I have looked thru about 30 pages in this aeration section, read until I am cross eyed and cannot find any specific examples that fit my situation so I am starting a new post.
We have a 6 acre lake in the mountains. Like I said it sits right at 10,000 feet. The previous owner used to stock it yearly and the winter kill was just an accepted part of life. I am not ok with that. The lake is amazing and has a ton of "feed" in it. It has what appear to be freshwater shrimp, water dogs, leeches, giant crayfish, fat head minnows and I don't know what else. When trout WERE stocked in the lake each year, they out grew the trout stocked down in neighboring lakes 2 to 1 by the end of the summers every year. Their meat turned pink twice as fast and they just seemed to THRIVE. Until winter and then every bear on the mountain was there eating the carcasses every spring.
To make a long story short, we rebuilt the entire dam this summer due to a breach in the old "dam". There are numerous water sources coming into the lake. One big seep puts out a significant amount of water in one corner, one spring flows in on one long side (same side as the seep) and other spring flows in on one end and the spillway is on the other end. Amount of water flow has never been measured and I can't even guess. The average depth of the lake before the rebuild was an estimated 4-5' and it was basically shaped like a rectangle. The deepest spot was in the corner of the seep and was 17' deep. The rest of the lake had a TON of 6'-12' area. There was a ton of weeds growing in the shallows - not sure what species. With the repaired damn, we restored the lost water level 4.5'. Now I am expecting an average depth of 8-9' and the deepest area 22-23'. I also added a second deep hole at the other corner of the lake. Should be approximately 16-17' deep once full. The max water level will not be reached until the spring runoff in 2015. I am headed back out there for archery Elk season in September and hope to install an aerator while I am there. I REALLY like the American Eagle units even though reviews are hard to find due to their stance on being rated. Whatever. They look to be the heaviest duty ones out there and that's what I need. This lake is inaccessible, except by snow machine, for about 6-7 months per year. Electricity is about 20 miles away. In the winter all the snow drifts towards the damn. Pretty sure wind will not be a problem during the winter. During the summer there is ample wind, I believe, as well. There always seems to be ripples on the lake. I know one windmill is probably not enough to properly aerate the entire lake, but at this point one or two open spots in the ice should make a huge difference in fish survival right?
I plan on establishing Brook Trout. Then build some spawning boxes that the trout will spawn in. I do not want to have to stock it every year.
I hope I have provided enough info and haven't bored anyone to death. Here's my main questions:
1)Anyone have any reviews on the American Eagle windmills? 2)How many diffusers should I run and how deep should I place them? 3)What type of diffusers would be best for this application? 4) Any other input cause I am a total noob!
Just got back from a very exciting and productive trip to the mountains.
First day there I measured DO levels and saw a huge improvement over past years. I do not understand what caused the improvement, but I am happy for it. Maybe it is due to running aeration for some time now and overall things have improved??
End of Sept 2020 afternoon measurement DO levels were 1' deep - 5.94ppm 56.6F 5' deep - 5.86ppm 55.3F 15' deep - 4.76ppm 54.5F
Oct 2nd 2021 afternoon measurement DO levels were 1' deep - 7.50ppm 53.2F 10' deep - 7.15ppm 52.5F
In the Fall of 2020 we installed a pipe vertically in the pond and placed a vertex dual diffuser on the pond bottom next to the pipe. The pipe stood about 18" above the waterline. This pipe was an experiment to see if the pipe could prevent the ice from doming up over my diffusers which had been preventing the diffusers from keeping a hole open. I have five different vertex air station locations in the lake and only one of them had a pipe installed. The ONE air station with the pipe was the ONLY air station to keep a hole open all winter. It was also the ONLY air station to keep a hole open all winter EVER recorded in six years of monitoring this lake. My water temps in winter 2020/21 got very low, actually way too low - 32.5F.
The decision was made this year to install pipes at three of the remaining air stations (to prevent doming) and suspend the diffusers at a shallower depth to try to prevent water temps from going so low. The fourth air station, a vertex quad diffuser station in ~21' of water, got a buoy instead of a pipe. I am hoping to buoy can also disrupt the ice like the pipes do. Time will tell. Here's the setup.... I have two vertex dual diffusers stations located in ~12' of water suspended from the pipe at ~4' to 4.5'. The vertex quad diffuser station is located in 21' of water and is suspended from the buoy at 10'-11' deep. My Koenders windmill runs a single vertex diffuser that was suspended ~12" -18" below the water surface. I will say the meat of this theory comes from MNFish in Minnesota. He believes, for true Northern ponds, a guy should aerate the top layer of the water column and let the DO diffuse its way down into the lower water. DO NOT directly feed O2 to the bottom of the pond by having the diffusers sitting directly on the bottom. He believes this will prevent the muck/bacteria from sucking the DO out of the water when ice covered for months on end. (My lake is under ice for 7 to 8 months out of the year.) So far his measurements and results prove out. This also kept his water temps MUCH warmer than my water even though his Minnesota winters bring much colder temps than I ever see. He regularly deals with -20F and worse for extended amounts of time. His water temps never went below 37F. Last year my water temps hit 32.7F!!
Three days after making the change in the aeration setup there was a noticeable change in DO levels.I recorded the highest DO that has ever been recorded up there. I did not think 10.0ppm was going to be possible at 10,000' elevation.
Oct 5th 2021 afternoon measurement DO levels were 1' deep - 10.03ppm!!! 53.8F 10' deep - 6.84ppm 51.4F 14' deep - 6.65ppm 51.1F
I was blown away by those readings. That made me think I needed to know a worst case for DO levels and measure first thing in the morning. I still have a lot of vegetation in the water so semi concerned of an over night DO crash.
Oct 6th 2021 sunrise measurement DO levels were 1' deep - 7.49ppm 50.8F 5' deep - 7.14ppm 51.4F 10' deep - 6.71ppm 51.1F
Still WAY better than 2020!!
Here is a pic of my new setup. Like I said, this dual vertex is set ~4' to 4.5' deep. There is extra rope that allows the diffuser to be lowered down to 10' deep in the spring at ice off. I am DONE placing the diffusers right on the pond bottom. Suspending the diffusers has other multiple advantages. One, less backpressure on my pumps allows me to run for longer periods of time - I am running on 100% solar so any power savings is huge. Two, the plume is much more violent, although I AM moving less water.
Here is a couple videos of the plumes in action. I mention it in the video, but this plume is only from the Thomas 2660 1/2hp pump. Unfortunately I did not get a video of the big daddy 1 HP Gast 1550 running simultaneously with the 2660, which is how it runs the majority of the time. The plume then is down right violent.
Did anyone wonder "what happened to the fith air station"?? If so, here's your answer..... I also built a spawning box for the brook trout and used the fifth airline to power it. Thanks to an old Pond Boss magazine article by Mark Cornwell I learned about spawning boxes for Brookies. I saw the article was available in an old magazine so I called up PB and ordered a copy. Very informative. I also got Mark C on the phone and he told me he had personally documented 80 Brook Trout using ONE 4' x 8' spawning box!! Reproduction is the last thing missing in my lake. Now, the resident trout could be successfully reproducing and my previously nasty water quality over winter was just killing the fry. I don't know. I just figured the spawning box would be good insurance so I went with it. I should have taken more pics, but I didn't. I suspended the box from chains to four pipes driven into the pond bottom. The PVC grid is drilled to allow air to percolate up through the gravel. We then boated 2,000lbs of gravel by the five gallon bucket load across the lake to fill the box. Here is my dad ready to help me launch the box. I don't think he knew what he signed up for on this trip!
Finally, I worked my azz off so hard I did not even cast a line one time in my own lake. How funny, or sick, is that!! I kind of don't even want to catch or disturb any of those fish! WTH is wrong with me?? I did, however, catch about 80 of these beauties!!! Can't wait to have 4-5 lb'ers like these in my own water! Hopefully I won't mind catching them then!!
And we have open water!! ~5 weeks sooner than last year. That's gotta make fish survival a little easier. Hopefully my buddy is going up this weekend to check things out. It will be a hike in trip. Still can't get a vehicle to the cabin. The last 1/2 mile or so drive to the cabin is all North facing timber so it stays snow covered for an extra couple or three weeks depending on weather.
Well I got some PHENOMENAL news today!!! My buddies went up and the fish survived the winter again!!! They tried to fish for a little bit but there was too much wind again. Before the wind got too crazy they saw 8-10 hit the surface. Enough they were both confident to 100% confirm fish!! Don't know how many, but they are there. Feeling more confident about stocking fish this year.
Both pumps have been running simultaneous for 8 days now. DO levels are OFF the charts (for our place)! 5' deep temp was 54 degrees and 9.2 PPM!! Again, way too windy to get out on the lake in the canoe to get readings any deeper - 25-30 mph winds on the anemometer!
Couple buddies went up to our place to go fishing. They had a heck of a time. Caught a bunch of fish. Even had one Ultra Light rod snapped in half - No joke! He said the fish took off, folded the rod over and then boom! You know how fish stories go - they caught one even bigger than this but didn't have the camera. Now if I can just get them to quit holding them by the gills! This is a two year old Splake.
Just make sure you run the aeration system long enough to keep more than 6 mg/l at the deepest part of the pond.
Trout will survive in water temps above 70°F if the O2 readings are in the 9mg/l or higher. (that's at 780' elevation).
With Bob Lusk recently discussing LMB actually seeking out favorable water temps over better DO I have tried to pay more attention to temp this year. I would GUESS trout are even more sensitive to temps. Last year I got surface temps up to 71. This year highest surface temp I read was 65 so doing MUCH better. I had 7.5PPM DO at 1' and 7.0PPM at 12'. I am currently running the 1/2HP Thomas 2660 for 1 hour at midnight, 1 hour at 3:00am and turns on again at 5:30am to 1:30PM. Currently air temperatures are in the 50's at 5:30am so I think the night time running is helping keep water temps lower. The big 1HP pump comes on at 7:30am to 1:30pm and runs simultaneously with the 1/2HP pump. I will increase duration of both pumps next month as air temps come down.
Fish are HUGE and fight like crazy! Made 5 casts and caught 4 fish while standing in the same spot!
The water continues to do new and different things. Last year the grass blade bloom (GBB) started in early to mid August. This year the GBB showed up in late June. I have never seen the water so clear in July. If it was not for the GBB I would guess visibility would be 7-8'. Had a similar GBB/visibility situation for the first time ever last September. This year it happened in July - another first. Will be interesting to see what happens after a year at the increased level of aeration I am running nowadays.
Got one "plume pipe" installed in the plume of a dual diffuser. I had pipes at the cabin I wanted to use. those pipes turned out to be WAY too heavy duty. First pipe ended up laying horizontal on the bottom of the lake and is now considered structure. I am going to source some lighter pipe and install a second plume pipe in September. The purpose of the plume pipe is to stop the ice domes from forming over the aeration plumes during winter. 98% sure the ice domes are what have been preventing me from keeping a hole open in the ice through the last two winters. Also reoriented two other diffusers closer to natural structure protruding from the water as a test to see if the natural structures could also disrupt the domes. My remote camera will take one daily pic everyday and I will be able to monitor progress. Should be interesting.
Cool pic from the trip. Not sure why we get so many rainbows and not gonna complain about it.
Ok mister Buffet I have an idea. Now for starters I want you to know I know almost zero about aeration (keep tht in mind). Would it be beneficial to put 3 diffusers in a small triangle. No clue how close I'm talking about maybe 20 feet apart. Close enough they would help each other out keeping a huge hole open. If it a stupid idea feel free to tell me. Lol wont hurt my feelings like I said I know next to nothing about this stuff.
Edit - Now dont get me wrong I'm not suggesting you try it ar this point in the year. No reason to get crazy lol.
Yes, beautiful green tinge there, lets think positive, with open holes most of the winter you have to have some hardy splake and scuds survive right? When is your buddy able to get us pictures? Would love to see if the crayfish made it too...
esshup, that theory is spot on. We've had plenty of research done down here, as well as anecdotal evidence, that much of our soil is deposited material from Arizona and New Mexico (the Land of Enchantment). We refer to this loess as "grains of enchantment". Over many years it has accumulated 6' deep in places.
After a Spring windstorm, the high country snow has a decided reddish cast to it. We're seeing more and more of that as the dry country to the south loses its moisture earlier in the Spring, and the windstorms increase in frequency.
Can anyone comment on the possibility that it is OK if there is not open water exposed to the atmosphere on this lake? In other words, let’s assume that the percent O2 that is entering the water column via the diffuser is 21%, and that relatively little oxygen gets absorbed as it rises. If the air from the diffusers gets trapped under the ice, and spreads between the water/ice interface, won’t there still be diffusion of O2 into the water? Eventually, I would think, the air would make its way to the edges or fractures in the ice and escape, but if the diffusers continue to run, the air tracking along this ice/water interface should be at 21% O2 and diffusion into the lake water would occur. If this was happening across a surface area even larger than a hole in the ice (created by a diffuser) it would not be inconceivable that there is even greater surface area of air/water interface in this scenario compared to one with a smallish hole in the ice. One can even take it further. Let’s say the weight of the ice on that trapped air increases the partial pressure enough that there is even greater diffusion of O2 across the water surface (see link above). If that occurs, then it might, paradoxically, be a detriment to have a hole in the ice. Thoughts?
Quite the fish there, wbuffetjr! 2 years old? They do have lots of natural foods, don't they! Those scuds, although small, are packed with nutrients, it seems. I agree, get your buddies to hold the fish with two hands and sideways to the camera so we can see their beauty. Splake and tigers are the next best thing to brookies, aren't they?
Unfortunately, I only took one fish pic the whole time I was there. Biggest fish I've ever caught in the lake, but the pic doesn't give any perspective. I was in too big of a hurry to get them back in the water.
3 feet of ice? I guess that is life on an alpine lake? Your photos are always the best, no matter the season. I have just the opposite issue. It can be -20 for three straight days but a week later the springs open up holes on the ice. Hope those trout make it again this year.
Very interesting read. Just finished the entire thread at Jpsdad suggestion. My 1 acre pond should be finished by next week and filled by spring thaw if not earlier. I'll being using some of your experiences in aerating through our southern Maine winters. Thanks for the thread.
I will reserve comments until the O2 and temp readings come in. I'd love to see the temp profile for the pond from just below the ice to the bottom in the deepest part of the pond, then correlate that to the depth that the diffusers are placed at. I'd love to see you do something next year, but I'll not say what it is until the temp profiles come back.
I'm going to check on a system that was installed to keep ice from forming around a pier, and I will report back once I see how it's going this year.
I got to admit, I'd love to hear your theory now instead of after the results come in!!
I have said this before, but I will say it again. I will 99.9% guarantee the water is basically homogenous. It has been over the past 2-3 winters when we were pumping far less air so I've got to imagine this year the water will be even more fully mixed. In past years we had less than half a degree of difference in temp from top to bottom. I believe I am achieving this in winter due to cold waters ability to move easier and farther than warm water. IIRC Bill Cody has stated that in winter he has documented a diffuser moving water 200' away due to cold water moving easier than warm water. Jeff in MN has a Youtube video of GoPro footage filmed under the ice of a single diffuser moving water even further away than that.
I just do not see how the pipe is not a homerun at this point. There's no question DO will improve with a hole open and there seems to be no question that a pipe in the plume either causes the hole to reopen MUCH faster OR keeps a hole open that would otherwise be iced over solid. That HAS to be a win for DO levels and water quality.
I am starting to believe plume intensity matters much less than I thought, at least in my setting. If plume intensity mattered I do not see how the koenders could currently have a hole open and the close dual is frozen over solid. The koenders has about the weakest plume you can imagine and the close dual has a downright ferocious plume. What is happening right now makes no sense to me if plume intensity actually matters. I am also not convinced the coarser bubbles would help my ice doming situation. If the ice domes up and is no longer touching the surface of the water how would coarser bubbles help at all? That is why I am sticking with the vertex diffusers. The pipe opens the hole and then the vertex fine bubbles moves more water to the surface for gas exchange than the coarse bubbles would.
Honestly I just don't think we can compare systems in your area to these true "northern" systems. You guys might get an inch or two or three, right? I am getting three feet of ice!!! IMHO, Jeff in MN is the closest comparison to what I deal with. He gets MUCH colder temps than I get, same amount of ice, less snow than I get and then I have altitude always working against me. I think the amount of ice we get, the rate at which the ice can form once aeration turns off, how low the water temps get, how long our water is under ice, etc are game changers for us and require solutions that you guys never have to worry about. I think there is a reason you have never had to deal with the ice doming up, yet Jeff and I both have dealt with it every single year. Jeff has disproven a LOT of winter aeration stuff that gets regularly posted and reposted here on PB, but he won't post any of his findings because he just doesn't care to argue it with folks. For instance, he now runs his aeration 24/7 all through the winter. He "super chills" his entire pond down to 33 degrees or less. In the spring at ice off his LMB are coming out fat, happy and healthy with impressive growth over the LONG winter under thick ice. That isn't supposed to be possible, right? Yet it's happening.
Bill Cody has said this quite a while back and I agree more now than ever. I think we have a LONG way to go to fully understand aeration under the ice, especially thick ice.
Weather has been so rough up there the camera has not been able to consistently send images. It is going several days in a row without sending pics. We got somewhere around a combined amount of 2 feet of snow over the last couple weeks. Buddies went up on snowmobiles and estimated 4' to 5' of snow on the ground with even more in the timber. No idea how much snow is on top of the ice. Here is what I do know.... The pipe hole is still open. All other holes are long gone. At this point I am claiming victory. We are almost into March, have a ton of snow on the ground and the pipe is still killing it. I have NEVER in the history of aerating this water had a hole open this long. IMO the pipe 100% solves the ice doming issue.
Tentative plan moving forward. I am going to keep my diffusers in deep water, but I am going to suspend them under the surface of the water some amount like MNFish is doing. Currently thinking maybe 4'-ish. Hoping this can keep my water temps a little bit higher and therefore keep bigger holes open. Diffusers suspended in shallow water will also reduce the PSI on the system, increase the amount of CFM produced and lower the pumps power consumption therefore allowing longer run times on the solar system.
I will also suspend a single diffuser below the surface with NO PIPE to see how it fares. In the name of science. Lol
ALSO - another huge benefit to suspending the diffusers. We think by moving diffusers off the bottom we can significantly reduce the O2 consumption by the bacteria on the bottom of the pond. If we stop circulating the water all the way to the pond bottom we should also stop feeding 02 to the bacteria in the muck working on decomposition. We think this will significantly reduce the BOD in my water. Only time will tell. Unfortunately there are basically one year gaps between starting my experiments and seeing the results. THAT is hard to deal with.
I count this year as a huge win. We finally identified the correct problem to solve - Ice doming up - and solved it. My water also seems to be in the best shape it has ever been in at this point in the winter. Fish should survive no question. Will 100% survive? No way for me to know.
I thought this was a very interesting comparison of the last few years. Clearly the setup this year has been MUCH more effective than in the past. The pipe hole stayed open, although small, all winter long minus three to five days it appeared semi closed up. All the other holes opened up about a month sooner than in the past. Trying to get my buddy up soon to get a DO reading. I am hoping that produces improved results as well. Pics are from either the same day each year or one day off.
This has been an awesome story. It really gives a person a lot of things to think about along the lines of pond development, and i must commend your determination. You have over came a lot of obstacles and keep looking for ways to improve your pond. I feel like only one thing is missing you have mentioned that you go out there in fall for elk season, but we have never seen any pictures of elk. Have you ever had any luck?
Thank you thank you for the post, the beautiful pictures and the update. Reading your updates is like getting an update from a mars rover complete with pictures. You are in uncharted territory and producing great pictures and results.
A few questions - how does the dual aerators stay fixed in place when hanging by ropes from the pole? Doesn't the pressure pushing upwards make them flop all over under the water? Great idea to suspend with extra rope so you can adjust depth
How is the population of small critters? scuds, salamanders etc? Did crayfish survive this season through the winter?
I don't see your grass blade algae, did you successfully pump it all out?
Finally, maybe a long shot but maybe if the buoy was painted black or wrapped in black duct tape it would help keep a hole open. It seems even though your pipes are not black they provide enough heat to keep holes open. Is that ground heat travelling up the pipe from the soil beneath or do you think solar heat is trapped in the metal? If so then painting pipes black or wrapping in black electrical or duct tape might help. Could even consider wrapping the top few feet of the pipe with the black pipe foam pipe wrap used to insulate copper hot water lines in your basement.
I also enjoy reading this thread, you have definitely got a ton of time, effort, and possibly a good amount of money in this project. I can only imagine. As for the temps, I had pictured much colder temps then an average of +10 for lows, thats not too bad, seems I read somewhere that you expect about 6 to 8 months of ice cover, probably just hangs on longer due to the elevation, that's definitely a sweet place and I'll bet its hard to leave when it comes time to go, so much to do, so little time. That's a beautiful Brookie btw, a person would never get tired of catching those! Kudos!
WINTER IS COMING, ... It may not seem like much of a difference, but I am thinking every single additional week without ice cover is a huge advantage. ....
Nice work !!! I agree - often there is a very fine line between survival and death. Often what causes fish to succumb is a combination of prolonged cold , stress (low DO) and starvation. The longer - front end and back end of the calendar you can maintain good fish condition the less likely you will lose fish.