During certain times of the year a lake’s water column usually becomes “stratified”-layers of water form one above the other. Warmer, oxygen rich water develops near the surface while cooler, nutrient laden and oxygen deficient water forms near the bottom. Aeration breaks this cycle of stratification to lower nutrient levels and restore dissolved oxygen to levels safe for fish and other desirable organisms.
The Symptoms of Lake Stratification:
- Excessive plant and/or algae growth
- Large and/or chronic fish kills
- Muck accumulation along the bottom and shoreline
- Foul odors (hydrogen sulfide gas) bubbling to the surface
- Cloudy or murky water leading to a loss of water clarity
- Poor fishing with fewer desirable species
- Excessive mosquito + midge fly population
The Causes of Lake Stratification
- Low oxygen levels
- Stagnant water/poor circulation
- Temperature/oxygen stratification
- High nutrient levels
- Hydrogen sulfide & carbon dioxide gases
- Low levels of beneficial bacteria
During the summer months, when water is warm, oxygen can be consumed faster than it can be replenished. Lakes can become “stratified”; the warmer, oxygen-rich upper water laying on top of the cool, more dense, lower-oxygen deeper water.
Such conditions inhibit levels of beneficial bacteria and their breakdown of organics. Bottom muck accumulation increases and excessive nutrients are readily available for plant/algae growth. This thermal stratification also makes conditions favorable for the production of noxious ammonia and hydrogen sulfide gases.
Bottom diffuser systems create a vertical current using the rising force of millions of small bubbles to entrain the water column, “turning the lake over” and allowing oxygen to be absorbed at the lake’s surface. By moving the lower-oxygen water up from the bottom and eliminating thermal stratification, oxygen levels throughout the water column are increased. Wide swings in oxygen are stabilized, preventing fish kills. The aeration systems also improve sport fisheries by allowing fish to expand their territory into formerly oxygen-deprived portions of the lake.