It is virtually impossible to duplicate the natural composition of plant and animal life in pond water for a man-made pond. As a result, oxygen levels can become disrupted. In simplest terms, a pond aerator is a bubble maker. When oxygen levels in pond water are too low, algae and harmful bacteria form. An aeration system increases oxygen levels in pond water, contributing to normal respiration of aquatic animals, plant life and beneficial organisms.
A pond aerator oxygenates water by infusing air into the pond, forming bubbles and simultaneously stirring up the water to allow for more absorption of oxygen on the water surface. Instead of a smooth, undisturbed meeting of air and water, the ripples and bubbles create a more exposed area of water to accept more oxygen and circulate the water in the pond.
A paddle wheel aerator is a wheel with slats attached at intervals. As a motor rotates the wheel, the paddles roll through the water at a depth of 3 to 5 inches, creating waves. Pump-spray aerators resemble a water fountain, pumping water through pipes and dispersing it at or above the pond surface. Vertical pump aerators operate on the same principle except the motor is submersed and the water pipe runs straight up with the spray nozzle close to the top of the water. Diffusers, also called bubblers, pump air through pipes or tubes on the bottom of the pond. The pipes or tubes have numerous holes to disperse the air at the bottom of the pond in the form of bubbles.
The need for a water aerator is dependent on natural factors. The amount of sunlight and the climate contribute to the development of algae and bacteria. Pond water maintaining a temperature below 60 degrees F rarely requires aeration. On the other hand, water warmer than 80 degrees F is problematic. Photosynthesis promoting the growth of algae occurs at a faster rate with more light and water at higher temperatures.
Paddle wheel aerators are typically for very large ponds. Pump-spray aerators, vertical pump aerators and diffusers are manufactured in sizes to accommodate the capacity of the pond or multiple water aerators can be placed in more than one section of the pond. Of the different options, pump-sprayers require the least maintenance. In a smaller pond, vertical pump aerators are the most efficient. The holes in the pipes or tubing in diffusers have a tendency to clog.
Use of an aeration system in a man-made pond reduces the need for costly pond chemicals to control algae and bacteria growth. Any aquatic plants and animals in properly oxygenated water will be healthier. Beneficial bacteria increases, harmful organisms decrease, stagnant water is eliminated and pond odor is diminished with the utilization of a pond aerator.