Hot, dry weather creates stressful conditions on all ponds, especially small ones. Stratification develops, evaporation crowds fish, and causes low oxygen levels. Still, cloudy days compound above environments. If you’re confronting these concerns, here’s three steps to hopefully carry the pond to more healthy fall conditions.
According to Bob Robinson at Kasco Marine, surface aeration, or circulation, typically is safe this time of year for shallow ponds eight to 10 feet deep. Bottom diffuser systems are best for larger, deeper lakes, but must be CAREFULLY installed this late in the season. If new aeration owners don’t follow “slow start” procedures, bottom diffusers can cause a turnover and potential fish kill. “Slow start” steps include running the unit short periods each day for approximately two weeks to “gradually” breakdown stratification.
If you feed fish and suspect stressful conditions, stop feeding. Fish use two to three times more oxygen during feeding than while at rest. Uneaten feed is consumed by bacteria which also robs oxygen. Consider feeding during cooler hours and temporarily reducing the amount fed.
Bob explained plant concentrations are the third point to monitor. If plants produce oxygen, the more, the better, right? Not exactly. Large amounts of vegetation produce oxygen during sunlight, but also consume it during life cycles, darkness, and extended low light periods. Chemically treating too large an area of vegetation also may deplete oxygen suddenly.
Please call if you’re considering an aeration program. Our suppliers can view a satellite image of your pond and offer expert analysis to engineer an efficient, productive system.