Almost everyone knows that fish need oxygen in order to survive, but knowing how much they need and how to provide it for them can often get confusing. Here’s some tips on how to make sure your pond aeration is at its ideal levels.
The importance of water circulation comes not only from exposing more water to the air in order to saturate it with oxygen, but it also helps to release harmful chemical compounds like carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide (which is produced by the breaking down of organic matter at the bottom of the pond). Therefore, you want the water being circulated from the bottom-most area of your pond.
While plants do help in the aeration process, it is important to note that it is possible to over-do it. If water lily pads cover the entire surface of the pond, there will be no space for oxygen exchange to occur for the water. While some plants like Anacharis produce oxygen during daylight hours, they consume it overnight, so you want to maintain a proper balance so they do not negatively impact your fish’s habitat balance.
The easiest way to see if you have an oxygen deficiency in your pond is to pay attention to your fish’s behavior. If there is not enough oxygen, your fish will spend a lot of time at the surface trying to gulp air, and you may notice foul smells from organic decay as well.
Methods of Aeration:
The following are the most frequently used ways of oxygenating water in pond settings:
Waterfalls: By pumping water from the bottom of the pond (ideally) to the surface and having it fall over a wall of rocks and back into the pond, you are greatly increasing the surface area exposed to the air and therefore increasing its oxygen content many-fold.
Fountains: Using a powerful pump to spray water into the air not only is a great way to oxygenate water, but it can also become a beautiful focal point of your pond and provide a pleasant soundtrack to accompany your aquatic setting.
Air Pumps: While typically not necessary for ponds, heavy-duty air pumps do make for a great back-up plan to have in case of water pump failure. Also, during summer months when oxygen levels are at their lowest, a good air pump can alleviate a lot of stress on the fish.
Plants: Depending on the type of fish you are keeping, you may want to consider adding plants to the pond to supplement oxygen production. While Koi can sometimes eat at plant life, if you have enough of it, it will usually sustain itself fine. Also, by keeping plants like Anacharis, you will be limiting the potential for algae growth because these plants absorb the nutrients that algae would be going for. Water lilies can help maintain oxygen levels by keeping pond water cool with its leaves providing shade.