Thanks for writing and especially for your kind words about the information on our website. We've been working in and around ponds for years directly and indirectly and are trying to present information that, as you pointed out, is often lacking in detail or completeness on other websites.
We're trying to make our site something that we could send any one of our friends or family to: a place to hopefully find real answers. We're told often about our mistakes but we do try so if you appreciate our information let us know and if you don't or can add something please do!
First off the sub-surface aeration is most likely to be more efficient compared to a fountain aerator. Of course it depends on the type as some fountains and surface aerators can move several hundred gallons per minute resulting in good aeration. This can't compare to bottom mounted aeration though which can move thousands of gallons per minute. If you are pushing air below the surface through a diffuser or diffuser system then you are likely doing a very good aeration job.
Surface spray aerators and fountains add an aesthetic aspect and do improve a pond so they shouldn't be disregarded, bottom aeration is better at overall water-column mixing and often has a higher overall oxygen transfer but fountains and surface aerators do have their place in pond and lake care.
Nurtients from a small farm with horses can cause a lot of nutrient load in a pond. Heavy rains can bring contaminated waters into the pond and it only takes one tenth of an ounce of fertilizer (like manure) to make ten pounds of string algae in a pond!
This, along with leaves from trees and bird poop can cause organic build-up in the pond which becaomes a perfect growing medium for unwanted algae and rooted aquatic plants. The best solution is to add beneficial bacteria and aeration...and reducing available sunlight is also extremely helpful.
That being said, you are doing all of these things and for some reason not getting the results you desire. Unfortunately you may need to switch your selection of pond additives as I've actually worked with the AquaSpheres in the past and found them to be ineffective.
The AquaSphere was a bacterial product I used to sell years ago when I worked in a pond supply store. The idea was good, a disposible sphere filled with tea-bags of bacteria that released slowly over one month. Like you, however, many of our clients complained they didn't work. A pond your size is supposed to require one sphere per month but we actually tested four spheres in our test pond that was about 3/4 of an acre and the results were not great, fair at most.
We stopped selling the AquaSphere after that season and while the price sounds good in theory, as you've found, it may not be. The AquaSphere contained a ridiculously small amount of bacteria I thought as I looked inside of one!
We have found it is much more effective to dose with pouches of bacteria every two weeks instead of the once-a-month treatments. You need to add 6 to 10 pounds per month divided into two week dosings to really keep devouring the bottom sediments. I'd recommend using the product we use in our ponds which is the "Concentrated Dry Blend For Ponds & Lakes "
we sell and use. This comes in 25 pound pails (containing 50 soluble pouches) and the bacterial blend attacks bottom sediments and muck that plants and algae grow in.
It is a gradual treatment but one that works. Using 4 pounds every two weeks would mean a required supply of 25 to 50 pounds per season. Add this dry bacteria as soon as the water in the pond is above 42 degrees Fahrenheit (usually I start at the end of April) and stop when it gets colder (I do a final treatment in October). The 25 pound supply can be bought directly on our website on this page: http://www.thepondreport.com/store/pond-bacteria/pond-vive-usa
This natural bacteria mixtures can be used in conjunction with pond dyes and we often treat with both. I've only had experience with the BluZyme and AquaShade and the product we now recommend which is Concentrated WSP in Blue or Black or the Liquid Concentrates .
AquaShade and BluZyme both worked well for us but the colors were not too everyones liking. The dye to choose has to be a concentrated liquid. The strong blends require 32 ounces being helpful for an acre of pond 4 - 6 feet deep, this goes above and beyond the BluZyme which is good for an acre one foot deep.
Another extremely effective dye we use is Extreme Blue/Black Veil
. In lakes with little outlfow we've seen a single pond dye treatment last three months but your conditions may be different, you should expect one month per treatment to make sure you are not disapointed.
There are also some pond muck pellets
that are small pellets that you broadcast into areas of the pond where you want to remove muck. The pellets sink and the safe, natural concentrated, blend of bacteria eat sludge and can really make an impact. Check out the details here: http://www.thepondreport.com/store/muck-removal-products
This combination, aeration, good-quality bacteria, and a rich pond dye will make a long-term plan actually work in the end. Dosages of bacteria tend to dimminish annually. The pond muck pellets also are amazing and will dredge out naturally organic muck.
We often call the process "bio-dredging" as it will achieve many of the results of mechanical dredging at a fraction of the cost and without the shoreline destruction a mechanical shovel can entail. Looking at a long term plan of aggressive seeding with natural bacteria like our selections
will be a better return on investment in the end.
All the products we sell can be used without danger to the health of Geese, fish, birds, frogs or plants or any pets or people.
I hope this information has helped and if you have any other questions please let me know.
The Pond Report