Mixing it Up at Cannonball Prairie

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Think of maintaining a pond like baking a cake.

If the temperature or ingredients are not quite right or the batter hasn’t been mixed correctly, the cake will not develop as it should. A gooey bottom or chewy or hard texture won’t add up to an appetizing experience either. The right quality ingredients, temperature and blending all make a difference.

For a pond to sustain life, look pretty, smell good and consistently work efficiently, it needs to have the right amount of oxygen and beneficial bacteria. For great park experiences, Metroparks strives to make sure ponds like the one at the new Cannonball Prairie Metropark have what they need to function well.

This pond is now stocked with small bluegill, perch, crappie, bass and fathead minnows that will provide future fishing opportunities when they are ready. To establish the fishery, an aerator has been placed here for the fish and the beneficial bacteria, important in breaking down nutrients.

Aeration mixes the water so that toxic gasses are released and life-giving oxygen replaces them. It also reduces muck build-up by encouraging the colonization of beneficial bacteria that will consume the nutrients that have built up over time.

Having an unhealthy pile of muck on the bottom, with little oxygen circulating between the warmth of the waters’ surface and the cooler, deeper levels will quickly cause algae blooms, fish kills and invasive species to grow.

The key to a clearer and cleaner pond ecosystem is knowing that water cleaning organisms and fish need oxygen in the water to live. Maintaining the right mix of pond organisms, temperature, and oxygen will ensure a healthy pond ecosystem throughout the seasons.

Give Cannonball Prairie pond another year or so and the stocking, aeration and feeding will create a sustainable fishery that will be a draw for anglers of all ages.

Did You Know?

Proper aeration results in the water temperature of a pond being no more than a few degrees difference throughout.

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Photo: Metroparks installed four solar powered panels to power a half horsepower air pump at the Cannonball Prairie pond, saving dollars on batteries and electricity.