Can You Use an Air Compressor to Aerate Ponds?
If your pond needs aeration, you can turn to an air compressor to get the job done. Air compressors intended for use in water, however, differ from those manufactured for use on land, and many kinds of compressors exist. Before choosing one, figure out your specific goals for pond aeration, which will make choosing easier.
Land vs. Water Use
Although the term “air compressor” sounds like the machine should be able to deliver high volumes of pressurized air to any medium, that isn’t the case. Many air compressors are intended specifically for use in dry conditions — for instance, to power tools — and won’t function in water. Also, air compressors not intended for aquatic use can contribute toxins to water. Even when the word “pump” is part of an air compressor model’s name or label, the compressor still may not be suitable for pond use. That is because although “pump” usually indicates an item can be used with liquid systems such as ponds, some air compressor pumps are meant for use on only land.
Aquatic Air Compressors
All air compressors used in ponds should be “oil-less” because, compared to their counterparts, they deliver higher quality, cleaner air, which is safer for the animals and plants, or aquaculture, in the pond water. Aquatic air compressors are more high-tech because they can move oxygen through water without breaking stratification, which means they won’t mix the warm upper and cold lower pond water layers. Air compressors usually are intended for use in large ponds deeper than 8 feet. So if your pond is shallower, you could consider other aeration methods.
Blowers, diffusers, pumps and fountains can achieve satisfactory pond aeration. Blowers work well for shallow ponds and often are used in conjunction with air diffusers, which mix pond water, breaking stratification. Surface aerators force water from about 6 feet down upward to snag oxygen from the air. Fountains achieve the same effect, often with decorative flair, making them an option for aerating small, shallow garden ponds.
Pond aeration provides many benefits to aquatic ecosystems. Adding oxygen to a pond through aeration is often necessary when algae blooms deplete it or when it is treated chemically for plant overpopulation; the addition of oxygen helps pond fish and other aquatic species stay alive during those times. Aeration also circulates pond water, preventing problems such as stagnation, mosquito breeding and the debris buildup that often accompanies low oxygen levels.