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Pond Treatment and Aeration

We are looking for help/advice for our pond. Attached is a picture of the pond to help you understand my description.

First this is a newly dug pond and we have been filling it from our well for about a month now. We are located in South Carolina so we don’t have a problem with icing. Here is some info about the pond.

Total pond area is 200 feet long and 140 feet wide. Island is round and approximately 50 feet in diameter. At it deepest point (around the island) it will be 8-9 feet deep.

Deep section around the island base is about 30 feet wide. After the 30 feet, there is about a 3.5 foot shelf. From the shelf edge, the pond slopes (30 -38 degree slope) up to the pond edge.

The area you see through the bridge and to the right of the bridge is the largest open area (140’ wide by 100” long). It is a gradual slope (maybe 18 degrees) from the base of the island to the edge of the pond. If you look at the left side of the pond about a 4th of the way in you can see the arc of the water feed line on the outside edge of the pond.

It hits on a graveled area to prevent erosion. I would welcome your advice on sizing the aerator and what treatments we should be looking at now. Thank you, Gail

asked by anonymous

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Thank-you for writing and sending the picture of your pond, it helps make recommendations when we can see the pond in question.

Firstly, because it is a new pond there are a few phases that you will likely go through in the first two years that are fairly normal and can include, cloudy water, algae blooms, odors and other issues (not to mention issues with fish if you are planning on stocking the pond). A new pond can take a while to stabilize but once it has achieved a healthy balance it will require only minimal maintenance. Once the banks have become properly vegetated to prevent erosion it can make a huge difference in water quality. There are also some positive steps you can take throughout the year to ensure a healthy water chemistry.

Typically when we are treating a pond we add natural bacteria to assist and augment the existing healthy bacteria that live in aquatic-systems. These are not chemicals but are concentrated mixtures of existing bacterial colonies that already exist in ponds and in the earth. Adding bacteria regularly can greatly reduce the build-up of sediments which can cause algae blooms and odor causing nutrients.

Adding bacteria isn't always required but in new ponds it can be helpful and in all ponds adding some will help and once we have achieved a balanced pond we typically only need to add small maintenance doses. The recommended bacteria treatment for a pond your size is usually: A spring shock treatment of liquid bacteria (3 gallons) usually in February. Once the water temperature is above 43 degrees F a dry bacteria mixture with a barley straw additive (a natural algaecide) is added to eliminate ammonia, nitrates and muck. This helps keep waters clear and reduces nutrients. At the end of the season, usually in November or December an end of season over-winter treatment of liquid bacteria (again 3 gallons) is added.

Our recommended bacterial products can be found here in our online store.

The addition of an aeration system can greatly increase the efficiency of the bacteria cultures as the oxygen keeps the bacteria living longer. Again, the bacteria is safe for people, pets, animals and fish and plants. Since your pond is relatively shallow I would place a small aeration system to the right of the bridge in the larger area of the pond. A two diffuser system would be adequate. Place the diffuser assemblies equally from each other and from the banks of the pond. Since your pond is only 9 feet deep maximum you can use some quiet air compressor to operate your aeration system. I don't see any power source in the photo you sent but I imagine you have some power nearby.

Being a new pond, I would place the most importance on bacteria seeding of the pond, followed by the installation of an aeration system; then you would need to allow some time to pass so the natural growth and settling of the pond environment can occur.

I often answer questions regarding the cost of installing an aerator and what is the most cost effective way to do it.

I would say that if you have power within 500 feet of the pond it is more cost effective to install an electric aeration system at the power source and run an airline down to the pond. Running electrical wiring is always an option but it can cost from $3 - $6 per foot to run an electrical wire a substantial distance. You can run an airline the same distance for under 75 cents per foot per foot so your budget should be evaluated before choosing a system.

An electrical system is the most efficient and effective aeration system which offers the most control over start and stop times. As far as costing an electric system: if we assume you have power right at the edge of the pond and you could place the system within 50 feet of the pond your complete system In my experience the electrical system is the most effective and the cheapest compared to a windmill or a solar system. If your electrical connection was 500 feet away, you could still use the same electrical aeration system and then run airline to the pond to the two diffusers. This may add, with connectors and hardware, an additional $300 and may require some labor to bury the airline but I've found that it can be less expensive than running electric cable the same distance. Plugging the system in to a timer to operate 8 to 12 hours per day can save electric costs.

The aeration system I would use in your pond, including the rotary vane compressor and the ventilation fan in the lockable steel cabinet, requires only 6.0 AMPS. A standard 15 AMP fuse at your control panel will be more than enough if your electrician asks.

The complete turn-key aeration system (1/3 HP rocking piston dual outlet compressor, lockable ventilated cab with post mounting hardware, 200' weighted tubing, 100' regular tubing, 2 diffuser assemblies, hardware, including delivery) would cost $2185. An equivalent windmill system (all inclusive = 23' windmill, two diffusers, 200 feet weighted airline, 100 feet of airline suitable for burial & valves) would cost : $2025.

See our aeration systems here.

What I like about windmills is that they are quiet and require no electrical power. What I don't like about the windmill is that it requires a major installation; I used to work with a company that did windmill installations and we would charge around $1500 plus materials, the windmill requires cement footings and the construction and erection of the windmill can take over 32 man hours which can be costly in the end. If you have people who are on-site who can do the work it may be an option but with 90% of my clients the idea of a windmill is not a viable option.

If you wanted to use solar power you could expect an expenditure of at most: $2500 - $6000 depending on if you ran it with a battery system or simple solar-direct (no batteries but it only operastes when sunlight hits the solar panels). Solar aeration is not really our specialty so if you wanted to go this route you whould have a local contractor to provide the information on how to set-up a solar power system based on the specs of our DC compressors which I could provide if you were determined to go that route.

In my experience the electrical system is the most effective and the cheapest compared to a windmill or a solar system.

You can buy windmill aeration systems here in our store.

For the bacteria treatment I recommend this treatment and application rate: Winter Application (apply just before expected freeze-up or in January if you are a no-freeze-zone): 2 gallons liquid "BactaPUR XLG-A" Spring Application (apply as soon as ice is gone or in March): 2 gallons liquid "BactaPUR XLG-A" + 2 Gallons of "BactaPUR Pond" (One gallon 2 weeks after XLG treatment and the 2nd gallon 2 weeks later) Summer Application (when water is above 42 degrees F): 2 lbs of dry natural pond bacteria with barley straw per week. Comes in 1/2 pound soluble pouches. Toss 4 pouches per week near aeration diffusers. Cost per season: The cost of the 6 gallons of the liquid natural bacteria for the winter and spring shock treatment, plus a 25 pound supply of dry bacteria with barley straw for warm waters to reduce ammonia, nitrates, muck and algae would cost, including delivery is $825.

When adding bacteria, you can expect to reduce your applications every year. This recommended start-up dosing is for a newer pond, you will likely see reductions in yearly applications as the pond attains a natural health. During the summer, when applying dry bacteria, you may be able to reduce the applications based on observ

answered by TPR

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