Pond Contraptions: What are they, and do they really serve a useful purpose?

Which items do you have or use in your pond.

  • Water Pumps

  • Aerators

  • Bio-filters

  • Mechanical Filters

  • Fountains, spitters, etc...

  • Waterfalls

  • Bottom Drains

  • Skimmers

  • UV clarifiers & sterilizers

  • Pressure filters

  • Pond Vacuums

  • Pond De-icers

  • Pond Salt

  • Bottled bacteria

  • Barley Straw

  • Water Conditioners (De-Chlorinators)

  • pH Adjusters

  • Ionizers

  • Chemical Algae Control Products

  • Protein Skimmers


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We all have devices or things we use in our ponds that we believe are beneficial for maintaining our ponds, but do they actually do anything useful? are they really necessary? or are there other ways of achieving the same results naturally.
 
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I don't know that I would have included waterfalls in this list. At least not separate from water pump as you wouldn't have one without the other.

Good discussion topic! For us, less is more. The less I have to intervene the happier I am!
 
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I don't know that I would have included waterfalls in this list. At least not separate from water pump as you wouldn't have one without the other.
Oh sure, there are many ponds I've seen that just pump their water through spitters or fountains and don't have waterfalls. I also listed Pressure filters separate from bio and mechanical filters although pressure filters usually try to include both, but as far as I'm concerned I don't think they do either particularly well.
where do we start? .
Lets talk about aerators a little more. You mentioned in the other thread that "If a pond is large enough to where the wind fetch is sufficient, then no, aeration is not needed." I beg to differ on that general statement because of all the pond contraptions on the list above, aerators are the only contraption that I've ever seen used in natural lakes. In fact the closest lake to where I live (5 miles away) has an aerator running right now. Yellow Lake And there is another lake about 10 miles away that also runs an aerator in the winter. The reason being is that these lakes have often suffered heavy fish die-off in the winter without the aerators. So if aerators are frequently needed on these large bodies of how much more important might they be in our little backyard ponds that generally have a much higher fish load?

A paper on the subject with information aeration with some info specifically about Yellow lake
 

Meyer Jordan

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Oh sure, there are many ponds I've seen that just pump their water through spitters or fountains and don't have waterfalls. I also listed Pressure filters separate from bio and mechanical filters although pressure filters usually try to include both, but as far as I'm concerned I don't think they do either particularly well.

Lets talk about aerators a little more. You mentioned in the other thread that "If a pond is large enough to where the wind fetch is sufficient, then no, aeration is not needed." I beg to differ on that general statement because of all the pond contraptions on the list above, aerators are the only contraption that I've ever seen used in natural lakes. In fact the closest lake to where I live (5 miles away) has an aerator running right now. Yellow Lake And there is another lake about 10 miles away that also runs an aerator in the winter. The reason being is that these lakes have often suffered heavy fish die-off in the winter without the aerators. So if aerators are frequently needed on these large bodies of how much more important might they be in our little backyard ponds that generally have a much higher fish load?

A paper on the subject with information aeration with some info specifically about Yellow lake
Larger, deeper bodies of water develop a thermocline. Aerators, in particular, diffusers, break this temperature barrier allowing the entire water column to be oxygenated. This is of particular importance in fishery ponds. Since garden ponds have no logical reason to be over 4 to 5 feet in depth, aeration is not considered a necessity.
 
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Oh sure, there are many ponds I've seen that just pump their water through spitters or fountains and don't have waterfalls. I also listed Pressure filters separate from bio and mechanical filters although pressure filters usually try to include both, but as far as I'm concerned I don't think they do either particularly well.

I should have said you don't see waterfalls without pumps - the reverse is definitely possible.
 
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My thoughts on aeration: My pond is 10 feet in diameter and 34 inches deep in the center. It has a water fall at one end and a skimmer at the other. Before I started using an aerator I had sediment accumulation on the bottom. I believe my pond is not built in a way that allows for enough water circulation at the bottom using just the skimmer pump. I am wondering if the pond had been designed differently - for example, longer, not as wide, with gradual slope going from the water fall to the skimmer - would have helped. Your thoughts of a better design that would have allowed for better water circulation at the bottom without a bottom pump or aerator?
 

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My thoughts on aeration: My pond is 10 feet in diameter and 34 inches deep in the center. It has a water fall at one end and a skimmer at the other. Before I started using an aerator I had sediment accumulation on the bottom. I believe my pond is not built in a way that allows for enough water circulation at the bottom using just the skimmer pump. I am wondering if the pond had been designed differently - for example, longer, not as wide, with gradual slope going from the water fall to the skimmer - would have helped. Your thoughts of a better design that would have allowed for better water circulation at the bottom without a bottom pump or aerator?
Can you post a photo? Do you have shelving?
 
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Larger, deeper bodies of water develop a thermocline. Aerators, in particular, diffusers, break this temperature barrier allowing the entire water column to be oxygenated. This is of particular importance in fishery ponds. Since garden ponds have no logical reason to be over 4 to 5 feet in depth, aeration is not considered a necessity.
Keep in mind these are "natural" lakes that required aerators (artificial circulation) . Bodies of water that as you say "the wind fetch is sufficient, that no, aeration would be needed", but they still experience fish kill, so the fact that they are natural hasn't helped them. Clearly the fact that they are "natural" hasn't stopped the fish from dying. In order for the fish to survive in these natural lakes they must employ one of these "counter to nature" "contraptions". Of course there is more going on in these lakes that require this artificial circulation then just thermoclines, since that happens in all lakes and not all lakes require artificial circulation. Also the lakes in question could probably support some type of fish like carp or koi without an aeration, but they were mainly concerned with keeping trout alive in these lakes and trout require more oxygen. But there are many lakes or large bodies of water (bigger then backyard ponds anyway), that can't support any fish life at all for various reasons. So it's not surprising that we generally must employ some contrary to nature contraptions to maintain fish life in our not so natural backyard ponds, and as a rule the smaller the pond and the heavier the fish load the more help we need.

As a side note thermoclines and stratification can and do develop in smaller ponds and pools, I have personally measured a 5 C difference between the top layer of water in my existing pond and the bottom, and since it's only 5 ft deep that's 1 deg C per foot And I've swam in swimming pools with very obvious thermoclines and a warm stratified layer on the top. (this was obviously with no pumps or aerators running).
 

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Keep in mind these are "natural" lakes that required aerators (artificial circulation) . Bodies of water that as you say "the wind fetch is sufficient, that no, aeration would be needed", but they still experience fish kill, so the fact that they are natural hasn't helped them. Clearly the fact that they are "natural" hasn't stopped the fish from dying. In order for the fish to survive in these natural lakes they must employ one of these "counter to nature" "contraptions". Of course there is more going on in these lakes that require this artificial circulation then just thermoclines, since that happens in all lakes and not all lakes require artificial circulation. Also the lakes in question could probably support some type of fish like carp or koi without an aeration, but they were mainly concerned with keeping trout alive in these lakes and trout require more oxygen. But there are many lakes or large bodies of water (bigger then backyard ponds anyway), that can't support any fish life at all for various reasons. So it's not surprising that we generally must employ some contrary to nature contraptions to maintain fish life in our not so natural backyard ponds, and as a rule the smaller the pond and the heavier the fish load the more help we need.

As a side note thermoclines and stratification can and do develop in smaller ponds and pools, I have personally measured a 5 C difference between the top layer of water in my existing pond and the bottom, and since it's only 5 ft deep that's 1 deg C per foot And I've swam in swimming pools with very obvious thermoclines and a warm stratified layer on the top. (this was obviously with no pumps or aerators running).

A typical lake thermocline-
bucca-chart1.jpg

The thermocline (metalimnion) is that layer of water where temperatures drop drastically. Both above and below this layer water temperature generally experience only a gradual change.
Your example of a 5C difference in temperature from top to bottom in a 5 foot depth is not considered a thermocline by limnologists.
As to your reference to natural lakes, if fish kills occur in these lakes then how is it that there is still a population of fish present in these same lakes.
As I stated before, those lakes/ponds that have introduced fish (fisheries) may require aeration because an un-natural balance in the food chain is maintained in these bodies of water. The owners of these lakes/ponds experience the same problems with fish health, oxygen levels, adequate bio-conversion, etc. as do the owners of backyard garden ponds.
It is a generally accepted guideline in the science community that thermoclines do not occur in water with a depth of 4 -5 feet or less.
As I posted in the other thread, my comments as regards 'contraptions' in garden ponds are guided by the parameters that I set out. Specifically that the pond is properly designed and installed, and properly maintained.
 
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...

As a side note thermoclines and stratification can and do develop in smaller ponds and pools, I have personally measured a 5 C difference between the top layer of water in my existing pond and the bottom, and since it's only 5 ft deep that's 1 deg C per foot And I've swam in swimming pools with very obvious thermoclines and a warm stratified layer on the top. (this was obviously with no pumps or aerators running).

I'm interested to know what the weather conditions were at your place for your pond to register that much difference.
I've ever only recorded a maximum of 2 degrees celcius in my pond between the 5 foot and 2 foot depth.
 

cas

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@Meyer Jordan does this help explain? Without the air stones I don't believe the water at the bottom of the pond was being circulated.

Diagram of pond depths.jpg
 
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I don't see lighting as a feature on the list :::gulp::: its the only gizmo I do use :::doh:::
 
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Oh sure, there are many ponds I've seen that just pump their water through spitters or fountains and don't have waterfalls. I also listed Pressure filters separate from bio and mechanical filters although pressure filters usually try to include both, but as far as I'm concerned I don't think they do either particularly well.

Lets talk about aerators a little more. You mentioned in the other thread that "If a pond is large enough to where the wind fetch is sufficient, then no, aeration is not needed." I beg to differ on that general statement because of all the pond contraptions on the list above, aerators are the only contraption that I've ever seen used in natural lakes. In fact the closest lake to where I live (5 miles away) has an aerator running right now. Yellow Lake And there is another lake about 10 miles away that also runs an aerator in the winter. The reason being is that these lakes have often suffered heavy fish die-off in the winter without the aerators. So if aerators are frequently needed on these large bodies of how much more important might they be in our little backyard ponds that generally have a much higher fish load?

A paper on the subject with information aeration with some info specifically about Yellow lake
I found this interesting. Strange how thousands of fish died, from initially turning the diffuser on. I'm guessing it would take weeks to get the water circulating in a lake.
.
I'm not sure if they mentioned this but, it's important not to place the diffuser in the deepest part of the pond/lake. I guess it wouldn't matter in the winter but, the colder water is needed for the trout in the summer. For example, if a pond is 15 feet deep, the diffuser should be placed at a depth of 10 to 12 feet.
 
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Perhaps Meyers, the limnologists and the science community need to get out swimming more. ;)
When my boys were young we had an above ground 5 ft deep swimming pool that we would cover and turn the pump off when not in use. It had a floating thermometer and some days after work I'd go for a swim remove the cover and look at the thermometer and see a temp of 30 C and expect the water to be quite warm, but after jumping in it was actually quite cold (and refreshing I might add). So what was going on? After several swims like that I realized that without the pump on a very obvious thermocline was developing on a micro scale. The top surface had a layer around a foot deep of very warm water and by just extending my arm down a couple feet or so you could feel a radical change in temperature and by diving down to the bottom you could tell that the bottom few feet had a much less radical change, but obviously cooler temperatures. In this case the "thermocline" layer was only about 1 ft thick. Now I never actually bothered to place a thermometer on the bottom of the pool, or take readings to find out what the temperature was exactly at the different depths, but simply by feel I was able to tell the change in temperature at the different levels and it felt exactly like the diagram Meyer's posted, except the low temperature did not get down as low as 4 C and it was on a much smaller scale. Of course there is no depth scale on the graph that Meyers posted.

As for Mitch's question about my pond, normally with my pumps running I won't see any difference between the top and bottom, and in the winter when the pond is frozen over and no pumps or aerators were going, I have read a difference similar to what you have experienced, little more then a couple deg Celsius, but that was a flipped temperature with about 4 C at the very bottom and around 2 C just under the ice layer. I always run a pump in the winter now so the temps are more consistent now.
However on one occasion in the summer my GFI circuit blew on my pumps and I didn't notice for I'm not sure how long. And I did have a top and bottom thermometer in my pond at the time and saw that 5 deg difference, which was probably a lot less than the temperature difference I experienced in the swimming pool.. And no I didn't measure the layers or get in and swim to see if if felt exactly like the swimming pool, but it was obvious there was some stratification going on.
 
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