Thursday, July 5, 2012

2012 drought will have long-term impact on ponds

See the attached link that quotes Indiana State University Professor Rusty Gosner.

Pond health is dependent upon good water depth.  Using products such as the Pond2O Bio with BioStart Technology is just one method of reducing the amount of muck and sludge that is filling in small slow moving farm ponds.  Biological enzymes are working to eat the layer of decaying materials and add years of life to your body of water.  It is kind of like the “fountain of youth”.  Ponds, as they age, begin to fill themselves in with decaying plant, animal and fish materials.  It is a natural progression of ecology.  During the summer, water in the ponds stratifies horizontally. The very bottom layer is the coolest more dense water with the little or no oxygen. The middle area is the most oxygenated water and is a little lighter.  This is the area the fish need to be in to survive. The top layer of water is the warmest and lightest with a low oxygen level also.  As water warms throughout the summer, that center level gets squeezed and becomes shorter or smaller and provides less area for fish to survive and be healthy.  Why is this important?
This is the perfect storm for a “pond turnover”.  That term refers to the heavy water on the bottom of the pond being displaced by colder water – it then mixes that non-oxygenated bottom water into the middle fish populated area.  This happens usually in July or August after the conditions are similar to the ones we are seeing at this time. When we do get a cool rain, that rain water is cooler than the pond water and creates the “pond turnover” effect.  Large fish require more oxygen than do small fish.  Therefore the large fish are the first to succumb to this mixing effect and loss of oxygen. Many times it will be massive losses of fish in a pond which is alarming as well as once they start decaying it can become a health hazard.  Once these fish die and decay, they become part of that muck layer and therefore creating the perfect storm for more problems down the road.
This effect is alleviated by wind action blowing across the surface of a pond creating some mixing of the pond waters. External aeration is an effective way to ensure the water will not stratify and create the conditions for a Pond turnover.  Being pro-active with maintenance of your pond will keep your waterscape beautiful even in challenging conditions.