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Aeration for Fall and Winter
#526952 10/20/20 10:41 PM
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Quick question about when and how long I should run the aerator in the fall and winter. I read on here during the summer to only run it at night so my water didn't get too warm. That was helpful. Now that it's gotten cooler, I figure I should change it up. I assume I'll have to run it 24/7 to keep the pond from completely freezing during winter. I read on someone else's post that during the fall, they are only running the aerator during the day and not at night. Can someone explain best practices for running an aerator at different times of year?

For context, I live in Northern Utah, so it will freeze here soon. My pond is about 40' x 85' and is about 5.5' deep in the center. Also, I've had the diffuser right in the center, but I think we want to move it closer to the edge to just keep a hole in the ice during the winter. We have some very small HBG and LMB in the pond we planted 2 or 3 months ago.

Last edited by TrapperUtah; 10/20/20 10:46 PM. Reason: Changed a word
Re: Aeration for Fall and Winter
TrapperUtah #526973 10/21/20 11:37 AM
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Here are some ideas.
Many folks cease aeration when water temp drops in the fall. 50s is a ballpark figure. Then they resume as, or after ice is forming.
At this point, it is advisable to have the aerator in shallower water, both to allow a 39 degree warmer water refuge to develop at the deepest part of the pond, and to have some open water right at the shoreline. This second point is one of safety. A wild animal, pet, or human that falls into the open water can then make it to shore without climbing on to the ice surface.
I spent many years in northern Utah during the 60s, 70s, and 80s. Logan, SLC, Kamas. Where are you?

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Re: Aeration for Fall and Winter
TrapperUtah #526976 10/21/20 12:25 PM
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It a pond that size you might have water movement throughout the entire body of water no matter where you put the diffuser. There's a guy in Minnesota that runs his aeration right through the entire winter and his LMB do very well. Maybe it's because they are used to those conditions?? I don't know - I am not an expert. But I have been told on here many times that the science of winter aeration is far from complete. Please post what you end up doing and then post some updates and results as well. Not many folks with frozen over ponds posting this kind of info.


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Re: Aeration for Fall and Winter
TrapperUtah #526990 10/21/20 11:01 PM
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Thanks! This is great info to consider!

4CornersPuddle, I live in Box Elder County just North of Brigham City. I graduated from USU in Logan in 2006.

So I just moved the aerator closer to the edge about 2-3 feet deep. I may want to move it closer to the edge though to be sure the open water meets the shoreline. I just checked the temperature and it's not down to 50 yet. I'm thinking I may just shut the aerator off until ice starts forming. It's good to know that the diffuser may still mix things up. I've been nervous about low dissolved O2 because I dont fully understand it.

The pond was just dug in April, so the first Winter will be interesting. I'll keep you posted.

Let me know if anyone else has ideas or suggestions.

Re: Aeration for Fall and Winter
TrapperUtah #526992 10/22/20 05:51 AM
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Oxygen levels in iced-over water should remain sufficient for fish IF the ice is clear to allow sunlight through for aquatic plants/algae. There's minimal plant O2 production in cold water, but also minimal O2 consumption by fish. It balances.

If the ice is cloudy or snow covered, opening a hole through the ice (or removing at least 10% of the snow cover, which has never appealed to me personally) is warranted.


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Re: Aeration for Fall and Winter
TrapperUtah #527026 10/23/20 10:49 PM
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I'm aggravated by all the suggestions to only aerate during the night to keep the water temps down. I have yet to see temp data and O2 data to support that suggestion. Without solid data to support that I wouldn't. Without the data that is the same as someone saying here, take this prescription medicine for what ails ya, without a doctor saying so. I will change my way of thinking if hard data is provided, but all the people that are on the forum saying to do it cannot furnish data.

Aeration systems that are designed for ponds are typically designed to give a certain number of turns of water (water that is brought up from the depths to the pond surface to absorb O2 from the atmosphere) when run for 24 hours per day. If only running part time, then the number of turns isn't achieved and more damage could be done than good by not keeping the O2 levels up in the pond. ONLY if the system is designed from the get go to only run part time of the 24 hour day should it be run like that, and that would mean a system that is designed for a pond that has twice the water volume.

The reason that I am aggravated by it is that about 10 years ago I tried running it part time to keep the water temperature down (I had trout in the pond) due to the people on here suggesting that without providing data and I wanted to keep the pond water cooler so they'd live longer into the summer. What I found out was that they actually lived longer if I didn't aerate at all, because the water actually warmed up faster and they croaked. I only ran the system when the night time temps were below 70°F. On the flip side of the coin, I was able to keep trout alive longer if I ran the system 24/7 and ran a surface agitator 24/7 too. That raised the O2 levels in the pond high enough so that the trout would stay alive in water temps that were 79-80 degrees.

Last edited by esshup; 10/23/20 10:57 PM.

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Re: Aeration for Fall and Winter
esshup #527039 10/24/20 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted by esshup
The reason that I am aggravated by it is that about 10 years ago I tried running it part time to keep the water temperature down (I had trout in the pond) due to the people on here suggesting that without providing data and I wanted to keep the pond water cooler so they'd live longer into the summer. What I found out was that they actually lived longer if I didn't aerate at all, because the water actually warmed up faster and they croaked. I only ran the system when the night time temps were below 70°F. On the flip side of the coin, I was able to keep trout alive longer if I ran the system 24/7 and ran a surface agitator 24/7 too. That raised the O2 levels in the pond high enough so that the trout would stay alive in water temps that were 79-80 degrees.

This has my curiosity piqued. Is it fair to say that trout live longer without aeration unless one operates a surface agitator? Though you didn't try this, I wonder what the results would be if you ran the surface agitator only.

Re: Aeration for Fall and Winter
jpsdad #527042 10/24/20 06:19 PM
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Originally Posted by jpsdad
Originally Posted by esshup
The reason that I am aggravated by it is that about 10 years ago I tried running it part time to keep the water temperature down (I had trout in the pond) due to the people on here suggesting that without providing data and I wanted to keep the pond water cooler so they'd live longer into the summer. What I found out was that they actually lived longer if I didn't aerate at all, because the water actually warmed up faster and they croaked. I only ran the system when the night time temps were below 70°F. On the flip side of the coin, I was able to keep trout alive longer if I ran the system 24/7 and ran a surface agitator 24/7 too. That raised the O2 levels in the pond high enough so that the trout would stay alive in water temps that were 79-80 degrees.

This has my curiosity piqued. Is it fair to say that trout live longer without aeration unless one operates a surface agitator? Though you didn't try this, I wonder what the results would be if you ran the surface agitator only.

I believe the trout live longer into the summer because they have a cooler undisturbed lower layer of water to get to, although after a while the cooler water becomes oxygen depleted. THEN the trout are seen nosing into the 54°F oxygenated well water that I was pumping into the pond.

I DID figure out how to get trout to live all summer long in a deep pond, it required surface agitation and specific placements of the subsurface air stations. (it took 3 years of trial and error) and THAT pond has the aeration systems running 24/7...........


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Re: Aeration for Fall and Winter
TrapperUtah #527043 10/24/20 07:44 PM
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Quote
I DID figure out how to get trout to live all summer long in a deep pond, it required surface agitation and specific placements of the subsurface air stations. (it took 3 years of trial and error) and THAT pond has the aeration systems running 24/7...........

That's a notable achievement. Most of the oxygen came from surface agitation, so what are your thoughts on role of aeration? The pond was deep enough that there was cool water mixing effect and then the surface agitation oxygenated it?

Re: Aeration for Fall and Winter
TrapperUtah #527058 10/25/20 10:08 AM
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The aeration was the key in keeping the trout alive, the pond depth was key in keeping some water cool enough for them. Without the aeration the O2 levels in the deeper water would not be high enough to support the trout, or any other fish for that matter if you measured the O2 levels at the bottom. I have a YSI ODO with a 10 meter probe.

In a pond that was 10' deep max, trout stayed alive in 79°F-80°F water due to the bottom aeration and the surface agitator pushing the O2 levels to saturation or higher. Unfortunately the water temp climbed even higher and they didn't make it. (@ 80°F the O2 was still 7.7 mg/l)


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