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Too much aeration too quickly? Fish stressed
#522762 06/20/20 09:36 PM
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Hi I'm concerned I may have just added too much aeration and mixing in my pond too quickly via air pump/bottom diffuser. Everything I read was positive about these systems but now the fish are acting strange, looking for some advice to hopefully avoid a fish kill.

I've read a few other posts on this forum trying to understand the new aeration process and it's been helpful. I'm looking for specific advice on my situation from anyone that can help or offer advice. Thanks in advance. smile

I have a natural improved pond about 1/3 of an acre, roughly 130 long and 100 feet across, max depth in the middle is 6-7 feet. It's kind of a bowl with submerged vegetation (I think hydrilla) along the entire shoreline going out about 10ft but center of the pond is weed free. There is a considerable muck build up on the bottom, esp in middle of pond. Water is extremely clean though and minimal floating weeds/mung/algae.

A very small stream feeds the pond, it's a spring fed stream although right now in upstate NY it's barely running.

There's smallmouth bass in the pond up to about 12 inches.

We recently stocked rainbow trout up to about 15 inches.

The fish were fine for a week, acting normal and happy until I added the big aerator and diffuser yesterday afternoon. Everything was fine earlier today then tonight I noticed many of the trout swimming around in the shallow water at the pond's edge. They looked ok and swam away fast I as I approached them, but I'm concerned I'm headed for a massive fish kill... water temps are in the high 70's now which I know is not helping the situation.

Yesterday I added the 3.1cfm pond aeration system pump (60hz) with 4 nine inch diffusers on a plate and a 50ft weighted hose. It's a good system that pushes a lot of air, but I'm worried I ran it for too long too fast right away and may end up killing my fish because of noxious gas, etc. No dead ones yet, but don't have a good feeling..

This is my first time adding aeration to the pond, it's never had it before. I ran it for over 24hrs straight immediately, in middle of pond in 6ft of water.

Is the aeration/mixing causing toxicity and the trout to basically try and swim out of the water???

There is no sulfur or noxious smell coming from the pond or the aerator..


I turned off the aerator completely tonight, should I have done that? how I should proceed...??

Please help, I don't want to lose all my fish...


Thanks

Last edited by Esa77; 06/20/20 10:02 PM.
Re: Too much aeration too quickly? Fish stressed
Esa77 #522764 06/20/20 10:22 PM
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A general start up procedure is to only run your aeration for 15 minutes on day one, then double the run time on each subsequent day. 30 minutes on day two, 60 minutes on day three, etc. Going 24 hours on day one can cause problems and a possible fish kill. With trout present I would seriously consider only aerating overnight to keep water temps down.



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Re: Too much aeration too quickly? Fish stressed
Esa77 #522779 06/21/20 12:34 PM
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Thanks appreciate the information and advice. I will start that procedure tonight and slowly increase each day. I'm thinking of getting a timer and running it after midnight to keep the water temps down as you mentioned.

How long do you go with that routine though? Like until you hit 6 hours or do you work your way back up to 12-24 hours of aeration time?

Thankfully there were no dead fish today, so I'm hoping starting the process the correct way will mean they can survive at least another month until the water gets too warm and who knows after that.

There are some trout right under the culvert pipe where the stream comes in, stream temp is 65, pond temp is 78 so that makes sense they'd be there. I was debating putting a small aerator in beneath the pipe to get some air into that thermal refuge for them (gravel bottom about 2.5ft deep) but now I'm hesitant to add more air to the pond...

Any ideas on if adding a small aerator to that thermal trout refuge area would do more harm then good?

Re: Too much aeration too quickly? Fish stressed
Esa77 #522780 06/21/20 01:11 PM
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In general cooler water and moving water have better oxygen levels, I would leave the culvert area alone.

Day 1: 15 min
Day 2: 30 min
Day 3: 60 min
Day 4: 2 hours
Day 5: 4 hours
Day 6: 8 hours
Day 7: 16 hours (or 12 hours)
Day 8: 24 hours

I like to run my aeration time from 8PM until 8AM, the lowest O2 levels usually occur just before sunrise. In the heat of the summer I watch the weather forecasts for strong cold fronts, once they get here I will run aeration 24/7 until the weather stabilizes and the sun comes back out. Three solid days of cold, rainy, calm and overcast conditions can trigger an algea bloom die off and dissolved oxygen crash which can be the cause a summer fish kill.



Re: Too much aeration too quickly? Fish stressed
Esa77 #522782 06/21/20 04:19 PM
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Great info thanks! So once I hit the 24hrs on the 8th day should I stay at 24hrs or drop it back to 12hrs of aeration 8pm-8am like your doing and stay on that consistent schedule through the summer?

Also as the water and weather begins to cool in the fall, should I run the same aeration time schedule or increase/decrease?

I had no idea about the cold fronts triggering algae bloom die off/DO crash, thanks I will definitely watch for that and plan accordingly.

There's much more to aerating a pond than I initially realized... glad I found this forum. smile

Re: Too much aeration too quickly? Fish stressed
Esa77 #522785 06/21/20 07:58 PM
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With trout present I would just aerate at night, you could even aerate somewhere between 8 to 10 hours a night and be OK. Any idea how warm your water gets in the summer? How green does the water get? Bottom aeration tends to even the water temps from top to bottom.



Re: Too much aeration too quickly? Fish stressed
Esa77 #522791 06/21/20 10:07 PM
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This is only our 2nd year owning the property so I don't have much of a seasonal temperature profile yet, but last year we took water temperatures for the first time in August and the surface temp was only 72. The small stream coming in was 60, so I figured we had a great set up for trout if that's how warm the water was in late summer, but obviously every year is different.

Last week, on June 16th (before aeration) the temp was 68-70 in the pond and 65 in the stream. I'm using a stream thermometer I drop in on a line and leave for 2 mins then pull out real quick and check. Probably not ideal..

Three days later on June 19th we took the temps before putting the aerator in and it had already naturally increased to 72-73 in the pond. It's been a hot last 2-3 weeks here and no rain.

The next day after running the aerator for 24hrs when we saw the fish all acting strange in the shallows we got temps of 78-80 all over the pond. So the aerator must have mixed up the water temperatures and raised temps, but I'm also concerned about the mixing gases from the new aerator contributing to stress the fish as people described here. That day was also the first time since we stocked (1 week ago) that we saw trout hanging below the culvert pipe.

I can't say for certain the pond was previously stratified as I didn't compare top/bottom temps, but after what happened with the temp increase I think it was.

My hope was turning off the aerator for 24-48 hours would allow the temps to drop back into the low-mid 70's but I don't know how fast it will drop or if it's just wishful thinking.. I will take more temps tomorrow.

The water clarity is very good, we had no major algae bloom at all, last year or this year yet. No green water. Some floating (kind of clear) scum on the surface, about a 30x30 area that moves around with the wind. I guess that could be the beginnings of algae bloom but it's not green or thick at all, more of a translucent film. I was hoping the aeration would help clear that out a little also. Our water is overall very clean which is another reason I was hopeful for the trout.

After going through this all and learning what I have here, I'm wondering if the aeration and mixing of the water will do more harm to the trout this time of year than letting it stratify again in hopes they survive in slightly cooler water at the bottom (although low in oxygen). Everything I read previously said adding air can only help a pond and the fish in it.. maybe I just did it too quickly and mixed it up too fast...

Hoping it can bounce back to a healthier level while slowly adding the aeration each night..

Re: Too much aeration too quickly? Fish stressed
Esa77 #522804 06/22/20 06:05 PM
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Water temp is still up today, 78 below the culvert and in the pond. First dead trout today also. Temp has gone up 10 degrees in about a week.

Re: Too much aeration too quickly? Fish stressed
Esa77 #522806 06/22/20 07:46 PM
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Water temps are stressing your trout, if it were me I would only aerate between 1AM and 6AM if at all, you might also want to move your diffusers shallow and far away from the culvert so you develop a thermal clime.

https://www.hatchmag.com/articles/trout-and-water-temperature-how-hot-too-hot/771553



Re: Too much aeration too quickly? Fish stressed
Esa77 #522811 06/22/20 10:22 PM
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Thanks, yep I knew when the water temps got into the mid-high 70's the trout would begin to get stressed, I just hoped it wouldn't happen until August and if it did we'd have better flow coming in from the stream to create a thermal refuge for them. Weather just has not cooperated this year..

It's suppose to get down into the high 50's a few nights this week, hopefully that will help the water temps along with the aerator running at night. I ordered a timer to run it at 1AM.

I will also move the diffusers shallower into about 3 ft of water.

Thanks again for your help, I'll post an update on conditions again soon

Last edited by Esa77; 06/22/20 10:23 PM.
Re: Too much aeration too quickly? Fish stressed
Esa77 #522991 06/28/20 08:07 AM
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Update.

We lost all the trout, but live and learn.. Probably shouldn't have stocked them in June and I'm sure my incorrect starting process of the aerator didn't help. We plan to stock again in the fall when the water temps are in the mid to low 60's.

We finally got some rain, clouds, lower air temps for the first time in 2 weeks since we stocked, the water temps have dropped to 72 surface and bottom and 68 by the culvert pipe over the last few days.

It's been good to compare and learn how the weather this time of yr effects our temps so we're more prepared next yr. I still expect us to lose trout in the hot summer months but hopefully a fall/spring stocking gives us a longer fishing season in our pond. The smallmouth are doing fine though.

Been running the aerator on a timer at night also, seems to be working out. Thanks again.

Last edited by Esa77; 06/28/20 08:07 AM.

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