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Is it Important to Test Garden Fish Pond Water Regularly? Yes, but ...

Fish keeping is about managing pond water quality and the way to keep on top of this management task is to observe what is going on in the pond and then test to confirm it ... this especially means testing your fish pond when all looks well. The problem with pond testing advise is that it is given at the time of a problem appearing and frankly it's too late to get the most from testing the water.

Testing water is difficult and results can also be very difficult to interpret. This is certainly true for factors like pH and water hardness data. Nevertheless knowing the state of your water garden under normal circumstances is important.

Why Do I Need To Test My Pond Regularly?

If there is no history of test results for your pond then chances are that when you really do need to know if all is well (or not) pond testing probably creates more problems than it resolves. At the best of times pond water quality test results are difficult to interpret accurately and once the result is known what is to be done next anyway? Is the result right, wrong or in between and what must be done with the information if you're not sure anyway? Properties like pH even change with time of day. Other results will fluctuate wildly depending upon what and when you fed the fish , whether your biofilter is performing at its best and so on.

Create A Water Quality History

To overcome this problem and introduce a great deal of certainty into your test results you need to create a complete history of your pond water. You do this as follows ...

  1. Get the best test kit you can afford.

  2. Stick with the same test kit and system. Not all kits work the same and some are better than others.

  3. Always use a reliable source and check the expiry dates on the reagents when you buy the kits and a the time of buying refills.

  4. Get used to the test and make access to the kit easy.

  5. Every day at the same time and before feeding (early morning is good time) take your pond water samples and do the tests.

  6. Religiously record the result ... if you suspect any kind of error retest until you get the same result twice.

  7. Plot the result on graph paper or use a spreadsheet preferably.

  8. Observe your fish and record the observation at the same time ... this may be "all seems well, fish swimming together as normally"

  9. Monitor the results over time.

  10. You will build up the "normal state" for your own water gardening fish pond which means you will immediately spot abnormalities with a degree of certainty that would not be possible by relying upon a single test result in isolation.

  11. If you prefer not to follow this routine do yourself and your goldfish or koi a big favour ... don't test at all.

Remember ... Important parameters such as pH, ammonia and nitrites within the pond itself change during the day and especially just after feeding. Test results will also change depending on time of day and when you fed the fish for example.

The Problem With Testing Your Fish Pond Occasionally

You get a result and it has negative implications such as ammonia is 0.3 or pH is 8.5. What do you do?

You ask your dealer what you must do and he sells you a "correctant" . You find this doesn't seem to help so you add some more or you add a "counter-correctant." Eventually you go around in circles. Real problem are created from one that didn't exist in the first place. Initial results may be TOTALLY wrong ... hence the need to build up a history of your pond test parameters so that you can spot true variations from the norm.

The best test kit by far is the behaviour of your fish. Observe them and get to know them.


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