Why test your water before using treatments?

Having a healthy beautiful pond with crystal clear water is the goal of every pond owner. Using water treatments is one way to ensure you get these results. But it is important to test your pond water before using any treatments. Testing your pond water will help assess the quality, help prevent problems before they occur, and help to diagnose the cause of problems that already exist. From there you can determine the appropriate treatments you should use.  

Problems are much easier and more cost efficient to prevent than to fix. Testing your pond’s water is simple and inexpensive. You can find testing kits at many pet stores as well as online. They run around $10 and can be used several times before needing a replacement. You should also consider the primary uses of your pond to determine which water quality parameters are of greatest concern.  
When you are buying a test kit be sure that the kit includes all of the elements that can be present in your pond, such as ammonia, the pH levels, nitrite, the temperature, chlorine, and copper. Testing these elements is important because unbalanced levels can have direct effects on the health of your pond. For example, when fish defecate, they release ammonia into the water. If the pH levels are too low, it can allow ammonia levels to build up causing fish fatalities. The amount of nitrite also needs to be balanced because too much can lead to algae blooms. The temperature is just as important because it determines the level of oxygen in the water. In warmer weather, oxygen levels are lower due to higher fish activity and higher demand on all aquatic life. Including a supplemental aeration system will help ensure there is enough dissolved oxygen in the water. If you have copper piping or notice pennies in your pond, you should test the copper levels as well. The copper can damage your fish's gills and can harm the plants in your pond. The chlorine levels need to be measured because high levels will kill off all bacteria in the pond, including the ones that are necessary to maintain a healthy ecosystem. Besides all these levels mentioned above, it is a good idea to also check the pond’s levels of oxygen, nitrate, and general hardness for good measure.  
Once you have concluded which levels are unbalanced you can decide which treatments will be best for your pond. Follow the directions on the label and regularly test your pond to ensure you are not over treating the water. Regular testing can prevent potential problems before they become out of control. If you decide to regularly test your pond water, we suggest testing weekly. To determine occurring issues, you can track the weekly test results on a spreadsheet and figure out your next steps. Although not necessary, you can be vigilant by checking your pond's water daily. You will feel assured that any problem will be caught early on. 

Learn more about Water Quality and the best Water Treatments in our resources.