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Water Quality/Pond Clearing

Water Quality


Water quality is the most important, yet often overlooked portion of pond and lake management. Fish, plankton, plants, and all other aquatic life utilize dissolved minerals, compounds, and gasses in water for their daily function and survival. Insufficient quantities of these different components can create harsh conditions that suppress the natural food chain and reduce the growth and development of fish. Testing your water quality frequently can reveal issues that may occur as your water quality changes over time. Water quality testing is also important because none of the parameters below, other than turbidity, can be seen in the water and therefore must be tested in a lab. Click below to learn more about different water quality parameters that are important for your pond.


Important Note: Well water tends to have non-ideal water chemistry for fish. Testing well water before filling your pond or before stocking fish is always recommended!

  • Hardness
    The concentration of divalent ions in the water (Calcium, Magnesium, and Iron). Calcium is a major ion component in hardness and is very important for fish. Fish utilize calcium for forming bones and scales, balancing salts in the body, and many other metabolic processes. Calcium also plays a role in pH balance. A sufficient level of calcium and alkalinity in a 1:1 ratio is ideal for keeping pH within safe ranges and creating a healthy ecosystem.
  • Dissolved Oxygen
    The concentration of oxygen in the water available for living organisms to utilize. Dissolved oxygen is essential for the survival of all living aquatic organisms. Similar to pH, DO will change naturally throughout the day due to photosynthesis. During the day when sunlight is present, plants and plankton will photosynthesize and produce oxygen. At night, plants are forced to use a process called respiration to create food which consumes oxygen. This cycle results in increases in dissolved oxygen during the day and decreases at night. Excessive aquatic vegetation or fish populations can deplete oxygen levels at night and lead to fish kills.
  • Alkalinity
    The ability of the water to neutralize acid. Alkalinity is composed of carbonates and bicarbonates that are essential for plankton production and pH balance. Having a low alkalinity will result in a suppressed food chain and drastic pH changes throughout the day. Alkalinity naturally decreases over time so older ponds and ponds in East Texas and Louisiana, which have acidic soils, are more likely to have low alkalinities.
  • Turbidity
    The measure of the clarity of a liquid. There are two major types of turbidity in ponds: turbidity from phytoplankton and turbidity from suspended clay particles. Phytoplankton in the water column will give ponds a greenish tint. These tiny plants form the base of the food chain and produce most of the oxygen in ponds. Turbidity from phytoplankton is highly desirable at certain levels and can even be utilized to shade out undesirable aquatic vegetation species. Dense plankton blooms can be detrimental to a pond, so nutrient levels should be evaluated prior to fertilization. Clay turbidity is a result of disturbance to the pond bottom from fish or from charged suspended particles that do not settle on their own. Ponds with clay turbidity or “muddy” ponds have suppressed food chains, are susceptible to cyanobacteria blooms, and have reduced feeding ability for sight-feeding fish. Correcting the source of the clay entering the pond and then clearing the water are important steps toward boosting productivity and fish production.
  • Salinity
    The total dissolved salt concentration in the water. Salinity is a commonly overlooked water quality component for freshwater ponds but freshwater fish do require salt in the water to thrive. Components of salt such as sodium and chloride are essential for fish osmoregulation, stress resilience, and waste excretion.
  • pH
    A measure of acidity (pH <7) or basicity (pH >7). The pH of a pond naturally changes throughout the day due to photosynthesis and respiration from organisms in the water. During the day pH will rise as a result of photosynthesis from phytoplankton and aquatic plants. The pH of a pond will reach its highest point in the evening just before sundown. At night the pH will drop due to respiration of plants, fish, and plankton, causing pH to be lowest right before sunrise. Having appropriate levels of calcium and alkalinity in the water will prevent wide swings in pH throughout the day and create better conditions for aquatic life.
Water Quality Diagnostics Lab (COMING SOON!)

Our water quality diagnostics lab is run by a Ph.D. scientist with over 25 years of experience in water quality for aquaculture and fisheries management. We utilize state-of-the-art photospectrometry equipment to ensure highly accurate results. Clients interested in submitting water samples have 4 testing options. All clients who submit samples will receive a detailed report with recommendations from our lead lab scientist.

  1. Base Water Chemistry (Fisheries) - Tests for 10 parameters that are essential for fish health and physiology. This test is designed for pond managers who want to optimize the health and growth of their fish populations.

  2. Water Chemistry and Nutrient Test (Algae, Vegetation, & Fisheries) - Test for 10 parameters essential for fish health and 2 additional parameters important for managing excessive aquatic plant and algae growth.

  3. Clearing Test (Muddy Ponds) - Tests for 10 parameters essential for fish health and physiology as well as a clearing test to determine what treatment works best to clear your muddy pond.

  4. Oil and Petroleum Test (Pollution) - Tests for traces of general oil or petroleum products in the water that are toxic to fish, wildlife, and livestock.

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water quality needs!

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