Flip It Good: (At Least) 3 Big Benefits of Pond Aeration


LONDON, Ohio — Aeration often can do a pond good, says an expert at The Ohio State University. It can keep the pond from stratifying, which can make the water and the fish in it healthier.

Stratification, a natural process, is when a pond forms a warm layer of water at the surface and a cold layer down at the bottom.

Eugene Braig, aquatic ecosystems program director in Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, will speak on the topic at the annual Farm Science Review trade show in London, Ohio. The event, which is sponsored by the college, is Sept. 22-24.

Braig will present “The Ever-Flipped Pond: Better Water Quality Through Aeration” from 10:30-11:30 a.m. Sept. 22 as part of a series of talks in the Review’s Gwynne Conservation Area.

“I’ll cover some basic limnology: how stratification physically works and how that ordinarily relates to both dissolved oxygen and nutrient cycles, especially phosphorus,” he said.

“I’ll then discuss the use of aeration to actually prevent naturally occurring seasonal thermal stratification and thus potentially improve water quality and slow the pond’s aging process.”

What it means to ‘flip’ a pond

“Flipping” a pond simply means keeping it in a state of turnover, he said. The surface and bottom waters are kept constantly mixed. You do it by using an aerator — a diffuser or bottom bubbler, for example — which should be started in spring and run through the summer.

Braig’s talk will cover such details as:

  • How preventing stratification can boost a pond’s dissolved oxygen levels, a plus for fish.
  • How preventing stratification can limit dissolved phosphorus levels in the water and in doing so reduce the growth of algae.
  • How preventing stratification can slow down the process of eutrophication — enrichment of the water with nutrients — and serve to keep a pond “young.”

“Hopefully, pond owners will receive enough background information to determine if their own pond stratifies with negative consequences and whether destratification will help with their own management objectives or not,” he said.

Gwynne has other talks, too

The 67-acre Gwynne Conservation Area is part of the site of the Review, the college’s 2,100-acre Molly Caren Agricultural Center. Find a complete list of talks in the area at go.osu.edu/FSRgwynne2015.

Pond-wise, Braig will also present “Is My Pond Toxic?” as part of the area’s talks. Other experts will speak on managing aquatic vegetation, choosing and stocking fish, and the basics and management of pond aeration.

Details about the Review overall, including activities, ticket prices and hours, are at fsr.osu.edu. Some 130,000 people are expected to attend.

CFAES News Team
For more information, contact: 

Eugene Braig