It is not possible to know the health of a body of water just by scanning the water. Just because a lake or pond looks okay, it does not mean that it is healthy. When it comes to having a stocked pond or lake, it is necessary to know the quality of the water. Long term exposure to bad water (from a fish’s standpoint) can affect the health of the fish population. Just because the water may be clear, that does not mean that it provides a healthy and balanced living environment for fish. With a professional water analysis, biologists and technicians look at the results to make educated recommendations.
A pond that is to be stocked with healthy fish needs to have healthy, clean water. There are several tests to determine variables necessary to the pond or lake’s health. Even if the body of water currently has no visible problems, testing helps uncover potential problems so as to deal with them before they manifest.
There are a number of tests that can be run. One determines the amount of oxygen that is available to aquatic organisms. Another measures the amount of deionized ammonia, which is a chemical that is extremely toxic to fish. Measurements are also taken to determine the alkalinity or acidity of the water. A hardness test measures the amount of calcium and magnesium carbonate. An alkalinity test is given to determine the capacity of the water to neutralize acids. A phosphorus test gives information about the nutrients available in fresh water. Temperature testing is done because all reactions in a lake or pond are affected by the temperature. The amount of suspended particles in a pond or lake is tested also.
There are a series of factors that interact that biologists understand. For example, fish waste and organic debris result in ammonia and nitrates. Algae may start detoxifying a pond that contains a lot of nitrogen waste, but in turn, the algae affect the pH and amount of dissolved oxygen. Fish breathe dissolved oxygen. Some fish are more sensitive to lower pH than others. All these factors must be taken into consideration.
If a pond or lake is not only used for fishing, but also for swimming, a test for E. coli bacteria can be made. E. coli runoffs can come from a nearby septic system, or nearby barnyard fowl, or waterfowl.
The results are analyzed so corrective measures can be taken. A large number of factors must be taken into consideration to keep a fishing pond or lake healthy and in balance. Otherwise the health of the fish and or fish production of the lake can be dramatically reduced. And, if a pond or lake is used for swimming, it is important that it be safe for that as well.
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