Tetra Pond Quick Test 5-in-1 Strips
This test kit is extremely easy to use just take out a test strip dip in the pond water let it stand for a minute and simply read off the comparison colour chart. Obviously read the instruction for the correct times, but generally that is all there is to it.
I use this kit as a good quick guide to check the pond water quality but if a test or tests show any abnormality I check with a wet chemical test which is more accurate.
I check my water parameters every two to four weeks. Always do water checks around mid day not first thing in the morning as you will get unreliable readings, as the biology of the pond is just getting going again fro the night time close down. As bacteria, algae, plants and fish etc. sleep or are less active at night giving off different chemical reactions/changes to the pond.
If your pond is new I would recommend testing the water every 3 or four days until the water comes into the correct parameters.
The test strips test for pH, KH Calcium hardness, GH General Hardness, NO3 Nitrate and NO2 Nitrite.
The tests can be split into two types for better understanding Chemical and biological tests.
The chemical tests we include here are pH, KH, GH and Oxygen because the levels are caused by chemical reactions in the pond and some as other biological reactions or processes.
The pH measures the acidity or alkalinity of the pond water. For goldfish and Koi the pH should read between 8.0 and 8.5 no lower than 7.0(neutral). The water should be slightly alkaline which is best for Goldfish and Koi. A new pond may start off at 6.5 to 7.0 unless your tap water is hard then it will probably be ideal in the 8.0-8.5 range. As the water matures the pH will usually come in to the correct parameters.
The KH measures the amount of soluble carbonate/bicarbonate ions that are a buffer to maintain a steady pH. A medium to high KH shows that the pH is less likely to change and is what we are looking for.
The GH shows the general hardness of the pond water, generally those of the calcium and Magnesium ions.
The GH should be medium to high to match the natural conditions preferred by Goldfish and Koi.
The Oxygen ( O2 )which is this case is the dissolved oxygen in the water. The oxygen dissolves in the water and is easily replenished by and air pump and diffuser stone. If you have a waterfall usually you will not require an air pump, though if you have a large number of fish or larger fish it would be advisable.
The warmer the water the less oxygen will be dissolved in it, and if a pond is excessively planted may suffer from oxygen depletion at night as due to the plants respiration.
The Biological tests are the ammonia, nitrite and nitrate as they are controlled by the pond life.Ammonia is the toxic waste from the pond life generally and is colourless and readily dissolved in the pond water. It can take two forms as free ammonia NH3 of the ammonium ion NH4+. Without going into the chemistry the NH4+ is less toxic but predominantly it takes the toxic NH3 route in alkaline water of a Koi pond. The level has to be kept at zero as it is so toxic to your fish.
The Nitrite NO2 is toxic as well and is a biological bi product of the ammonia breakdown. It can be harder to control than the ammonia as the bacteria take longer to break it down.
The nitrite levels often run high in new ponds for longer periods. If allowed to become excessive the nitrite levels become inhibitory to the nitrite oxidising bacteria, so taking longer to reduce the level of nitrite. Even large water changes will do little to alleviate the problem.
It is the bacteria in the pond system that breaks down the nitrite to safer levels, so it takes time and the addition of Interpet Pond Bio Activator will be very beneficial to a new pond or one coming out of winter. Bio Activator is a chemical free natural solution to the problem.