Pond test kits - What to look for when testing pond waterA fish pond in the garden can be an immaculate center piece, capable of adding tremendous character to a home setting. When deciding to build and especially to successfully populate a fish requires a combination of experience and patience, in order to bring the correct professional results. In order for the fish to thrive the water in the pond must be kept in perfect condition, and unlike a hone aquarium, this target is more difficult to achieve due to a combination of “outside“ forces. One of the more important factors in proper pond maintenance is to know the cubic meter capacity the pond, and when introducing chemicals into the water for any reason, to strictly adhere to the levels prescribed. Dosage which is either too low or too high can be very dangerous for the environment.
The investment in establishing and maintaining a fish pond can be considerable, and includes the outdoor aquarist investing in the proper pond test kit to ensure that the fish in the pond are enjoying a healthy environment. In the pond’s early days, constant observation and testing is required. After a week or two at the utmost, checking the water can be reduced to a cycle of every two or three days and gradually less.
If the fish that are placed in the pond are healthy from the outset, the time and commitment involved in testing the pond water can be in intervals as far apart as four weeks once the pond has been established.
In order for the water in a fish pond to be deemed totally healthy, the outdoor aquarist has to arm themselves with the necessary kit or kits to check the following possibly hostile levels in the water:
- Calcium Levels
- Carbon levels in the water
- Water hardness
It is also worth while to have a thermometer on hand as well as the ability to measure the levels of dissolved oxygen in the water.
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As an experienced aquarist will already be aware, the levels of pH found in tap water are generally around 7. This is the level deemed sufficient to keep the fish healthy, and there is generally no need to adjust the levels. However it does not mean that it is possible to blindly trust that the levels of pH in tap water will remain constant and for that reason having a kit on hand that can test the levels of pH is a must.
A gradual build of fish waste and other organic wastes in the tank can cause considerable if not fatal damage to the health of the fish in the tank, and must be constantly monitored. There are instances when the ammonia levels can rise to dangerous levels very quickly. However they ammonia levels can be reduced through the presence of healthy bacteria which converts some of the bacteria to nitrites. This in the long term can be hazardous to the fish in the pond. All in all, ammonia should not be welcome in the fish pond, and a test kit to test if ammonia is present in the pond is a prerequisite. Tell tale signs that ammonia may be present is the fish’s difficulty in breathing as they rise to the surface of the water to draw more oxygen.
Another characteristic of unhealthy pool water is the presence of nitrite in any form. Nitrite builds up in the pool water as a result of the combination or ammonia and oxygen in the water. Nitrite is very toxic and a “silent killer” in a fish pond. The only advantage in tracing the presence of nitrite in the water is that it usually occurs after an event of some sort. This can be either the entry of some new fish in the pond or a sudden change in the weather, usually a temperature increase. In these circumstances, the outdoor aquarist should be more diligent and using the appropriate kit should be able to check the nitrite levels in the water till the situation resolves itself.
The generation of Nitrate in the water, caused by the combination of nitrite and oxygen in the water is not harmful to the fish, although it is always helpful to be aware of its presence in the pond. Certain theories do exist that insist that high nitrate levels encourage spawning activity, although this is yet to conclusively proved.
Obviously being an outdoor pond, there are influences that the pool owner or operator has no control over. The principal one being the temperature. For that reason an efficient preferably digital thermometer has to be included in a pond test kit. Rises and falls in temperature can spark of some fairly dramatic chain reactions in pool life, as well as the water’s characteristics. If the fish are being kept in the pond all year round, and the possibility of frost appears possible, then pond owner should be ready to carefully introduce pre-icers in the water to prevent a disaster.
The efficient management of a garden fish pond is no small responsibility, requiring levels of knowledge and efficiency. In order to carry out this task, the owner or operator needs to equip themselves with a first class pond kit to carry out the job efficiently. There are a number of kits on the market, some of them even all inclusive. A number of examples can be found below.
- Jungle Quick Dip Pond Test Kit: This kit allows the owner/operator to carry out five of the basic tests for foreign bodies in pond water. Specifically pH, alkalinity, hardness, nitrate and nitrite level tests.
- PondCare Pond Master Liquid Test Kit: Containing the four essential tests on both tap and pond water designed to protect fish from dangerous water conditions.
- Ammonia Test Kits: Designed to test for levels of ammonia in the water to supplement inclusive test kits.