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Pond Water Testing: What to Test and How Often to Test

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Testing your pond water to ensure water quality is vital to the health of your plants and fish. If certain water components are higher or lower than recommended your fish and plant life could be at risk. At a minimum you need to be testing your pH, nitrite, ammonia and kH levels weekly (and preferably every other day while your pond is open). If you don't already own one, order a pond water test kit to get started. To best monitor any fluctuations, we suggest testing your water in the early morning and testing at the same time of day, every time you re-test.

pH Level: Maintain between 6.5 and 8.0

The pH of your pond should be between 6.5 and 8.0. If you need help increasing or decreasing your PH level consider using Microbe Lift pH Increase or Microbe Lift pH Decrease along with Microbe-Lift 7.5 pH Buffer/Stabilizer to hold it.

KH Level: Maintain between 100-300 ppm

Testing KH is perhaps one of the most overlooked yet important factors to be monitoring in your pond water. KH is imperative to a pond's pH balance, as it is the “usable part of your pH”. It doesn’t matter too much to the fish when pH is going UP. But they will leave home when it suddenly drops DOWN! When your pond runs low on KH, which should be 100-300 ppm, the pH becomes unstable and can crash. If it goes down to 80 ppm, nitrification stops and pH becomes unstable. 

We carry two KH test kits: the Microbe-Lift KH Test Kit and the Aquascape KH/Alkalinity Test Kit. We also have several options available for boosting or buffering KH levels.

Ammonia Level: Keep below 0.25 ppm

Your ammonia reading needs to remain below 0.25. Anything above that is deadly to fish. If you get a high reading stop feeding your fish immediately, and perform a partial water change as soon as possible. The water change will help dilute the concentration of ammonia. If the size of your pond makes it impractical to do a big water change then we suggest using one of our ammonia removers or Hikari Pond Solutions Ultimate. These water treatments can also work hand in hand with a water change. Do some testing and see what strategies work best for your pond.

Nitrites: Keep below 0.25 ppm

As the Ammonia in the water begins to lower, Nitrites will begin to increase. Signs of high Nitrites will cause the fish to display symptoms of irritability such as rubbing themselves, jumping and gasping at the surface. Like ammonia, a high reading is deadly to fish, so if you have over 0.25 ppm in your pond stop feeding and perform a partial water change as soon as possible. If necessary, use Microbe-Lift Nite-Out II for Nitrite reduction.

Prevention Tips for Water Quality Issues

Although water quality issues can be hard to avoid in newly established ponds, there are steps you can take to help prevent them. Here are a few things you can do to encourage a healthy water environment:

  • Don't overfeed
  • Make sure your filtration system is rated for your pond size
  • Add plants to naturally balance the water
  • Perform routine partial water changes
  • Use water treatments when necessary

Article Posted: 02/16/2022 01:39:24 PM

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