I talk a great deal on this blog about the importance of proper pond aeration. It serves a ton of important functions, from giving your pond’s denizens enough oxygen to circulating the water more efficiently to preventing ice from sealing off your pond in winter. What many pond owners don’t realize, though, is that proper aeration may very well be most important in the hottest part of the year. Here are a few reasons:
- Your pond’s water is able to hold less oxygen.
When water gets warmer, it holds less dissolved oxygen. So, when the summer heat warms up your pond, you’re pretty much going to have to make sure that you’re doing what you can to make sure that the oxygen supply going into the water is steady. You can try to keep your pond cooler through a couple of tricks, such as improving the shade to your pond (which isn’t ideal for most pond designs) or doing partial water changes at the warmest part of the day (not ideal because rapid temperature shifts do not happy and healthy fish make), but in the end these are only stopgaps when August rolls around.
- Everything in your pond needs more oxygen
Warmer temperatures mean plants growing, algae blooming, and fish playing. All of these things mean increased metabolism, and increased metabolism means increased oxygen requirements. Yes, even though your plants actually add oxygen to the water when they’re undergoing photosynthesis, they still need to take oxygen out of the water during the night when no sun=no photosynthesis. Because of this, warm summer nights are when your pond most needs a mechanical way to add oxygen.
- Warmer temperatures mean faster decomposition
When your pond heats up, the decomposition that adds to your unhealthy sludge layer picks up, and because that sludge layer is happiest in an anaerobic (low-oxygen) environment, good aeration, especially in the deepest part of your pond, is often the best way to control it.
So, what do you do? Well, in some ponds you won’t need to worry too much. If you live in a relatively cool area, or if your pond is in a well-shaded place, your pond might not heat up enough to need extra mechanical aeration. If your pond doesn’t have too many plants covering the surface (where most of the oxygen enters the water), or if you have a very small pond with a relatively larger water circulator (waterfall or fountain), or if you don’t have many fish, you might be fine with just making sure that your circulation system runs all night. However, for many, if not most, ponds, I recommend additional mechanical aeration. An extra fountain pump spraying over the surface can help, but for my money nothing beats a dedicated pond aerator. They’re simple devices that are fairly inexpensive (you can get a high-quality aerator from us for as little as 50-60 bucks), and they’re pretty energy-efficient, often rated to cost around a dollar a month to run. For that, you get huge, varied benefits to your overall pond and fish health. It’s the first thing that I recommend to inexperienced pond owners, as it ends up being one of the best cost-benefit ratios you can get out of pond equipment. Your fish will thank you in the hot summer months. Just not out loud. You know, because they’re fish.
We have a great selection of pond aeration equipment. Find the right aerator for you here.