Summer heat is great for the beach but can be concerning for your pond. When the water temperature rises, oxygen levels often fall leaving an unbalanced ecosystem for your fish and plant life. This is why aeration is so important during the summer months.
Some tell tale signs your pond lacks aeration are algae blooms, too many fish, stagnant water and mosquitos swarming, if your fish are close to the surface of the water trying to gulp up air, and if there is an accumulation of muck. These are all warning signs that oxygen levels are low and you're your pond is in distress. Summer is a time when fish are most active and oxygen demand is higher but warm water has a low capacity to hold oxygen and leaves all your aquatic life competing for the little amount of dissolved oxygen available in the water.
The amount of oxygen that can be dissolved in water is so minimal it is measured in parts per million (ppm). During the summer heat, the water’s levels get much lower and at 85 degrees only about 6.1 ppm of dissolved oxygen can be preserved in fresh water. Water oxygen levels should be at 80% saturation at all times and in order to reach that level in the heat it will take a lot of aeration. Temperature affects oxygen levels in water in two ways. Temperature affects the ability of water to hold dissolved oxygen and it also affects the rate of metabolism, which doubles for every 18 degree Fahrenheit temperature change in cold-blood animals. So if the temperature jumps from 70 degrees to 88 degrees, the requirements of fish, bio-filtration bacteria, algae, and actually all living things are increased by 100% for nutrients, oxygen, and everything else. So in warm water, the oxygen content decreases not only because of warmer water’s reduced ability to dissolve oxygen but also because of the increase in the oxygen demand.
The oxygen is not only important for your fish but also for the beneficial bacteria that live in your filter. Remember that the beneficial bacteria are also dependent on the amount of oxygen to do their job of converting ammonia to nitrites and nitrates. Reduced oxygen levels can restrict the population of “good” bacteria and allow ammonia and nitrite levels to increase to stressful or possibly even fatal levels.
This is why it is so important to maximize your aeration during the summer. Make sure you have plenty of aeration running 24/7. Aeration can be supplemented by using a pond aerator or additional pump. For maximum efficiency, clean the filter twice a year as a clogged filter makes the pump run even hotter. Increase your aeration and water circulation with waterfalls, fountains, and even spitters. If you have a waterfall or fountain increase the water flow during the hot months to ensure proper circulation and help with gas exchange and infusing oxygen into the water. Increased circulation will encourage evaporation, which will have an additional cooling effect.
You can never have too much aeration as long it is close to the surface of the water. Get your aeration equipment now to keep your pond and aquatic life happy and healthy.