Rain Gardens

Understanding Lake Management

Not many years ago, the only products used for pond and lake management were chemicals like copper sulfate.   Although you get short-term results with these products, they are Reactive in nature and will not provide long-term results when used exclusively.   The problem with Reactive approach to pond management is that the longer you practice it, the less effective it becomes.  Algae, poor water clarity, aquatic weeds and muck are all a result of a true problem – nutrients, and if not addressed, you will never really be happy with your pond.  If left to Mother Nature, you will eventually be left with a swamp or wetland filled with aquatic weeds, algae and muck, ultimately eliminating most recreational activities.  But you can stop and reverse this process by using the following products.  Read on…

4-Steps to the Perfect Ecosystem

Did you know?

The first step to understanding how to maintain your pond is to know about your ponds life cycle. The Life Cycle can be broken down into two basic stages.

During Stage 1 organic matter from plants, birds, animals and debris begins to accumulate in your pond. The nutrient load is low, resulting in minimal weed and algae growth. The amount of debris your pond receives and the type of soil your pond was constructed from will determine how long your pond will stay in this stage. Generally your pond will begin to enter Stage 2 in three to five years.

As your pond begins Stage 2 excessive algae blooms and pond weeds become noticeable. Emergent plants, such as grasses and cattails, begin growing around your pond’s edge.

As Stage 2 continues the total nutrient load is increased resulting in more frequent weed and algae growth.

Every Unaerated Pond and Lake, at least 6’Deep, is Thermally Stratified?

Pond Bottom:  Water is colder with lower oxygen levels  and is home to most of the toxic gasses that accumulate in a pond.

Pond Surface:  Water is warmer with higher oxygen levels and is home to the majority of the pond’s fish population.

PROBLEM:  Thermal Stratification can contribute to high levels of muck, cloudy water and is one of the main causes of winter fish kill.

When the Airmax®: Ecosystem is not present and Mother Nature is allowed to take her course, chemical applications will be necessary during this stage.

It is important to understand that chemicals are not designed to prevent growth because they will not eliminate the nutrients that cause weeds and algae to grow. When chemicals are used correctly, they will only provide a temporary fix to weed and algae growth. The next step is aeration and bacteria.

Aeration Benefits

  • Clean and clear water column
  • Elimination of thermal stratification
  • Reduced sediment
  • Stronger and more productive fish population
  • Elimination of fish kills and turnover

What is stratification?

Most ponds suffer from stratification or “layered water” during the warmer months of the year. Stratification happens when the sun heats up the water at the top of your pond. The warm water is lighter and creates a layer that floats on the cooler water underneath. The point at which these layers will separate is known as the thermocline.

In the fall and winter months, the cold air will cool the surface of your pond, causing turnover or a mixing of the surface and subsurface water. If you have ever noticed a strong sulfurous smell near your pond in the spring or fall, it is a good bet that your pond has just turned over!  Severe storms can also cause this to happen.

The Airmax® Advantage

The diffuser delivers the much needed oxygen to the target zone (the nutrient rich bottom layer) creating an efficient and healthy ecosystem.

Airmax aeration systems are designed to be very low maintenance. Simply clean the air filter every 4 to 6 months. Depending upon environmental conditions, air stones may need to be cleaned every 2 to 3 years, that’s all!  Some of the newer air stones are self cleaning

Lake Management – Understanding Water Quality

The bacteria currently working in your pond are mainly anaerobic, meaning they do not require oxygen to survive.   Anaerobic bacteria will decompose organics at an extremely slow rate while producing by products such as a “rotten egg” smell and black muck.  Anaerobic bacteria are also relatively ineffective at oxidizing nutrients suspended in the water column.

Aerobic bacteria found in Pond Clear TM require oxygen and are capable of decomposing organics at an accelerated rate. They produce no foul smelling by-products, and do not contribute to black muck. Aerobic bacteria will result in clear water and a healthy ecosystem.

Lake Management – Use of Chemicals

Aquatic Herbicides and Algaecides
(chemicals) have been useful tools for pond management for decades.
Once a pond becomes infested with weeds and/or algae, a chemical application may be your best solution to gain control, at least for the short-term. The use of chemicals may be minimized or avoided when contributing factors are reduced.

The problem is an abundance of suspended nutrients and the organics (muck) that have settled to the bottom of your pond.   Contributing factors can be a number of different things such as surface water runoff, grass clippings and fertilizers just to mention a few.

Some pond owners go as far as treating their ponds once a week with chemicals to manage their weed and/or algae problem. If you are in this group that is a problem! Not only is it more expensive, it is adding to your problem…every time weeds and algae are treated they fall to the bottom only to breakdown and encourage future growth.

Use chemical only as a tool in your management practice.

Chemicals are an important part of any management plan as long as they are not the entire plan. Another important consideration when treating for weeds and algae is that sudden changes to water conditions can affect the ecosystem and aquatic life.

Always remember to run your aeration system before and after chemical applications. This will increase oxygen levels and enhance the effectiveness of the application.

Call 877 780-1174 to discuss the potential treatments you may want to use for various pond weeds. We can help you decide what products you may want to use.

Airmax® Aeration to the rescue

Our aeration system utilizes a shore-mounted air pump that delivers compressed air to a synergistic diffuser plate on the pond’s bottom.  As the air rises from the diffuser plate at the bottom, it creates a convection current that slowly and steadily turns the water body over.  Bringing the bottom waters up to the top to interact with the atmosphere allows for some very unique processes to take place.  It is this turnover and interaction that lies at the heart of the Airmax® Aeration System.

Clean and Clear Water Column

Heavy nutrient loads lay the groundwork for extreme algae blooms. The constant turnover created by the Aeration System provides an avenue for oxygen-consuming beneficial bacteria to lower nutrient loads.   The increase in bacterial activity removes the food source for nuisance algae and plants.

Elimination of Thermal Stratification

The current created by the Airmax® Aeration System circulates the water eliminating the thermocline (water separated into multiple layers based on temperature).  When the thermocline is eliminated, oxygen is allowed to the pond’s bottom, creating a perfect ecosystem for aerobic beneficial bacteria such as those found in PondClear™ and MuckAway™.  The bacteria in these products will work to clarify the water while reducing the muck layer on the pond’s bottom.

Stronger, Safer Fish Population

In a thermally stratified state, the bottom half of your pond becomes almost uninhabitable to fish.  The low oxygen and high amount of toxins drive your fish into the much warmer top half of the pond.  The Airmax® Aeration System de-stratifies the water column, creating optimal conditions for fish to inhabit the entire body of water reducing the chance of fish kills caused by turn over.

Preventing Winter Fish Kill

Keeping the aerator running in colder climates (where an ice layer may form) will greatly reduce the chances of a winter fish kill.  Dying or dead vegetation will cause toxic gasses to build up underneath the ice during the winter months.  These toxic gasses can displace the oxygen causing a winter fish kill.  Circulating the water column will also maintain an open hole in the ice, allowing the toxic gasses to safely escape.

Calculating Pond Size

Square Footage = Length X Width

Acre Feet = Surface Acres X Average Depth

To figure the Acres

Circle Shape – 3.14 X Radius X Radius  divided by 43.560 which = Surface acres

Square/Rectangle – Length X Width  divided by  43.560  =  Surface acres

Triangle –  0.5 X Height  X Base  divided by  43.560  =  Surface acres

Call 877 780-1174 if you have any questions or need us to figure what products you may need for your lake.


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