom. This cycle will repeat and create a convection or current within the water column. This will fill the whole water body with oxygen as well as maintain the same temperature level throughout the pond (see illustration on left).

Also, during the winter months, when ice has covered the surface of the pond. An Airmax Aeration System will keep a small hole open in the ice to allow those toxic gases to escape.

The Bottom Line: Having aeration will help reduce the chances of fish kill. Also, remember that this is one of many benefits of having an aeration system (Refer to this blog post for the other benefits of aeration).

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