The importance of maintaining a good level of dissolved oxygen can not be overstated.
Your fish require oxygen to breathe. The bacteria in your filter system utilize it to break down harmful Ammonia and Nitrites. Large amounts of Oxygen is required to decompose organic material in the pond.
A very common misconception regarding ponds is that the more plants the more oxygen there will be available for the fish. Whilst it is true that plants express oxygen as a byproduct of photosynthesis at night this process stops completely.
Serious effects of low oxygen levels are often most obvious during the summer months when higher water temperatures increase your fish’s activity levels and bacterial processes move into overdrive. Oxygen is actually less soluble in warm water. Meaning the water simply can not retain as much of it.
When there are insufficient levels of oxygen your fish can become lethargic and may be reluctant to feed. Some fish will get highly stressed and jump up out of the water. If your fish are hanging around where the water returns to the pond or sitting under a waterfall that’s a sure sign that something is very wrong.
In extreme cases you may literally witness your fish gasping for breath at the surface.
Should you encounter a situation like this then swift action is needed to prevent the horrible death of your fish. You need to administer emergency triage.
I would recommend running in fresh water from a hose pipe, spray the water in so as to cause a good level of disturbance.
If you have a spare water pump drop it in and use it to splash around and agitate the surface.
One customer I know who discovered his fish struggling during a power cut grabbed a brush and plunged it up and down into the water. Churning up the water and powering in oxygen quickly to the fish.
Do be careful should you decide to try this; however, if there is a massive layer of sediment in the bottom and you just start stirring it up you can release harmful gasses such as Hydrogen Sulfide.
You can add hydrogen peroxide treatment to re-oxygenate and quickly neutralize Hydrogen Sulfide. Some people will have this in their store. It’s often used as a clean up after PPing.
Obviously we should take sensible steps to avoid having to take such radical action.
Firstly do not allow your pond to become heavily congested with dense vegetation or thick deposits of sediment. Dredge out some weeds and either net out or vacuum out thick sludge and gunk.
Always maintain your pump, filter and fountains. Keep things unblocked and flowing freely.
One of the absolute best ways you can keep the oxygen at healthy levels is to fit a dedicated air pump.I strongly recommended investing in one. They are super simple to install.
A small inexpensive air pump can be an absolute lifesaver and can cost under £20. A larger more powerful model will really help to make things comfortable even in a large heavily stock pond.
We have a huge range of air pumps to choose from, most will come with a good supply of air line and diffuser stones so they have everything straight out the box..
The next time you’re in the shop, have a chat with one of our members of staff. They are always happy to help and will have some valuable advice.