Aeration: Your Fish Aren’t Jumping for Joy!

lake and pond aeration and fountain

Aeration: Your Fish Aren’t Jumping for Joy!

How often have you walked by the lake in your community and marveled at the fish jumping out of the water. Looks beautiful, right?

While it may appear to be a peaceful sight, it’s actually quite the opposite.

We’re sad to say that those fish are suffocating.

We have many clients who grow concerned because after our visits, they stop seeing the fish jump out of their ponds or lakes. They usually have no idea that the reason fish jump out of water is because they’re jumping for their lives.

If a body of water isn’t properly maintained, the water will not have enough oxygen to support wildlife. 

With a comprehensive aeration plan we can re-introduce an abundant supply of oxygen. Providing aeration education to our clients is important to Mettauer Environmental.

Florida has thousands of lakes and ponds that provide opportunities for recreation and habitats for a wide diversity of plants and animals. Over the years, these lakes and ponds have declined in health from not being properly maintained. Effective aeration involves circulating oxygen throughout a body of water to prevent damaging conditions. Continual lake and pond aeration will cease the buildup of muck, smelly odors, and mosquitoes, while also helping to enhance water quality and the fish habitat. Although aeration will occur naturally, it will often still need to be supported by manmade aeration systems to perform at optimum levels. By helping out the natural occurrence of aeration you are taking a preventative step to make sure your lakes and ponds don’t become stagnant, covered with algae or unhealthy.  

What Is Aeration? 

Imagine a lake or pond that is fed by a natural, underwater spring that is continuously moving the water and generating bubbles that add oxygen. An aeration system does the same. Aeration is a process of increasing oxygen levels in a pond or lake to not just enhance the look of the pond but also improve the natural ecosystem taking place underneath the water’s surface. Without proper aeration, a pond or lakes water could become stratified. Stratification means there will be a distinct temperature change as the water goes deeper. Aeration establishes destratification of the water column.

Oxygen is absorbed at the surface but fails to reach the bottom because of stratification and lack of circulation. Oxygen in the lower layer can become depleted. When the oxygen becomes depleted, fish and other organisms will move to the other layers, go inactive, or die off. An aeration system prevents water stratification and low dissolved oxygen situations from happening. When the oxygen levels increase throughout the pond, that expands the living space for the fish and other organisms in the pond or lake. Aeration systems are normally deemed beneficial for warm water fish as they struggle to survive in an oxygen-deprived habitat. 

Living in Southwest Florida, we love the sunny days and warm temperatures, but the warm weather can also lead to problems with aeration. Water temperatures begin to rise as the climate gets warmer in spring or earlier. As the water temperature increases, the less oxygen it can hold. This leads to lower levels of dissolved oxygen and an increased population of bacteria and parasites. Making sure you have proper aeration year-round will stop the ponds and lakes from becoming inhabitable. 

Aeration processes use surface aerators, or submersed aeration devices such as bottom-mounted diffusers, to diffuse oxygen in water evenly throughout the water columns. The increased amount of oxygen and circulation generated by these devices helps establish a balanced and productive ecosystem. 

Surface Aeration

A surface aerator is a device that takes water from the vicinity of the surface and throws it into the air, where it picks up atmospheric oxygen. Fountains are a popular choice for surface aerators because of their decorative look. Fountains float on the surface and pull water from below and spray the water up into the air. As the water droplets fall back to the surface, they pick up oxygen. The surface area where the droplets hit is then saturated with oxygen, delivering oxygen back to the lake or pond. Fountains also create surface ripples and circulation which helps control the buildup of algae. The amount of surface area an aeration system will effectively cover is greatly dependent on the depth and shape of the pond or lake. Fountains are better surface aerators for shallow bodies of water. Depending on the lake or pond size, it might need more than one fountain to properly aerate. Floating aerators are also used on the surface of the body of water but do not produce a fountain display. Aerators can run off electricity, solar power or even wind-driven devices. 

Submersed Aeration 

Submersed diffused air systems are ideal for deep ponds and lakes because they can help oxygenate the lower depths that fountains can’t reach. Air diffusing blocks are placed strategically throughout the bottom of the lake or pond. Typically, a motorized onshore mechanism creates compressed air and it sends the air to the underwater diffusers, where they will release it. Bubbles will rise out of the diffusers and carry the bottom water to the surface where it can discharge toxic gases and collect oxygen from the atmosphere. The bubbles also create a considerable amount of circulation throughout the pond. This circulation helps prevent water stratification. 

Why Do You Need Aeration in Your Pond or Lake? 

Less Odor: With a lack of aeration, a pond or lake will become stagnant. Aeration provides a pond fresh oxygen, water flow, and nutrients to stop the water from becoming stagnant and giving off the “rotten egg smell.”

Mosquito Control: Stagnant water is a breeding ground for mosquitoes. By making sure there is a constant movement of water, the breeding ground is disrupted. 

Better Fish Habitat: Diffused aeration averts stratification from happening which will maintain an oxygen healthy habitat for the fish. If oxygen is not easily accessible for the fish, they will suffocate and die. The stressful environment also slows their immune systems, leaving them vulnerable to disease. The added oxygen, and equally important, the circulation created by aeration devices help to create a stable and productive ecosystem. Fish that are native to Florida play a big part in stabilizing the aquatic ecology of lakes and ponds, which is why it’s important to make sure they are surviving and thriving with proper aeration. 

Less Muck: Ponds and lakes can accumulate a layer of debris and sediment that will eventually cause “muck.” Aeration will promote the natural decomposition of the debris and sediment with oxygen-rich conditions. 

Improved Water Quality: Diffused aeration will help get oxygen to the deep water and help prevent the buildup of toxic gases from being trapped underneath the surface. Fountains and other surface aeration systems will help maintain higher oxygen levels throughout the pond or lake. 

Aeration will provide many different benefits to a pond or lakes ecosystem. These simple systems will enhance fish habitats, improve water quality, reduce algae, and remove toxic gases all by circulating the water and adding dissolved oxygen.

If you have noticed fish jumping out of your lake or pond, let us share with you exactly what this could mean and how Mettauer Environmental can help! Call us today at (239) 728-1814 and schedule a free inspection of your pond or lake. Whatever your water management needs may be, Mettauer Environmental is here to help with affordable and eco-friendly solutions.

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