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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

My pond is spring fed. Does aeration do anything more for my pond than what the fresh water does? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Q: My pond is spring fed. Does aeration do anything more for my pond than what the fresh water does?

Q: My pond is spring fed. Does aeration do anything more for my pond than what the fresh water does?

Tom – Eden Prairie, MN

A: You gotta love a spring-fed pond. Rather than being volume-fluctuating catch basin for precipitation runoff (and pollution in some cases), it’s filled by a spring or ground water. That means the water level stays fairly consistent regardless of rainfall—and that’s a definite plus if you’re using the lake for recreation or watering livestock.

As great as they are, spring-fed ponds do have their challenges. They’re prone to thermocline, which is when water forms layers or stratifies depending on the water temperature. And even though spring water flows into the lake or pond from the underground aquifer and provides good water exchange, it is typically low in dissolved oxygen and not moving enough to circulate the water column.

Just about every pond or lake can benefit from aeration—including those that are spring fed. Here’s how an Airmax® Deep Water Aeration System can help your pond:

  • Circulates the Water: Rather than develop pockets of cold, oxygen-depleted water, a pond with an aeration system moves the water both horizontally and vertically.
  • Prevents Thermocline: 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. Aeration churns the water, allowing the shallow and deep water to mix.
  • Infuses Oxygen into the Water: Your lake and its underwater inhabitants need oxygen to survive, and aeration pumps that O2 into the water while releasing dangerous gases, like ammonia, at the surface.
  • Promotes Muck Digestion: Beneficial bacteria thrive on oxygen, too, and those tiny microorganisms eat through muck and debris that has collected in your lake—ultimately creating a cleaner pond.

For those readers who have an aeration system in place but are unsure if the water is properly aerated, we suggest taking temperature readings at multiple depths and in different areas of your pond and recording any extreme variations, which indicate a lack of circulation from your aeration system.

Pond Talk: Some pond owners transform their natural springs into interesting water features, like artesian wells. Have you found a unique way to take creative advantage of the spring that feeds your pond?

Create The Perfect Pond - Airmax® Deep Water Aeration Systems

I love the look of a fountain but does it provide sufficient aeration for my pond? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Q: I love the look of a fountain but does it provide sufficient aeration for my pond?

Q: I love the look of a fountain but does it provide sufficient aeration for my pond?

John – Wapakoneta, OH

A: Sitting out on the deck and viewing a beautiful fountain display as well as hear that relaxing sound of water is pond enjoyment to us. Having a fountain in your pond is a great way to add tranquility to your home. What more could you ask for?

Many people are drawn to a fountain’s show-stopping appeal, but will they aerate a pond as well? The answer to this really depends on a couple factors: the pond’s depth and the type of fountain pattern.

Pond Depth: Fountains can be great aerators when the pond has less than 6′ of depth. The reason for this is because the best way to aerate is to circulate the whole body of water at the same time. A fountain will only draw water from the top of the water column, which is water that already contains oxygen from the air to water oxygen transfer. The pond’s bottom will remain untouched if it is deeper than 6′. If your pond is less than 6′ deep, then all you have to worry about is the spray pattern.

Fountain Spray Pattern: The spray pattern of a fountain makes a huge difference in how much aeration is produced. Usually the more decorative the spray pattern, the less likely it is to aerate your pond properly. This is because more energy is spent on creating the decorative pattern than there is moving the water. The best spray pattern to use for a fountain is a “V” patterned fountain like the Kasco VFX series fountain.

Because of the varying fountain choices there are some rules of thumb to go by. When using a fountain for aeration purposes, you want around 1.5HP per acre. If using a fountain only for decoration, go for 1 HP per acre.

If your pond is deeper than 6′ of depth, than the best method of aeration is an Airmax® Aeration System. The Airmax® Aeration System will pump air to the diffuser plate located at the bottom of the pond, and the resulting column of rising bubbles lifts and aerates the water. By starting from the bottom, this will ensure that the whole body of water is properly circulated as well as aerated. Airmax® Aeration Systems have lower operating costs than running a fountain 24-7.

Pond Talk: What type of aeration system do you have?

Add Serenity & Beauty To Your Pond - Kasco VFX Series Fountains

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

Is there an easier way to get rid of weeds? I’m tired of pulling them by hand. | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Is there an easier way to get rid of weeds? I’m tired of pulling them by hand.

Q: Is there an easier way to get rid of weeds? I’m tired of pulling them by hand.

Beverly – Richfield, WI

A: Who doesn’t love tools? They’re cool to look at, fun to play with – and, the best part, they help make chores easy. When it comes to maintaining your pond or lake, tools of all shapes and sizes will come in very handy, particularly these four must-haves, below.

Pond Rake

A pond rake pulls, gathers and removes dead debris from the surface or the bottom of a pond.

Debris on the surface of a pond, like algae or fallen leaves, can sink to the bottom and start to decay, adding to the muck and detritus that’s already there. All that debris degrades water quality, compromises fish health, provides a nutrient source for nuisance plants, and can even affect chemical treatments’ ability to work.

A floating/sub-surface pond rake, like the Pond Logic® Pond and Beach Rake, or a sub-surface pond rake, like the Jenlis Weed Raker™, lends a long helping hand. Elongated by rope so you can easily get the deep-water growth, both rakes work by removing submerged lake and pond weeds by their roots, slowing their spread.

Weed Cutter

A weed cutter, like the Pond Logic® Weed Cutter and the Jenlis WeedRazer®, mechanically slices through weeds at their stems so they can then be raked out.

The 28-inch, double-sided Pond Logic® Weed Cutter features a two-piece, rust-proof, powder-coated aluminum handle that’s 11 feet long. It’s great for removing floating aquatic vegetation, marginal weeds and cattails that extend past the pond’s edge.

The V-shaped Jenlis WeedRazer™ clears a 4-foot-wide path in pond weeds by sinking to the bottom and slicing through submerged weeds like watermilfoil, cattails and lily pads as you pull it across the pond. The razor-sharp tool weighs just 8 pounds, making it light enough to toss 30 feet or more yet heavy enough to sink straight to the bottom.

Sprayer

A sprayer makes pond chemical application easy. Most liquid chemicals are more effective when they’re sprayed over the target weed, and a tank sprayer, like an Airmax® Specialty Pressurized Pond Chemical Tank Sprayer, is designed just for this purpose. The 2.75-gallon pond tool features a wide-mouth fill top that minimizes accidental spills, a brass corrosive-resistant handle, and a high-pressure tank that allows you to spray hard-to-reach weeds.

Invest in a separate sprayer just for pond chemicals. If you use lawn and garden chemicals in the same sprayer that you use on your pond, doing so can be toxic to fish and other aquatic life as residue could be left behind. Keep your fish and pond plants healthy and happy: Use a different tool for the job.

Granular Spreader

The final must-have tool is a granular spreader, which helps you disperse granular herbicides evenly over your target area – and that means a more effective weed kill-off. The rust-proof Earthway® Granular Hand Spreader holds 10 pounds of material in a large hopper and features an application adjuster that lets you control how much product is released with its smooth-action hand crank.

Pond Talk: If you could only have one pond-care tool in your toolbox, what would it be? Why?

Pond Logic Pond & Beach Rake - Remove Weeds & Muck Build Up

What Can I Do To Reduce Or Remove Cattails From My Pond? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Q: What can I do to reduce or remove cattails from my pond?

Ryan – Bradford, PA

A: Cattails, when left unchecked, can proliferate and take over a pond or lake in no time. These common aquatic plants grow from 3 to 10 feet tall in dense colonies around the margins of ponds and lakes. In the spring, the green strap-like foliage grows from large, creeping, below-the-ground rhizomes. As the seasons progress, the cattail’s leaves and spikes – or the plant’s brown cylindrical flower – grow. And when the flowers open and let loose their cottony seeds, the cattails spread and propagate new plants throughout the lake.

Cattails can indeed be a nuisance. Granted, a small, managed area of cattails will provide an ideal habitat for amphibians, insects, birds and fish, as well as helping to prevent erosion. But too many of these plants can create an unappealing look and begin to transform a healthy lake or pond into marshland.

Controlling cattails involves a simple three-step process: You’ll need to spray an herbicide to kill the plants themselves, cut the leaves and spikes down and remove them, and retreat as necessary.

Step 1: Treat the Plants

The most common way to control cattails is to apply an EPA-registered herbicide and surfactant product, like Avocet PLX, using a pressurized pond sprayer, such as the Airmax® Pond Sprayer. Read the product labels for proper dosage rates for your size lake. To treat a 2,500-square-foot area of weeds, mix 8 ounces of Avocet PLX with 1 gallon of water, pour into pond sprayer and apply onto actively growing plants and at least 18 inches above the water surface where the cattails are growing. Allow the mixture to absorb into the plant and the root system, which is the most difficult part of the plant to kill, for one to two weeks.

Step 2: Cut, Remove the Stalks

Once the herbicide has had a chance to soak into the cattail’s root system, the plant will turn brown and become limp. At this point, you should remove the stalks. Doing so prevents muck accumulation, and it also makes it easier to treat and remove new cattails in the future as they will come up between the dead stalks. Cut the stalks using the Airmax® Pond Rake and Cutter Combo or the Jenlis WeedRazer® Pro Aquatic Weed Cutter at the base of the plants, allowing for easier removal with your rake.

Step 3: Retreat as Needed

To completely eradicate cattails in a pond, this process may need to be repeated – and repeated and repeated because not all cattail roots will be killed by one treatment. But once you have the plants under control, they can make a nice addition to your landscape and encourage wildlife to call your pond or lake home. Just don’t let the cattails take over again!

Pond Talk: How large of an area do you have in your lake or pond that’s devoted to cattails?

Avocet PLX - Eliminate Cattails & Phragmites

We just purchased a house that had a pond, it hasn’t been taken care of, where do we start? | Pond & Lakes Q&A

We just purchased a house that had a pond, it hasn't been taken care of, where do we start?

We just purchased a house that had a pond, it hasn’t been taken care of, where do we start?
Tony – Romeo, MI

If you’ve ever adopted a stray pet, you already have a general sense of what it’s like to become the keeper of a long-neglected pond. Like the stray, the pond probably looks like it’s been reclaimed by nature: rough around the edges, none too attractive, and probably a bit more of a commitment than you’d ordinarily take on without a lot of advance planning.

But like a scrawny stray, a neglected pond is often a diamond in the rough – waiting for the loving attention of a caring keeper to really show its true colors. And with the right products from The Pond Guy, the transformation from primeval bog to backyard showplace is much easier than you’ve imagined.

The first step in reclaiming your pond is to evaluate the status quo. With a quick inventory, you’ll determine if it’s full of weeds, if there’s any aeration, and if there are any fish who call it home.

For maximum initial impact, proper aeration is critical. If it’s missing, weeds thrive, algae blooms, and both fish and healthy plants struggle for survival. At The Pond Guy, you’ll find exactly what your pond needs with one of our Airmax Aeration Systems. Designed to suit the size and depth characteristics of your pond, the right system will begin the process of making your pond a safe, healthy habitat for the fish and plants that make ponds a pleasure.

Once the aeration is up and running, you’ll need to tackle the weeds and algae with our safe, powerful herbicides and algaecides. Our most powerful weapon in the fight to restore a pond’s health is our ClearPAC and ClearPAC Plus products, which combine the benefits of beautiful, Nature’s Blue dye and Algae Defense algaecide, the muck reducing power of our PondClear natural bacteria and our beneficial EcoBoost phosphate binder, which reduces phosphate levels to make water clear and healthy for fish, wildlife and anyone else wanting to use the pond.

ClearPac Plus also includes MuckAway to eliminate the muck that accumulates at the bottom after long periods without proper pond care. By following the simple steps included with ClearPac, you’ll see marked improvement in no time, with steady improvement over the course of several weeks of treatment.

For ponds that haven’t suffered long-term neglect, our Algae Defense and PondWeed Defense tackle specific problem areas quickly and effectively.

Pond Talk: Have you taken on the task of reviving an old pond?

Pond Logic ClearPAC

My pond looks like an oil slick. Why and how can I get rid of it? | Pond & Lakes Q&A

My pond looks like an oil slick. Why and how can I get rid of it?

My pond looks like an oil slick. Why and how can I get rid of it?
Brandy- Naples, FL

Every year, Mother Nature unleashes a mass of pollen into the air to facilitate the fertilization of seeds in flowering plants. It’s an effective design, but not terribly efficient. Pollen ends up everywhere – just ask anyone who suffers from hay fever – and the surface of your pond is no exception.

Once settled on the surface, the pollen often mixes with algae to form a film that can give your pond that greasy, greenish look. If you’re unsure that the slick is due to pollen, run your finger through it. If the slick breaks up, you know your pond’s wearing an unsightly coat of pollen. And ‘unsightly’ defeats one of the purposes of having a pond to begin with, right?

So, what’s a frustrated pondkeeper to do? If you’re patient, you could wait for a heavy rain to come along and sink the pollen to the bottom. Or, depending on the size of your pond, a touch of artificial rain – think garden hose, here – might provide a temporary fix. However, to both fix the problem and prevent its recurrence, many of our customers have found that the installation of an Airmax Aeration System is a great solution. Our Airmax systems – available in models to fit your pond’s dimensions and needs – keep pond water circulating, which prevents the pollen from coalescing into an unsightly slick. Aesthetics aside, an Airmax System is a great way to keep your pond – and the plants and fish living there – clean and healthy.

For a more elegant solution to the pollen slick problem, you may want to consider a Kasco Fountain, which sprays water up and over the pond’s surface, causing ripples that prevent the formation of pollen slicks completely. Kasco Fountains are offered with single or multiple pattern sprays, adding a dramatic element to your pond-scape.

So, if you find your pond wearing an ugly, pollen coat, let us help you take it off, and replace it with that fresh, shimmering surface it deserves.

Pond Talk: Do you ever notice a white or greenish slick look on your pond?

Pond & Lake Fountains

What type of aeration is best for you? | Pond & Lakes Q&A

What type of aeration is best for you?

What type of aeration is best for you?
Britney – St. Louis, MO

When you call a pond home, it’s the little touches – like sufficient oxygen – that make life worth living. In fact, you might say they make life possible in the first place. No wonder we hear from so many fish singing the praises of our Airmax Aeration Systems.

Okay. We don’t actually hear from fish. But we do hear from customers. And they’re unequivocal in their appreciation of our versatile range of aeration systems, which leads to the critical question: how do you decide on the proper type of aeration for your pond?

Choosing the proper aeration system depends on a number of factors. First and foremost is the matter of pond volume. In order to ensure proper aeration, it’s important to choose an aeration system capable of circulating and oxygenating all of the water in your pond. With a system that’s too small, you’ll run the risk of both oxygen depletion and toxic gas buildup, resulting in the increased likelihood of fish kills, algae blooms and thickening pond muck.

Pond volume is determined a couple of key factors: pond depth and pond area. A third factor – pond shape – also plays into proper filtration. To address the issue of pond depth, we offer both deep water and shallow water aeration systems.

For deep water ponds, Airmax Deep Water Aeration models AM30 through AM 100 provide economical aeration designed to eliminate stratification, increase dissolved oxygen levels, decrease toxic gases, and prevent fish kills. By cycling water, these systems also help to fight algae blooms, while reducing bottom muck.

For shallow ponds, our Airmax Shallow Water Aeration models AM10 and AM20 provide effective, efficient aeration, using energy efficient dual diaphragm pumps to eliminate fish kills, reduce muck accumulation and inhibit weed growth.

The final consideration – pond shape – also plays an important role in ensuring proper aeration. For simple, contiguous shapes like circles and ovals, a properly-sized aeration system will fully circulate all water without the risk of stagnation. In circumstances where multiple ponds are interconnected, full circulation may require additional pumps. When in doubt, we strongly encourage you to give us a call. We’ll help you to make the right aeration decision – for you and your pond.

Pond Talk: Have you been looking for aeration for your pond?

Airmax Shallow Water Aeration Systems

How often do I need to replace the air filter on my (Airmax) Aeration system? | Pond & Lakes Q&A

How often do I need to replace the air filter on my (Airmax) Aeration system?

How often do I need to replace the air filter on my (Airmax) Aeration system?
Mike – Flat Rock, MI

First, for people strapped for time, we’ll go with the short answer. Under ordinary circumstances, we recommend filter replacements every six months. If you live in a dry, dusty environment, it’s best to change the filter every three to four months. For Airmax Filters, we strongly recommend Airmax Silent Air Black Air Filters (Complete), and Airmax Silent Air Replacement Air Filter Elements for routine replacement.

Now, for those who want the rest of the story, here’s the long answer, which, incidentally, also makes for fascinating cocktail party conversation. To make sense of our recommended filter replacement schedule, it’s important to understand why it’s even necessary at all.

First and foremost, regular filter changes will prevent the premature failure of your filter compressor pump. As it turns out, filter pumps are designed to perform best with clean filters. When filters become clogged, the compressor is forced to work harder. When it works harder, its wear parts are subject to greater wear and tear. And if a filter is left unchanged for too long, an overworked pump is likely to fail. Accordingly, given the cost of replacing a pump, regular filter changes are a much more economical alternative.

In addition to the stress they place on pumps, dirty filters won’t allow the compressor to do the job they’re intended to do, circulate pond water. As a result, the entire pond ecosystem feels the effects. With regular filter changes, pond water is safer for fish and plants, and clearer and more enjoyable for the people who care for them.

Occasionally, our customers ask whether filters can be cleaned and reused. While it seems like a logical option, filters can’t be effectively cleaned – and their performance is significantly compromised. We also strongly discourage the installation of a wet element in a filter system, given the potential to further stress the pump and to unintentionally introduce foreign contaminants into the pond.

As an economical alternative to filter cleaning, we recommend the use of Airmax Silent Air Replacement Air Filter Elements, rather than installing a complete filter unit. The savings are significant – and the filter system will be ready to perform flawlessly for another three to six months.

Happy aerating.

Pond Talk: Do you notice the performance of your aeration system begin to decline as the filter becomes clogged?

Airmax SilentAir Complete Air Filter

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