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Isn’t my fountain enough aeration for my pond? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Q: Isn’t my fountain enough aeration for my pond?

Q: Isn’t my fountain enough aeration for my pond?

Kelly – Harrisville, WV

A: Fountains deserve a lot of love. As they launch water into the air, they add dramatic movement and visual appeal to the landscape. The sound of stirring water makes anyone within earshot relaxed and tranquil. Fountains add a good deal of oxygen to the pond as the tiny droplets make contact with the air and fall back into the pond. But do they provide enough aeration? It all depends on your pond’s depth.

More Than 6 Feet Deep…

If your pond is more than 6 feet deep, your fountain does not provide enough aeration. Why? The best way to aerate the pond is to circulate the entire body of water at the same time. Because a fountain draws water from the top of the water column only, the water deeper than the 6-foot mark remains untouched – and oxygen deprived.

An aeration system, like the Pond Series™ Aeration System, will pump air to the diffuser plate positioned at the bottom of the pond. The rising bubbles then lift and aerate the water from the bottom up, ensuring that the entire pond is circulated and oxygenated.

Less Than 6 Feet Deep…

If your pond is less than 6 feet deep, your fountain is good to go. Because enough oxygen is exchanged at the pond’s surface, you don’t need additional aeration – but you do need to worry about the fountain’s spray pattern and horsepower.

The most effective shape for aeration is the “V” shape or “Classic” pattern, like the one included in the AquaStream™ fountain. It does the job simply and effectively. The more decorative the spray pattern, the less likely it is to adequately aerate your pond because more energy is spent on creating the patterns than on moving the water.

As for horsepower, when using a fountain for aeration purposes, go with a 1.5 HP motor per acre. Remember that depending on your pond’s size and shape, you may need more than one fountain to properly aerate. If you’re using a fountain for decoration only, you can go with a 1 HP per acre motor instead.

Weighing the Cost

A fountain can be costly to operate, but an aeration system – which has lower operating costs when compared to a fountain running 24/7 – is an affordable alternative. Whichever method you choose, don’t go without aeration, because that could cost you more in the long run!

Pond Talk: What’s your favorite fountain? What makes it stand out to you?

For Optimal Aeration - Airmax® Pond Series™ 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

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® Pond Series™ 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® Pond Series™ 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 Airmax® 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 Airmax® 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 Airmax® 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® Pond Series™ 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

What should I do with my fountain in the winter? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

What should I do with my fountain in the winter?

Q: What should I do with my fountain in the winter?

David – Crystal Lake, IL

A: Do you have a decorative fountain in your lake or pond? If so, take advantage of the off season and do all your maintenance chores now rather than in the spring—when you could be caught without a fountain for that early-season party.

Any time before the ice begins to form on your pond, remove your fountain and perform these basic upkeep tasks:

1. Power Check: Check the fountain’s power cord for any cuts or cracks. If you find any, you may need to repair the cord or replace the unit altogether.

2. Power Cleaning: Next, pull out your power washer and clean the fountain’s float and motor to remove debris buildup that’s occurred over the past year (or however long you’ve procrastinated …). Built-up debris can act as an insulator, which can possibly cause your fountain’s motor to overheat during the summer months.

3. Routine Maintenance: Finally, contact your fountain’s manufacturer or call your local fountain dealer to have routine maintenance performed on the motor. Its seals and oil should be replaced every year or two to ensure good performance.

When spring rolls around, put your decorative fountain back in place—but until then, make sure you keep your pond or lake aerated with a diffused aeration system, like the Airmax® Pond Series™ Aeration System. It efficiently pushes tiny oxygen bubbles throughout your pond’s water column all winter long

Pond Talk: How often do you perform maintenance on your pond or lake’s decorative fountain?

Airmax® Aeration Systems - Eliminate Fall Leaves & Debris

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 Shoreline Defense®, using a pressurized pond sprayer, such as the The Pond Guy® 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 Shoreline Defense® with 2 gallons of water and 4 ounces of Treatment Booster™ Plus, 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 Weed Cutter or the Jenlis Weed Razer™ 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?

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