Testing water in winter


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How often should one test the water chemistry in winter? So far I've tested my pond weekly but I've heard nothing about testing in winter. This is my first winter with a fish pond. I know fish don't really eat. Does this mean I don't need to test at all?
 
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brokensword

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How often should one test the water chemistry in winter? So far I've tested my pond weekly but I've heard nothing about testing in winter. This is my first winter with a fish pond. I know fish don't really eat. Does this mean I don't need to test at all?
Most don't test at all; the fish will be dormant, not eating; nothing in the form of waste to foul the water. Fish are MOST vulnerable coming out of winter dormancy, so any stress from winter to spring should be avoided. In my case, I've never tested, be it any season; the fish will let me know when something is off.
 
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What are the best things to do during this crucial time in the spring for your fish when they are so susceptible?
 
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I almost never test for anything. My pond is well established & the parameters are very stable. The *only* thing test for on a regular basis is KH, because the very acidic rain in my area tends to lower this (as well as the natural biological dropping) But, even this I don't test for over winter. I just let things ride. As soon as things are starting to perk up in the Spring, I test KH, usually find it very low from winter snow melt & rain, and then bring it back up over the course of a week or so.

I might also do one full testing in the early spring for everything, and/or if I notice anything 'off' (behavior-wise) in the fish, but otherwise... I let the pond inhabitants tell me if everything is A-OK.
 

brokensword

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What are the best things to do during this crucial time in the spring for your fish when they are so susceptible?
best thing in the spring is to NOT feed, or very little. The good bacteria will lag behind anything the fish put out. The fish are more susceptible to disease, bugs, etc at this time so overloading the filter system isn't the thing to do. If your pond is established and has algae growing on the underwater surfaces, they'll pick at that and be okay. Once they start moving around more normally and temps rise above 55, you should be okay to begin feeding normally.

If you can get any underwater plants (hornwort, arachnis, elodea, and others) to have as oxygenators living on the bottom of your pond, the fish will eat on those too. And watch that your pond doesn't have sudden temp shifts come springtime. That is, keep the agro plastic tent on until the temps stop dipping below freezing at night; it will maintain a higher more constant temp. But, also if you have a stretch of warmer than usual air temps, open the tent to allow the hotter air inside to equalize during the day. You don't want 80 F inside and 50 out as when you do take the tent down, the change might be too drastic. A larger, deeper pond is easier to keep constant as water doesn't accept or lose heat easily. A small pond is the opposite, which is more challenging.

Hope this helps.
 
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Like brokensword, I am mainly concerned with KH. My pond is also well established with plenty of filtration and I'm also in an area where rain is acidic.

In winter the pond is in a greenhouse structure so it doesn't get rained on. The filtration runs year round since nothing freezes under the cover.

I do test every now and then just to make sure all is well. No set schedule and not very often though.

KH gets depleted during the nitrogen cycle, so I want to know when the KH needs boosting. Since my system runs all year, that is a continuous process here.
 
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I cut a chunk of ice with a chainsaw, bring in in to thaw out, then test it. NO! Just kidding!

I dont test at all anymore. Not even in the summer.
Whenever I did test, the parameters were always good.
My pond is crystal clear, tons of plants in the pond and bog. The fish seem happy, have a hardy appetite and are behaving fine.
 

brokensword

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I cut a chunk of ice with a chainsaw, bring in in to thaw out, then test it. NO! Just kidding!
DAYUM; I was going to put this on my 'good pond methods' list until that last!!! You're just becoming no fun at all, PJ....:rolleyes:
 

brokensword

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I tested at first but no more testing for me!
if you don't test, how do you know you won't pass it along to the next person you meet, @j.w ? They say ya gots ta test now if you want to even go to the public restroom....oh, wait, not THAT kind of testing, right? ;)
 
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OK, serious question here - As I've said, I'm in the 'rarely-to-never test' camp, *except for KH* because I have seen that simply & naturally (I guess?) drop over time & due to large amounts of rain. How do those of you who don't test KH know it's staying stable? or, how do you prevent it from dropping over time? or is my pond just quirky that way? @WaterGardener seems to have the same experience as I do. Is it really just due to regional differences in the ph of rain water/source water? or perhaps related to the type of rocks/gravel in the ponds?

I guess it doesn't really matter, since I know how my pond responds & I can boost KH when necessary with little fuss, but... I'm just curious about the different experiences. Anyone want to chime in?
 
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Isn't KH influenced by water hardness as well? I am surprises THIS is the major concern for so many over ammonia and nitrites.
 
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Isn't KH influenced by water hardness as well? I am surprises THIS is the major concern for so many over ammonia and nitrites.
My pond is very established & the ammonia & nitrites are always at zero, so I don't concern myself with those numbers. The KH is the one that seems to naturally drop over time & weather, so... that's where my question came from. I don't worry about the Ph, because it is what it is & as long as it's stable (hence my monitoring of KH) that's nothing to even think about.
 
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