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Do I need an aerator in my koi pond?

First thing’s first: what is aeration? It is the process of adding oxygen to water. Ponds, and koi ponds especially, need sufficient levels of dissolved oxygen to maintain itself, but also for the fish. How do ponds get aeration though? Mother Nature herself naturally aerates bodies of water through wind, rain, aquatic plants, and the splash of water from incoming streams or waterfalls. Even other creatures in your pond can add aeration to the water. In the aeration process. oxygen permeates the water’s surface and creates a disruption. The more disruption, the more oxygen comes back into the pond.

In essence, any disruption in the water will add oxygen, and this is why fountains are both beautiful and beneficial to your pond. Fountains aerate by taking the pond water and propelling it. The process of air-water contact transfers oxygen by breaking the water into small droplets that splash into the water and create a pocket of air.

If surface aerators like fountains, streams, and waterfalls are not present in your water feature, there are additional sub-surface aeration products. Many have a waterfall as well as an additional aeration tool, especially in the summer, as the need for dissolved oxygen increases. Fish in particular need that extra oxygen or their health can be compromised. One way to increase aeration is through an artificial sub-surface aeration system, which is a fancy way to say that you’ll be putting a bubbler at the bottom of the pond.

Here’s how it works:

A disc the size of a dinner plate is attached to an air compressor and it sits at the bottom of your pond. Once on, the disc spins, creating bubbles that will rise to the pond’s surface. This helps aeration and circulation, and if strategically placed, the system can push debris toward the skimmer, keeping your pond clean and full of fresh air.

What happens in the winter?

Cold water actually holds oxygen more effectively than warm water, so in the winter months, you won’t have to put as much time into making sure your pond has an aeration system. The bubbles breaking the surface of the water in the winter will help maintain a hole in the ice. This means that harmful gasses from the fish can escape from the pond. In the summer, the aerator should be located at the bottom of the pond, but in the winter, you’ll want it higher up. It is also important to mix the deep water with the surface water since the fish hibernate in the warmer, deeper water in the winter. Mixing the two can be dangerous for your fish friends. If you choose to turn your aerator off in the winter, a de-icer will be perfect for keeping the ice in place. Even with a waterfall turned on in the cold months, a de-icer is useful and beneficial to your overall water feature.