Ponds and lakes are a valuable natural resource. They add beauty to the landscape, provide recreation and are a habitat for fish and wild life. A natural body of water is a complex biological, chemical and physical community. The quality of the water determines the health of the entire community and the aquatic organisms living within the system… from microscopic bacteria to the largest fish!
The “engine” that drives everything within a body of water is the presence of oxygen in proper levels. A pond’s condition deteriorates when its bottom environment cannot support aquatic life. The bottom is where the most oxygen is consumed and the farthest from the surface where it is replenished. Without adequate oxygen at the bottom, beneficial bacteria do no break down the organic waste. The results in increased layers of sediment (muck) along the pond bottom. Simply put, without oxygen a pond cannot clean itself!
Years of experience has taught us that three main tools are needed to manage ponds and lakes:
For years aeration was thought of as something you only needed if you had high fish loads in a pond. Through years of working closely with pond owners it has been proven that aeration does far more than just keep fish alive. In fact, we consider aeration to be the single most important step in maintaining a healthy pond. Without oxygen nothing will decompose. All the fish waste, dead algae/plant material, leaves, etc. that fall to the pond bottom will only continue to build up unless there is good oxygen levels to help it decompose. Shallow ponds where the sunlight reaches the bottom and wind action helps stir the water can have adequate oxygen to the bottom in some cases but deeper ponds will seldom have good oxygen all the way to the bottom. A bottom mounted air diffuser can make a huge difference in a ponds health by bringing oxygen and circulation down where its needed the most along the pond bottom.
There are two common ways of aerating ponds and lakes. One is with a surface fountain, the other is with a diffused aeration system. Bubbling fountains and diffused air systems are commonly used to increase the natural levels of oxygen. The added oxygen, and equally important, the circulation created by these devices help create a stable and productive ecosystem.
Fountains typically float on the surface and spray water up into the air. As the water droplets fall back to the surface they pick up oxygen. Fountains also create surface ripples and circulation which helps keep the surface clean.
Surface fountains are a popular choice when decorative looks are desired. Golf courses, parks, office buildings and housing developments are all common places you see fountains used. Many different spray patterns are available creating esthetically pleasing looks while creating circulation and aeration. Since the fountains float on the surface the circulation does not reach all the way to the bottom in deep applications which reduces their effectiveness.
Diffused air systems employ a shore mounted air compressor which pushes air through tubing out to a special air diffuser located on the pond bottom. Since the diffuser is at the bottom, oxygen is introduced where it is needed the most regardless of depth. These systems are also easier to maintain since the compressor is on shore.
Diffused air systems can be custom built in many different ways. One big advantage is the compressor can be located up to 2,000’ away from the ponds edge. It is much more cost effective to trench in the air tubing than it is to install electrical service to the pond edge making these systems the best choice for ponds without electric nearby.
Diffused air systems utilize a shore-mounted air compressor that pumps oxygen through a hose to a special diffuser lying on the pond bottom. Since the bottom of the pond is where the most oxygen is consumed, it is an idea way to deliver oxygen to where it s needed the most. As the bubbles rise out of the diffusers they create a “lifting” or boiling action which creates considerable circulation throughout the pond. This circulation helps to prevent water stratification
TIP: Check out your pond on GOOGLE EARTH! This will give you the perfect aeral view of your pond and help determine the best placement for aeration. If you are still confused, print the picture and bring it in! We love to help!
2. Beneficial Bacteria
For over two decades we have been using bacteria to help Mother Nature keep waters clean and clear. Back then very few companies were using this approach and we got quite a few funny looks when we told people to add “bacteria” to the water! Today thousands of happy customers later, the use of natural bacteria’s to help reduce sludge build-up is widely used and embraced. By adding billions of these natural occurring organisms, you can reverse the aging process of ponds that occurs when fish waste, leaves, dead weeds/algae, runoff, etc start to build up the bottom. The results are improved water quality, reduced odors, improved oxygen levels and a better environment for fish and other aquatic life
Beneficial Pond Bacteria
Success in controlling water quality in a pond is subject to several variables. One of the main variables is the amount of nutrients present in the pond. Most pond owners are happy to find that when their pond fills up initially after being dug , the water is clean and inviting. Ponds that are dug in sand, gravel or “clean” soils will generally stay that way for a period of a year or two since there is not a lot of nutrients present. Over time, leaves, fish waste, runoff and other nutrients find their way into the pond and start to build up along the pond bottom. These nutrients act as a stimulant, or food source, for excess aquatic weeds, algae and other quality problems.
The use of beneficial pond bacteria has proven to be one of the best tools (along with aeration) a pond owner can use to maintain water quality. Beneficial bacteria are like mini vacuum cleaners working along the ponds bottom to consume and digest organic materials such as decayed leaves, grass clippings, dead algae/weeds, fish waste, etc. Left in the pond, these material will contribute to future water quality problems.
Most all ponds contain natural bacteria. The problem is these are usually anaerobic bacteria (meaning they do not need oxygen to survive) and they digest sediment very slowly. Pond-Vive contains aerobic bacteria which does require oxygen to survive (this is why we talked earlier about the importance of aeration in ponds) but decomposes sediment at a much faster rate.
Pond-Vive – is a proprietary blend of specialized bacteria, formulated specifically for the task of lake and pond maintenance. Pond-Vive contains specialized bacterial strains as well as other necessary ingredients needed to support these bacterial strains in a lake or pond setting. This unique blend of bacteria accomplishes a number of very specific tasks. Certain bacterial strains specialize in the removing of excess ammonia, nitrates and phosphorous form the water. Other strains focus on clarifying the murky water caused from animal and plant wastes, which simultaneously reducing or eliminating the odors streaming from those wastes. Still other strains target the reduction of sludge on the bottom of lakes and ponds. Pond-Vive bacteria works best when the water temperatures are above 55° F. ]
Sludge Remover Pellets – are an ideal way to bring beneficial bacteria quickly to the bottom of a pond or lake. The one ounce pellets sink directly where applied and bring full strength treatment to that specific area. The pellets sink slightly into the bottom sediment which helps to prevent drifting of the bacteria due to waves, boating, water currents, etc. This product is the preferred choice when treating part of a larger body of water such as coves or bays on a lake, around docks, swimming area, etc.
3. Weed and Algae Controls
There are a wide variety of treatment products available to safely control aquatic weeds and algae in ponds and lakes. These tested and approved products are a safe and quick way to gain control of waters that are infested with aquatic weeds or algae. The use of these products is a good short term solution to a problem, however, to gain more long term control you should look at the overall ecosystem and determine what the real cause of the problem is. Often aeration and/or the use of bacteria will greatly improve the system and the use of these chemicals can be reduced.