Did you know that the dissolved oxygen (DO) concentration in ponds, lakes, and lagoons is the most important thing you need to know? That is, if you want to enjoy your water body again or continue to for years to come.

Low dissolved oxygen in your favourite water body will lead to the death of fish and invertebrates such as frogs and crayfish. Low dissolved oxygen will also dramatically reduce the beneficial bacteria that consume nutrients in the water. Now, this is where this problem escalates, because excessive nutrients in your water body will increase the muck depth on the shoreline and lake floor. More muck creates a perfect bed for aquatic weeds, thereby further increasing the organic matter and nutrient levels in the water. As the water gets cloudier from muddy bottoms, you will see the formation of green algae on the surface of your once beautiful water body.

In summary, more nutrients in the water is not a good thing. That’s why wastewater from lagoons or run-off from agricultural fields are known pollutants of freshwater bodies. You may be surprised to learn that many homeowners or cabin owners like yourself pollute their own water bodies by dumping their grass clippings, autumn leaves, and even their fire pit residue directly into the water. When it comes to keeping your favourite water body beautiful, adding organic matter to your lake or pond will release more nutrients.

How to Keep Dissolved Oxygen Levels Up in Your Favourite Water Body?

Simple answer: water aeration. Water aeration is the process of adding diffused oxygen to water. Water aeration benefits waterbodies that are anoxic. Anoxia is a fancy term for “the oxygen level is too low.”

Water aeration is most effective when the oxygen-rich air is supplied directly to the bottom of your lake or retention pond. By doing so, air is applied directly to the oxygen-loving bacteria that love to eat the muck off the bottom of the lake or pond. In stagnant waterbodies, a thermocline develops towards the bottom (see infographic above). Water below the thermocline is colder and anoxic in comparison to the water above the thermocline. By applying oxygen to the bottom of the pond, you remove the thermocline and activate the bacteria you want working for you. Simultaneously, you also remove the anaerobic loving organisms from the lake that produce nasty things like blue-green algae.

Comparing Subsurface Water Aeration: Coarse Bubble vs. Fine Bubble Aeration


Coarse Bubble
Fine Bubble
Bubble Size
10 mm
.02 mm
Bubble Density
185/sq. ft.
1800/sq. ft.
Ability to Add DO to Anoxic Water
1.5-2.0 lb/hp-hr Or 6-8% efficiency
6-6.5 lb/hp-hr Or 22-32% efficiency
Ability to Break Up Thermocline
Size of Compressor
7-15 hp – 2-4 operates large diffuser
1.5 HP operates 3 diffusers. Modular design can add more diffusers as required.
Cost of System
Cost to Operate
Noise of Compressor
Requires earplugs and insulated building to dull the noise
Quieter than a central air conditioner 75 decibels
Ease of Repair
Difficult and usually expensive
Can be done on-site
Compressor Housing
Building with ventilation
Comes with weatherproof cabinet or can be placed indoors
Compressor System and Maintenance
Filter and oil changes required
Filter changes and maintenance kit every 24 months
PVC pipe needs to be weighed down
Self-weighted lead free
Diffuser Plates
Large auger-type bubbler weighted down with concrete blocks. Requires a commercial diver to install.
Self-weighted PTFE coated to prevent clogging. Designed to entrain water from the bottom.
Automatic Restart after Power Failure
No, system must be manually restarted each time.
Yes, system has a built-in restart proving peace of mind.

Several communities have come to the conclusion they need to replace their course bubble aeration system for fine bubble. The cost to run, as well as the noise reduction, have been identified as the drivers for switching. The communities that have made the switch have not seen any decrease in the DO levels of their waterbodies.

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