Why Do I Need Aeration?
When we tell people that aeration is critical, many ask us why. It’s a fair question because in many cases, unaerated water bodies can seem perfectly healthy.
This is very rarely the case, however, and even if all looks well, your ecosystem is most likely suffering if it isn’t aerated.
Increase Oxygen Levels
There a few reasons why your water body should be aerated but the main reason is because most living things on this planet require oxygen to survive. Certain amounts of oxygen will generally be present in most places but that doesn’t mean that it is available in high enough quantities to sustain a healthy ecosystem. By setting up a quality aeration system, you greatly increase the oxygen levels within your water which supports any desirable aquatic life within your water body (fish, beneficial bacteria, plants, etc.).
Control and Reduce Algae and Aquatic Weed
This leads up to the second reason why you need aeration: In addition to supporting life that you do want in your water body, aeration can help reduce the frequency and severity of algae and aquatic weed outbreaks. This is because:
A) Algae and many weeds aren’t big fans of circulated water (and circulation is a benefit of aeration).
B) Aeration supports the organisms (namely beneficial bacteria) that compete with algae and aquatic weeds for nutrients.
Boost Beneficial Bacteria
Bacteria tend to get a bad reputation but like anything else, there are both good and bad varieties and both types are everywhere. As noted above, beneficial bacteria that are properly supported by aeration find it far easier to out-compete the aquatic weed and algae that they share a food source with but that’s not all they’re good for.
One of the most important things you can do for your water quality is to support the friendly bacteria population because it’s their mission to keep your ecosystem nice. They consume excess nutrients, reduce sludge and help maintain balance within your lake/pond/dam/etc. but they cannot do all this properly without aeration. This is because, as a general rule, beneficial bacteria are aerobic, meaning they need oxygen to thrive.
Mix Your Water
Two things happen when a water body isn’t aerated:
- The layers of your water will separate according to temperature.
- Your oxygen levels will vary greatly between these layers as unaerated water depends on temperature and the climate around it to determine oxygen levels.
This can lead to stratification which is essentially where you water “flips” due to a change in weather and the cold, low oxygen water from the bottom spreads throughout the entire body. Not only is this bad for your bacteria and ecosystem in general, but it is extremely dangerous to your fishy friends. This is generally why those with unaerated water bodies experience mass fish kills during the warmer months.
Reduce Water Odour
Smelly water bodies are no fun for anyone involved and can even be dangerous (and illegal) depending on how strong the odour is.
Aeration can help reduce odour and stop your lake from becoming a health hazard because it’s not actually your water that smells: it’s the anaerobic bacteria that will do their best to take over if you have a low or no oxygen environment.
As oxygen levels within your water rise, your anaerobic bacteria population will naturally fall taking the odour they produce with them.
To put it simply, increased oxygen = decreased odour.
Natural Pest Control
Ever notice how mosquitoes are drawn to some water bodies but not others? This is because their aim is to lay their eggs which is ideally done in still, stagnant water.
Remember how we said that circulating your water via aeration will help keep algae and other nasties away? Well it works the same way with mosquitoes. Because aerated water is constantly be disturbed and circulated, it cannot become stagnant which means that mosquitoes will avoid breeding in it if they have any other option.
Long Story Short
There are plenty of good reasons to aerate and it’s your number one way to improve water quality in man made water bodies.
If you’re still on the fence, we’ve created a resource that breaks down the pros and cons of dam aeration so you can see all the details for both sides of the coin before making your decision.
There are lots of ways to aerate water, and lots of products for you to choose from but unfortunately, there’s no such thing as a one size fits all aeration system. It’s not rocket science but there are some key principles that need to be followed. The good news is you don’t have to be an aeration expert, that’s what we’re here for.