Surface Aerators: An Under-Utilized Lake Management Tool
Fountains are one of the earliest tools used to beautify ponds. In fact, they can be traced all the way back to ancient civilizations where they served as charming water features in gardens and public squares, powered by aqueducts, hydraulic systems, and other early technologies. Today, fountains remain an iconic feature on lakes and ponds. Not only do they help maintain healthy water quality conditions, but property owners can choose from dozens of sizes, spray patterns, and lighting elements to further enhance the beauty of their water. However, not all property owners prioritize the modern bells and whistles. In cases where function is more important than form, aquatic experts recommend a less common tool – a surface aerator.
Increase Dissolved Oxygen Levels with Surface Aerators
At first glance, fountains and surface aerators may appear to serve the same purpose. In simple terms, they are both floating electric motors that physically force water above the surface of a lake or pond. This movement accomplishes two things – it increases circulation and promotes the transfer of oxygen to the water column.
Dissolved oxygen (DO) is an essential component of a healthy ecosystem. In addition to supporting native plants, beneficial zooplankton, fish, and other wildlife, DO helps bottom muck, plant matter, and animal waste decompose more efficiently. Waterbodies deficient in DO are more likely to experience undesirable weeds and algae, as well as bad odors, fish kills, cloudiness, and build-up.
Surface Aerators vs. Floating Fountains
Beyond the basic similarities, there is a very important distinction between floating fountains and surface aerators, as well as the applications in which they are used. Floating fountain motors are mounted vertically and propel water into the air in different shapes and patterns. They are often selected to serve as a centerpiece or focal point. However, the intricate nozzles and flow chambers can limit the amount of oxygen pushed into the water.
The Power of Surface Aerators
Surface aerators, on the other hand, serve the singular purpose of moving water and increasing DO in the water column. Instead of graceful or magnificent spray patterns, surface aerators are functionally designed to run at lower speeds with large propellers that produce boil-like movement. This high flow can inject up to 3 pounds of oxygen per horsepower into the water every hour – that’s 72 pounds of oxygen in a span of 24 hours!
Pairing Surface Aerators with Other Aeration Tools
All waterbodies can benefit from surface aerators, but due to their more practical nature, they are less popular among community associations, golf courses, hotels, college campuses, and other properties that prioritize aesthetics. Currently, they are most often found on stormwater ponds and trophy fisheries where DO is needed in abundant levels.
Still, there are ways to incorporate them without detracting from the physical beauty of waterbody. Surface aerators can be added to a collection of fountains in varying shapes, sizes, and patterns to create a more dynamic look. They can also be placed to accentuate the grandeur of a decorative fountain while simultaneously targeting areas with low DO. Aquatic experts often use bathymetric mapping to create a 3D model of the bottom and determine where aeration systems should be placed for maximum impact.
Achieve Beautiful Water with Annual Management
No matter your aeration choices, each type will only enhance your waterbody through movement and oxygenation. Fountains and surface aerators are excellent tools in waterbodies between 4-6 feet deep, and can also be paired with submersed aerators in deeper waterbodies that require vertical mixing.
An aquatic expert can help you determine which solutions are best for your property and your budget. Professionals can also keep your waterbody in a healthy, balanced state through an Annual Management Program. As part of an ongoing program, your aquatic expert will regularly conduct water quality tests to evaluate DO and many other parameters that impact the health of your waterbody. They also incorporate tools and strategies like nutrient remediation, biological augmentation, shoreline restoration, buffer management, and mechanical hydro-raking.
Enjoy Clean Water with Surface Aerators
Pond ownership should never be a headache, but poor water conditions can take the joy out of living near the water. Everyone deserves a waterbody that looks its best and adds value to their life and property – for years to come. When you partner with an experienced lake management professional, you can focus on enjoying the present without worrying about weeds, algae, muck, and other signs of a deteriorating ecosystem.
SOLitude Lake Management is a nationwide environmental firm committed to providing sustainable solutions that improve water quality, enhance beauty and preserve natural resources.
SOLitude’s team of aquatic scientists specializes in the development and execution of customized lake, stormwater pond, wetland and fisheries management programs. Services include water quality testing and restoration, algae and aquatic weed control, installation and maintenance of fountains and aeration systems, shoreline erosion control, muck and sediment removal and invasive species management. SOLitude partners with homeowners associations, golf courses, private landowners, businesses and municipalities. SOLitude Lake Management is part of Rentokil, a leading business services company, operating across the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.