## We just purchased a house and it has a backyard swimming pond. How do we measure it? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Q: We just purchased a house and it has a backyard swimming pond. How do we measure it?

Rob – Hawthorne, FL

A: Surface area and pond depth are important measurements to know. They’ll help you determine dosage rates with chemicals like algaecide. They’ll help you calculate the right-size aeration system for your pond. And they’ll help you figure out how many and what types of fish to stock.

Finding those magic numbers isn’t difficult – but it does require some tools, the right equation and a little bit of work. Before you head out to your pond, grab a rope marked at 1-foot increments, a weight that’s heavy enough to sink to the bottom, and something for notetaking.

Calculating Surface Area

The easiest ponds to measure are those that resemble a rectangle, but you can figure out the surface area of a circular, triangular or odd-shaped pond, too. First, you’ll need to measure (with your marked rope) or pace off (one step is about 3 feet) some specific distances, depending on the shape of your pond. Then, plug those numbers into one of these formulas:

• Square/rectangle: Calculate length and width; L x W = Surface Area
• Circle: Calculate radius; Pi x R2 , or 3.14 x R x R = Surface Area
• Triangle: Calculate base and height; (0.5 x B) x H = Surface Area
• Odd-shaped: Use a handy online tool like Bing Maps to measure the pond. Online tools may be easiest, especially for irregularly shaped ponds.

To determine how many acres your pond is, you’ll then divide that surface area figure by 43,560 (one acre).

Calculating Depth

Figuring out your pond’s depth is a bit trickier, particularly if you have plant shelves or if the pond has a slope. Grab your marked string, the weight, something to write with, and a boat or canoe. Then, head out to the pond and follow these directions:

1. Securely attach the weight to one end of your string.
2. Climb aboard your boat or canoe with your weighted string and note-taking materials in hand.
3. Travel to at least five points in various areas your pond, more if your pond is particularly large.
4. Drop the weight into the water and note where you feel it hit the bottom. Repeat until you’ve gone to all the different spots and gathered a good sampling of your pond’s depth.

Why They’re Important

Now that you know your pond’s size, why are those calculations important?

You’ll need the numbers to determine dosage rates on chemical products like those found in Pond Logic® ClearPAC® PLUS. If the pond has been around more than three to five years, chances are good that you’ll need to address problems like muck accumulation and string algae growth in the spring.

Those numbers will also help you select the right-size Aquastream™ Fountain and Airmax® Aeration System. For instance, if your pond is less than 6 feet deep, our Shallow Water Series™ Aeration System is a good choice; if your pond is greater than 6 feet deep, our Pond Series™ Aeration System is the one for you.

Since you’ll be able to calculate how many acres your pond is, you’ll also be able to determine what types of fish you can have and how many of them you can keep. Finally, because you’ll know the various depths of your pond, you’ll be able to stake out safe swimming areas for children – but don’t forget to put out your life ring!

Pond Talk: What swimming pond maintenance tips can you offer to this new homeowner?

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

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?

## 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?

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?

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

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 Airmax® 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.

## Should I leave my bubble aeration system running in my farm pond all winter long? – Pond & Lake Q & A

To keep your unit working properly, you should plan to inspect it several times per year.

Pond & Lake Q & A

Q: What do I need to do to maintain my fountain over the winter? – Roy in Texas

A: Display fountains provide outstanding pond and lake displays – not to mention helping to circulate the top layers of your water column. To keep your unit working properly, you should plan to inspect it several times per year, and what better time to do it when you’re doing your winterizing chores?

Your to-do list will vary depending on where you live and what your fountain’s manufacturer recommends, but here are some basic maintenance tasks to plan for as the cold weather approaches:

1. Remove your fountain – including the motor, floats and hardware components – and wipe off the algae and muck from all the exposed surfaces. If you see algae collecting in the nozzles, clean those out, too, as well as your motor’s intake screen, if necessary.2. Check all your gaskets, seals and fittings that normally break down over time. If any of these show signs of wear, take your fountain in for service or call us for service parts.3. If your fountain includes lights, inspect those as well to make sure they’re working properly. Replace any bulbs or fixtures that may have burned out.4. Check your power cord for nicks or kinks that may have developed over the season.

If you live in an area that doesn’t freeze, you can put the unit back in the water once you’ve scrubbed it down and checked it over. If your pond does freeze over, plan to store your fountain components inside, away from the winter elements. Be sure not to cover your fountain. This will ensure your fountain and power cord are protected against any rodents that would otherwise consider it a cozy home.

Most manufacturers recommend replacing the oil (on oil cooled units) every 2-3 years of operation. This can prevent costly repairs in the future. For more information on fountain maintenance, call The Pond Guy® (Service Department: Monday—Friday: 8:30am—4pm | Phone: 586-336-7663) or visit the manufacturer’s website.

Doing these simple tasks can extend the life of your decorative display fountain and allow you to enjoy them for years to come!

Please Note: The Pond Guy® is an authorized service center for most fountains and aerators. Please feel free to call us at 586-336-7663 for maintenance parts or repair.

POND TALK: What do you do to extend the life of your floating display fountain?

## Ensuring Sufficient Pond Aeration – Pond & Lake Q & A

Picture of a Pond with an Airmax Aeration System.

Pond & Lake Q & A

Q: How do I ensure my lake or pond gets sufficient aeration? – Jack of Maine

A: Take a deep breath. Living things, whether they’re above water or below, require oxygen to thrive. If your pond or lake houses fish, then the aquatic environment needs to be rich with oxygen, and the best way to do that is by aerating the water. Pond aeration is simply diffusing life-giving oxygen into water evenly throughout the water column using surface aerators or bottom-mounted diffusers.

To determine whether your pond or lake requires aeration, take your pond’s temperature. Measure the temperature of the water 1 foot below the pond’s surface, and do the same at the bottom of the pond. If the results differ more than 3 degrees Fahrenheit, then your pond is not sufficiently aerated and it may need a little help. For a simpler test, JUMP IN! If you’re warm above the waste and freezing at your toes, it’s a good sign your pond is not being circulated or aerated enough. Here are the most common ways to churn up the water:

Bottom Bubblers: Bottom-mounted air diffusers, like the Airmax® Aeration System, are ideal for ponds and lakes deeper than 6 feet. They aerate ponds from bottom up, pushing air into the water via air stones or diffusers. These systems generally feature a shore-side cabinet that houses an air compressor, which is connected to diffusers at the bottom of the pond. The air is forced through the diffusers, which create medium-size bubbles that expand as they surface, releasing oxygen into the water and circulating the water column. These bottom bubblers are by far the most efficient at circulation and aeration.

Surface Aerators: Surface aerators, like fountains, provide pond aeration from the surface down. They agitate the surface of the pond, pulling water up from below and releasing into the air, where the droplets explode into a decorative spray pattern. The surface area on each droplet of water is saturated with oxygen, which it delivers back into the pond. Fountains pull water from about 6 feet down. For ponds and lakes 6 feet deep or less, a fountain can act as both a pond aerator and a decorative feature. Depending on your pond’s size, you may need more than one fountain to properly aerate. When ponds are deeper than 6 feet, fountains become more for decoration and you need to think about a bottom bubbler.

Alternative Aeration – Wind Power: If power isn’t available near your lake or pond, you can go with a wind aeration system to keep the air flowing. Windmills are primarily designed for decoration and they  come with one air stones to aerate up to 1 acre. You’ll need constant  wind blowing at least 3 to 5 miles per hour for continuous aeration, but they are a great backup system to an electric air compressor or in a remote location. Windmills are available in 12-foot, 16-foot and 20-foot towers. Remember: Windmills do not provide continuous aeration and should not be used as a direct substitute for electrical powered continuous aeration systems.

Alternative Aeration – Solar Power: Solar powered aeration systems are another great alternative to aerating your pond without having to pay for electricity. Solar aeration systems are great for both remote
installation and environmental conscience applications. They are for aquatic environments ranging in size from small decorative water gardens up to ponds or lake up to 5 acres. These fully automatic systems are designed to run up to 20 hours per day under standard operating conditions. The battery backup system allows them to run like normal under less than optimal conditions. One of the biggest downfalls of solar powered aeration systems are their high price tag.

POND TALK: What do you do to aerate your pond?

## Will a Fountain Aerate My Pond? – Pond & Lake Q & A

Picture of a Fountain

Q: Will a fountain aerate my pond? - Several Customers

A: When it comes to fountains, I always tell customers that they are more for decoration than they are for aeration, but there are exceptions. Since fountains rest on the water’s surface, they tend to only pull water from 6′ of depth or less. Thus, if the pond is no more than 6′ deep at the deepest point, a fountain becomes an option for aeration. If the pond’s depth is greater than 6′ of depth than a bottom bubbler aerator would be our recommendation. The best aeration concept would be the use both. By placing a bottom bubbler underneath a fountain, you create the ideal conditional for total pond aeration.