In California people call a 20 foot by 20 foot backyard pond big. But in the Great Lakes Region, upstate New York, Florida and much of the South, ponds are often half an acre to five acres in size. They are begging for decoration. And they are needing aeration as well for pond health. Yet either of these have electrical costs.
Should you focus on decoration or aeration?
If you are mostly looking at decoration and want the large and impressive displays, then a decorative fountain is your best choice. These go higher and wider than aerating fountains. You gain in display but lose in aeration and energy efficiency. Some manufacturers sell fountains that really only decorate. There are grand displays but the flow of water is restricted. If you think of fountain nozzles they are closed plastic or brass devices with holes in them for water to escape. But much of the water doesn’t escape in the dazzling displays. So not as much water is turned over in the pond.
Often, V-shaped designs offer a compromise. More water flows but the design is limited to a V-shape.
(Photos above of pond fountains are from the Fountain Mountain website).
If you are ONLY looking for aeration and you couldn’t care less about display, then you ought to purchase a surface aerator. These just make huge bubbles at the surface. You’ve probably seen them at sewer farms. They are highly efficient! The most bang for the kilowatt buck.
If your pond is over 8 feet deep, you really ought to look into purchasing a diffuser unit. These create bubbles from the bottom of the pond.
Air compressors are located on the shoreline and tubing runs down the bottom of the pond to the diffuser.
WHY AERATION IS NEEDED
Aeration Fights Stratification (Layering) of Ponds
Aeration is needed for fish health. If fish don’t get enough oxygen, they will die. But even if you don’t have fish, without aeration, ponds create stratified layers, and the bottom layer is depleted of oxygen. Also, the pond surface can become quite stagnant.
(Fish Kill image above and stagnation image below provided by Kasco Marine.)