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#554184 12/11/22 09:30 AM
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New member - read through the posts but still confused on aeration in the winter time. I was advised to keep aerator on through the winter to keep pond open and prevent a freeze of the pond. Located in Missouri and pond will freeze over the top - like last year. Outside temps will get into the teens and rarely into single digits. Smallish pond - 4 years old. 1/3 acre and 14’ depth. Have not taken temp of water at any time. Bass and blue gill pond for kids to fish. Any reason not to keep aerator on other than electricity cost and wear and tear. Thanks for advice.

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The chief concern with over-aerating in the Winter is supercooling water temperatures. When it's cold enough for ice to form, the warmest (because it's the most dense) water in the pond is 39 deg F down on the bottom. Blow that up to the top to melt ice and fish are losing their warmest refuge. Do that 24/7 and you could really cool off the deep water.

Ice cover is a problem primarily if it isn't clear enough to allow light through for photosynthesis to replace dissolved oxygen. I only run shallow water aerators long enough to melt a hole through dirty (snow covered) ice if it has been around for about a week. Given that Mizzoo is farther South, I personally see no need for you to do differently.


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Originally Posted by TicTac1
New member - read through the posts but still confused on aeration in the winter time. I was advised to keep aerator on through the winter to keep pond open and prevent a freeze of the pond. Located in Missouri and pond will freeze over the top - like last year. Outside temps will get into the teens and rarely into single digits. Smallish pond - 4 years old. 1/3 acre and 14’ depth. Have not taken temp of water at any time. Bass and blue gill pond for kids to fish. Any reason not to keep aerator on other than electricity cost and wear and tear. Thanks for advice.


Depending on the biochemical O2 demand in your pond, it might help prevent a winterkill. For winter aeration, put the diffuser so it's 1/4 the total pond depth, close enough to shore that the ice melts all the way to the shore. That way if anything were to go swimming it wouldn't have to climb up on the ice to get out of the pond water. You don't have to have the whole pond ice free, 10% of the surface area is enough.

In your case, if your pond is truly 14' deep, then put the diffuser 3 feet below the surface of the water.


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We use a Kasco circulator on our 15 foot max depth - 5 acre pond. It runs for 1/2 hour at 6 AM everyday. It opens up a 25 foot diameter hole in the ice. Have never had an oxygen depletion problem nor a fish kill, ever.

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Any reason not to keep aerator on other than electricity cost and wear and tear.
There can be a lengthy discussion about this topic.

Commentary about Dwight's pond situation noted above. Dwight's far north wintery pond is unique. It has been shown to get underground water movement in the basin due to soil geologic structure. There is very likely some oxygenated water that comes and goes into the pond during winter which probably adds some water DO. The circulator no doubt easily and efficiently spreads high amounts of good oxygenated water due to the easily mixed cold winter water into far reaches of the pond under thick ice cover. Thus not a lot of open water is needed in this large 5 ac pond during thick ice, deep snow cover, and long winters. All this works very good for his harsh winter situation.

As Theo mentions running the aerator during winter can cool the water below the normal 39F winter temperature. Most fish except cold water fish are stressed with water temps below 39F. Almost all ponds above the Mason-Dixon line have 39F water from 2ft or 3 ft to bottom. Some ponds will have a thin 3"-6" layer of 40F water
on the bottom deep zone. Bringing this water to the surface where it is chilled by <32F air and can further chill the water and stress the fish to varying degrees and amounts. It all depends.

The current most common opinion at this forum is to keep a relatively small open water area somewhere in the pond. Open water close to shore does allow animals or people that fall into the open water an easy exit from the pond.

IMO the amount of ice and snow cover on the pond has a lot to do with amount of aeration needed between Dec and Mar-Apr. Generally in most but not all "normal" ponds, the thicker the ice and longer snow lies on the ice the more the need for aeration. Years ago I and esshup experimented with winter aeration. He still winter aerates and I do not. I remove snow to about 10%-15% of the iced pond to expose the ice and underlying water to sunshine which allows the phytoplankton to make DO. When snow cover lies on the ice longer than 6 weeks without snow melt off I get nervous. Then I check DO levels and sometimes will start the aerator to melt a hole in the ice to allow degassing and light penetration for the phytoplankton.

Aeration operation times can be variable depending on numerous pond conditions, the compressor type, size and amount of air output of pump and amount of water moved per hour plus other specific topics which is why you will get numerous opinions about winter aeration and also varied opinions about summer aeration run times.

To get customized aerator operation advice there needs to be more information provided about pond specifics. Some of that info you do not have such as depth and dissolved oxygen profiles for your pond. esshup even mentions biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) which is very important for good pond assessment and very few if any people have this measurement. Only the very few pond management companies measure pond BOD or how to measure it. Plus BOD changes with the pond temperature. BOD is usually lowest in winter and highest in summer during highest productivity.

Just about every seller of aeration equipment suggests to run the compressor 24/7/365 especially in southern ponds. They say this IMO mainly to include all possible situations having the aerator doing the most it can do in that pond. Some or many kit aerators and DYI pond aerators are undersized. Ideally one pond water turn over (complete mix) is recommended per day to keep high DO water on the bottom. If the pond aerator is "correctly" sized as a basic minimal unit, it will or should produce 1 turnover each day running 24/7. I always suggest over sizing aerators but this is not economically feasible in big ponds and small lakes. Thus one turnover per 24hr is practical. Initial higher investment of oversizing produces maximum water flow volumes, reduces electric costs, allows more time between pump rebuilds, and lengthens pump life span from using shorter run times.

Generally in my experience, longer aeration run times are needed most based on or if the pond has weedy/high algae conditions that create dead or dying plants at various times, green water, large amounts of leaf and organic inputs, large fish biomass, fish fed 'a lot', old, deep mucky bottoms, duckweed - water meal ponds, when pond is fertilized, has numerous ducks-geese visitors, lower water clarities, the amount of annual sunshine, temperature and nutrient budgets of the water body, etc. All these items contribute to higher BOD and the need for more aeration during summer and winter.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 12/11/22 04:19 PM.

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Originally Posted by Bill Cody
[quote]
IMO the amount of ice and snow cover on the pond has a lot to do with amount of aeration needed between Dec and Mar-Apr. Generally in most but not all "normal" ponds, the thicker the ice and longer snow lies on the ice the more the need for aeration. Years ago I and esshup experimented with winter aeration. He still winter aerates and I do not. I remove snow to about 10%-15% of the iced pond to expose the ice and underlying water to sunshine which allows the phytoplankton to make DO. When snow cover lies on the ice longer than 6 weeks without snow melt off I get nervous. Then I check DO levels and sometimes will start the aerator to melt a hole in the ice to allow degassing and light penetration for the phytoplankton.

In my pond I get water flowing through the porous sandy soil that the pond is dug in and when compared to the local lake that is roughly 1.5 miles away I seem to always have about half the ice thickness that is on the lake. When I take water temps in my pond, they are consistently 2-3 degrees higher than the water that is in the lake. I think that is the reason for the thinner ice on my pond. I am in a Lake Effect snow belt, so if I have 1"-2" ice on the pond and a Lake Effect storm comes through, the snow piles up on the ice and turns the ice white before I can safely get out there to clean the snow off. That's the main reason why I run the winter aeration system.

A customer had a 2 year old pond (it was only stocked at 1/2 the recommended stocking rate when new) and he had a windmill aeration system. It was set up so the deep diffuser was shut off during the winter and the one in shallow water was turned on. He had a fish kill when we had a 2 week span in February of no wind, heavy fog with about 3" ice and 6" snow on the pond. The other ponds of his did NOT have a winterkill, but they were aerated with a grid based system.


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Bill Cody - Maybe you could flesh out the theory of "Normal Pond". crazy


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Welcome to PB, fellow Miserian.

I suspend a 4' ring diffuser at 12" depth from my fishing dock in the winter and run it 24/7.
That keeps an area roughly 25' diameter ice-free no matter how cold the weather gets.

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Hello.
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For Azteca's pond situation and winter aeration - look at the large percentage of open water compared to pond size.

Dwight - There is probably a whole book chapter that could be written for what is a "normal" pond. Each pond like each person is in some way unique. Actually truth be known there probably is no "normal" pond.
Webster says "Normal" is conforming to a type, standard, or regular pattern : characterized by that which is considered usual, typical, or routine.
Ponds probably do not fit into that "normal" definition if one really understands the complexity and interactions of pond chemistry, the many physical parts, and the extensive pond biology involving the food web. As with humans there are too many constantly changing variables in the system to make a pond normal.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 12/12/22 08:03 PM.

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