Water Quality Testing
Water testing provides some of the basic information required to make informed management decisions. Water testing equipment can range from state of the art electronic meters down to simple drip tests like those used in home aquariums. Testing your own water can save you time and money and is easier than you think.
What do I need to test?
It all comes back to your goals and individual circumstances. If you’re testing for irrigation you’ll be concerned about salts, if it’s for potable water or swimming you’ll be concerned about pathogens, if it’s fish then dissolved oxygen is important or if it’s algae then nutrients will be a concern. These are but a few of the circumstances and water tests you may need to consider.
How often should I test?
Again, it depends on your circumstances. If you’re responsible for a public body of water then you’ll most likely need to test according to legislation, if you’re irrigating then you’ll probably want to test monthly, if you’re running a fish farm then you could be testing daily, hourly or even 24/7.
If you’ve got a private water body that you use for recreational fishing or as an ornamental pond then you should only need to test your water every now and then or if something goes wrong. Sometimes you can test your water too much and start micro managing your pond which isn’t a good idea. If a large body of water is well managed then it usually provides a stable environment but having some basic water testing equipment on hand is a good idea for those times you need to start problem solving.
What’s the best equipment to use?
Once again, it all depends on your circumstances. If your water management decisions impact on public health or valuable crops then you should use a lab. Most scientific laboratories have the latest equipment and expert technicians that should always provide the most accurate results. It’s worth noting that not all tests can be done in a lab. Dissolved oxygen for example must be tested on site so if you’re managing fish or want to save power by only running aerators when needed then you should have some dissolved oxygen testing equipment.
If you want accurate results but prefer to do your own tests the electronic meters will suit you best. If you want to do some basic tests where spot on accuracy isn’t needed then drip tests will do the job.
The equipment you select will depend on your goals, technical abilities and budget. In general the more you spend the higher the accuracy of results you receive.
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