Importance of Year-Round Pond Aeration

Importance of Year-Round Pond Aeration
At this time of the year, in the Northeast, most ponds are not visibly appealing.  Recently, I stopped by the home of John & Karen, proud owners of a pond built by Practical Garden Ponds in 2014. I was happy to see that even with the waterfall turned off, their pond still looked wonderfully majestic in its fully winterized state. Aeration, an often-overlooked aspect of the pond, plays a large part.

One of the key components of John and Karen’s pond is the significant aeration it receives year-round from the 80 liter air pump we installed, as well as the weighted perforated tubing that encircles the pond while hidden under the rocks.  John informed me that he still enjoys his pond daily, and because of the aeration, his pond has never frozen over and his fish remain active.

We used to think that during the winter, every pond needed an energy-gobbling deicer to keep an open hole for aeration.  Then, we started thinking that either a deicer or an aerator was necessary. Today, we are strong advocates of using a year-round aeration system in every fish pond, instead of, or at least in addition to a deicer.  Quality aeration systems may cost a little more money up front; however, a good aeration system lasts much longer and uses much less energy than a typical deicer.  We believe that aeration systems have significant long-term benefits over deicers

Since it is winter here in the Northeast, we wanted to share the benefits of aeration during the winter months. Just like an electric de-icer, an aeration system will keep an ample air hole open in the ice, through most winter weather. Even in extreme weather, we see an advantage to having forced air continuing to seek constant escape from the pond rather than a de-icer that simply waits for the temperatures to rise enough for the air to break free.

Aeration systems are most beneficial between February and April when ammonia and methane usually build up. Pond owners who have experienced fish death at this stage often wonder why their fish made it through the coldest part of the year only to die in the warmth of spring.  This happens due to rising temperatures, which cause the organic debris in your pond to deteriorate.  The build-up of ammonia and methane gases from biodegrading organic waste wreak havoc on your pond and fish.  Aeration systems provide necessary oxygen for the growth of beneficial (aerobic) bacteria, which break down these organic wastes.  De-icers provide no benefit during this critical stage.

In the summer and fall, your pond aeration system is worth its weight in gold for raising the content of dissolved oxygen in your pond water. The richer the pond water is in dissolved oxygen, the greater its capacity to nourish aerobic bacteria. Aerobic bacteria (requiring high oxygen environments) will break down organic wastes in your pond fifteen times faster than anaerobic bacteria (requiring low oxygen environments).

Your friends at Practical Garden Ponds believe in the significant benefits of aeration systems for the health and sustainability of your pond ecosystem in all four seasons. Check out our website for aeration systems like the EZ Aeration System by Matala as well as additional solutions for your practical pond needs.
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