Aerators play a vital role in ponds with fish. Without a pond aerator, the dissolved oxygen content (DOC) could fall below the recommended 6.5 to 8.5 milligrams of oxygen per liter of water, meaning your fish wouldn’t have enough oxygen to breathe.
Furthermore, pond aerators spark the growth of beneficial bacteria, which helps with natural bio-filtration. The result is a clearer pond so that you can enjoy watching your fish swim. Aerators also reduce ice formation if you live in a cold climate.
We know it can feel overwhelming to choose a pond aerator with so many options on the market. So, we’ve done the hard work for you and will share our top five favorite pond aerators.
Our Choice for the Best Pond Aerators
After much trial and error, we’ve narrowed down our favorite pond aerators. Each of these aerators comes with unique qualities.
But regardless of the aerator you choose, you can expect it to provide your pond with the oxygen it needs while reducing murkiness and algae growth.
Editor’s Choice: HIBLOW HP-80 Pond Aerator
- Power Source: AC
- Flow Rate: 80 Liters Per Minute
- Weight: 7 pounds
- Dimensions: 9.3 x 7.1 x 7.8 inches
The HIBLOW HP-80 is a robust aerator for ponds as large as 0.5 acres and 10 feet or shallower. It has a flow rate of 80 liters per minute, creating a maximum pressure of 3.6 pounds per square inch.
If that sounds too technical for you, the layperson’s version is that this is a robust and high-quality pond aerator that maximizes even distribution of oxygen throughout the water.
People especially love using the HIBLOW HP-80 in winter climates, given that it does an excellent job of maintaining an even water temperature, reducing the chance of their fish passing away.
Best of all, you won’t even remember this pond aerator is running thanks to its quiet nature. It also has a low vibration and pulsation, all while consuming minimal electricity. Customers comment on how they love the HIBLOW HP-80’s sturdy design and how it has a long life, even when it spends long periods in harsh weather.
If you use this aerator on deep ponds, you’ll still be able to see tiny air bubbles coming to the surface, giving you peace of mind that it’s working.
Of course, no product is perfect, and the higher price point of this aerator can be a deterrent for some people. You’ll also need to do some electrical work to set it up. Although it comes with instructions, some people might not feel comfortable working with its wires.
- Runs quietly
- Ideal for larger ponds
- High-quality aluminum material
- It doesn’t require lubrication
- Uses little energy
- On the expensive side
- It requires a bit of DIY
Runner Up: The Pond Guy Pond Aerator
- Power Source: AC/Battery Powered
- Capacity: Up to 6000 Gallons
- Weight: 10.7 Pounds
- Dimensions: 12 x 10.5 x 12.5 inches
The Pond Guy’s user-friendly pond aeration kit makes it easy to tailor an aerator to your pond’s needs. You can choose from two different types of aerators.
The first is a smaller aerator for ponds between 1,000 to 4,000 gallons. It has a diffuser depth of four feet and one roll of airline hose. In contrast, the “Pond Aerator 2” is for ponds between 4,000 – 6,000 gallons and comes with two airline rolls.
You can decide between the two aerators if your pond hovers right around the 4,000-gallon mark. We recommend playing it safe and using the Pond Aerator 2 if you have a lot of fish in your pond. Otherwise, it’s likely safe to go with the smaller Pond Aerator 1.
Regardless of the aerator you choose, The Pond Guy prides itself in creating a quiet but powerfully running aerator. You can leave it turned on day and night, 365 days of the year, and it requires little maintenance.
The Pond Guy uses a non-stick diaphragm, meaning it’s challenging for algae to stick to it. That’s a welcome change for many pond owners, who often pull their aerators out of the water to find them covered in slimy goo.
The downside to this aerator is that it’ll turn off if it overheats. So, we recommend placing it in a shady spot to reduce the chances of this happening. Customers who live in sweltering climates, such as the southwest part of the United States, have found workarounds by keeping their pond aerator in the shade and pointing a fan on it.
- Excellent value
- Non-stick diaphragm
- Two size choices
- Easy to install
- Low maintenance
- It shuts off when it overheats
- Not as hardy of a design
Best Value For Money: Airmax PondAir 2 Aeration Kit
- Power Source: AC/Battery Powered
- Capacity: Up to 1000 Gallons
- Weight: 3.15 Pounds
- Dimensions: 7 x 5 x 4 inches
The Airmax PondAir 2 is an excellent aeration kit for people with small ponds of up to 1,000 gallons. It’s easy to carry and runs quietly like the other aerators on this list.
It’s also a compact aerator, measuring only 7 x 5 x 4 inches, meaning that it won’t steal attention away from the fish in your pond when you have guests over. Since it comes with two air stones and a six-foot power cord, it does an excellent job of getting oxygen and water flow to different parts of your pond.
That said, some people use an extension cord to keep the above-ground portion of the aeration kit away from water. Although Airmax doesn’t say otherwise, customers comment that the device doesn’t seem overly waterproof, so they prefer to keep it in a sheltered area away from their pond.
Another advantage of the PondAir 2 is that since the cord is black, there’s less chance that algae will accumulate on it compared to transparent cables. However, although this pond aerator is theoretically suitable for use year-round, you might notice that it wears faster than some of the other aerators on this list, given that it doesn’t contain the sturdiest material.
- Lightweight (3.15 pounds)
- Ideal for small ponds
- It comes with two air stones
- Prevents algae growth
- Cheaper material
- You may need to use an extension cord
Alternative: HQUA PAS20 Pond & Lake Aeration System
- Power Source: AC
- Capacity: Up to 3 acre ponds
- Weight: 61.9 pounds
- Dimensions: 14 x 5 x 8 inches
A glance at the HQUA PAS20 Pond and Lake Aeration System will give you the confidence that it’s sturdy enough to aerate large ponds. It can aerate a pond as large as three acres and 50 feet deep.
The PAS20 comes with a gigantic 100-foot hose airline that’s durable to withstand conditions of all kinds in your pond. Despite being such a powerhouse, the stainless steel PSA20 only measures 14 x 5 x 8 inches. You’ll need someone to help you carry it, though, given that this kit weighs nearly 62 pounds.
The PSA20’s diffuser contains a 10-inch non-stick membrane to prevent algae from sticking to it. Despite having such long tubes, we’re surprised by how easy it is to set up this aerator. However, some customers have rightly noted that it would be helpful if the instructions were more precise despite how intuitive it is to install.
Unlike some pond aerators that suffer from debris and algae clogging them, the heavy-duty nature of the PSA20 means that it does an excellent job of circulating pond water in practically any condition, no matter how thick the debris.
Given that the PSA20 can power aeration for up to three acres of water, it naturally consumes more energy than smaller aerators and pond pumps. So, it’s important to factor in added costs to your electricity by using such a large aerator.
- Compact size
- Aerates up to three acres
- Durable stainless steel material
- Works well through debris
- Outstanding air pressure
- Nearly 62 pounds
- Noticeably increases your electricity bill
Alternative: Patriot Pond Pro Aeration Rocking Piston
- Power Source: AC
- Flow Rate: 3.9 Cubic Feet Per Minute
- Weight: 21 Pounds
- Dimensions: 8 x 10 x 13 inches
The Patriot Pond Pro is an excellent choice for medium to large ponds, as it’ll aerate water up to 40 feet deep. Unlike the PSA20 we just covered, the Patriot Pond Pro also has a stainless steel frame, but it only weighs 21 pounds.
The Patriot Pond Pro is also blissfully low-maintenance. It doesn’t require any oiling, and you can leave it on 24/7 or use it intermittently.
Although there’s a good chance you won’t have to toy with this pond aerator very much for at least a couple of years after you buy it, it has an air filter with a removable element for easy replacement when the time comes.
As with our experience, customers are overall pleased with the Patriot Pond Pro. Many people use it to replace an old aerator, and they’re often able to keep some of the same tubing and diffuser if they wish.
People also praise the Patriot Pond Pro for its power while remaining quiet. So, you won’t have to worry about it scaring your fish or keeping you awake at night.
Although the Patriot Pond Pro is relatively easy to install, some people complain that it’s challenging to find the ¼-inch 24-thread bolts at the base that this aerator calls for. But you likely won’t have issues with this unless you plan on modifying it.
- Stainless steel
- Two-year warranty
- No oiling required
- Excellent power-to-size ratio
- It fits well with many old aerator parts
- Uses hard-to-find bolts
- Unnecessarily large for smaller ponds
Pond Aerators FAQ
Do you still have questions about how pond aerators work? We’ve rounded up answers to people’s most common inquiries.
How do you aerate a pond cheaply?
Some of the cheapest ways to aerate a pond along your pond liner include pond plants and solar aerators. Another option is to lower the number of fish you keep in your pond, reducing the need for higher dissolved oxygen levels.
However, you can purchase inexpensive electrical pond aerators, especially if you don’t need to aerate thousands of gallons of water.
How long should you run an aerator in a pond?
Ideally, you should run an aerator in a pond 24/7. But if you don’t want to run it all the time, it’s best to turn it on at night. That’s because aquatic plant life tends to reproduce then, disrupting this process.
Running a pond aerator 24/7 also helps reduce stratification. Stratified water happens when ponds have a warmer layer on top and cooler air underneath. Pond aerators break up this layer, making the temperature more comfortable for your fish throughout the pond.
Can you aerate a pond too much?
It’s unlikely that you can aerate a pond too much, given that high levels of dissolved oxygen are beneficial for fish and these aerators reduce the amount of unwanted algae buildup. Nevertheless, supersaturation can occur.
Supersaturation is when there’s more dissolved gas (oxygen, in this case) than the amount of maximum gas that water can hold. The water’s temperature, gas pressure, and dissolved solids concentration all play a role in the possibility of supersaturation. But the everyday pond owner shouldn’t have to worry about this when using an aerator.
What size aerator do I need?
You’ll need to choose an aerator according to how many gallons of water are in your pond. So the larger your pond, the bigger sized aerator it’ll require.
Another way to determine the best-fit aerator for your pond size is by looking at the cubic feet per minute (CFM) rating. All aerators should come with CFM details. A CFM of 0.1 should be sufficient if you have a small pond. But ponds of around one acre will need a CFM rating of approximately 2.5.
You might need two or more small aerators if you have a pond with many curves. That way, you can ensure the oxygen and underground current reaches every crevice of your pond.
If you’ve never used a pond aerator before, you’re in for a treat—they make a fast, noticeable improvement in the clarity of pond water. Your fish will also feel the benefits near-instantly, having more dissolved oxygen in the water to keep them healthier.
We recommend choosing a pond aerator that fits as closely as possible to serve the size of your pond. The larger the pond aerator you select, the more money you’ll likely need to spend.
The materials a pond aerator contains are also important. A stainless steel or aluminum aerator is an excellent choice if you’d like the highest quality aerator possible. But if you live in a moderate climate or don’t want to run your aerator all the time, choosing a more economical aerator can still do the trick for keeping your fish happy and your pond clearer.