Does Pond Aeration really work?

Many pond owners wonder how much of a difference a pond aerator can make in their ponds. While it’s not the one-size-fits-all solution to your pond problems, a pond aeration system surely offers plenty of beneficial effects for the overall health of your pond. And since you can get one for a small upfront investment, there’s really no reason not to consider it as the next addition to your pond.

What is a Pond Aerator?

A pond aerator is responsible for taking outside air and dissolving it into the water. In general, some sort of aeration is already built into all ponds, usually in the form of a waterfall or fountain. Splashing your pond’s surface with water is a simple way of getting air into your pond, but it might not be enough, especially for large ponds. For this reason, it’s best to get a dedicated aerator to draw more air from the outside.

A dedicated aerator uses an air pump to force air into the pond. The air goes through hoses until it reaches dispersal units, which are typically located at the bottom of your pond. This process produces bubbles, which circulate your pond and dissolve the air into the water as they rise.

The size of the aerator you should use depends on the size of your pond. You may have to consider the shape of your pond as well, as you might have problems getting air into oddly-shaped areas or corners.

How to Set Up a Pond Aerator

1. Identify key locations for the aerator

The primary role of a pond aerator is to oxygenate the water of your pond. Dissolving oxygen in the water contributes to a healthier pond ecosystem. It goes without saying that fish need it to live, but you should also be aware that oxygenation helps good bacteria to operate at peak efficiency. With increased oxygen levels, these beneficial bacteria can be more efficient at removing pollutants, organic debris, and waste from your pond.

Identifying where you place the pond aerator holds the key to boosting your pond’s oxygen levels. As already noted, oddly-shaped ponds may have plenty of “dead” areas where the bubbles can’t reach or the circulation is less than optimal. A good example is a pond with coves. It’s imperative to identify these areas in order to set up the aerator in a way that ensures proper oxygenation.

2. Consider water circulation

Aside from thinking about oxygenation, it’s essential to consider water circulation as well. Generally speaking, most ponds will have at least two dead zones. The first is the areas situated far from the main channels. The second is the bottom of your pond. Water has a tendency of flowing along the upper third of the pond, which means the deepest area of the pond sees much less circulation.

Adding a bubbler to these locations ensures that there will be no dead zones in your pond. Remember that pollutants and debris settle at the bottom, potentially creating a sludge layer over time when left unnoticed. You need to ensure that your pond has enough water circulation to prevent this buildup.

3. Break surface tension

Another advantage of using a pond aerator is that it effectively breaks up surface tension. Why is this important? The most obvious reason is that it prevents insects from wreaking havoc in your pond. Mosquitoes, for instance, can use the pond for laying eggs. Breaking up surface tension is a quick solution to this problem Lowering surface tension also allows for a better gas exchange between your pond and the air from the outside. There’s also the benefit of preventing your pond from freezing over during cold conditions.

If you’re still wondering whether pond aeration really works, the simple answer is yes. Remember that it may not solve every single problem you might have with your pond, but it can definitely work wonders for improving your pond’s health.

Joe Cadieux is the Senior Biologist for Midwestponds.com. Midwestponds was started to provide the products and advice needed to build and maintain water gardens and large ponds as naturally as possible. Joe consults and manages many lakes and ponds throughout southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois. He also takes special pleasure as a judge at the University School of Milwaukee’s Spring Science Fair.