EQUIPMENT and SUPPLIES

Aeration/Air Blower

WHY NEED AERATION?

When choosing which type of aerator to use for aquaculture ponds, it is helpful to know some basic facts about aeration. Without sufficient oxygen, aquaculture animals will become stressed, sick, and possibly die. Even when a good quality water source is available, the large inputs of nutrients and organic matter that result from feeding and animal waste can lead to a low level of dissolved oxygen in the pond. Good mechanical aerators can effectively replenish the level of dissolved oxygen in ponds.

Aerators perform two basic functions: they oxygenate water and induce water circulation. Both functions are important in pond aquaculture. Pond water normally contains plenty of dissolved oxygen during daylight hours, but in ponds with high feeding rates and abundant phytoplankton blooms, dissolved oxygen concentrations may decline to dangerously low levels at night. Aeration can be used during the night to stabilize dissolved oxygen concentrations within safe ranges.

A moderate degree of water circulation in ponds is beneficial: it prevents stratification of the water to provide more uniform water quality. Also, organic matter from uneaten feed, feces, and dead plankton settles to pond bottoms and decomposes. This can lead to anaerobic conditions in the superficial layers of bottom sediment with the release of toxic microbial metabolites in the overlying pond water. Induced circulation of pond water increases water flow and delivery of dissolved oxygen to the surface of the sediment to lower the possibility of anaerobic conditions at the sediment-water interface.

“Because of better water and soil quality in response to aeration, fish eat better, have greater resistance to diseases, suffer less mortality, and achieve better feed conversion efficiency in aerated ponds than in ponds without aeration.”

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