Consistency in testing your pond water is paramount to maintaining a healthy environment. Individual or, “one-time” tests are only significant if the test results indicate a toxic or dangerous condition, such as high ammonia, where corrective action has to be taken immediately. The greatest benefit of testing, however, is obtained when results are monitored over a period of time, so that trends can be noted early. Being aware of your pond's water quality allows you to take corrective action before the problem gets out of hand. Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
How often, and what, should you test?
Normally, tests for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH and temperature should be made once every week or two. Tests should be made more frequently any time there is a change in the pond, such as spring warming, new filter installation, major pond cleaning or repair. At such times daily tests for certain items may be necessary, for example pH test during cement work and ammonia and nitrite tests for new filters.
During stable periods such as mild summers, testing may be cut back to once every three weeks, and during periods of midwinter inactivity, testing can be eliminated.