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Water quality testing is important, especially when you are starting a new fish pond or filter. This is the time when the bacteria in the biological filter are trying to grow and establish the biological filtration action. Ammonia and nitrite will be present in the pond during the initial stage of nitrogen cycle. During this time, risk of fish fatality is high.
Experienced pond keepers will not risk putting in expensive, show grade Koi into the pond until there is no ammonia or nitrite present, as determined by the water quality testing. As fish waste is needed to feed and cultivate the bacteria in the new filter system, most pond keepers will put in small feeder fishes or a few cheap, low-grade Koi to produce the needed waste. It normally takes a few weeks for the biological filter to establish itself. During this time, if the pond keeper controls the number of fish in the pond, amount of fish food given and take remedial actions when water testing shows poor water quality, fish lost can be avoided.
Other times when water testing should be done are when you have recently added more fish to your pond. This is the time when the water parameters will deviate from the norm as the filter adjust to the new load of waste matters coming from the increased population.
Besides ammonia and nitrite, the pond keeper should also test for other parameters like pH, carbonate and general hardness, oxygen level and nitrate.
The pH level is a measure of the acidic or basic (alkaline) nature of a solution. Normal tap water or fresh water should have pH level of 7. Water with a lower pH level is deemed acidic while alkaline water would have higher pH. Chalk, limestone, coral or seashells dissolved in water will produce higher pH. pH level is usually determined by your water supply. Koi requires a pH slightly above 7. The best way to control pH is to include crushed coral ships or seashells as one of your filter media. The carbonate in them will acts as a buffer against sudden, sharp drop in pH level which kills fish swiftly.
Oxygen level testing is important to determine if you have enough aeration in your pond to support the fish and plant population in your pond. Do this at the onset of a new pond or when more fishes are added to the pond. Once you have the right level of aeration, the oxygen level seldom fluctuates a lot unless you have a broken pump.
Nitrate is an output of your biological filter. Nitrate is harmless to fish in small quantities but nitrate level should be kept low. When the nitrate level goes beyond the level indicated in the test kit, it means it is time for partial water change. Other symptoms of excessive nitrates will be excessive algae growth (greenish water) or brownish tint in the water.
One other thing is that you should observe your Koi’s behaviour daily during feeding. Your water test kits should be used immediately when you notice any Koi behaviour changes. This is a sign that they are not happy with their living environment.
By Jeffrey HS Lee
Article Source: ezinearticles.com Continue reading
Most adults have learned that water can be soft or hard. They have learned, too, that there is a connection between total hardness and water quality. Hard water reduces the power of your soap. In fact, hard water is often detected by noting the amount of soap required to form lather. Hard water may build up in hot water pipes and appliances, producing scale.
Hard Water Defined
Hard water is water that contains high levels of dissolved calcium, magnesium, and other mineral salts such as iron. The greater the amount of dissolved minerals in the water, the harder it is.
Total hardness is measured in grains per gallon (gpg) or parts per million (ppm). If water contains less than 3.5 gpg, it is considered soft water. If it contains more than 7 gpg, it is considered hard water. The American Society of Engineers’ water hardness classification table breaks it down this way.
* Soft: 0 to 3.5 gpg – 0 to 60 ppm
* Moderate: 3.6 to 7 gpg – 61 to 120 ppm
* Hard: 7.1 to 10.5 gpg – 121 to 180 ppm
* Very Hard: More than 10.5 gpg – more than 180 ppm
Making the Connection
Total hardness and water quality are connected. Hard water is safe for drinking, cooking, and other household uses, but it can cause problems.
One way in which total hardness and water quality are connected is the effect of such water on household plumbing. Total hardness means a build-up of scales inside pipes, especially those carrying hot water.
Total hardness and water quality are also connected in their effect on appliances that use water. Dishwashers and washing machines can decrease in cleaning and laundering ability. Water heaters can become less efficient. Refrigerators that dispense water can become clogged.
Aesthetically, total hardness and water quality are connected in those white, chalky deposits that accumulate on tubs, sinks, and cookware.
U.S. Water Quality
According to the 1997 National Water Quality Survey, 1 of 5 people surveyed in the U.S. is dissatisfied with the water quality in his or her home. This is related to the fact given by the U.S. Geological Survey: that 85 percent of the U.S. has hard water. Many people install water softeners in their homes to improve water quality.
Determining Water Quality
You can have your water quality tested if you are moving into a new area or a new home. If you have been living in the same home for a while, you will know if your water is hard by looking for these 7 signs:
1. You have difficulty working up lather from a bar of soap.
2. Your soaps and detergents don’t seem to clean well – you have dingy laundry in spite of your efforts to get it clean.
3. In the shower or bath, your soap leaves a film on your body and hair – you have dry skin and dull, limp hair.
4. You have to battle soap scum on bathtubs, shower tiles and doors, basins, and fixtures.
5. You see an increasing buildup of scale on your cookware such as tea kettle, coffee maker, and pasta pot. Your plumbing also contains scale.
6. Clogged pipes or appliances mean that water flow is reduced.
7. Your water heating costs are increasing due to scale buildup and mineral deposits, and you have to replace hot water heating elements more often.
Improving Water Quality
Treatment can improve water quality. You may use electromagnetic water conditioners, water filters, or water softeners.
Electromagnetic water conditioners improve water quality by sending water through a magnetic field. As the water passes between the magnets, its calcium and magnesium ions lose their scale-causing properties. Studies show that this relatively new invention does not technically soften water, but water quality is improved in that it no longer causes buildup of scales. Clothing also lasts longer, which is a definite increase in water quality.
Water filters are a second option for improving water quality, especially drinking water. Water filters can provide healthy drinking water by removing chlorine and other contaminants contained in water. Water filters can soften water, but they will not prevent scale buildup in pipes and water heaters.
Water softeners are a common way of improving water quality, and come in two types: chemical and mechanical. The water produced by chemical water softeners is not acceptable drinking water. Packaged chemicals are added directly to improve water quality in laundering and bathing, and are effective both in protecting clothing and guarding against dry skin and hair. Mechanical water softeners installed in your home will replace dissolved calcium and magnesium salts with sodium. This water is also not acceptable for drinking, especially by those who have hypertension. The water quality is greatly improved, however, for other uses. Lime scale is prevented; water heaters function efficiently; and laundered clothing is both cleaner and longer-lasting.
On the other end of the spectrum, total hardness and water quality are a benefit when that hardness level is below 3.5 gpg or 60 ppm. Soft water allows you to use less shampoo and soap, yet have shinier hair and softer skin. Soft water requires less soap or detergent in shower, laundry, kitchen, and household cleaning chores. It helps close look cleaner and last longer. It keeps water-using appliances and plumbing from wearing out as fast. Soft water keeps dishes and eating utensils spot-free, and extends the life of tea kettles and other cookware. Soft water reduces cleaning time by eliminating soap scum and buildup of scales.
Total hardness and water quality are closely connected, and you may find it worthwhile to use a water treatment system to improve your water quality – especially your drinking water.
By Anna Hart
Article Source: ezinearticles.com Continue reading