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What Happens When I Install Aeration in my Pond?

Aeration will fundamentally and positively alter your water’s ecosystem. But a lot of people have questions about what happens after they install an aerator or aeration system in their pond. Usually, the questions revolve around understanding what happens when aeration kick starts the process towards better water quality.


Here are two of the most commonly asked questions from our customers. Keep in mind that some people maintain a private fishery in their pond, while many others use their pond, dugout or lagoon for agricultural or other purposes.

Aeration Layout

How long does it take to make an impact on my water?

The rate of change you will see in your water after you install aeration depends on the design or the aeration system and your goals. At Smoky Trout Farm, system design is included in all of the quotes we provide customers. The design includes items like: compressor specifications, diffuser quantity and placement and hose requirements. Each of these elements is sized to your water and your goals. 


Your goals are your own, and include factors like budget, fish management, or water quality for irrigation, livestock and even household use.


If your waterbody is currently stocked with fish, then we design an aeration implementation that slows the mix rate of oxygen that enables the water to move back to a healthy state, without radically altering the ecosystem and stressing the fish. This can take longer than other design options.


If fish are not present, and the goal is to improve water quality as quickly as possible, then the aeration design will support the fastest route to accelerating the buildup of dissolved oxygen (DO), and moving the accumulated, un-processed nutrients through the decomposition cycle.

What does this process look like? How can I tell if it is working?

One of the first indicators of aeration working is smell. From a faint whiff, to a legitimate stink. 


You are going to experience H2S coming up off the bottom and depending on how big your accumulated nutrient load is, it will take a couple of days to a week (or so) to dissipate.


H2S is hydrogen sulphide, a nasty by-product of the anaerobic decomposition that occurs when there is insufficient oxygen at the bottom of your water body.

Young girl covering her nose with a bad

A side benefit of the changes from aeration:


The reduction of egg production from larval-based insects that prefer stagnant water to hatch. This includes mosquitoes, midge flies and other human-annoying pests!

Despite the smell, this is a good thing. It means you made the right decision to install aeration because your water system was not keeping up with the biological oxygen demand of the nutrient load in your pond, dugout or lagoon.


If your system properly sized and designed for your water profile, then in about a week, you can see the following:


  • H2S will start to dissipate

  • Could see an improvement in clarity

  • Possibly have an algae bloom start. You’re mixing nutrient rich water from bottom, sending it to the surface to increase the oxygen mix ratio and, getting it closer to sunlight and warmer temperatures


The symptoms can get worse before it gets better as aeration accelerates the natural decomposition process, which is necessary to bring back healthy water quality to your system.


The other indicator you may not directly observe,  but it is important to note, is the DO can drop before it increases - because the oxygen demand from the sediments. As you start moving water past the sediments, the muck “pulls out” more oxygen than you are putting in. It takes some time to get past that curve.


This is a normal process. There is a high Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) from the sediments, until the nutrients are oxidized in the muck layer. Once the muck layer interacts with enough DO, it will decompose more rapidly in response.


The cycle can be accelerated with bio-catalysts and probiotics and prebiotics. What this does is boost the number and effectiveness of beneficial bacteria consuming the nutrients in your muck and sediments.  


This process will move you toward your water quality goals so you can enjoy all the benefits it brings you.


Get started on the right aeration design for you and your water. Call or email us today

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