How to Aerate Your Backyard Pond

Aerating your garden pond is essential for keeping the pond healthy.

Infusing oxygen into the pond benefits the plants, fish and beneficial bacteria that need oxygen to live.

In this article you’ll learn about the benefits of pond aeration along with the best ways to aerate your garden pond.

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Pond aeration

How to tell if your pond needs aeration:

Foul smell coming from the pond

If your pond starts smelling like rotten eggs, it’s definitely time to aerate your pond.

The rotten smell comes from anaerobic bacteria producing hydrogen sulfide as it breaks down organic matter.

Aerating a pond boosts the numbers of beneficial aerobic bacteria which need oxygen to survive.

This type of bacteria is much more efficient at breaking down organic matter and it doesn’t cause the pond to smell.

Fish gasping at the surface of the pond

When fish are constantly gasping at the surface of the pond it’s a sure sign that the pond water is low on oxygen.

pond fish

Algae overgrowth

Algae thrive in still, stagnant water so adding aeration to your pond can help to reduce algal blooms.

pond with algae overgrowth

Benefits of aerating your pond

Keeps mosquitos away

Female mosquitoes lay their eggs in stagnant water, so creating water movement with a pump or fountain will make the pond inhospitable for mosquitoes to breed.

Clears the pond water

As I mentioned above, aerating your pond promotes the growth of aerobic bacteria that are beneficial for reducing built-up waste which leads to cloudy and murky water.

pond aerator

Stablilizes the pond temperature

If your pond is deep, it’s likely that the surface water is much warmer than the deeper water, which can get quite cold.

Aeration moves the water around so that there isn’t a significant difference in temperature from the top to the bottom of the pond.

Reduces fish kills

It’s important to run your aeration pump all day and night, 7 days a week to ensure that your pond is properly aerated.

Pond plants with foliage above the water level consume oxygen at night, which makes aeration essential at night time.

The lowest level of oxygen in a pond is from midnight to 6:oo am and this is the time that aeration is absolutely necessary for healthy fish.

Aerating pond water

How to aerate your pond

Pond Aerator

Pond aeration pumps move water throughout the pond and provide circulation and oxygen to the pond.

Water Fountain

Water fountains not only look great, they’re natural pond aerators.

A small pump is used to propel the water upwards which brings lots of oxygen into the pond water.

pond aerator

Water Features

There are many attractive water features such as spillover bowls, frogs and dragonflies that can be placed inside or outside the pond to spit oxygen rich water back into the pond.


Adding a waterfall to your pond is another great way to improve the pond’s oxygen levels.

There are many different waterfall kits and layered rock waterfalls that you can install.

waterfall in pond

Underwater Pond Plants

Pond plants that have foliage above the water level release oxygen into the air so they’re not helpful for aeration.

The best plants for increasing aeration are submerged plants like eelgrass, hornwort or pondweed. [1]

How can I aerate a pond without electricity?

There are many solar powered pumps, fountains and water features that you can use to aerate a small garden pond without using electricity.

small pond fountain

So there are my tips for increasing the oxygen level in your backyard pond.


Do you have any questions about pond aeration? Let me know in the comments below.

Are you on Pinterest?  I have boards dedicated to Garden Ponds and Water Gardens that you may enjoy.

aerating a pond
garden pond aeration

Kelly Martin

Hi, I'm Kelly Martin, a landscape gardener with a special interest in ponds and water gardens. For over a decade, I've been designing and creating beautiful gardens that feature stunning water features, from small garden ponds to large water gardens. Read more