Proper aeration and circulation are an important part of the health of your pond or lake all year-round, and winter is certainly no exception. In fact, while there may be an excess of dissolved oxygen in the water as the temperature drops, unique problems can arise in areas where it is cold enough to freeze over the pond.
As the days grow shorter, varying types of algae and plants, which rely on sunlight to produce oxygen, will die off. This is especially true when there is a layer of ice on the water’s surface – further hindering the sunlight from reaching the necessary water depths. Also, fall commonly loads a pond’s water with organic fertilizers, such as leaf litter, and while you will mostly see the symptoms of this loading occur in the spring and summer, in the winter months your pond begins attempting to digest these nutrients, which also depletes oxygen from the water. An aerated pond will help keep your fish healthy during this time.
Aeration increases oxygen presence in the pond by churning the water, keeping it moving, and disrupting ice formation. This further creates more open water, attracting waterfowl and other wildlife, and serving as an escape path for bursts of toxic gasses created from the anoxic sediment below, which would otherwise be trapped under the ice. A fountain can be successfully kept running through even the most bitter months of winter by coupling a bottom-based diffuser directly below the fountain. This will create a constant stream of air, which prevents the water from around the fountain from freezing.
Fountains and aerators serve somewhat as an insurance policy, much to protect the time and financial investment of your fish. Many times pond owners will wonder if the installing an aeration system and/or fountain is the appropriate choice for their pond. A good rule of thumb is to calculate the value you believe your lake or pond is worth. If a pond owner has invested a significant amount of time and money into the pond, an amount that far exceeds the cost of the aerator or fountain, it is probably a smart investment. A great game plan to prepare for winter is properly maintaining your fountains and aerators throughout the year. Playing catch up? Find a local biologist or business with an expertly trained staff, and all the products you need to keep your pond in tip-top shape in every phase of Mother Nature.