Aeration for winter question

Discussion in 'Winterizing Your Pond' started by Jersey_Marine, Aug 9, 2015.

  1. Jersey_Marine

    Jersey_Marine

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    Last year I used 2 pond breathers for the harshest NJ winter I can ever remember. All my fish lived....This year instead of the pond breathers I think I am going to use 2 Pondmaster AP-20 pumps with a garden hose. I know if you are reading this you are saying why would you fix something that isnt broken...Well. Essentially all my fish made the winter BUT I wasnt too thrilled about how the pond breathers reacted during a week or more severe cold front. It seemed as though the water froze over in the breather tube and the small pump on the breather got mucked up rather badly by the end of the winter. Im sure they worked "somewhat" but I think I will have total assurance with the Pondmaster AP-20's. I used cold water good bacteria every few weeks I bought online from the arctic so Im not sure if that kept them alive or the breathers or a mixture of both. Seeing how they froze over makes me skeptical....Some guy I was speaking to in my local pond store also recommended the AP-20's over the breathers. My question is do I use the diffusers that come with the AP-20's or do I just put the garden hose on the bottom. It seems as though the diffusers can get mucked up rather easy. I doubt the open garden hose will get mucked up. Advice on this is greatly appreciated since I want my guys to make it this winter once again.
     
    Jersey_Marine, Aug 9, 2015
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  2. Jersey_Marine

    MitchM

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    I have the most severe winter than anyone else that posts here, and my pond breathers had a slight film on them, but nothing that I considered unusual.
    How thick was the muck on the breather intakes? I would examine that first in case there is something else going on in your pond during the winter. Maybe the breathers were in too shallow of an area. I really don't think adding "cold water bacteria" is a good idea. There's no good reason for using that stuff, whatever it is.

    You know your pond best, but I wouldn't consider an air pump to be as reliable as pond breathers in cold weather. Once an air line freezes up, it's no good until spring thaw. My breathers would form a bit of ice inside the tube when it got down to -40, but would thaw out again as the temperature warmed up, usually a few days later.

    .
     
    MitchM, Aug 9, 2015
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  3. Jersey_Marine

    Tula

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    I know @MitchM and @addy1 , along with others had great success with their Pond Breathers. Mine broke, I returned it and then it was back ordered....so I relied on my Pond Master A20 and a de icer. I suspended my airstones over a PVC pipe, so they were suspended about 12 inches under the surface of the water, near the de icer.. All my fish were fine.

    I might try another Pond Breather, but will still use the de -icer and aerator.
     
    Tula, Aug 9, 2015
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  4. Jersey_Marine

    Jersey_Marine

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    Wow. -40! Makes my NJ winter seem like Hawaii....lol. Anyway I keep my pond rather clean. Its about 5,000 gallons and approximately 3.5-4ft deep. This will be my 2nd winter with the pond. I had the pond completely drained in the spring, cleaned and re-filled. The entire season my pond is crystal clear with the exception of a hard rain that mucks it up slightly for a few days. I add good bacteria, algaecide, ammonia killer and chlorine killer on a weekly basis and every few weeks i throw these muck eating balls in it. I also have a filter with a UV light aside from my oversize bio-falls with the double pad filter. I had the breather pumps off the bottom on a milk crate so they werent sitting in any muck whatsoever but the plastic ball that encases the pump had all muck/algae when I opened the pond in the spring. The breathers seemed to work better in the first few months then in the later winter months. Im not sure why you feel as though the cold water good bacteria isnt a good idea but Id like to know as Im still new at this. Its good bacteria thats able to live in water under 35 degrees. Every few weeks that i could find a hole Id pour a few ounces in it
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2015
    Jersey_Marine, Aug 9, 2015
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  5. Jersey_Marine

    addy1 water gardener / gold fish and shubunkins Moderator

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    I had the breathers free floating in the big pond, the one in the 1000 gallon stock tank I tied the pump up slightly so it would not sit on the bottom.
    I had hornwort aracharnis, etc in the ponds. By spring the little white cage around the breathers pump was perfectly clean, a very slight bit of the fine green algae the grows on glass, plastic etc ow nothing.

    They ran perfectly all winter, zero deaths in the spring in the 1000 gallon tank, a few deaths at the far end of the big pond away from the breather, fish trapped in the 12-18 inches of ice. I bought another breather to run two this winter in the big pond, one in the deep end, one towards the walk out end.
     
    addy1, Aug 9, 2015
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  6. Jersey_Marine

    Meyer Jordan Tadpole

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    Do not remove the diffusers. They enable the movement of a lot of water. Since only air is being pumped through the diffuser, it seems odd that a diffuser would ever 'muck up'.

    'Cold Water bacteria' is a waste of money. Your pond is already colonized by bacteria that are peculiar to your particular climate. Adding bacteria strains that are not common to your geography and/or climate can actually disrupt the biological balance that your pond has developed.
     
    Meyer Jordan, Aug 9, 2015
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  7. Jersey_Marine

    Jersey_Marine

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    I was under the impression that the all the bacteria that colonized my pond during water temps of 50+ degrees die when the water goes below 50. Well good to know. Ill save some money this winter because the stuff wasnt cheap
     
    Jersey_Marine, Aug 9, 2015
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  8. Jersey_Marine

    MitchM

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    I think that's part of the problem, your pond is constantly having to adjust each time you add those things.
    I tried experimenting with my indoor aquariums' bacteria population by adding a carbon source in the form of vodka, sugar and vinegar in an effort to reduce the nitrate and phosphorus levels. The experiment did work, but there was a noticeable buildup of mulm on pump intakes.
    I don't add anything to my outdoor pond and it does fine.
     
    MitchM, Aug 9, 2015
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  9. Jersey_Marine

    addy1 water gardener / gold fish and shubunkins Moderator

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    My pond gets water only added. Well frogs, fish, plants, but no chemicals.
     
    addy1, Aug 9, 2015
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  10. Jersey_Marine

    Jersey_Marine

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    When you add water you dont put any chemicals in the pond to neutrilize the tap waters chlorine and metals?
     
    Jersey_Marine, Aug 9, 2015
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  11. Jersey_Marine

    Jersey_Marine

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    When I say muck there isnt alot. It is an outdoor pond situated between trees and at the entrance to woods. The tap water neutralizer, stress coat chemical, algaecide and certainly the good bacteria isnt creating muck. Leaves, branches and natural vegetation that makes its way into the pond creates the muck. Its impossible to stop things from falling into the pond when its between trees and at the base of hundreds of acres of wooded land. I may be a rookie pond guy but my pond is always crystal clear and all my fish made it through the winter without dying. A large majority of veteran pond guys lost most if not all their fish last winter. Im not saying I know everything but what I do know is I cant be doing something entirely wrong and creating muck from pond chemicals and good bacteria...I always want to learn but when people come up with off the wall opinions on what they think is right and wrong I always fall back and say well why is my pond crystal clear and why did my fish live through negative temps all winter. I always want opinions but some opinions are baseless. Below I will post a photo to show where the pond is. Take notice to the surrounding trees and woods in the backdrop
     

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    Jersey_Marine, Aug 9, 2015
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  12. Jersey_Marine

    Meyer Jordan Tadpole

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    Do you have a skimmer? If not it would be a worthwhile addition.
    Some heterotrophic bacteria not only survive, but still function at temperatures as low as 32.5 F. Archaea are known to still oxidize Ammonia at temperatures approaching freezing. No, your pond does not die biologically at temperatures below 50F. Processes may slow considerably, but the pond still remains quite dynamic biologically.
     
    Meyer Jordan, Aug 9, 2015
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  13. Jersey_Marine

    MitchM

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    Are there any opinions stated so far that you would like further clarification on?

    Clear water is not necessarily the sign of a healthy pond. Pond water has dissolved organic compounds and humic substances that are necessary food for the nitrifying bacteria that are responsible for processing fish waste and the products of decaying plant matter so the fish can have an environment safe to live in.
    The amount of dissolved organic coumpounds and humic substances are constantly changing and will change the appearance of the water.

    .
     
    MitchM, Aug 9, 2015
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  14. Jersey_Marine

    MitchM

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    As far as there being a lot of old timers losing fish over the winter, I find that there are a lot of myths out there that have no basis in fact.
    Most errors I come across are done because of convenience, desire for profit and a lack of understanding of the issue.
    Once a person looks into the science of a problem, it's often pretty obvious why something went wrong.
    Ponds are ponds, it we humans that are the biggest variable in their management and success or failure.
     
    MitchM, Aug 9, 2015
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  15. Jersey_Marine

    Meyer Jordan Tadpole

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    Boy! Ain't that the truth!! This is why I have always tried to adhere to the old pondkeepers adage of managing a pond through 'Benign Neglect".
     
    Meyer Jordan, Aug 9, 2015
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  16. Jersey_Marine

    addy1 water gardener / gold fish and shubunkins Moderator

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    No we are on a well

    My pond in arizona I never added chemicals, that water was yuck with chlorine and hard, but I did have a float valve that trickled water in whenever it needed it. No big add of water at any one time.
     
    addy1, Aug 9, 2015
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  17. Jersey_Marine

    Dave 54

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    Watching the youtube video of the AP20 its quite obvious that the guy wants to hedge his bets somewhat when it comes to this product prefaring to also run the breather alongside of it .
    Its don to you what you want to do with your pond but I'd take stock about what others are saying before going ahead with things , you dont want things to go wrong now do you ?

    Dave
     
    Dave 54, Aug 10, 2015
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  18. Jersey_Marine

    Jersey_Marine

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    Im going to probably go a little overboard and use the 2 AP-20's and the pond breather. Highly doubtful but if 2 out of 3 fail Ill stilll have 1 keeping a hole in the ice till spring
     
    Jersey_Marine, Aug 10, 2015
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  19. Jersey_Marine

    HARO Pondcrastinator

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    @Jersey_Marine; For what it's worth, the number of beneficial bacteria that any pond can support depends on the food available to them, in this case ammonia and nitrites. As ammonia drops, nitrosomonas bacteria die back, and the same with nitrobacter when the nitrites drop. When you add bacteria to a pond with insufficient food, these excess bacteria die (starve), adding to the bio-load of the pond (ammonia) and starting yet another increase of bacteria. Thus you never really reach the state of "balance" you are trying to accomplish. Add to this the fact that living bacteria require not only food, but oxygen to survive, and you start to see why so many ponders don't think that bottled bacteria are a worthwhile expense. If the bacteria in your filters start to die within hours of being deprived of oxygen, then how can they survive in a sealed container for up to two years? If you REALLY want to increase the number of beneficial bacteria in your pond, just take a 'whizz' in it every morning. A lot cheaper, too! :D

    John
     
    HARO, Aug 12, 2015
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  20. Jersey_Marine

    Meyer Jordan Tadpole

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    Amen, Brother!
     
    Meyer Jordan, Aug 12, 2015
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