Let’s go back to chemistry class shall we? Oh, it’s ok…it won’t be that painful and it might even prove helpful to your pond or water garden.
We want to talk about pH today and as you might recall in our classroom projects, pH is a way to measure both alkaline and acid levels in pond water. The scale to measure pH runs from 0 to 14 with 7 being neutral. A low number here would be acidic and a higher number more alkaline.
The normal range for most ponds is from 6.8 to 7.8 with natural daily fluctuations which might affect a reading. Generally speaking though, a reading that’s a little bit higher or lower than the normal range should really be considered a problem.
Depending on what part of the country you live it, your water source could be naturally high or low in terms of pH levels. For instance if the ground in your area has a high concentration of limestone, this can raise the pH level naturally in a pond.
If you ever want to check the pH in your pond or local water supply you can often find inexpensive test strips at most home and garden supply stores. These can be dipped in the water and will turn a color which can be compared to a chart for pH readings. These are not as accurate as a digital pH reader, but they are much less expensive and will serve most pond owners well.
In most cases, a pond owner doesn’t need to do anything in terms of adjusting the pH of a pond. In fact it’s probably better that they don’t in most cases. If pH adjustment is advised, and if you have fish in the pond, it’s important to adjust the pH very gradually to avoid shock or stress to the fish.
In many cases, using natural pond products for algae control and balance won’t work very well in very high or low pH ranges. Therefore if you depend on products like these, it may be necessary to adjust the pH from time to time to a more neutral level.
A number of products are available on the market to do this, just make sure you use a product designed for pond care and not for pools. Pond care products are designed to take fish and plant concerns into consideration where pool products to not.
Mark Washburn is an experienced pond management specialists with an emphasis in algae control for
commercial pond applications. Learn more about pond algae and pond care at the Algae Solution website.