Windmill Aerators

Discussion in 'Pond Management' started by Salmonid, Apr 14, 2008.

  1. Anyone using one, Id love to hear your thoughts regarding them, Been looking at some now in the 16 ft, $900 dollar range
    Thanks for any input.

    PS Yes, where it would go is a windy hilltop so there will be plenty of wind for it.
  2. Lundy

    Lundy Staff Member

    I am in the process of purchasing an aeration system.

    I've read all of the information and reviews that I could find, and was considering a windmill system.

    I've elected to go with a Vertex system for a few reason, primarily just the effectiveness of the system. It costs more to purchase and to operate monthly but I just didn't want to chance a reduction in performance. My new pond needs help, so I'm going with a system that I know will do that job I need done.

    Good luck, please let me know how the windmill works out for you if you go that way.


  3. Fishman

    Fishman Catch bait???

    Mark if you can afford it, I'de highly recommend going with an electrical system. Windwills are far to inconsistant honestly. Unless you have constant 5mph or greater wind where the windmill is going, don't do it. It's really as simple as that.

    Couple of hot days in the summer with no breeze and your pond will restratify. Wind picks up and turns your pond over, perhaps killing all your fish. The risk isn't worth it in my opinion, unless of couse as I said earlier you have constant wind :) Not to mention the windmills simply don't push anywhere near the same ammount of air as electric systems.

    If access to electric is why you're considering this, it's helpful to know that electric systems can have the airline trenched out and ran quite a ways. I've heard the systems we sell can go upwards of 1/4 mile. Electrical usage is relativly minimal, 20-30 bucks extra a month.

    Now for the good news, since you have a new pond you technically don't need an airation system. Oxygen issues generally start to arise in ponds with higher nutrient loads. Typically newer ponds don't have high nutrient loads, well, because they're new! You fish will benefit from the extra oxygen though.

    Lastly, if you decide to go with membrane diffusers or stone diffuses there isn't much of a difference. The vast majority of of oxygen exchange is going to actually occur at the surface. The template on the bottom of the pond basically acts as an "elevator" moving oxygen poor water to the surface where it's exposed to the atmosphere and oxygen/gas exchange occurs. Also, windwill "templates" are generally a single stone, so they don't move much water in comparison to electric units. The same can be said about 2 template systems that Vertex manufactures. Our standard template is 4 air stones (for electrical systems) As a rule of thumb (for the most part :D) more stones/membrane diffusers per template - more water will be moved.
  4. I agree with the popular opinion that windmills fail to deliver when aeration is needed most...when there is no wind.

    There is a difference between air stones and membrane diffusers. If you've ever had an aquarium you've probably seen air stones become clogged with minerals, reducing their output to a few big bubbles. Membrane diffusers can be "flexed" by increasing the pressure to break up and loosen these deposits where the stone type cannot. A bunch of small bubbles will move more water to the surface than a few big ones.

    Another thing to consider is that all compressors need maintenance occasionally. I'd much rather do the repairs at ground level rather than have to climb. I purchased my Vertex Air1 plus system from the place Lundy linked to. Ted Lea owns the place and has some systems he builds in house that are nice if you have a building to put the compressor in. He is also very knowledgeable and gave me all the accessories needed to do the install including fertilizer grade stainless steel clamps.

    I used the self weighted air line from about 3' outside the edge of the pond to the air stations. To save money I used irrigation line underground to the compressor. The weighted stuff is pricey but comes with a lifetime warranty and seems very hook resistant with very thick walls. It also is just about impossible to kink or crush.

    Vertex recommends the same system for your pond that I have. It produces 2.3 CFM at 5 PSI. I'd be surprised if the windmill you are considering delivers 1/4 that.
  5. Yeah, I have also done the research and what you guys are saying is the consensus of the masses. Tom, I am looking at them as a form of not having to bury/run electric 200 yards to the pond. I know the what the right right answer is ( go electric) but the cheapskate in me wants me to make sure its not an option.:p
    I also like the esthetics of a windmill near the pond.

    BTW, I realisticaly was looking into it for NEXT year. It is possible I will dig a well out there to supplement the pond with cold fresh water durringt he summer months and may need to run that electricity anyways. I need to wait and see how much evaporation we get this summer as I have a less then optimum drainage area for the pond. Pond is .75 acre and I have about a total of 2.5-3 acre watershed. ( all within my property and fenced from horses/cattle or any external nutrient loading.)

    I might add that since 2nd week of october, pond has risen about 10 feet and holds well as its all clay escavated.

    Keep the thoughts coming and I appreciate everyones feedback!
  6. H2O Mellon

    H2O Mellon Hangin' With My Gnomies

    You have been deducted two (2) Catfisherman points for using a word such as "esthetics". That's the trout fisherman coming out of you. Shame, Shame, Shame. ;) :p :)
  7. Careful man, its a long walk home from the Ohio River this Saturday in the rain, even worse when I beach you on the Briar side for you to use the bathroom in the woods and enjoy the "esthetic" scenery of you cursing me with your pants around your ankles as I motor off to put your equipment on Ebay...:p

    PS dont make me catch some trout for flathead bait... Ill do it!!!

  8. Fishman

    Fishman Catch bait???

    lol Brian.... BUT I've gotta admit I also think they look great as well.

    Airstones will over time will accumlate minerals, dipped in muratic acid it disolves them (the minerals) pretty quickly. The membrane diffusers are definitally less maintness, won't argue that, but honestly what man doesn't enjoy going on the middle of a pond and pouring some acid on air template and giv'in it a good scrubbin''!! YEEEEE HAAW :D

    I won't subscibe to the theory that smaller bubbles move more water than large bubbles. To top that off, I can't tell you how many membrane diffusers I've seen blowing bubbles the size of softballs :D Either from tears or just plain ripping.
  9. As fishman said, one of the advantages of bottom diffuser aeration systems, windmill or electric powered, is that they can pump air over very long distances.

    Irrigation line was really cheap, 11 cents per foot last year. A half day trencher rental on a 3"x1' trencher is under $60.

    I would also like to add that I don't think there is anyway that a windmill you described could ever cause a fishkill. It simply won't turn the water over fast enough.

    The membrane diffusers I have came with a 5 year no questions warranty. Worst case, I flex them by turning a knob every few months and have to drag them out every 5 years and replace, though I expect replacement will be less frequent. I was told the stone types needed to be cleaned/replaced every 6-12 months.
  10. Fishman

    Fishman Catch bait???

    Cleaning is really only nessessary when you can see blantant fouling (large bubbles) reduced air flow. I did some research on the membrane diffusers, since my real only experiance with them was replacing them with stone templates after ripped. They too can foul, and the acid treatments to clean them are much more abrasive to the material than to stone.

    Stop and think about the summer, where you get stale no wind days for long periods of time. Ponds can start to restratify in a matter of a week. A strong storm comes through, with heavy winds. Windmill starts pumping "excessivly" for an extended ammount of time and you have the chance of a turn over. I'm not going to say that the chances of it are high by any means. But the risk is there.
  11. PapawSmith

    PapawSmith Bud n Burgers

    Fishman and Pondfin$ic seem to be a god bit smarter on this issue than me so if they want to smack down my opinion I'm OK with it. The necessity for any type of aereation system seems to apply to either very small ponds or larger ponds with a shallow depth, or excessive shallow areas. Ponds that have a favorable surface area to depth ratio, properly maintained, tend to do quite well without any type of exterior aereation assistance. I've owned a couple of properties with ponds. The smallest pond was about 1/4 acre surface area with a max depth of about 12 feet and an average depth of about 5 feet. To maintain an adequate oxygen and temp level in this pond I punched a shallow well (about 40') right next to my barn, where I had power, sat a fractional HP pump on it and ran a 1/2" waterline underground to the pond that shot up on a 45 degree angle into the water. In the hot months I would run the pump 24/7 and this provided both cold and oxygenated water to the enviorment. This combined with proper pond maintenance resulted in an exceptional fishery that supported, Bass, Gills, Rainbows (planted only), and fathead minnows.
    You indicated that your pond has about 3/4 acre surface area with controled runoff influence. With proper management of a pond this size you may not NEED any aereation system at all. I emphasize 'need' because any additional oxygen that you wish to provide can certainly be a benifit to several species of fish you may want to introduce to this pond.
    Good luck, ponds, pond management, and building a desirable fishery can be a good learning experience and a great bit of fun.
  12. I purchased a 16' Koenders windmill eight years ago to sit 125' from my 1/2 acre pond. A severe case of duckweed infestation did considerable damage to the fishery the prior year and that's what prodded me into getting some additional aeration. It was quite a challenge to assemble the windmill and then raise it to the upright position with the compressor and fan blades at the top. Finally had to get the tractor and front-end loader out in order to wrestle it into a standing position. Rarely does the fan sit idle during the daytime hours, giving me plenty of additional aeration for a pond my size. The stone has never been an issue. I clamped the line to the handle of a six gallon plastic bucket that I had drilled in the side a number of 1" holes. Put a couple of bricks in the bottom of the bucket and the stone was both suspended and protected by hanging it inside the bucket. I've checked it twice in the last eight years, brushed it off with a stiff nylon brush, and it's still putting out plenty of bubbles. Although "esthetics" may not be the proper man-word to use, the windmill "sure does look purty back yonder behind the barns". Salmonid, I have no hesitation in recommending one for what you're trying to accomplish.
  13. Fishman

    Fishman Catch bait???

    Oh god I had almost forgotten what they are like to assemble! When I first started at Jones I was fixing the one we have the on the property when the a strong storm had blown it over. I was about 4 hours into the job, when my boss walked out and asked "if I was making a career out of it?" Being the new guy I was terribly embarassed, and though I was doing something wrong since it was taking eons to get it back together. Later I learned that no, they're just a pain in the ass to put together :D
  14. You are so right, Fishman. Galvanized parts with very rough edges, holes that don't line up, cheap screws & nuts that don't want to thread properly. And, oh, by the way ... that strut you just put on should have gone on the bottom section. Disassemble everything and start over! It was a Magnum Erector Set!
  15. Fishman

    Fishman Catch bait???

    haha, that sentence had me rolling :D I'de love to meet the man that engineered "how smoothly the construction" process goes for the consumer and ask him if he's ever put one together?

    Although cumbersome to put together, the stay looking "brand new" forever and are durable as all get out (unless they fall over) against the elements and such. The one we have on display on our property looks like it just came out of the box and the compressor still works like a champ given the opportunity :D

    A word of advise Mark, if you're a beer drinker, I highly recommend getting a case of beer, a friend (preferabbly H20Mellon because we all know him) and a video camera and let the fun begin. A good game would be anyone who says a curse word has to take a drink of beer, puts the right peice in the wrong spot, ect.... Then let us watch the video afterwards :D
  16. Salmonid:

    Look into wind turbines/small wind power. Pending your location in Ohio, you will probably be able to generate enough of a cut in speed to get one of these started. There are federal, state and local incentives to implement these systems and in some cases, you could be receive a grant for 50% of the install cost. These will more than likely be taller towers and may not meet your aesthetic req't, but you would definitely produce enough power to be able to run an aeration system. On top of that, you could possibly generate excess Kw to be used elsewhere, cutting down on your electric costs. You could probably pick up a small scale tower and turbine along with the inverter for a couple thousand. Of course the higher your tower, the higher the average wind speed. Much of central ohio has an avg. wind speed of 10-15mph at 30 meters. I know that a stipulation of state incentives says that some part must be manufactured in Ohio to qualify. Do some searching around, an ebay search for 'wind turbine' will get you started. Good luck
  17. A few years ago I wanted more oxygen in my pond and found a cheap fix. You can find an A.I.R. pump in a junkyard. These pumps were put on automobile engines to inject air either into the exhaust manifolds or in front of the catylitic converters to help complete the combustion process. Anyway.

    I connected one to a small engine and it pushed an amazing amount of air at about 10-15 lbs. pressure. Enough to do a decent job. Another friend of mine used a 1/4 h.p. electric motor and timer to do the same thing. The pumps are pretty cheap in the junk yard and have no maintenance issues. Make sure the thing turns freely. I also put a small air filter on the intake side just to keep dust from wearing it out prematurely. I used 1" water pipe, drilled 1/8 dia. holes every 12" or so and weighted it down with bricks. Seemed to work pretty well.
  18. For a lot less trouble you simply order a gast compressor from a discount website. Compressors in the 1/4 HP size deliver around 2.5 CFM @ 10-15 Psi and cost $50-$60. Use the 1/2" irrigation line at 11 cents per foot and buy a purpose made diffuser either membrane or airstone to provide the lift/circulation a bottom aeration system is supposed to...probably available for under $20 again at a discount place. Keep in mind that eventually the compressor will need rebuilt. Buying something that's still manufactured is going to be a lot easier to get parts for. Add a $30 timer and set to run at night and you're looking at about $10 per month operating. You'll need some pipe clamps, an air filter, pressure relief and operating valve and will have to find a good way to weight down the irrigation line. Better yet splurge and buy enough $1.50/ft weighted airline to go a from a couple feet underground to the airstone, it's easier to install, holds up to hooks and doesn't kink. The motor and compessor need good air circulation to keep cool and need shelter from the weather. These compressors are fairly loud so don't plan on mounting it in your garage without a soundproof cabinet unless you like the sound of an air impact wrench running all night.
  19. Thaks for the ideas guys but at this point, the cost of fish getting delivered this weekend will keep me from looking at any aeration systems this year. I have pretty much given up ont he windmill idea and will most likely do a bottom diffuser system when i get around to getting electricity out there, most likely next Spring, I hope....
    Latest status, Pond is at about 100% of where I would liek it to be with all the rains so we will see how much I loose over the next few months, I created a measuring stick from 2" PVC and some 2" numbers spaced 6" apart so i ll have some reference. Getting most of the gamefish for the pond this Sat except the Yellow Perch, Jones wont deliver them until fall when the water temps are colder, so they are coming from ATAC (Sponsor here) and will be a few more of them ( 91 vs 75 on original order) and also will be bigger 4-6" vs the 2-4" I was gonna get from Jones so that doubled the cost of them ( these YP are $1.65 each) so anyways this round of fish will be around $700 so Ill have about $1100 total invested in the stocking startup not counting the feed/pellets to get them going.

    Still havent put a dock in yet but have a few good ideas on what i am gonna do there in the next 2-3 weeks, hope to have that done by July 4th. The planting of the grass seed worked well around the horse arena but really didnt take very well around the pond so I have a ton of weeds there now with a few blades of grass scattered about. I think the fact the topsoil all washed into the pond from late October till spring really hurt me so I have a gravelly clay bank with all the topsoil in the bottom of the pond with deep eroding gulleys all around the pond, time will even them out I suppose but really disapointing putting down about 400 dollars worth of KY Tall Fescue 51 and only about 1/3 of it really took. Ill be redoing more planting this fall but for now the weeds are really making it look green and keeping the erosion to a minimum.
    Been swimming in the pond with wife and dogs and have about 10" of gush between your toes mud in the bottom and that was not part of the plan....

    Thats about it, having the pond is like owning 3 fixerupper boats all at the same time....:p

    More later

  20. Fishman

    Fishman Catch bait???

    Glad to see you're enjoying the pond man! Sorry to hear about not moving the perch this time of year, my personal experiance having done it was never pretty :D Just keep an eye on'em, if you don't have any floaters after a few days you'll be fine :)