Can Koi Fish Survive Without an Aerator? No

Koi fish are beautiful, but they need proper care to stay alive and maintain their vibrant colors.

Starting The Koi Hobby: A Step By Step Guide…

Is an aerator critical for your koi pond or aquarium?

You will need an aerator to ensure your koi fish can survive. Running a koi pond or aquarium without an aerator is dangerous, as koi fish can only survive for about two days without one. The fish will require dissolved oxygen from an aerator to stay alive.

But why is the aerator so essential, and how does it work? Take a look at this guide to see how an aerator functions and why it would be impractical to have a koi fishpond without an aerator.

Understanding Why Koi Fish Cannot Survive Without An Aerator

Your koi fish will require oxygen to survive. An aerator will produce the oxygen, as it forces air from outside the water downward. The dissolved oxygen will move through the water as bubbles.

How the Aerator Works

A pond aerator is a material that goes into the bottom of your pond. It connects to a waterproof electrical system that keeps the device functional. It can appear in the center of the pond, although you could have more than one aerator in the same space if you divide them up evenly.

An aerator works with a few steps:

  1. The air pump on the aerator will collect air from outside the water. It may come from the initial energy source.
  2. The air will move through a hose and into the dispersal unit at the bottom of the pond.
  3. The aerator unit will exert a few air bubbles. A small disc may appear in the device.
  4. As the bubbles move upward, the water circulates. Some of the air collected from the outside will dissolve, providing oxygen.

You’ll notice a slight disruption at the surface, mostly through a few small ripples coming out from near the aerator. This point is normal, as it shows the bubbles coming from under the water. These slight effects add a nice touch, plus they show your koi fish are getting enough oxygen to survive.

The aerator keeps the water from becoming stale, giving it the oxygen it requires. The aerator also moves debris towards a skimmer or other item that collects leaves and other items, preventing that debris from blocking out the oxygen.

The aerator needs consistent power for it to stay functional. You can use a battery or other backup power source for your aerator if the main power supply dies.

It also needs to be placed in the deepest part of your pond for it to remain effective. Keeping it deep enough allows the oxygen to flow through the area.

How the Top of the Water Impacts the Fish

An aerator ensures your koi fish have enough oxygen, especially since the items at the top of your water will consume more oxygen on average. Organic matter will collect at the top and start to decay or decompose. The organic materials include things like:

  • Leaves and other plant materials
  • Fish waste that floats upward
  • Algal blooms, or the development of algae; you can notice this when the water becomes discolored
  • Minerals and other growths that develop from eutrophication

These threats can deplete the oxygen totals in the water, harming the koi fish. Having an aerator reduces the threats these items may pose.

What Happens If You Don’t Have an Aerator?

Your koi fish will die if you don’t have an aerator in your pond or other watery space. Many problems will kill off your fish when you don’t have a functioning aerator:

  • The water will stop moving, and any decaying matter or other items at the top will consume the oxygen in the area. The koi fish at the bottom of the pond will not receive the oxygen they require, as what is on the top will consume it all.
  • The koi fish will move towards the surface and suck out the air from outside the water. Not all koi fish can consume air like this.
  • The fish will become less active, and some may lose their vibrant colors. Some of these fish will eventually float at the surface if they die.

It takes about two days for your koi fish to start dying due to a lack of oxygen.

Can the Weather Impact Whether You Need An Aerator?

An aerator is a necessity for your koi pond regardless of the season and the weather conditions in your area. But your aerator doesn’t have to be as active during the winter season.

Cold water does well in keeping oxygen versus warm water. Your aerator can work at less power during the winter, but it should remain active. The bubbles from the dissolved oxygen will break the top surface and keep ice from developing, or it will at least produce a hole in the ice. The hole is necessary for allowing the gasses the fish produce to leave the water.

What If You Don’t Want to Use an Aerator?

It is possible to run a koi pond without an aerator, but that would be a risky endeavor. Your fish require oxygen, and you’d have to put in extra effort to ensure they receive the oxygen they require.

There are a few things you could do if you don’t want to include an aerator:

  1. Add a fountain or waterfall.

Some koi ponds may incorporate waterfalls or fountains, as can introduce oxygen in the water. The splashing at the surface allows air to enter the water, providing the oxygen the koi fish require. But for cases where you cannot install a waterfall or fountain, an aerator device will be suitable.

  1. Add pond plants around the bottom part of the pond.

Pond plants produce dissolved oxygen, plus they keep the water cool. The shade from these plants is also suitable for the fish as they secure their koi eggs.

  1. Add lily pads or other natural growths to the surface.

Natural growths can stimulate the water surface and allow it to move a small bit, producing extra oxygen at the bottom. They also add extra shade, keeping the water from becoming too warm.

  1. Clear mosquitoes from your yard.

Mosquitoes can use koi ponds as spots to lay eggs. Using suitable mosquito-preventing measures around your yard will reduce this threat. A waterfall or other item that prevents standing water from developing will help.

Each of these solutions can help your pond and keep your fish alive. But while these efforts can be useful, you still have to keep a close eye on how your pond functions. You’ll need to confirm your water is flowing well and that your fish are staying healthy. Adding an aerator to the bottom is the best idea if only to protect the fish.

A Final Note

It would be impossible for koi fish to survive without oxygen from an aerator. You will need an aerator for your koi pond to keep your fish healthy.

An aerator is the easiest solution for keeping the water healthy by introducing enough oxygen. Be sure to look around the market to find an aerator that fits your pond, aquarium, or any other place where you might keep your koi fish swimming.

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