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 problem.
In winter, your best bet is to get rid of that ice. Bottom aeration will aerate the pond and also create water circulation. Moving water does not easily freeze, allowing an open water area above the bottom diffuser. This area of open water can help aid in the photosynthesis process. All of this leads to happy and healthy (albeit still a little cold) fish.
Speaking on average, every ¼ acre of water should contain one bottom diffuser (speaking mathematically, if the deepest portion of the 1 acre pond is less than half of the total surface area you may not need four diffusers.) Once you determine how many units you need, your options are then to use an electric system, or opt for a windmill based system.
The initial cost of a windmill is usually more than an electric unit, but they will pay for themselves in 2-3 years, due to the cost of running an electric unit. Electric aeration generally costs about $1 a day (to run a single unit on average). You could save up to $30 to $50 per month by using wind power with a Becker Windmill.
Aeration is key in keeping your pond healthy. Regardless of the size of your pond, there is an affordable aeration option to prevent problems like fish kills, and so that you can enjoy a healthy and beautiful pond.