It’s been close to 12 years ago that I decided to have a ponds. So I took the bulldozer and started digging the pond. Within a few days I had dug between a ½ acre and an acre. How did I know what lay ahead.
The first year the water filled up nicely and by the second summer I started to see algae growing on the pond surface. Through some research I learned that it was called filament algae. At first I raked it out but after the second time doing that in one summer I knew there must be better solutions out there to solve my problem. So the next year we added fish to the water – spring grass carp, bass along with some fat head minnows. Algae remained a problem and consumed my time raking it out on many an evening after work and on weekends.
So the next year I devised a new plan, copper sulphate. For the next 6-7 years we started treated our pond with large amounts of copper sulphate, 2-to-4 times each spring to fall. Within just a few days of treating our pond the pond surface would turn into a green and brown hairy mat. I would then spray the algae and it sink down to pond’s bottom. This repeated itself over and over again and I was becoming more and more frustrated by this process.
If this wasn’t bad or expensive enough, I also added Aqua Shade into the mix. I would add this in spring to prevent the sunshine from overheating the water but this did not help my problem. The algae kept coming.
After more than a decade of working away on our pond I was wishing it would just go away. If the soil was still around I would have filled it back up.
My nightmare continued until the harsh winter of 2001-2002 when the pond was frozen over from the beginning of November right through to middle end of April. The fish that I had put into the pond were all floating on the surface by Spring time when the pond opened up. Hey, what the heck, why not restock it I thought and add some more species like koi to the mix while I am at it. So I did, and the spraying and raking continued.
The real kicker for me was the hot and summer of 2005 – the pond was have some real issues and this was getting serious. The filament algae continued but along with it was a fine red dusty looking addition to the surface of the pond. I was nervous so I brought a specialist in to test the water and we found out that our had developed blue green algae- also know as cyanobacteria – this type of algae happens to be very toxic. The pond started to bubble and boil and sometimes changing colors within hours. Blobs and clumps of brown – green gunk would float to the surface. It almost looked like a really hearty soup.
As the pond conditions worsened all the fish started to die off – everyone of them. No animals or peopl wanted to be near our pond now, not even the frogs. Our pond looked like a giant sewage facility and my wife was starting to hound me on why I ever had the idea of building this pond in the first place.
Being newly retired I knew that something had to be done and so I spent weeks on the internet, reading magazines and having phone calls with experts. The one word that I kept seeing and hearing again and again was aeration. Aeration – water aeration – pond aeration.
Experts were telling me that Aeration would eliminate 95% of my pond problems. The simple and natural act of adding oxygen bubbles to the water would work. They all told me that you want to diffuse these air bubbles from the bottom of the pond up for the bottom up aeration would help circulate the water and is the most effective way of adding oxygen to water. I had no idea that this aeration process would cleanse the water and burn off any undesirable nutrients and chemicals that were suspended in the pond water. The circulation of the water also detoxified the bottom layer of sludge that had sank to the pond’s bottom.
Pond Aeration would quite quickly reverse the damage I had caused by years of killing algae and weeds. All the fertilizers, nutrients and other chemicals that I had added to the pond or which contaminated the pond from run off and ground water would also be eliminated through aeration. Finally, fish kills that I had experienced every winter would be a thing of the past for the aeration system would keep oxygen flowing into the pond all winter long.
Now the task of purchasing a pond aeration system that would be affordable and effective. It was not only the purchase price that concerned me but also the cost of operating it. I looked at the electric aeration systems but quickly ruled them out due to the high cost of operation and maintenance, with energy prices as they are and the need to have the aeration system working full time this was not the way for me.
Fountains look nice but they too are very expensive to operate and all the experts told me that I need bottom up aeration, not surface aeration which a fountain is and only aerates the top few inches of water. Eliminating the electric aeration units led me to the wind powered aerators.
After some serious research into windmill aeration systems I found two companies that specialized in do it yourself installation windmill aeration systems Koenders Windmills Inc. and Superior Windmill Inc.. These two brands seemed to have everything I needed and I was impressed by the warranties and length of period in business. I knew these companies would stand behind their products for they had thousands of units installed in the market already. After comparing other windmill brands to Koenders and Superiors, I decided to go with the unit that could pump the most air. This was the Superior Turbo Jet Stream!
The Turbo Jet Stream is a dual diaghragm model that pumps double the air volume into the pond 3-4 Cubic Feet Per/Minute and for price point on the CFM there is not less expensive model out in the market. It works great, does everything the company said it would and better. They told me that I would not see any changes in my pond quality for atleast a few months. Well 2-3 weeks of aeration my pond started changing back to its healthy form. By the way, the Assembly was as they said it would be pretty easy, all the pieces are labeled and the assembly manual was quite straight forward. The windmill is much stronger than I had expected. Working casually on the windmill installation over a weekend we had the anchors concreted in and the Superior Windmill up and pumping air.
I am proud to say that our fish are alive, the pond looks healthy and clean – we even have wildlife coming around to drink from the water’s edge including some deer.
Even the thick sludge on the bottom of the pond is slowly disappearing. As I look out into my back yard during these cold winter months I can see my Superior Windmill Aeration System effortlessly pumping away in a light wind, repairing the damage that I caused to it over all these past 16 years. I see circle of open water which the birds and animals coming to drink water from it caused by the air bubbles floating up to the ponds surface on a consistent basis. No more fish kill this spring!!
I learned a few good tips during this ordeal and that is:
Free air driven windmills are low maintenance, quiet, reliable, reasonably priced and great looking in any environment.