When you’re first starting up your pond, you may have a lot of questions. Your biggest concern, though, will probably be how to keep your fish as healthy as possible.
The best part about ponds is that, once they’re up and running, they’re self-sufficient for the most part. However, in order to provide as healthy of an environment as possible, you may want to offer a helping hand.
And the best way to do that? Install a pond aeration system.
Pond aeration systems can be a tricky topic to approach, though, especially if you’re a beginner. That’s why we’ve compiled a complete buying guide to help you with everything you need.
FAQ to types of systems to even a list of the top ten best pond aerators – we’ve got it all. So, if you’re feeling a little lost, keep reading!
Top 10 Pond Aerators:
1. Laguna Aeration Kit for Ponds
If you’re looking for a small pond aerator, then this is a great option. Designed to help keep your ponds from freezing in the winter, the bubbles also provide aeration.
The Laguna Aeration Kit is extremely similar to the air stones you use in small aquariums. The stone is submerged into your pond, with a styrofoam float that helps with positioning.
Most customers say that they don’t end up using the full 30’ of winter-safe tubing, leaving you enough for repairs if necessary. To help lengthen this pump’s lifespan, you should also build an adequate shelter for it for protection from the elements.
One thing to remember is, because this is a smaller aerator with limited movement, it may not aerate your entire pond. To fix this, you can either invest in a secondary aerator, like a waterfall or move it occasionally.
2. Aquascape 75000 Pond Air
One of the biggest concerns with air stone pond aeration systems is that they won’t provided adequate aeration for the entire pond. The Aquascape 75000 kit erases this worry by included either a double or quadruple outlet.
While you should still add a shelter to help keep your system safe, this pump comes with durable outer housing. As a result, it has a longer lifespan and better protection.
This system is also designed to provide the best user experience.
It comes with everything you need, including preassembled valves, for an easy installation. It’s also designed for an operation that is both quiet and energy-efficient.
One thing to note is that the air stones are not designed for deeper depths. As a result, you maybe have to create a flotation device for deeper ponds.
3. HI-BLOW Linear Air Pump Aeration System
If you have a pond air pump that is loud or has high vibration, then it could end up disturbing your fish. This could put them under stress that could make them sick, just like low oxygen levels.
The HI-BLOW pond aeration system fixes this by providing quiet operation with low vibration.
This system is also designed to provide not only aeration but winterization.
In the winter, the top of your pond may freeze over if the temperatures get low enough. If this happens, then gas exchange won’t be able to occur and your fish won’t have enough oxygen.
To fix that, this air pump helps keep ice from forming on the surface during aeration, providing adequate oxygen all year long.
4. Airmax CrystalClear PondAeration 2
For ponds under 1000 gallons and no more than 2 feet deep, this is a great small pond aerator. It has two air stones for aeration in your entire pond and a 1-year warranty for added protection.
One of the best things about this pump, however, is the fact that the company offers a rock cover. This natural-looking cover is designed just for this pump and will help maintain your pond’s aesthetic value.
The AirMax PondAeration 2 is designed for the best user experience possible. As a result, installation is quick and easy while the operation is quiet for peace when you are outside.
The only thing to remember is that this is an aeration system only, and it is not designed for winterization. If your pond regularly freezes over in the winter, this is not the pond aeration system to prevent that.
5. TetraPond Air Pump Kit
If you’re looking for a three in one aeration, filtration, and winterization system, then the TetraPond kit is for you.
It comes with two air stones that provide adequate aeration for ponds up to 5000 gallons. It also has a 1-year limited warranty for added protection.
The filtration aspect removes waste products and toxins from the water. The winterization aspect helps prevent ice from forming that would prevent gas exchange.
While this pump provides aeration for up to 5000 gallons, however, it only works in shallow ponds. If your pond is deeper, you may want to consider making or investing in a flotation device for your air stones.
6. Danner Pond Air Pump with Diffuser
In order to best fit the needs of your pond, there are three different purchasing options available for the Danner pond pump. It also has a lubricated motor that doesn’t require oil for easy, efficient operation.
It offers both aeration and oxygenation as well as winterization to make sure your fish always have enough oxygen. It also includes an air diffuser to increase aeration and oxygenation rates.
One thing, however, is that the warranty can be a bit unclear. If you have any questions about it, you would need to contact customer service.
7. Aquascape ProAir Aerator and Aeration Kit
Another pond aeration system by Aquascape, the ProAir is designed for the best user experience. It has four different purchasing options, a 3-year limited warranty, and energy-efficient operation.
In order to best meet your pond’s needs, it oxygenates and aerates up to 5000 gallons. It also provides winterization for worry-free winter months.
While you will still want a shelter – as will all aeration systems – the ProAir has a durable design.
One thing to remember when considering this kit, however, is it does not move large amounts of water. While it does provide adequate aeration and oxygenation, it doesn’t move water the way larger, strong systems would.
8. Airmax CrystalClear KoiAir1
Due to its ability to aerate large volumes of water – up to 8000 gallons – this pump makes a great koi pond aerators. It has a max operating depth of 4 feet and a dual-diaphragm system for maximum oxygenation.
It also provides winterization for year-round care for your koi fish. This is a great feature because koi fish are particularly sensitive to low oxygen levels.
This air pump, however, is designed for manmade, decorative ponds – not natural or industrial ponds.
9. Blue Diamond Pond Pump
Originally designed for use in septic tanks, the Blue Diamond pond air pump will provide the aeration your pond needs.
It has a durable aluminum design that helps keep it protected from the elements, although shelter is still recommended. It has an airflow rate of around 1140 gallons per hour, making it perfect for ponds around 2000 gallons.
It has a quiet operation with lower power consumption. This allows for an operation that is energy efficient and won’t disturb your day to day life.
One thing to note is that other customers have noticed that this pump may run hot. With adequate housing for heat dispersion and regular monitoring, however, overheating can be prevented.
10. Natural Waterscapes Winter Pond Aerator
The Natural Waterscapes pond air pump acts as both an aerator and a deicer due to its heater. The heater comes with a detachable flotation device that allows you to use it as a surface heater or a submersible heater.
Related: check our article about best pond heaters!
The aerator is strong enough to be used in up to 1000 gallons of water at an average depth of 4 feet. The aerator is paired with an oxygenator to make sure you meet the oxygen needs of your fish.
As a result, the Natural Waterscapes system is strong enough to be used as a small koi pond aerator.
This includes the entire pond aeration system kit with an aerator pump, air stone diffuser, 25’ airline, and check valve. It also has a 12-foot long power cord, which, while on the smaller side, allows for some flexibility during set up.
Buying Guide – Everything You Need to Know to Pick the Best Pond Aerator
Now since you’ve seen some examples of our top picks for best pond aerators, you can learn more about why we picked those.
Pond aerations systems are not all created equal. While any type can provide the aeration you need, some will be better for your pond than others will be.
So, to help pick the best pond aerator for you, here’s a guide to four types of pond aeration systems.
Types of Pond Aeration Systems
There are several options for pond aeration systems. While most are electrical, there are some alternatives for you to consider as well.
Fountain Aeration Systems
If you have a smaller pond, usually somewhere around 6’ or less, than a fountain aeration system may be the best. Fountain aerators utilize a small nozzle and floating water pump to circulate water and introduce air into it.
In a way, this type of aerator functions very similarly to your own lungs and blood.
Water is removed through the pond and cycled through the pump. Here, it is ejected from the small nozzle in the fountain’s spray and introduced to the air.
When the water is introduced to the air, air particles containing oxygen are attached to the water molecules. When the water is returned to the pond, the oxygen in the air particles is introduced into the water.
This entire cycle only takes a few seconds, and it is constantly occurring so that your pond water stays fully oxygenated.
Diffused Pond Aeration Systems
If you’re looking for a more economical way to aerate your large pond, then you may want to consider a diffused pond aerator. These aeration systems utilize an air pump, a diffuser, and tubing in order to disperse the air throughout the pond.
It’s best to place the diffuser deep in the water to make it easier for aeration as the air rises. The pump can be placed as far as your tubing allows it and is usually easy to hide from plain sight.
High Volume Surface Aeration Systems
There are many benefits to high volume surface aeration systems.
First, this system features a floating water pump. This moves around in the water to provide constant aeration to all parts.
Other Aeration Systems
There are many ponds located far from electrical sources that still need to be aerated. There are many options to solve this problem, one of them being windmills.
These types of aerators systems utilize power from the wind for their air pump and diffuser. If wind power is not a viable option there are also solar-based systems that work just as well.
Solar-powered pond aerators are very simple.
They functionally almost identically to electrical pond aeration systems. However, instead of relying on an electrical source, they use solar panels.
This is a more economical and environmentally friendly way to aerate your pond. It also provides protection in the instance of a power outage.
A natural pond aeration system relies on waterfalls for aeration and plants for oxygenation.
The waterfall moves the water, creating circulation and introducing oxygen. The plants recycle waste products from your fish to create oxygen.
If you’re interested in learning more about a natural aeration system, you can read further below in the FAQ.
Do I need an air pump in my pond?
This can be a bit of tricky question. So, let’s break it down.
First, you may be wondering why pond air pumps are important.
Pond aerators add dissolved oxygen into the water through movement to create a healthy environment for your fish. When your fish are healthy and stress-free, they’re more active and less prone to diseases.
Pond aerators don’t just help your fish, though – they help your entire pond environment.
The bacteria in your pond that help break down and recycle waste rely on oxygen to survive. Pond air pumps also help circulate water to reduce temperature differences that could stress your fish.
So, do you need a pond air pump? Well, that depends on your pond.
Do you have a small pond with a small fish load with many different oxygenating plants and a waterfall? Then you can probably skip out on a pond air pump.
The plants will add oxygen to the water while the waterfall aids in circulation.
Do you have a koi pond? If so, then you will want to purchase a koi pond aerator.
Koi fish can grow to an extremely large size, and so they need more oxygen than other fish. They also have a tendency to eat any plants that could act as a substitute for an air pump.
Do you have a large pond or a pond with a large fish load? Then, in order to make sure you meet the needs of your fish, you may want to consider a pond air pump.
Oversaturation of oxygen in a pond is extremely rare, and it only happens in certain circumstances. This means that, even if you aren’t sure if you an aerator, it wouldn’t hurt to invest in and use one.
How can I aerate my pond?
In simple terms, aeration is just the process of adding oxygen to your water (oxygenation) by moving the water.
This means that almost anything that moves your water can aerate your pond. This includes everything from fish swimming (though this isn’t enough aeration to sustain) to pond air pumps.
For smaller ponds, many people tend to rely on natural means of aeration. This method pairs a waterfall with plants that provide oxygen into the water.
However, due to the high demands of larger ponds, fish, and fish loads, this really only works best with small ponds. For these types of ponds, it’s better to take a manmade approach.
Waterfalls only aerate the immediate area around them, thus, in larger ponds, they won’t provide sufficient oxygen. With that being said, however, you can pair waterfalls with other types of electrical or renewable pond air pumps.
What is an aeration pump?
Did you ever have a small fish tank that you placed an air stone into? Well, an aeration pump is very similar to that air stone, just on a larger scale.
An aerator pump helps keep fish in your pond at their best health by adding the needed dissolved oxygen into the water through movement.
Since most fish don’t have lungs, they can’t breathe air like humans. There are very few fish that are the exception to this rule, however, like betta fish who can breathe air and underwater.
Without the right amount of oxygen in the water, your fish will become vulnerable to different diseases. Like humans, stress can take a big toll on your fish’s immune system.
If oxygen levels drop far enough in your pond, you’ll experience a large number of fish kills. If all of the dissolved oxygen is depleted from your water, you’ll experience a condition known as anoxic water.
Thus, an aerator pump is a key to maintaining the proper amount of oxygen in the water to keep your fish safe.
Pond air pumps work by pulling air from outside of the pond. This can be done in many different ways, either by adding oxygen through force or introducing oxygen through a fountain.
The oxygenated water is then replaced in the pond while deoxygenated water is pulled out to continue the cycle.
Do pond aerators really work?
Absolutely. And if you don’t believe us, studies like this one by the Southern Regional Agricultural Center can offer more information.
In most natural bodies of water, there is some type of movement present. Waves, rivers, waterfalls – aeration is being caused by some natural form.
However, in your backyard, you may not have this luxury. Aeration is still important for maintaining a healthy, safe environment for your fish though.
That’s why people turn to synthetic aeration through pond air pumps.
If you don’t want to invest in a synthetic pond aeration system, though, you have other options. In the next heading, for example, we talk about natural aeration systems.
In a natural aeration system, you mimic a natural water source through the use of waterfalls and oxygenating plants.
How can I aerate my pond cheaply?
The best way to aerate your pond cheaply is to take a natural approach. This especially works best when you’re trying to avoid a small pond aerator, as large ponds tend to need the extra help.
When you’re talking about a natural pond aeration system, it goes hand and hand with oxygenation. Aeration is the process of circulating water, which adds oxygen, and oxygenation is the process of directly adding oxygen through plants.
So, in order to cheaply and naturally aerate your pond, you’ll need to focus on both of these aspects.
If you don’t want to purchase an air pump for pond aeration, then don’t worry! You can add a waterfall.
Waterfalls will aerate the water around them, creating a ripple effect. If you’re worried your waterfall isn’t adding enough aeration, watch out for these five signs:
- Algae is growing
- Muck or slime is forming at the bottom
- The water looks poor or unhealthy
- Your fish spend all their time around the waterfall
- Your fish are dying
If you notice a combination of these five signs, you may need to invest and purchase a large pond aeration system.
For oxygenating your pond, as well as making it a better environment for your fish to live in, add plants! Plants add oxygen to the water through a process known as photosynthesis.
In photosynthesis, your plants will take waste products from your fish and sunlight to produce oxygen. This oxygen is then introduced into the water to be used by fish and other aquatic animals.
This is why in ponds where it seems the water isn’t moving oxygen is still available for the large amounts of fish.
In order to help build your natural pond aeration system, try adding some of these top 10 oxygenating pond plants:
- Elodea densa
- Egeria najas
- Red Ludwigia
- Mermaid Weed
- Creeping Jenny
- Lemon Bacopa
Just like with fish, make sure to do your research before purchasing plants. Some will survive in certain conditions and environments better than others.
What size air pump do I need for my pond?
Break out your calculators, because this part will take a little bit of math. There are two main formulas that you will need.
First, if you don’t know your pond’s volume off the top of your head, you may need to calculate it. To do this, multiple the width in feet by the length in feet by the depth in feet by 7.5.
If your sizes aren’t uniform, you can use the average.
Once you have your pond’s volume, you can start to work to find the best filtration flow rate. You can do this by dividing your pond’s volume in half.
Here’s an example of how this will all look:
Say you have a pond that measures 12 feet (length) by 12 feet (width) by 2 feet (depth). Plugged into our formula, you can say that your pond’s volume is 2,160 cubic feet.
Now, we divide this in half for a filtration rate for 1080 gallons per hour (gph). Pumps in this range will be best for your garden pond.
How much aeration does a koi pond need?
Koi fish require a little bit more TLC than other fish.
First of all, they tend to grow much larger than other fish, which means they need more oxygen. Koi fish are also much more sensitive to poor water quality and low oxygen levels.
While your koi fish moving around can add aeration, as well as features such as waterfalls, it still may not be enough. To ensure your fish are as safe as possible, even with a waterfall, you will still want to buy a koi pond aerator.
How long does it take for pond aeration to work?
As soon as movement occurs in your pond, aeration is working. Whether it’s an energetic fish, waterfall, or pump, movement is aeration – even if it’s not enough to sustain your pond.
However, once you install a new pond aeration system, be patient. While it begins to work immediately, you may not see results for up to 6 weeks.
This is true no matter what type of pond air pump you invest in – solar or mechanical.
However, with a waterfall, you may notice it takes longer for results. Or, improvements may not occur if the waterfall is not enough.
While you are waiting for results, make sure to keep a close eye on your fish and their health. If you notice your fish are falling ill, then it’s best to take emergency action to add a quick burst of oxygen.
The best way to add oxygen in an emergency situation is to spray your water hose into the pond. The more force you spray it with, the more chlorine that is dispersed and the more oxygen that is added.
Check more our guides about ponds: