Ohio DNR: Winter Fish Kills May Occur as Ice Melts on Ohio’s Ponds and Lakes

Ohio DNR: Winter Fish Kills May Occur as Ice Melts on Ohio’s Ponds and Lakes

Here’s an insightful post from Ohio DNR: (see full post here) COLUMBUS, OH – The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) is reminding Ohioans that small numbers of dead fish may be common in ponds and small lakes this spring. Winter die-offs of fish after long periods of heavy ice and snow cover on small waters are known as “winterkills.” Winterkills may occur in some Ohio waters this year as ice and snow of the past few months gives way to spring. According to the ODNR Division of Wildlife fisheries biologists, minor fish kills do not significantly impact fish populations or sport fishing opportunities in lakes and reservoirs. Fish kills are fairly common in Ohio, particularly right after ice-out, from late April through mid-June, and during prolonged periods of hot summer weather. Winterkills are caused when persistent ice forms a surface barrier between water and air that prevents circulation of oxygen and blocks sunlight. If these conditions continue long enough, the oxygen fish need to survive may be depleted and result in some or all of them suffocating. Lacking sunlight, plants stop making oxygen and eventually start to use oxygen as they die back and decompose. Winterkill is most common in shallow ponds and will become obvious if dead fish are seen along the shore. Ohio’s northern counties are most susceptible to winterkill because of colder temperatures and more frequent snowfall. However, winterkill is possible in any part of the state during winters of persistent cold weather and snow cover. Fish die-offs are possible in Ohio’s larger lakes as well, but for different reasons. Fish which are less tolerant...
Why use aeration for your pond?

Why use aeration for your pond?

Aeration adds oxygen through a diffuser at the bottom of a pond. This creates a column of fine bubbles that quickly rise to the surface. This action pulls the cold, stagnant water from the bottom up to the top of the pond where it is aerated by oxygen-producing phytoplankton. The water is the circulated back to the bottom of the pond. Getting oxygen into the bottom of the pond allows aerobic bacteria and all other life to exist at greater depths. The pond’s ecosystem becomes balanced from bottom to top, allowing for much faster decomposition of sludge and greater weed control. Fish will also grow faster because more food is available. Bottom aeration will also keep an open area during ice-over. This is great for waterfowl as they can use the pond year-round. Open ice also allows for light to penetrate the pond and keep phyto plankton alive to produce more oxygen. Conversely, snow cover on ice can shut out light and cause phyto plankton to die. Aeration is the single best way to keep your pond in great...
Aeration – a critical aspect of a healthy pond

Aeration – a critical aspect of a healthy pond

Aeration is a valuable asset in creating a healthy pond! Whether you have a backyard pond, retention pond or farm pond, they all need aeration. Without bottom aeration, ponds become stagnant and the water temperature becomes layered. It’s like a pool of a warm summer day. think back to when you were a kid and the water looked so inviting. You dipped your feet in and it felt great! You couldn’t wait to get in, so you got up, stepped back, took a running start, and jumped in. 5 seconds later you come up from the bottom of the pool, yelling about how cold it was at towards the bottom! It’s because without anything else to stir up the pool, the water gradually went into layers, with the coldest on the bottom and warmest on the top. It’s the same in a pond, except it’s called “stratification”. The lowest, coldest layer of a pond (called a hypolimnion) has very little dissolved oxygen. This leads to organisms either moving upward or dying off. When they die off they add to the accumulating organic muck and increase the amount of bad bacteria. A bottom diffusing aeration unit cures all of this. It might sound stupid, but an aerator aerates the pond, adding millions of air bubbles to it. These air bubbles create a vertical, circulating current. They bring the cold water to the top and warm water to the bottom, “turning over” the pond and making everything a (mostly) uniform temperature. There are lots of benefits of aerating your pond, including creating uniform oxygen levels, better water clarity, better natural (beneficial) pond bacteria,...
How to control mosquitos & midge flies in your pond

How to control mosquitos & midge flies in your pond

Stagnant water offers a better breeding ground for common pond pests like mosquitos and midge flies. Not only are they super annoying when trying to enjoy your pond recreationally but mosquitos can spread diseases like encephalitis, West Nile virus, malaria and yellow fever. Did you know that mosquitos can also carry heartworms that can be fatal to your dog? Midge flies can create allergic and respiratory reactions as well as cause hemorrhagic disease within deer. These insects’ larvae levels escalate in the summer at the bottom of ponds, lakes and canals. Mosquito and midge fly larvae do better near the bottom sediment of a pond where there are nutrients/rich organic matter and a low oxygen level. Here there are very few predators or anything to inhibit their growth. During their emergence cycle, it is possible for tens of thousands of adult midge flies to come out of a pond every single night for a few weeks. That is a very annoying and possibly dangerous prospect. Here’s how to help prevent these pests from breeding in your pond. You could add a bottom diffusing aeration system, powered by a windmill or electricity, that creates millions of oxygen bubbles. This will create a flowing system that eliminates the cold, favorable conditions for insect larvae at the bottom of the pond. Uniform oxygen and thermal levels will make it hard for the pest population to survive. Your pond will be cleaner and healthier and you’ll be able to enjoy it...
Pond aeration and the prevention of fish kills

Pond aeration and the prevention of fish kills

Pond owners would be wise to remember one key word in order to maintain a clear, muck-free pond: prevention. Whether maintaining a large farm pond or a small garden pond, owners must stay a step ahead of several potentially disastrous problems. To name a few: • Prevention of low oxygen • Prevention of ice • Prevention of fish kills I’m sure we grabbed your attention there with “fish kills,” and well, that’s for good reason. It’s an expensive fix, and it’s not at all pretty. So, let’s talk about what causes it, and what you can do to avoid it. How Fish Kills Happen Fish kills occur in the summer months when oxygen levels can become depleted. As the sun beats down on the water, a layer of separation in ponds is created between the oxygen-rich surface water and the colder, oxygen-needy water on the bottom. This is called the thermocline. If a summer thunderstorm hits, all of the water is mixed together, and there is no longer enough oxygen for the fish. They are suffocated. Oxygen depletion happens in the winter months too, as fish must rely on what O2 is left after the water freezes over. Fish Kill Solutions Thankfully, there’s a preventative (there’s that word again) measure pond owners can take to help stop fish kills: aeration. In the summer months, you’ll need to get rid of the thermocline. To do this, employ bottom aeration. This process not only helps oxygenate the pond but continually mixes the entire body of water, making it more uniform in temperature. A major storm event will no longer be a...
Pond stratification, or how a sick pond can become healthy

Pond stratification, or how a sick pond can become healthy

Without proper aeration, pond water can become stratified, creating a “sick”, unhealthy pond. Think of a pond in layers. Warm water is less dense, therefore it will sit on top of colder, denser, deeper water. This stratification of water into layers is more common and pronounced in the summer when surface temperatures are greater. The warm, top layer is called the epilimnion. Then there’s the middle layer called the metalimnion. This is also referred to as a “thermocline“. The thermocline is the transition layer between the warmer surface layer and the colder deep water layer. The cold, bottom layer is the hypolimnion. As summer wears on, oxygen in the lower hypolimnion layer is depleted by organisms there. As oxygen is depleted, fish and other aerobic organisms move to the other layers, go dormant or die off. Introducing aeration to a pond changes everything. A bottom aeration system creates a vertical current. Bottom aeration uses the rising force of millions of small bubbles to turn the pond water over. This allows all levels of the pond to carry dissolved oxygen.   The water on the bottom level moves up throughout the pond. This eliminates the thermal stratification or separation of water layers. Oxygen levels increase throughout the pond which expands the living space and promotes the natural breakdown of organic material at the bottom of the pond. We can consult with you on proper aeration and other solutions for your pond. Contact us today with any questions you have! Call us (888-905-3595) or email...