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My fish hang out near my waterfall during hot days. Do I have enough aeration in my pond? | Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Q: My fish hang out near my waterfall during hot days. Do I have enough aeration in my pond?

Q: My fish hang out near my waterfall during hot days. Do I have enough aeration in my pond?

Amanda – Rowlett, TX

A: On hot days, who wouldn’t want to hang out near a waterfall! For humans, the water pouring into the pond cools and hydrates the air; for fish, that action acts as a giant aeration system, infusing oxygen into the water beneath the waterfall.

But that raises a valid question: If your fish spend a lot of time near the waterfall, does it mean they’re not getting enough oxygen? Yes, it’s possible. Here are some questions to ask yourself about your pond’s aeration situation.

Is It Getting Full Aeration?

If you’re running your waterfall 24 hours a day, your pond is likely getting full aeration. If your pond is more than 24 inches deep, however, and you have a skimmer/waterfall system in place, more aeration may be necessary. Why? Because the oxygenated water will circulate across the water surface, leaving the water at the bottom of the pond stagnant. Adding an aeration system will prevent stagnation by raising the bottom water to the surface.

Do You Have Many Plants?

Plants may release subsurface oxygen to the water during the day, but at night those plants take in oxygen, which means your fish may be gasping for air. If you have quite a few plants and your waterfall is off—and you experience an algae bloom—you should definitely think about adding some aeration.

Do You Have Many Fish?

The more fish in your pond, the more oxygen you’ll need—which means you’ll need more aeration. If your pond has a high fish population, consider adding some more aeration. For comparison, we recommend one 6- to 8-inch fish per 10 square feet of surface area.

How’s Your Muck Level?

Another clue that your pond is insufficiently aerated is the amount of muck that has accumulated at the bottom of your pond. When your pond is properly aerated, muck naturally breaks up thanks to the healthy and growing population of gunk-gobbling beneficial bacteria.

Low-Cost Aeration

If any of these scenarios apply to your pond, we recommend adding the energy-efficient Airmax® PondAir™ Aeration System for ponds up to 2,000 gallons or the Airmax® KoiAir™ Aeration System for ponds up to 16,000 gallons. They help to circulate the water and add valuable oxygen, providing the best possible environment for your fish.

Pond Talk: What do you do to ensure your finned friends get enough oxygen during the summer months?

8 Responses

  1. I have a two tier pond.the top pond has the waterfall into the bottom pond. If I put fish in the top pond they always fall into the bottom. What do I need for them to stay in the top so I can have them in both ponds .

    • Hi Chandra – Depending on the flow of the waterfall this may be tough to do without changing your design. A slower waterfall may help keep them up top or depending on how the area was constructed you may be able to plant some aquatic plants near the waterfall to help keep them further away. These are only suggestions however, if there is flowing water chances are your fish will always be playing in it.

  2. Fear not. The fish food will sink to the bottom if the fish don’t eat it while it’s floating!

    • You are correct, Dotie. One word of caution on this, if the fish do not eat the food that has sunk, it will add to your nutrient load. We recommend using floating food so you can make sure that no food remains on the pond for more than 5 minutes.

  3. Did you say one koi per 10 foot Square of surface area?????????????????
    Carl L.

    • Hi Carl – It’s a 6-8″ fish per 10 square feet of surface area. This allows room for your fish to grow. Most pond owners have over this amount. Additional filtration and aeration will help to keep the pond balanced when there are too many fish.

  4. I have hundreds of TAD POLS small tods. Do the gold fish eat them? I am unable to get the new fish to the surface for feeding. any ideas or are they full because the are possibility eating the TAD POLS?

    • Hi John – Many fish will eat whatever they can fit in their mouths. So, they might be eating the tadpoles. New fish can also be very skittish, so patience is key. To get them to come to the surface, feed them at roughly the time every day from about the same spot of your pond. Overtime, they will realize it’s eating time whenever you go to that spot.

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