Many people are deciding it is a good idea to put ponds in their yards. Whether you install one for decoration or to attract wildlife into your garden you will need to keep it clean and healthy. Good pond aeration will allow you to keep the water flowing nicely and when you have a healthy environment, birds, fish and all manner of creatures will reward you with their presence. Here is a look at the basics of pond aeration, including why oxygen is so important, how to get the right balance, dealing with circulation problems, and how to choose the right pump.
Oxygen for life
At the most basic level, if you are just starting out on creating a pond for your yard you will know that once it is installed and filled with water, your pond will need the right amount of oxygen. Small pond aerators will provide a solution to the problem but it will also help if you understand why you need good oxygenation and how to achieve it. The main thing to remember is that is you just have a still pond that is not circulating water around it, this will mean that it will be restricted to exchanging gasses at the surface of the water and you will be limited to sustaining a very small fish population under these conditions, at best.
The perfect setting
To encourage wildlife and to keep the water the pond looking clear it will need to do more than just absorb oxygen from the air. It also needs to be able to release carbon dioxide and even possibly hydrogen sulfide along with other gasses. Hydrogen sulfide is produced by anaerobic bacteria and helps to break down any organic matter that has formed in the bottom of the pond. It is easy to appreciate why the bottom of your pond is going to receive less oxygen than the upper areas and the surface, and because many people choose to use stone or gravel on the bottom to hold a lining down, this makes it even harder to generate the right amount of oxygen.
Get the water flowing
If you want a healthy pond that attracts wildlife, can offer fish and insects a good home and looks good, you will need to to take steps to get the water circulating in the deep part of your pond. This is where a pond aerator comes in, as it will work to draw water from the bottom of the pond and expose it to the atmosphere while it is being circulated. Exposing the bottom of the pond to oxygen rich water will work to reduce any unpleasant odors that can come with stagnant water and prevent a septic condition in the bottom of your pond.
If you are keeping fish in your pond and notice that they seem to be spending a lot of time coming to the surface and gulping for air or the pond water is giving off a noxious odor, these are big clues that you have insufficient circulation. Too many plants and too many fish can cause or exacerbate the problem, but with an aeration pump fitted you can greatly improve the situation by increasing the gas exchange within the water.
It depends on what you want to do with your pond and what size it is when it comes to getting the right pump setup. If you want a fountain or waterfall feature or want to keep fish, these are all basic factors that determine what size and type of pump you need. Size is definitely an important issue as you need to work out what pump size will be suitable for the installation and what work it is going to be required to do. If you don’t get a pump that is up to the job it is going to wear out quicker and it won’t circulate the water properly either. If you are looking for a pump that will circulate the water efficiently, choose a pump that manages to circulate the equivalent pond volume on an hourly basis. It is not as complicated as it seems to calculate the size of pump you need. Use this simple equation of length x width x depth x 7.5 = gallons. If you are struggling with the calculation or any other aspect of your pond project, it is always better to ask a professional for some guidance rather than buying the wrong pump and hoping for the best.
Daniel Crackower is the owner of Living Water Aeration. He founded the business in 2004 and has been specializing in aeration and fountain equipment for ponds and lakes for over 13 years. Daniel has spoken to thousands of customers about ponds, encountering and finding solutions for virtually every kind of pond and water quality issue imaginable.