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How to Aerate a Pond Without Electricity

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Many pond owners have turned to alternative forms of pond aeration to save money on bills, aerate ponds that don’t have a power supply nearby, or are trying to be more eco-conscious…

But whatever the reason may be, supplying ample amounts of oxygen to your pond without the use of electricity comes with certain benefits and, of course, drawbacks that should be considered.

So, before making the leap to aerate a pond naturally, let's look at 4 effective ways to add essential oxygen to your pond without electricity and find the solution that’s right for you.

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Solar Fountain Pumps

Solar fountain pumps provide surface aeration by pulling water out of your pond and shooting it in the air (where it picks up oxygen) and falls back into your pond.

And this process is completely powered by the sun!

These types of pumps are generally designed for smaller backyard ponds and in regions where there is ample sunlight.

Keep in mind, that solar fountain systems will only work during peak sunlight hours unless you have a battery backup, so they might not be ideal if you need around the clock aeration (for example, heavily stocked fishponds).

Check out our Solar Fountain Pump guide for more information.

For Best Results
  • Place the panels so they catch the sun’s rays at the optimal hours of 11 am to 3 pm.
  • Keep the solar panels clean so they can absorb the optimal amount of sun’s rays.
  • Clean the solar pump regularly to keep it running smoothly.
  • Using a fountain pump with a battery backup will help provide aeration throughout a longer period of the day.

Pros

  • Zero-running cost aeration solution
  • The fountain provides visual appeal as well as aeration
  • Easy to install
  • No wiring
  • Near silent operation

Cons

  • Not a great option as your sole source of aeration, especially if your pond requires ample amount of oxygen
  • Will only run when the sun is out (unless you have a battery backup)

Aquaplancton 50w Twin Panel Solar Powered Pond Pump Kit

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Aquaplancton 50w Twin Panel Solar Pond Pump Kit

Solar Pond Aerators

Similar to solar fountain pumps, solar aerators use energy from the sun to aerate your pond or water garden.

However, instead of providing surface aeration, a solar aerator pumps air directly into your pond’s water through a tube and out a diffuser, in what is called submerged aeration.

Solar aerators are a great option for smaller ponds that don’t require consistent aeration.

But like solar fountain pumps, they will only work during peak sunlight hours, unless you have a battery backup. So, again they might not be ideal if you need around the clock aeration.

For Best Results
  • Place the panels so they catch the sun’s rays at the optimal hours of 11 am to 3 pm.
  • Keep the solar panels clean so they can absorb the optimal amount of sun’s rays.
  • Clean the unit regularly to keep it running smoothly.

Pros

  • Zero-running cost aeration solution
  • Pumps oxygen directly into your water
  • Easy to install
  • No wiring
  • Near silent operation

Cons

  • Will only run when the sun is out (unless you have a battery backup)
  • Not ideal for larger ponds or as the sole aeration source for a fishpond

Beckett Corporation Air Pump Solar Kit

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Beckett Corporation Air Pump Solar Kit

Windmill Pond Aerators

Windmill aerators are a lesser-known, but very powerful and environmentally friendly way to aerate a pond or lake.

While windmill aerators are great for small backyard ponds, they can provide huge amounts of aeration for large ponds and lakes.

And while the upfront costs may be more than an electrical or solar-powered systems, the cost savings benefit you’ll see in the long run make them worth the investment.

Another benefit is the fact they can be installed in even the remotest locations. In fact, they tend to operate better in remote locations due to increased winds and fewer obstructions.

But, like most natural pond aeration methods, there are drawbacks. With the biggest being the most obvious; they require wind to operate.

Luckily, high-quality windmill pond aerators will operate in even the lowest wind conditions (3 to 5 mph).

They can also be a little harder to install, so be sure to take that into account before purchasing.

Check out our Windmill Pond Aerator Guide for reviews of the best windmill aerators on the market today, plus our complete buyers guide.

For Best Results
  • Oversize your windmill aerator to ensure your pond or lake gets adequate aeration in low wind conditions.
  • Place your windmill in an open, obstruction-free environment. Ideally, at least 200 feet away from any obstructions.
  • The closer you place your windmill to your pond the better, but a good windmill is able to be placed up to 1000 feet away before you see a loss in CFM.

Pros

  • Zero-running cost aeration solution
  • Pumps oxygen directly into your water
  • Can aerate a large pond or lake
  • Perfect for remote locations
  • Environmentally friendly

Cons

  • Requires at least 3 mph of wind to operate
  • Higher startup cost
  • Installation is harder than other aeration systems
  • Prone to bearing failure

Outdoor Water Solutions 12-Feet Pond Aeration Windmill

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Outdoor Water Solutions 12-Feet Pond Aeration Windmill

Pond Plants

Pond plants are a good, natural way to add rich oxygen to your pond without needing any electricity at all.

Aside from oxygenation, some pond plants like Anacharis have several other benefits, most importantly, they consume nutrients and sunlight otherwise used to promote algae growth.

They also filter out pollutants that enter your pond and make great hiding spots for fish and other aquatic life!

Unfortunately, if you have a pond stocked with koi or other fish, pond plants alone might not provide all of the oxygen that your pond requires. But plants can be a great compliment to other sources of aeration.

Check out our oxygenating pond plants guide for more information and for a list of the best plants to add oxygen to your pond or water garden.

Pros

  • Provide natural pond oxygenation
  • Have several other benefits like filtering pollutants, consuming nutrients, providing cover for your fish, and so on

Cons

  • Not meant to be your sole source of oxygen in koi or other fishponds
  • Can require maintenance (cleaning up dead leaves, etc)

Anacharis Egeria Elodea Densa Tropical Live Aquatic Plant

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Products - Anacharis Egeria Elodea Densa Tropical Live Pond Plant

Pond Aeration FAQ’s

Do you need to aerate a pond?

Aerating a pond has many benefits and is a necessity if you have pond fish since they rely on oxygen to breathe.

Aside from keeping your fish alive, a pond aerator can provide the following benefits:

  • Increased oxygen levels: Of course, increasing the oxygen levels in your pond is good for your fish, but it’s also good for the beneficial bacteria in your pond which help consume organic debris.
  • Less muck and sludge: The beneficial bacteria we just mentioned help remove pond sludge and muck on the floor of your pond, so by increasing oxygen levels and allowing for that good bacteria to thrive, you will have a cleaner pond and less muck and sludge.
  • Improve water quality: Sludge and muck can also make your water appear foggy and dirty, so by reducing them through increased oxygenation you can effectively improve the clarity and quality of your water.
  • Reduce pond weeds and algae: By effectively removing the nutrients that make up pond sludge and muck, you are taking away the food source for annoying algae and pond weeds.
  • Reduce Thermocline: An aerator can help mix the colder lower layer of your pond with the warmer upper layer, thus making for more even oxygen and temperature levels throughout the pond. Sometimes an aerator is even enough to keep a pond from freezing over completely, which is important if you have fish in your pond.

What is the best way to aerate a pond?

The best way to aerate a pond is going to depend on your specific pond and its aeration needs.

There are many ways to aerate a pond, including:

  • Surface aeration, for example, from a fountain, waterfall, pond spitter, etc.
  • Submerged aeration, which essentially pumps air into your pond’s water.

If you have a small pond with no fish, then a simple surface aeration system can provide adequate oxygen to your water while also adding visual appeal and ambient noise.

If you have a large pond with fish, then surface aeration systems might not be enough, so you’ll want to invest in a more robust system like an electrical submerged aerator or in some cases a windmill aerator.

Can fish run out of oxygen in water?

Yes, fish can run out of oxygen in water, which is why a proper aeration system is a necessity in ponds with fish.

It’s recommended that you keep oxygen levels higher than 3 ppm in the upper 2 feet of your pond. When levels reach below 0.5 ppm for extended periods of time then your fish may start to die.

How can I oxygenate my water without a pump?

Most aeration systems use a pump of some sort to oxygen the water.

Surface aerators pump water out of your pond and out a fountain, waterfall, or spitter, which agitates the surface and adds oxygen.

Submerged pond aerators use a pump to diffuse air into the water.

However, one way to add oxygen to your pond without a pump is by adding a good amount of oxygenating pond plants to your pond.

In ponds with fish, we don’t recommend solely using plants as a means to oxygenate your water, but they make a great compliment to a pond aerator and have several added benefits, such as:

  • Filtering pollutants
  • Consuming nutrients otherwise used by algae, thus improving water quality
  • Providing shade to fish and other aquatic life