Algae, the growing nuisance of bodies of ponds just about everywhere. Whether it’s a pond or lake, any sized water is at threat. Algae flourishes in water lacking oxygen. So, what’s a landscape designer to do?
Aeration, Not Chemical
Excess nutrients and lack of oxygen cause a build up in algae and weeds. Chemicals such as algaecides and herbicides can be used to clean ponds. Although these chemicals may be effective in cleaning a pond after an infestation, they do not fix the underlying issue. Several preventable issues that occur due to lack of aeration are pond turnover, algae, and muck.
Aerating water allows a pond to maintain beneficial levels of dissolved oxygen. This eliminates excess nutrients through oxidation and aerobic digestion. Rather than adding chemicals, aeration limits the available “food source” for algae to consume.
Without proper aeration, most ponds will physically turn over once or twice a year. Ponds separate into different layers over time. The cold, oxygen depleted water is at the bottom and warmer, oxygen rich water is at the top. As the seasons change, the water will turnover. This causes fish to die due to lack of oxygen near the surface of the water.
Due to lack of oxygen and a build up of nutrients, pond algae can thrive in a pond. Algaecides kill algae that is already present, but is not preventative or long term. Pond aeration oxygenates the water, breaking up nutrients.
With lack of oxygen, the decomposition process that breaks down materials in the water cannot occur. Without decomposition, the bottom of the pond begins to build up a black layer of muck that releases excess nutrients into the water further feeding algae and other weed problems.
Aeration of a pond is not only preventative, but also effective in combatting a problem. Although chemicals have some use in reducing issues such as algae, they do not cure the problem. The benefits of installing a surface aeration device or fountain are endless.
Now that we have identified the problem as lack of oxygen, the solution is simple. There are many benefits to adding a surface aeration or fountain to a pond or lake. Surface aeration or fountain devices increase oxygen levels, reducing stress, disease and parasite issues with fish. They are good for the environment and the water. They also, support the food web and guard against bloom crash.
Aeration devices break down thermal stratification that occurs especially at the change of seasons. The fountains and surface aeration maintains water quality and supports organic digestion. They are an elegant solution to a very real and easy to over look problem.