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Aeration: The Key To Success

Aeration for ponds and lakes, understanding the importance and limitations of pond aerators
Some of the more common issues with backyard ponds and small ponds are simply the natural conditions affecting water quality and nothing more.

Ponds get older and begin to show signs of that aging in similar ways that can be helped by aeration, circulation and proper shoreline control.


Almost everyone with a pond, regardless of it is an existing natural basin or a homemade pond that has been built with care on your property, begins to notice from time to time that the pond starts to show signs of ill-health.

Foul odors, like the stinky sulfur egg smell, sludge buildup and fish kills can be early warning signs that the natural balance of the pond has been disrupted or requires some maintenance.

Often theses factors that cause such subtle degradation of the ecosystem are natural ones so don't beat yourself up thinking it's Karma coming to get you, although sometimes Karma can enter into it!


If the year is a very hot dry summer and the water level drops significantly changes in the natural balance of the water garden or even koi pond will only become more pronounced as time goes on unless concrete action is taken.

On the other hand a very wet season may flood the pond with very high levels of organic materials and nutrients from the shoreline into the pond which can create decomposing materials that consume high levels of the oxygen that the living system so heavily depends on.

Unsightly pond scum and thick black bottom muck and sludge can build up in the pond bottom and oxygen emitting aquatic plants can be literally suffocated in dark murky waters which can lead to algae blooms which disturb the pond's beauty and health.

Any pond that is constantly filling up with organic deposits and sediments will eventually suffer and most people think the best solution is dredging or re-digging the pond to remove the muck the pond but there are other more cost effective ways to reverse the process and restore the pond or lake.

 

Simply put, adding aeration to a pond, water-garden or even a natural lake is one of the best methods to control algae and maintain clear waters and discourage the build-up of bottom sediments.

It is extremely important never to overlook aeration when building a new pond or when trying to restore one that is undergoing eutrophication especially in small basins athat have a large organic load and that are typically mucky at the bottom. The organic material can be grass clippings, so it is best to leave a perimiter of natural thick vegetation and even aquatic plants to help reduce erosion and prevent runoff laced with fertilizers from getting into the water.

Our experience has shown that in most cases that adding air diffusion into the bottom levels of the pond is often the the best form of aeration.

This manner of aerating is basically the injection of air bubbles into the water to supply oxygen as well to create water movement because as the small air bubbles rise to the surface they create a movement that pulls oxygen deprived waters from the depths up towards the surface where they can interact with the atmosphere and achieve a high level of efficient oxygen transfer.

Solar Aeration Systems | Build Your Own Aeration System | Complete Aeration Systems

Our Favorite Amazon Aeration Products
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Re-digging a pond, while it will immediately increases depth and help with structural flaws in the pond, is often only a temporary solution as these problematic sediments and thick offensive sludge are typically only a symptom of a pond needing aeration and proper shoreline revitalization. Adding an aeration system to your pond or basin will resolve a number of discouraging problems.

Adding aeration can be a fun project and many people like to go through the process of learning how to build their own aeration system. Whether you want to have a do it yourself style aireator or prefer a pre-built, turnkey system is up to you. It depends on how much time you have to spare and what your budget is!

Simply put, adding aeration to a pond, water-garden or even a natural lake is one of the best methods to control algae and maintain clear waters and discourage the buildup of bottom sediments.

It is extremely important never to overlook aeration when building a new pond or when trying to restore one that is undergoing eutrophication especially in small basins that have a large organic load and that are typically mucky at the bottom.

The organic material can be grass clippings, so it is best to leave a perimeter of natural thick vegetation and even aquatic plants to help reduce erosion and prevent runoff laced with fertilizers from getting into the water.

Solar Aeration Systems
Build Your Own Aeration System
Complete Aeration Systems


Looking for a small pond pump? See Our Choices For Pumps on Amazon
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The heart of any lake-bed, or bottom-mounted aeration system is often the air compressor itself. There are a variety of compressors that are quiet, small, energy efficient compressors that will pump a steady and constant flow of oxygen to your bottom-mounted diffuser system.

You want to build your own aeration system?

Because you are a real do-it-yourself kind of person, I'll tell you the three basic requirements you must have to build a cheap airator...ok...you need a few more parts than this but bear with me I'm making a point on how simple it can be for my uncle Howard.

You really only need to buy three things to make my own aerator:
1. An air pump or compressor
2. Some hose
3. An air diffuser or diffusers
See our recommended products for diy aeration systems



My experience has shown that in most cases that adding air diffusion into the bottom levels of the pond is often the the best form of aeration. This manner of aerating is basically the injection of air bubbles into the water to supply oxygen as well to create water movement because as the small air bubbles rise to the surface they create a movement that pulls oxygen deprived waters from the depths up towards the surface where they can interact with the atmosphere and achieve a high level of efficient oxygen transfer.

Sweetwater® Rotary Vane Pumps

These motor-mounted, oilless rotary vane compressors are compact, easy-to-service and excellent for moderate-pressure, continuous-duty applications.

They more than double the air output of piston compressors with better longevity. Sacrificial oilless carbon vanes automatically adjust as they wear to maintain efficiency. Thermal overload protection, air filter, inlet check valve and 8' power cord is included. More info and options.
Sweetwater® Rocking Piston Air Compressors


Our recommended continuous-duty oil-free rocking piston air compressors are the highest performing piston compressors available. They are the perfect choice for aerating small ponds, sending air to mixing diffusers or dock bubblers or deep lake applications. Each pump comes equipped with noise reducing intake air filter, pressure relief valve, 6-foot power cord and thermal overload protection. 20 psi max continuous duty, 1/4 FNPT outlets. Heat resistant outlet hose(s) are included. The 1/4 HP pump has a single outlet. The 1/2 HP pump has two independent outlets. More info & prices
 
The water of the pond is continuously being turned over and circulated towards the the surface by air diffuser plates, airstones, disc diffusers, or coarse bubble homemade diffusers that some people build themselves. There are many ways to get the air into the pond but the general rule is that the smaller the bubble the better the efficiency of the system will be. Aeration can be done with electric air compressors or linear pumps or by windmills or even solar aeration systems! There are many ways to achieve the goal and the location of your pond will determine whether you want to use a windmill for aeration, an electrical system, or a solar pump.

Whatever way you do it, take the time to install the best system you can afford as seeing a pond with clear water and happy fish and frogs is truly a joy and any fish lover knows that maintaining fish, either trout, ass or koi, is a passion and now to be taken lightly!

Aeration, depending on your longitude and latitude in the world can be effective all year round or only during certain seasons but it is undoubtedly the key ingredient in maintaining a healthy aquatic system. The benefits of using an aeration system, especially when combined with applications of natural pond bacteria that feeds on organic materials like leaves and fish waste, will return your pond to vibrant health in no time at all!.

Building an aeration system can be a snap especially if you have a pond store in your town where experts can help choose the best system components for you, although looking on the Internet for pond supplies is another fast way to get the information you need. But be careful, there are many people trying to get pond owners to part with their hard earned money with new fangled technologies like ultrasonic algae killers or complicated bubbler systems, when the fact is it is not rocket science!

The heart of any lake-bed, or bottom-mounted aeration system is often the air compressor itself. There are a variety of compressors that are quiet, small, energy efficient compressors that will pump a steady and constant flow of oxygen to your bottom-mounted diffuser system. The depth of the pond where the diffusers are located will determine the type of compressor you require.

Shallow ponds less than 9 feet deep can often be aerated with a small linear or diaphragm type of pump that are usually fairly silent and real energy misers! If you have a deeper pond, from 8 to 15 feet deep you may need to use a rotary vane compressor, although the carbon vanes are known to require changing every 18 to 34 months.

Piston compressors can delivery up to 35 PSI or more and are excellent for deep water aeration. While piston compressors often do not have the high levels of CFM (cubic feet per minute) of airflow as a rotary vane or linear pump, they make up for it in reliable strong airflow.


Windmills can also be used and in North America there are a few choices of windmill aeration systems both in Canada and here in the United States and I have even seen some real go-getters build a windmill aerator out of old cars and tractor parts, but I wouldn't recommend it.

The standard windmill like a Superior Windmill or Koenders Windmill or Beckermills Windmill or American Eagle Windmill or Outdoor Water Solutions Windmill works by having a diaphragm compressor, bellows system in the American Eagle Windmill, in the head of the windmill

As wind turns the fans of the windmill compressed air is forced down the airline into the airstone in the pond. No electricity is required and the simple technology has worked extremely well for decades as farmers across the plains have attested to. Aerating dugouts with a windmill is a popular practice in areas where there is often no electrical source, plus there is only the initial cost and construction of the system to contend with and no ongoing maintenance fees.

Solar systems can be built as well but the DC compressors used in solar aerators deliver fairly low levels of pressure and CFM. Solar direct systems are less expensive and can be built by many people who want a homemade aeration system. Battery back-up systems are more expensive but allow you to use large compressor like a small rotary vane compressor which will increase your airflow and allow you to aerate a larger area.


Whichever compressor you choose you will then need to run an airline to your diffuser system (airstone, membrane disc, diffuser tubing) and there are ways to save money here. Using weighted tubing or self-sinking airhose is the fastest way because it will sink quickly on it's own but it can run over $1.50 per foot or more!

A cheaper way is to use standard airline, often 1/2" or even 3/8" which does float but by zip tying some rebar or threading the tubing through bricks you can run any length from the compressor to the diffuser for under $100.


In order to determine the size of the compressor and the number of diffusers you will need there are at least two critical factors to consider and this is why it is often good to consult a pond expert before starting.

First you must know the true depth of your pond as this will determine the PSI required from your compressor and when you look at the shape of the pond this determines the number of diffusers you need which will determine the best CFM you need from your compressor since most diffusers require at least .5 CFM for operation.

This data helps you decide if you can get away with using a linear air pump or need to go with one of the bad boys like a 1/2 HP piston compressor or 1 3/4HP rotary vane. Making the wrong choice at this stage can mean burning out a compressor and losing a lot of time and money in the process!



HQUA Complete Aeration Systems
Best Price is on Amazon
As an Amazon affiliate we may recieve payment for purchases made through Amazon.


Water-Resistant Ground Cabinet—Equipped with the protective cabinet with waterproofing grade IPX1 , you do not need to worry about the drizzly day while using the pond aerators for your outdoor ponds or lakes. Recommend to keep the aerator in a ventilated house in rainny days for safety concerns.

3/4 HP Air Compressor—Highly efficient and quiet 3/4 HP oil-free Rocking Piston Air Pump, offers 100ft hose pipe in two rolls, enables the air compressor operates up to 50 ft depth in outdoor ponds or lakes up to 3-acres. The motor of the pond air pump draws 5 AMP and pumps 4.7 CFM of air, with 60DB low noise level and working tempreture from 0-100?.

Function and Applications—With the compressed air blows into the bottom of the pond, dissolved oxygen rate increases in the outdoor ponds or lakes. WRSTER-TECH Pond aerator helps to keeps water clear and promotes water flow or circulation. Easy Installation—Connecting the air hose to the air outlet and air diffuser and then plugging in the power cord to the socket, pressing the red button on the side of the ground cabinet to work the aerator and freely choose the working mode to meet your demands.

If you are using a windmill or a high pressure dual-piston compressor then the compressor can actually be replaced quite far from the pond, sometimes up to 900 feet or 1 km away although as you can imagine this requires laying out some 3/4" airline which can be a messy job if you need to bury your tubing. Better to try and get the system as close to the pond as possible although I want you to understand that you can go a long distance with the right tools and products.

A round pond like a big bowl with a single deepest area and an equally proportional interior grade may require only one diffuser placed at the deepest point.

This will provide a nice even circulation but the diffuser doesn't necessarily have to be in the center so look at the entire pond as a whole because raising fish can add additional points of concern when using aeration such as overheating the pond with aeration.

There are thermostat controls to automatically tun on aerators when temperatures drop below a certain level, this helps prevent fish kills as trout are very susceptible to warm temperatures.

An irregular shaped, often kidney shaped or bean shaped, pond with more variations in depth and shoreline slope may involve the installation of one or more diffusers but again, this is not always the case.

Balance the need for aeration by looking at the existing condition of the pond, do you have algae, are fish dying? Sometimes even in a large pond we only add a single aeration station...it all depends and there are no hard a fast rules to go by...although pond stores will try and often sell their biggest aeration package they can!



Air Compressors & Air Pumps

Recommended Books on Lake and Pond Management
These links go to the Amazon Bookstore and as affiliates we may earn a commission if you purchase one of these guide books.



Lake and Pond
Management Guidebook


The Lake and Pond Management Guidebook is the successor to the best-selling Lake Smarts: The First Lake Maintenance Handbook, the "bible" for small-scale lake and pond improvements, published by the Terrene Institute in 1993.

Completely revised and updated, now published by Lewis Publishers, this guidebook contains over 300 ideas and projects including step-by-step practical, low-cost solutions to a wide range of problems that lake management professionals face everyday.

Coverage includes shoreline buffer installation, fisheries management, reducing nuisance algal growth, controlling exotic aquatic plants, lakeside wastewater treatment systems, small scale dredging, and more.


Earth Ponds
The Country Pond Maker's Guide to Building, Maintenance and Restoration


What else can simultaneously increase your aesthetic pleasure, offer recreational opportunities, help the environment, and increase the value of your land?

This is the recognized standard on ponds, now expanded to include a comprehensive guide to living happily with your completed pond and keeping it perpetually healthy.

Here is everything you need to know about planning, digging, sculpting, and maintaining your pond.




Diet for a Small Lake
The Expanded Guide to Lake and Watershed Management

The expanded guide to New York State lake and watershed management, 2nd edition. Lake associations and citizens play a vital role in protecting and restoring our lakes and waterways.

This book is an introduction to understanding and managing lakes. Lakes and their watersheds are natural treasures for us to use and protect.

Together these rich resources supply abundant water to support thriving communities, provide recreational opportunities, and spur economic growth in an area.

 

Managing Lakes and Reservoirs

Understandable and useful, Managing Lakes and Reservoirs addresses the enormous amount of information on lake management that has developed in the decade since the publication of the manual’s first two editions (Lake and Reservoir Restoration Guidance Manual, 1988 and 1990).

The first two manuals dealt primarily with restoration of lakes, but this third edition moves beyond restoration issues to focus on ongoing management of lakes and processes that communities of citizens, policymakers, scientists, and enforcement agencies can use to achieve desired outcomes for their local lakes.

Distributed for the North American Lake Management Society

 


Our Favorite Books on Amazon On Ponds



As an Amazon affiliate we may recieve payment for purchases made through Amazon.

 

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Great Lakes® Aeration Systems
Complete aeration systems, available in two sizes for aerating large ponds, come fully-equipped with either a continuous-duty 1/4 HP or 1/2 HP rocking-piston compressor housed in a lockable, ventilated steel cabinet. The system includes one or two super-efficient micro-bubble diffusers on weighte..
Starting at: $1,695.00
Pond-Lyfe™ Pond Aeration Systems by Vertex®
PondLyfe™ aerators from Vertex address the growing need for a professional quality aeration system at an affordable price for water gardens and smaller ponds up to 1.5 acres in size. PondLyfe aerators benefit small pond owners who want the best available technology to restore their ponds to a cle..
Starting at: $2,050.00
Solar Aeration Systems with Batteries for Large Pond & Lakes
After years of customer requests The Pond Report has brought Solar Aeriation into its product lineup! Solar powered aeration systems are the ideal choice for remote ponds and lakes where power is not available, too expensive, or simply if you are in a windless area and have lots of sun; it is als..
Starting at: $8,000.00
TurboAir Solar Powered Aerators - 24 Volt Solar Direct Aeration Systems - No Batteries
These high-quality solar-direct systems are designed for ponds up to two acres in size. The DC air compressor can handle depths up to 35' and will provide quality aeration during daylight hours when the sun is shining. These systems have no batteries making them a good choice where aeration is es..
Starting at: $5,750.00
BriteStar® Solar Direct 24 Volt Aeration Systems - No Batteries
Solar direct aeration systems are less complicated than battery systems and therefore less expensive. The solar direct systems will only operate when there is light or sun hitting the panels so operation during winter is reduced but for a general purpose solar aeration system this complete packag..
Starting at: $5,350.00
Complete Aeration System - Includes Air Pump, 2 Diffusers, Weighted Hose and Accessories
Aerates ponds from 1/4 acre up to 1 acre in size with a maximum diffuser placement of 10' deep!  This unit also comes with a lot of accessories for the price.  The compressor should be kept in some sort of housing to keep it out of the rain and snow, build a simple doghouse style struct..
Price: $1,355.00
NightAir™ Solar Aerator with Battery Backup
NightAir™ Battery Back Up Solar Aerators :  This system has a larger, higher output compressor with over 600 watts of solar power and 400 Ah total on the batteries.  More air, more solar power and more battery. Free Shipping Within The USA   Revolutionary New Battery..
Starting at: $11,395.00
Sentinel® Rocking Piston Pond Aeration Systems
Free USA Shipping Sentinel® aeration systems are for large lakes and ponds where multiple aeration stations are required to provide adequate circulation and mixing in large bodies of water. Sentinel® systems are availablle with rocking-piston air compressors.  The piston air-compressor ..
Starting at: $1,375.00
Aeration Kits For Ponds up to 1/4 Acre
Free Shipping in the USA Complete aeration systems, available in two sizes, for aerating small ponds. Complete kits come with air compressor, 50' of weighted hose and a membrane air diffuser aseembly with check-valve. Weatherproof housing for compressors are available as an option. - Th..
Starting at: $595.00
AerMaster™ Professional Aeration Systems
Free Shipping in the USA Each of these rocking piston compressors comes in a nice, attractive powder coated aluminum cabinet. They also have a lock to keep people out and include two recirculating fans. These systems all carry a 3-year warranty and are designed to operate with little mainten..
Starting at: $2,500.00
Sentinel® Rotary Vane Pond Aeration Systems
Free USA Shipping Sentinel® rotary vane aeration systems are for large lakes and ponds where multiple aeration stations are required to provide adequate circulation and mixing in large bodies of water. Sentinel® systens are available with a single 1 HP rotary vane compressor or two 1 HP rota..
Starting at: $3,800.00
Complete Small Pond Aeration System
Complete aeration systems, available in two sizes for aerating small ponds from 3,000 gallons up to 16,000 gallons, These aeration systems come fully-equipped with a linear diaphragm compressor, weighted airline and super-efficient micro-bubble diffusers. Available in two sizes. Please note ..
Starting at: $550.00
White Water® Blowers
Free Shipping in the USA Whitewater® blowers are a very good value for aquariums, hydroponic and compost applications, pet stores, bait systems and seafood holding systems. They are smaller, lighter and quieter than most blowers and very energy-efficient. They feature a "cupped" impelle..
Starting at: $475.00
Deluxe Windmill Aeration Systems
These Windmill Aeration Systems includes  the tower, anchor pins, air compressor in fan head, Air Stone Diffuser and Foot Valve and 100 Ft of 1/2" reg. air line to run between the windmill head and the diffuser in the pond. Price includes shipping within the continental US. Delu..
Starting at: $3,495.00
Great Lakes™ Floating Fountain Kit with Multiple Spray Patterns
The Great Lakes fountain gives you the ultimate range of display choices for an aesthetically pleasing addition to your pond or lake. In addition, you’ll enjoy improved water clarity, oxygen levels, and an overall healthier aquatic environment. The Great Lakes fountain gives you the ultimate rang..
Starting at: $2,750.00
Olympus© Floating Fountains
Free Shipping in the USA In our continuing efforts to take our products to new levels, we have expanded our offering of floating fountains to the improved Olympus© Series of decorative aerating fountains from Hydrasearch (formerly Bearon Aquatics) The Olympus family of fountains range in siz..
Starting at: $4,100.00
Surface Aerators by Bearon®
Low oxygen levels result in costly and devastating fish kills. These High Oxygen Transfer Surface Aerator offers the most reliable, energy efficient and cost-saving aeration solution to prevent these catastrophic losses. Our aerators are specially designed for portability and ease of installation..
Starting at: $1,400.00
AerMaster™ Small Pond Aeration Systems with Linear Air Pump
Free Shipping in the USA An ideal solution for small ponds, this is also an excellent unit for small lagoons, septic tanks, and other areas where you need aeration.  Aerates ponds up to 8’ in depth and 1⁄2 acre in size. Unit produces 1.5 CFM at 8’ of depth. Great for when you need an en..
Price: $625.00
SweetWater® Regenerative Blowers
Regerative blowers are well-known as an energy-efficient and quiet way to provide oil-free air at high volumes. The Sweetwater® regenerative blowers can reach higher pressures and surpass the  efficiency  and functionality of most commercial air blowers even in the most corrosive of atm..
Starting at: $1,175.00


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