Although it is still 100 degrees in South Carolina, we are getting closer and closer to the months with cooler temperatures. Sooner or later, trees will be dumping a huge load of leaves in ponds everywhere. Add the pollen of fall blooming plants and algae populations that are dying and changing types and you have yourself a pretty good soup. Looking at all this material on the surface of a pond is not pleasant and the bacteria in your pond have a heroic job ahead of them if they are going to keep your pond from filling up with sludge.
How can you help your pond’s beauty and health?
Aerating your pond with aerating fountain, high flow aerator, or bottom aeration system, each has several advantages particularly in the fall. While the immediate effect of the fountain is evident at the edge of the fountain spray, it also creates ripples all the way across the pond. Water surface tension is the pressure that keeps small stuff floating, sort of a “skin”. By using a fountain to aerate your pond you will be breaking up the surface tension of the water and allowing debris to sink. The leaves and pollen that are falling are pushed to the outside edge of the pond and the water vibrates and ripples until the particles simply sink, falling through the surface skin. This keeps your pond looking fresh and clear. These ripples are energy and action and they also increase the amount of surface area available to exchange gases (oxygen and carbon dioxide) between the water and the air. The action of aeration allows gas to leave the water and go into the air the same way shaking action allows salt to leave a salt shaker. Your pond is breathing: inhaling oxygen and exhaling CO2. Your pond needs to breathe to be able to digest the organic debris (leaves, dead algae, grass clippings, and pollen) that are settling along the pond bottom this time of year. The beneficial bacteria in your pond are eating this material as fast as they can and belching carbon dioxide. They take the carbon-C that makes up most of this material and add two oxygen-O to make carbon dioxide-CO2. CO2 leaves the pond into the air as it builds up and that is how bacteria consume sludge and allow it to exit ponds.
What limits this process? … The amount of oxygen in the water and the buildup of CO2. Aerate the water with a fountain or aerator and you create action and increased amount of surface area in the water that adds oxygen and allows CO2 to leave. This is healthy for your pond and the environment. It is also healthy for your stress level because you don’t have to look at the pond covered with stuff and you can listen the wonderful sound of falling water to wash all the stress away.