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    The Importance of Winter Pond Aeration and Maintenance

    winter pondProper aeration and circulation is paramount to the health of your lake or pond and it is just as important to keep a waterbody aerated in the winter as it is in the summer. Running a pond aeration system in the summer usually achieves noticeable results rather quickly. Pond algae and aquatic weed build up tend to decrease, proportionate to the amount of time the aerator is running. In the winter, however, these benefits are not immediately noticeable and the positive changes are much more subtle.

    There are a several benefits of winter pond aeration:
    1. As the days grow shorter, certain types of algae and plants that rely on photosynthesis produce less oxygen; this process can be compounded exponentially with layers of ice. Aeration increases oxygen levels in the waterbody to prevent winter fish kills.

    2. Autumn loads up the pond with organic material more than any other season. Leaf litter and fertilizer account for a large portion of this. Although the symptoms of this loading do not usually appear until spring and summer, the pond is already attempting to digest all of these nutrients. Pond aeration will create a healthy amount of oxygen and circulation that will dramatically enhance this process, and give your pond a huge advantage for the following season.

    fountains disrupting ice formation3. When aeration disrupts the formation of ice, it will allow for more open water to attract waterfowl and other wildlife, breaking up the sometimes bleakness of winter, breathing moments of life back into the season. These open areas of water also serve as an escape path for bursts of toxic gases from the anoxic sediment below that would otherwise be trapped under the ice. In shallower ponds this is even more important.

    Every pond has individual needs and your local lake and pond management professionals can advise you on which method of aeration is best for your particular waterbody.

    Already have a fountain? Thinking about removing it for the winter? There is one solid and tested solution for keeping a fountain running through the bitter months of winter regardless of how cold it gets. Bottom diffused aeration systems make a perfect companion to a fountain. These aeration systems transport air from a land-based compressor to diffuser disks placed at the bottom of a pond. They then produce a conical stream of bubbles vertically approaching the surface. When placed directly under a fountain, this constant stream of air will prevent the water directly around the fountain from freezing all winter. This coupling of aeration systems will keep your beautiful fountain running all year long, and will also provide a dramatic increase in water quality due to the supplemental benefits of bottom diffused aeration.

    An “Oil & Seals Change” maintenance service should be part of the maintenance program for your floating fountain. The manufacturer recommends that this service is performed on a once every three (3) year basis (every two years for ½ HP units). The service includes performing an internal inspection of the power unit (motor and related parts), making any necessary adjustments, replacing any worn parts, and changing the oil, rotary shaft seal, and all related parts. We recommend that this service is completed during the fall and winter months so that the fountain is not out of the water during the warmer months when the aeration benefits that it provides are so crucial to the health of your pond.

    Please keep in mind that routine maintenance is imperative for ensuring that your floating fountains operate properly, and helps to minimize the need for more expensive fountain repairs and replacement in the future.

    frozen pondPlus, for those who do allow their aerators to operate year round, the added electrical costs during the winter months will more than pay for itself throughout the year as the pond will be noticeably healthier during the following season, and in most cases, less herbicides and algaecides will be required to manage it. Also, if you are running surface spray type aeration during the winter, remember to run it 24/7 so that ice does not build up in the pump chamber and obstruct the motor propeller or impeller.

    Contact SOLitude Lake Management to speak with an expert biologist, ecologist or scientist for all of your lake, pond and fisheries management needs. 888-480-LAKE (5253) or info@solitudelake.com. Services are available throughout the Eastern United States. Aquatic products and consultation are available nationwide. 

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