Why is oxygen needed in my pond?
Oxygen helps keep your pond clean! The beneficial bacteria in your pond water need oxygen to live as do your pond fish and pond plants. When the bacteria are doing their job well, the system balances giving you a pond that is easy to maintain and enjoy!
If your pond smells like an old swamp, then you probably need an aerator. The smell comes from anaerobic bacteria decomposing plant material (i.e. muck). Anaerobic bacteria live and thrive in places with little oxygen. That stinky smell is a notification from your pond telling you to aerate and/or clean your pond! The picture below shows how an aeration system is placed in your pond. The aeration stones lay on the pond's bottom and bubble fresh oxygen into it.
Will I need aeration in my pond during winter?
Aeration in winter looks different than summer aeration. The key is to leave a hole in the ice. (If you don't live in a cold climate like Minneapolis, MN, then ignore these directions!) The hole allows air exchange (called de-gassing) between pond water and the atmosphere.
If you plan to keep fish in your pond during winter, then "Yes!" you will need aeration! The ice seals the pond off from fresh oxygen. Typically the waterfalls are also turned off and all the water lilies and pond plants are dormant. Pond fish will be in a slow dormancy state but will still need plenty of oxygen if they are to survive.
Attaching a return de-icer to your pump is an easy way to aerate your pond in winter. This is basically a pipe attachment that spits the pond water straight into the pond instead of running it around to the biofalls or waterfall. The pounding water keeps a hole open unless the temps fall below -10F.
We have successfully kept koi fish in our pond several winters in a row by using the return de-icer method.
You can also use an aeration stone and a floating pond heater to move the water and leave an opening in the ice. They also need to be checked, especially when temps fall below 0F.
For more information about aeration systems, visit: https://www.aquascapeinc.com/pond-aerators
You may also want to contact our technicians about your pond. They want you to enjoy your pond, clean, clear, and balanced!
Water lilies are a favorite pond plant! Here are some quick tips on getting the most from yours this season!
Water lily care:
Lilies are heavy feeders! This means they need a good supply of fertlizer during the growing season to make flowers.
To feed your lily, purchase some aquatic plant tablets: slow release, fish safe fertilizer tabs.
Once a month, gently poke your finger into the soil near the water lily base. Push a fertilizer tab into the hole. (The tablets tend to fall apart in water so you can't just set it on the soil surface.)
Lilies also prefer full sun. They would prefer 10-12 hrs but will bloom with less sun too, just not as often.
Trim any dead or yellow leaves from your lily to keep it looking sharp. You can pinch the stem below the water or use scissors to remove the dead leaves.
Occationally, water lilies become lunch for aphids. If you see small black or greenish tiny bugs on the leaf surface, you can wash them off with pond water. This usually knocks down the aphid population sufficiently in an outdoor pond.
If your lily is crowded, you can lift the pot and split the tubers or discard pieces. Replant any tubers (big chunks of root like stuff) that have small white roots and green shoots attached. Plant them in pots of soil at a 45 degree angle. After replanting the tubers, put a layer of sand or small gravel across the soil surface to keep pet koi fish or goldfish from digging the roots up. (Pond fish tend to nibble on plant roots.)
When water lilies are happy and healthy, they will bloom and grow!
To purchase your own hardy water lilies, please visit our plant ordering page!
For tips on overwintering hardy and tropical water lilies, click here.
Jeff Chudek has been building ponds and waterfalls professionally since 2005. As a kid, his favorite time of year was spring, because the spring thaw created so much mud and puddles, and all the trees and plants were waking up. He loves figuring out the best way to use something, and fixing things that are broken. He's good at coming up with ideas, and helping choose the best idea for you.