Key Points to Consider Before Aerating a Pond
Why Aerate My Pond?
For each pond owner, there are specific expectations. Many reasons can lead you to consider an aeration system:
- For optimal water quality;
- For better control of algae, muck and foul odors;
- To keep your fish alive during winter;
- To safely add fish in your pond for your personal needs.
Oxygenation will allow your pond to stay healthy. Here are some considerations to take into account before purchasing an aeration system.
How and When to Aerate?
In some very specific cases, bottom classic aeration is not the best option.
- During heat waves: it is important to stop the aeration, at the risk of overheating the water and killing the fish. Moreover, if you want to farm fish such as trout, it is advisable to leave a cold water refuge deep in the pond, that is to say to place the diffuser elsewhere than in the deeper pit.
- If we are talking about a very deep lake (30 ft and more) in which a significant thermal stratification has settled: it is possible that aeration with destratification of the water column is not indicated. At least, you have to be careful to start the aeration system gradually at the beginning. If the protection of biodiversity, particularly that of the benthos living exclusively in cold and almost anoxic deep waters is an important issue, it is perhaps necessary to consider hypolimnetic aeration instead.
- If your pond is naturally clear and limpid: a head lake without nutrient supply, which does not show signs of anoxia or algae, it does not require aeration treatment. If your pond has a certain thickness of sediment at the bottom, and the turning of the water brings this sediment in suspension, it is possible that an aeration system will give you cloudy and brownish water. This is normal and harmless, but may take a few weeks to a few months to disappear (when all the material has been oxidized). This aesthetic choice is yours.
How Much Money Am I Willing to Spend
If you have invested thousands, or tens of thousands of dollars into the building of a new pond, then you will no doubt be prepared to invest in a high quality aeration system that is easy to install, guaranteed to perform and made of quality materials. An example of this type of system is our Kasco Marine Robust Aire aeration system, which comes complete with a high-quality sound-proof and ventilated cabinet, a high performance compressor with sturdy manifolds and high-output micro-bubble diffusers.
We offer two categories of systems: standard complete systems include a high quality ventilated and insulated cabinet, reliable compressors, reinforced airline hoses and efficient diffusers. Otherwise you can opt for a tailor-made system, which offers greater flexibility in the choice of compressors and diffusers to fit your needs perfectly if the standard kits don’t. This option is often chosen by customers who already have sheds or barns in which they can house their compressor. Do not hesitate to contact one of our experts to determine the optimal system for your pond!
How Much Work Can I Do Myself?
Most of the time, clients will do the installation themselves due to the convenience of the self-sinking diffusers and air supply line. Older systems were weighted down with rocks and bricks, making installation longer and much more difficult.
Other clients also prefer to build their own protective cabinet for the air-compressor and do not want to buy a complete package that has housing included. They purchase wood, build a doghouse-like structure, install an electric fan inside for cooling (super important!), place the compressor inside and put it near the pond. This works, but obviously is not ideal for everyone.
Higher Quality = Higher Cost?
If you want the top of the line product, you have to be prepared to spend a little bit more to get it. When you average the cost over the life-expectancy of a high-quality aeration system versus a homemade rigging, you will find the higher quality unit is often a smarter choice. Don’t overlook the advantages of having an experienced team that will be able to answer your questions and honor the manufacturer’s warranties.
Here is an old aeration installation that we removed from a 2.5 acre pond. It was installed by a company using primitive but common techniques. To supply air to the 10 metal six inch diffusers a total of ten lengths of standard PVC tubing were tied together and weighted with bricks and cinder blocks so they would sink to the bottom of the pond. Each of the ten diffusers was weighted with large bricks and had Styrofoam float markers tied to them. This picture shows the tangled messy “system” of tubes, metal diffusers and Styrofoam floats that had been used to aerate the pond. This setup required over 4000 feet of tubing and although PVC tubing was used the huge amount of tubing required brought the cost of tubing alone to over $2000. The labour required to bundle and sink the twelve lines must have been astronomical. After the initial installation, when the compressor was turned on, the ten diffusers had to all be manually brought to the surface and adjusted 3 times before the diffusers were set properly and all bubbling correctly. Even then, with the undersized compressor that was being used, the production of bubbles was minimal. This type of system receives a poor rating as it is inefficient, costly and has the appearance of refuse which most pond owners would not want in their prized pond.
6. Modern Aeration System
The picture on the right shows the replacement aeration system for the pond. Instead of ten small metal diffusers we used diffusers capable of aerating up to four acres. The base is made of durable plastic with a removable plug allowing to fill with gravel to weigh the diffuser down. It has a raised design that keeps the diffuser above the pond bottom. The diffusers cannot flip-over and come with an integrated check valve preventing water back flow. Only 1000 feet of Torpedo tubing was required and because this is a self-sinking tubing, no weights were required making installation easy. The metal- free self-sinking tubing may cost more per foot than standard PVC but the benefits are obvious.
The three diffusers were quickly installed in three deep areas of the pond. With a boat it took less than 3 hours to have everything in place and the aeration system working. This type of system receives a high rating not only because it is efficient and is constructed of modern, safe materials but also because labour costs and installation times are significantly reduced. Because this system requires much less material (unlike the old system which required extreme amounts of tubing, ropes, metal diffusers, bricks, floats, Styrofoam chunks, hundreds of metal clamps and fasteners) it is less disturbing to the pond owner who wishes to maintain the beauty of the entire pond and keep it safe and healthy.
Sometimes a system may look expensive but when you consider factors like reduced installation time, higher aeration efficiency, greater longevity of the products, reduced maintenance needs and comprehensive warranty programs it becomes clear that overall you often get more than what you pay for.
Here is a picture of a CanadianPond cabinet for housing the Tech-Aire piston compressors. This enclosure comes equipped with barrel lock for security, fully gasketed and constructed of steel with electrostatically-bonded powder coating to provide lifetime warranty against rust. The cabinet is furnished with stamped ventilation grills to insure forced air circulation and an integral cooling fan, producing 110 CFM to guard against excessive compressor operating temperatures. Electrical outlet in 120 volt is mounted as well as the compressor, so no assembly is required. This cabinet is also available in post mount for those clients who want the system off the ground.
In the event that you want to build your own compressor cabinet, using treated wood is suggested for longevity and proper ventilation including an electrical fan to protect from compressor overheating. This can reduce costs of a system compared to a cabinet, but again you must balance quality and durability with your purchases. For many people the basic ventilated wooden box is easy to make and enough for their need, they won’t mind replacing it if it gets damaged. For other people a wooden box does not match their existing decor or does not provide the professional look and security that the sturdy cabinets offer. You might have an existing shed or might wish to house the compressor in your garage or boathouse. Use what you have and consider your priorities.