You may have heard other pond owners talk about testing pond water. This seems normal for pools or drinking water, but do you really need to test the water in your pond?
Why Test Your Water
Water tests are an additional tool you can use to create a profile of what is really happening in your pond or lake. Performing water tests will help pinpoint your pond problems so you can find the best solution or prevent large issues in the future. Though most large water bodies are stable, if you are experiencing extra weed or algae growth or are concerned about swimming, there are analysis tests that can be performed to put your mind at ease.
Water Tests You Can Undertake
With the help of a DIY Test kit most water quality parameters are easy to test on your own. To use these kits, simply collect a water sample and add an indicator dye or test strip to test the water. Results can then be compared with a color card.
- pH: Ideally between 6.5 and 8.5. A reading outside this range may indicate an environmental factor such as too much limestone or high concentration of pine needles in the pond.
- Temperature: Indicates when to start or stop fish feeding and application of chemicals or natural bacteria.
- Nitrites, Nitrate & Phosphorous: Key elements in excessive algae growth, possibly stemming from the use of lawn fertilizers or excess muck accumulation.
- Carbonate Hardness: May need to be done prior to treating with copper based algaecides and herbicides if you have sensitive fish like Trout, Koi or Goldfish.
Note: It is important to take readings at the same time of day, usually in morning or late afternoon, due to normal fluctuations in water quality parameters.
Water Tests That Require Assistance
These tests cannot be completed with simple test strips and will require some assistance from an experienced water tester or your local health department.
- Dissolved Oxygen: Measures your pond’s ability to sustain aquatic life. This test is done onsite but may require assistance due to the equipment required for testing.
- E. Coli: A disease causing microorganism generally caused from waste water runoff or waste produced by visiting waterfowl. If this is a concern contact your local health department for instructions on collecting and submitting water samples for analysis. Generally results are available within 1-2 days.
While regular monitoring is encouraged, there is generally no need to test your pond water daily. Most waterbodies, if properly maintained, will fall within the correct parameters on their own.