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Learn the benefits of pond aeration

December 4, 2020 -  By
Pond aeration (Photo: Linne Industries)

It’s essential Aeration increases circulation and oxygen levels in ponds to help keep them clean and clear. (Photo: Linne Industries)

The benefits of pond aeration include increasing oxygen levels in the water and adding more circulation, which keeps the water cooler in the summer and prevents ice from forming in the winter, according to Jim Chubb, regional sales manager for Atlantic Water Gardens.

“Every pond should have aeration,” Chubb says. “A lot of people don’t think of air as part of pond construction or pond maintenance. It adds a level to the pond that you’re going to get clearer, cleaner water.”

Landscape Management spoke with Chubb; Roy Watkins, regional sales manager for Airolator; and Sandra Burton, president and CEO of Linne Industries, manufacturer of PondHawk, about the ins and outs of pond aeration.

Choosing an aerator

When deciding on an aerator, contractors can choose from surface aerators like fountains, which throw water into the atmosphere, and subsurface aerators, which push air into the water, Watkins says.

“Surface aerators are going to ideally fit the smaller ponds that are less than 2 acres and 8 feet deep or less,” he says.

Surface aerators have electrical power going out to the unit. On the other hand, with subsurface aeration, the electricity, pump and air compressor are on the bank, so there’s an air hose running into the pond instead of an electrical power cable.

Chubb adds that it’s important to know the number of gallons in a pond, which can be computed by calculating the length times the width times the average depth times 7.48.

“Aeration units are rated for how much water they can move by the size of the bubbles and how big the diffuser is,” he says. “The tinier the bubble in aeration, the more movement of water you get because you’re creating more surface area with the tiny bubbles.”

Burton says contractors can also consider the purpose of the pond, the age of the pond and the surrounding landscape when deciding on an aerator.

“What sort of historic problems and treatment strategies have been used? That’ll tell us how much muck is at the bottom,” she says.

The green stuff

Aeration isn’t something you run for a couple hours a day; rather, you run it 24/7/365, Chubb says.

He notes that aerators can cost $70 to $500, depending on how many gallons of water you’re treating.

They use between 4.5 watts to 35 watts of energy.

“It’s no more than running a lightbulb if you left it on in your house,” Chubb says. “A low-wattage lightbulb at that. It’s pennies to run aeration, and the benefits you get from running it outweigh the very small cost of using aeration in your ponds.”

If a pond doesn’t have access to electricity, Burton says solar aeration is another option.

“A lot of these ponds don’t have a meter or access to (an electrical) meter,” she says. “Sometimes, if there is electricity, an HOA, for example, will introduce a timer to curtail the use so they’re saving money in the off season. Using solar aeration, you don’t have either of those problems. It comes with its own power supply. That allows for the aeration system year-round.”

Overall, the benefits of pond aeration outweigh the costs.

“If your pond is being treated for algae or any of that gross stuff, those treatments absorb the oxygen, and if you don’t supplement that with aeration, you’re going to have a lot of dead fish or your pond’s going to fill up with sludge, and that creates gases or byproduct that promotes the growth of algae,” Watkins says. “Then, you’re going to have a green, stinky pond.”

Sarah Webb

About the Author:

Sarah Webb is Landscape Management's associate editor. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Wittenberg University, where she studied journalism and Spanish. Prior to her role at LM, Sarah was an intern for Cleveland Magazine and a writing tutor.

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