We HIGHLY recommend (and have been preaching this for years) that Phoenix pond owners keep some battery-operated air stones on hand in case of emergency during the summer months. Warm water naturally holds less oxygen than cold water. At night, aquatic plants respirate carbon dioxide and steal oxygen from the already low-oxygenated warm water. Combined with a power or pump outage, this can create a very dangerous situation and suffocate the large fish in your pond overnight. Water movement and oxygen exchange are critical for keeping larger fish in your pond.
Having an aerator in your pond is a great way to help out the oxygen transfer (as well as offer some predator protection because they can’t see through the bubbles), but if your power goes out for any length of time, a battery-operated air stone could save the lives of your larger fish. Having an extra pump on hand may seem like a smart idea; however, the warranty period starts running at the time of purchase. Air stones are not ideal, but it’s certainly way better than nothing!
Guidelines for Air Stones IN A PHOENIX POND
There are some general guidelines to help determine how many air stones you might need to have on hand and drop in your pond in case of emergency. The guidelines assume the following:
If your pond meets the standards listed above, there is a rule of thumb you can use to determine how many 8” air stones you would need to keep your fish alive during a power outage or pump failure. If your pond exceeds any of these standards, you will need to adjust the recommended quantity to account for your specific conditions. Err on the side of caution because you can't have TOO much oxygen.
Rule of Thumb for Air Stones in a Phoenix Pond
We recommend one 8” air stone for every 25 sf of pond surface area. Remember, square feet is calculated by multiplying length times width. So, if you have an 8’ x 10’ pond, you have 80 square feet of surface area. 20% plant coverage would mean no more than 16 sf of water lily/plant coverage over the surface, so you would need a MINIMUM of 3 air stones. Again, if you have fish over 6” long, you need more because they need more oxygen than smaller fish.
If there is mulm on the bottom of the pond, keep the air stone(s) on a shelf above that so that you’re not stirring the mulm into the water column, which would exacerbate the situation.
Where to Get Air Stones for your Phoenix Pond
Air stones are used for bait keepers, and can generally be found at any sporting goods store. They are used to keep bait alive for fishermen.
Don’t wait until something happens, and the emergency is upon you – prepare now! At this time, The Pond Gnome does not offer 24-hour emergency service outside of our Platinum Maintenance Program. We may not be able to get help to you as soon as we would like for a pump replacement (and we have no control over power outages or electrical failures), so please, please, PLEASE take steps to take care of your fin-babies!
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