By: Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer
Pondsare popular waterfeatures that instill a sense of peace and natural beauty while helping tosupport a healthy ecosystem. However, without proper care and maintenance, eventhe simplest pond can become a smelly, brackish pit and a breeding ground forpests including hordes of mosquitoes.
A successful pond must be kept as clean and odor free aspossible, and the best way to accomplish this is with mechanical aerationsystems, such as pond bubbler aerators. A bubbler helps to support a healthyenvironment for aquatic life and keeps your water feature fresh and attractive.What is bubble aeration? Read on to learn about pond bubbler systems.
Pond Aeration Benefits
Pond aeration has many benefits that include the following:
- Improved water quality. Without some type of pond bubbler system, the water soon becomes mucky and oxygen deprived. In time, the entire pond will appear murky. A poorly aerated pond is also prime habitat for leeches.
- Reduction in mosquito hatches. A bubbler in a pond keeps the water moving and serves as an effective means of mosquito control. Without still water, mosquito eggs can’t develop.
- Minimized growth of algae. Algae can be very destructive when allowed to grow unchecked, competing for nutrients in the water and turning your backyard pond into an ugly swamp. A bubbler in a pond ensures that algae spores are distributed to deeper water where they are deprived of sunlight. Since the water is moving, algae has less time to get established.
- Reduces problems caused by hot weather. When summer weather is hot and the air is still, the upper part of the pond can become much warmer than deeper areas. If warmer water isn’t mixed with cooler water, oxygen levels drop in deeper parts of the pond, which causes the water to become stagnant. Conversely, cooler water may sink to the bottom if the weather suddenly turns cold.
- Reduction of foul odors. A pond bubbler system ensures the water is mixed, which prevents it from becoming stagnant. Without a pond bubbler aerator, the pond may become unhealthy and develop a rotten egg smell.
- Healthy habitat for fish and other aquatic creatures. Without aeration, fish can’t breathe and may suffocate, and the entire ecosystem is compromised. A pond bubbler aerator pumps fresh oxygen into the water.
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Read more about General Water Plant Care
Natural ponds are diminishing on average 50% worldwide, so having a garden pond can help protect native wildlife.
Worldwide, aquatic ecosystems are struggling – approximately 87% of all wetlands, such as bogs and fens, have disappeared (with an exacerbated loss of 98% in the United States), and more than 50% of natural pond and lake habitats have similarly been lost. Within those numbers, 50% have been lost just in the last 40 years. Aquatic ecosystems are among the most unique, biodiverse, and sensitive systems in the world, and with their loss there is a ripple effect felt in virtually every single other ecosystem, including the world of humans.
This means that seemingly simple garden or hobby ponds, no matter how large or small, have a chance to play a critical role in the survival of countless species and provide benefits that extend far beyond your backyard.
Do I need an aerator in my koi pond?
First thing’s first: what is aeration? It is the process of adding oxygen to water. Ponds, and koi ponds especially, need sufficient levels of dissolved oxygen to maintain itself, but also for the fish. How do ponds get aeration though? Mother Nature herself naturally aerates bodies of water through wind, rain, aquatic plants, and the splash of water from incoming streams or waterfalls. Even other creatures in your pond can add aeration to the water. In the aeration process. oxygen permeates the water’s surface and creates a disruption. The more disruption, the more oxygen comes back into the pond.
In essence, any disruption in the water will add oxygen, and this is why fountains are both beautiful and beneficial to your pond. Fountains aerate by taking the pond water and propelling it. The process of air-water contact transfers oxygen by breaking the water into small droplets that splash into the water and create a pocket of air.
If surface aerators like fountains, streams, and waterfalls are not present in your water feature, there are additional sub-surface aeration products. Many have a waterfall as well as an additional aeration tool, especially in the summer, as the need for dissolved oxygen increases. Fish in particular need that extra oxygen or their health can be compromised. One way to increase aeration is through an artificial sub-surface aeration system, which is a fancy way to say that you’ll be putting a bubbler at the bottom of the pond.
A disc the size of a dinner plate is attached to an air compressor and it sits at the bottom of your pond. Once on, the disc spins, creating bubbles that will rise to the pond’s surface. This helps aeration and circulation, and if strategically placed, the system can push debris toward the skimmer, keeping your pond clean and full of fresh air.
What happens in the winter?
Cold water actually holds oxygen more effectively than warm water, so in the winter months, you won’t have to put as much time into making sure your pond has an aeration system. The bubbles breaking the surface of the water in the winter will help maintain a hole in the ice. This means that harmful gasses from the fish can escape from the pond. In the summer, the aerator should be located at the bottom of the pond, but in the winter, you’ll want it higher up. It is also important to mix the deep water with the surface water since the fish hibernate in the warmer, deeper water in the winter. Mixing the two can be dangerous for your fish friends. If you choose to turn your aerator off in the winter, a de-icer will be perfect for keeping the ice in place. Even with a waterfall turned on in the cold months, a de-icer is useful and beneficial to your overall water feature.
Calculate Proper Pond Aeration
How to Calculate the Proper Aeration Required for Your Large Pond or Lake:
Sizing Requirement Guidelines:
CALCULATE LAKE SURFACE AREA A) Multiply the length of the lake (in feet) by the width of the lake (in feet) to get the square feet of the surface. Area = L x W
B) Divide the surface area (in square feet) by 43,560 to get the number of surface acres. SURFACE AREA = NUMBER OF ACRES 43,560
CALCULATE NUMBER OF AERATORS Number of aerators = Number of acres (rounded upward) Example: The lake is 220ft. wide x 370 ft. long (220' x 370' = 81,400 sq. ft = 1.87 acres (rounded up to 2 acres).
43,560 Lake requires either: (2) 1 - 1/2 hp aerators for normal conditions or (2) 2 hp aerators for warm climates or lakes with a history of high algae problems.
Choose the right size of aerator for your pond. We have these categorized by the size of pond they will treat. If you have excessive amounts of fish or waste, you may need to go with a larger unit. That's a little tricky, so please contact us with the size of pond you have including it's shape and depth so we can assist you. Also, please indicate how far the electric source is from the pond's edge. Many folks have their compressor near the pond's edge under one of our vented fake rock covers as the compressor has to be protected from the elements (like wind, rain, snow, etc.). However, you may be able to locate the compressor 1000 feet away from the edge of the pond and run poly tubing to the edge, then connect the tubing to the diverter/splitter and run weighted or poly tubing to each diffuser that gets placed into the pond.
This is all a very simple process. It consists of stainless steel hose clamps and a screw driver. Tightening the clamp to the adapter and hose. Running it out into the pond and connecting it via another hose clamp to the diffusers and then lowering them into the water. Then, on shore, where your compressor is located, you simply attach the tubing(s) to the compressor and plug it in. Super simple! Lots of folks bury the poly tubing which works fine.
Don't forget to add beneficial bacteria to your pond on a regular basis. This accelerates the decomposition of organic matter (leaves, silt, muck, fallen debris, etc.) which continually provides nourishment to your pond algae and weeds and cause them to grow more readily. Pond bacteria also helps keep the bottom of the pond 'healthy' so the fish who live in that area have a better environment to live and are not struggling to survive in an anaerobic, toxic environment. We recommend PlanktoniX for large ponds and lakes.
Best Solar Pond Aerators – Top 8
- Beckett Corporation Air Pump Solar Kit – $ – Skip to Section
- AirMax PondAir 2 Aeration Kit – $ – Skip to Section
- Laguna Aeration Kit for Ponds – $ – Skip to Section
- AEO Solar Powered Air Pump Kit – $ – Skip to Section
- The Outdoor Shop Solar Pond Aerator – $$ – Skip to Section
- Airmax Koi Air Mini Aeration Kit – $$ – Skip to Section
- Solariver Solar Water Pump Kit – $$ – Skip to Section
- Airmax KoiAir1 Water Garden Aeration Kit – $$$ – Skip to Section
Beckett Corporation Air Pump Solar Kit
- Dimensions: 2 x 5 x 18 inches
- Weight: 1 pound
- Inclusions: Air hose, solar panel, power cord, aerator
- Warranty: 1-year Limited Warranty
This aerator from Beckett is one of the most straightforward yet efficient aerators that you can find in the market today. The pump does not have any water or decorative features, but it works efficiently, which is all that matters!
The small pump can be easily placed anywhere in your pond. Despite its small size, it is said to be powerful and can deliver a water flow of up to 2 liters per minute. The kit already comes with a power cord which is long enough to allow you to experiment with the placement of the aerator.
With its pump size, this aerator is perfect for small ponds with only a few fishes.
- Long Power cord
- Powerful solar panel
- Small size won’t take a lot of space
- Great for small ponds
AirMax PondAir 2 Aeration Kit
- Dimensions: 7 x 5 x 4 inches
- Weight:3.15 pounds
- Inclusions: Pump, diffuser, airline, check valves, air stones, and power cord
- Warranty: Please contact customer services for more details.
- 0.15 cm airflow
- 4w/ 115 voltage pump
- 6 ft power cord
- 2 x 30’ vinyl airline
Here’s a small but definitely powerful aerator. The aerator can circulate up to 2000 gallons of water and can run for the minimum voltage of 4 watts. This means that it is not just powerful—it is efficient as well.
The pump that comes with this aeration kit offers dial-in controls that allow you to operate and adjust it easily. You just need to turn the dial to either restrict the airflow or run the pump to its maximum energy.
What makes this kit different from the others is it comes with air stone diffusers that create fine air bubbles inside the pond, which promotes better oxygen absorption. These are also easy to clean and replace whenever you need to.
The kit also contains directional air valves that prevent the water from traveling back into the lines when the pump is not in use. Last but not least, you can use the flexible airline in this kit to place the air stones strategically for maximum air circulation in the pond.
With all its features, this kit is excellent for pond size that contains 1000 gallons of water.
- Noiseless operation
- Directional check valves ensure that the air will stay in place.
- Long flexible airline hose
- Stone diffusers for better air circulation
- Easy to set up
- Some users claim that the product did not last for a year
- Some users received defective stones
Laguna Aeration Kit for Ponds
- Dimensions: 8 x 9 x 5.3 inches
- Weight: 3.3 pounds
- Inclusions: Aeration pump, airline tubing, diffuser, Styrofoam float
- Warranty: Contact customer service for more details.
This pond aeration kit from Laguna is quite a popular pond kit and is highly recommended by most of its reviewers. This may be due to the fact that this kit already comes with just about everything you need to get your pond aeration system up and running within just a few minutes.
This kit is designed to keep the pond active even during the winter season. Its 30-inch winter-safe airline tubing ensures that the water is continuously infused with oxygen all day long.
Sure, this kit does not come with all the bells and whistles of most aeration kits, but it does have the basics which are already a good deal for its price. But with the limited features that the pump has, it is recommended only for smaller ponds.
- Long airline tubing
- Great for year-round use
- All-weather operation
- Great for use during the winter season
AEO Solar Powered Air Pump Kit
- Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 3.9 inches
- Weight: 2.1 pounds
- Inclusions: air pump, solar panel, air stones
- Warranty: Contact the company’s customer service department to know more details.
Among all the other aeration kits in this list, this air pump kit contains one of the most powerful solar panels as it can give a maximum wattage of 2.5 watts. This powerful solar panel, paired with a high-quality pump, can be able to aerate small ponds.
The kit comes with two airing stones which can lift the water high, promoting better air circulation in the water.
The manufacturer recommends the use of this pump for ponds that contain only 800 gallons.
- Well-made fuse
- Long cable
- Long-lasting when properly taken care of
- Lifts the water high
- Quiet operation
The Outdoor Shop Solar Pond Aerator
- Dimensions: 7.8 x 6.6 x 4.3 inches
- Weight: 2.05 pounds
- Inclusions: air pump, solar panel, tubes and cables
- Warranty: Check the company’s website for more details.
The pump of this aeration kit may be small, but it is powerful. It can facilitate the flow of up to 48 gallons of water in just an hour. Aside from the fact that its pump device is cute looking, one advantage of its small size is you can easily place it wherever you want. Your pond does not have to be too big for you to accommodate it.
The kit’s aeration stones deliver a strong bubbling motion, so you are assured that the water and are in the pond are properly circulated.
Same with the previous air pump kit, this one can aerate ponds that contain up to 3000 liters (792.5 gallons) of water.
- The tubing of the pump requires protection
- Has to be directly under the sunlight for it to work
Airmax Koi Air Mini Aeration Kit
- Dimensions: 12.7 x 12 x 10.5 inches
- Weight: 11.1 pounds
- Inclusions: Pump, diffuser stick, diffuser plate, airline tubing
- Warranty: Please contact customer services for more details.
This kit is a mini version of the Airmax Aeration Kit but guess what, it has components that you can’t find in regular-sized aeration kits!
For one, it contains diffuser sticks that work the same way as stone diffusers—even better! As compared to the diffuser stones, these sticks are less prone to clogging. These are also easier to maintain. Besides, these sticks are flexible and have a lower tendency to leak and crack.
The kit also has a diffuser plate designed to secure and safeguard the diffuser sticks. The addition of this plate also ensures secure attachment of the diffuser sticks to the airline tubing. The EasySet Airline that comes with this kit is a heavy-duty and flexible self-weighted airline that is resistant to kinks, snags, and cuts.
According to the manufacturer, the kit is recommended for ponds and water gardens that contains 1000 to 4000 gallons of water.
- Diffuser plates for stable storage of diffuser sticks
- Diffuser sticks for better oxygen absorption
- Cut, snag, and kink resistant cables
- High water capacity
- Made in the USA
Solariver Solar Water Pump Kit
- Dimensions: 20.8 x 14.3 x 6.2 inches
- Weight: 8.95 pounds
- Inclusions: solar panel, pump, and power cord
- Warranty:1-year warranty
- 400GPH flow rate
- Removable Filter
- Non-toxic material
- Aluminum-framed solar panel
This aeration kit is one of the most expensive solar pond aerators in the market, but its prices come with a lot of features that you would want to take advantage of.
The kit’s solar panel is made with a high-quality aluminum frame that can withstand all types of weather. It can deliver the maximum wattage of 20 Watts for an efficient and powerful aeration process.
On the other hand, the pump is brushless and magnetic and has been proven to last for long. In fact, the manufacturer claims that it can last for up to 20000 hours of operation. The pump has a removable pre-filter that can prevent the debris from clogging the pump.
With the power of this pump, it is recommended for medium-sized ponds.
- Comes with a long cord
- Powerful Motor
- Works on salty and freshwater
- Easy to maintain
Airmax KoiAir1 Water Garden Aeration Kit
- Dimensions: 13.5 x 13 x 17.5 inches
- Weight: 16.35 pounds
- Inclusions: Pump, airline tubing, diffuser plate, diffuser sticks, squeeze clamps, rubber coupler
- Warranty: Please contact customer services for more details.
This aeration kit from AirMax is the most expensive kit in the list. Its features are similar to that of the mini version in the sense that it comes with diffuser sticks (clog-resistant version of stone diffusers), airline tubing (self-weighted tubing that is resistant to kinks, cuts, and snags), and diffuser plate (which serves as a sturdy base plate for easy hook up of the sticks).
The only difference between the two is the diffuser plate of this kit can hold up to two diffuser sticks which can deliver up to 0.8 CFM airflow. This aeration kit is designed to aerate water gardens and ponds that contain 2000 to 8000 gallons of water.
It is also suitable for ponds that have a maximum operating depth of 4 feet.
Since it has two diffuser sticks and double diaphragm, this kit is perfect for deep ponds.
- Whisper-quiet operation
- Dual diaphragm delivers maximum circulation
- Great for deep ponds
- Highly efficient compressor
- Long airline tubing
In Summary: Which of these Solar Pond Aerators is For You?
Considering the fantastic features of the products listed in this article, we can say that you are in for a tough selection process when you buy a solar pond aerator.
Luckily, we have already provided you with the tips and information you need to figure it all out. But of course, our editor would like to do more than equip you with the right knowledge. As a long-time pond owner and enthusiast, he believes that he is capable of providing expert recommendations as to which solar pond aerator you should choose.
As mentioned, you need to factor in the size of your pond when choosing a solar pond aerator. You need to make sure that the GPH rate of the aerator is enough to cover the water capacity of your pond. But in this short review, our editor discovered one pond aerator that is suitable for ponds with a low water capacity of 1000 gallons up to a high capacity of 4000 gallons. It is no other than the Airmax Koi Air Mini Aeration Kit. Sure it is expensive, but all the advanced features that it has made it worth it.
But if your pond has less than 1000 gallons of water and you wish to save money, your next best option is The Outdoor Shop Solar Pond Aerator. Despite its affordable price, it is equipped with the right features that can make the user experience as smooth sailing as possible.
The total volume of air required is a function of many factors, including how much of the pond or lake is anaerobic, its temperature, whether it’s stratified, how deep it is and how it’s shaped. But there are a couple of guidelines to follow. Moving the full volume of the pond every 24 hours is an ideal situation (that may not be possible, but it’s a good starting point). The most efficient systems can move about 2000 gpm for three-quarter hp under ideal conditions.
Two diffusers each rated at 3 CFM driven by a linear diaphragm pump that will handle 6 CFM at 4 psi would do nicely.
For further assistance with your calculations, and for assistance with large lakes, visit a couple of different manufacturers’ websites and ask for help for the tough ones. They have folks on staff who are real experts, and will be able to give you a much better idea than this simple overview. Remember, proper aeration in conjunction with a maintenance program that includes regular applications of heterotrophic bacteria can: