pond issues

Asked April 25, 2015, 1:57 PM EDT

we had a large fish kill in our pond this year and we are not seeing the usual activity. i.e... turtles fish etc... who can help evaluate our property( we have horses) to see if we are poisoning the pond and/or where would I bring a water sample and evaluate the results?

Tioga County Pennsylvania

1 Response

Here are some follow-up questions and sources of information.

Was the fish kill during the winter? Sometimes thick ice cover limits oxygen diffusion into the pond and this can kill fish. The fish kill may not be apparent until the ice starts to melt. Metals, some insecticides, and other chemicals can also be toxic to fish. If this was recent, you may want to freeze some of the fish in case you want to test anything about them later, or at least identify the species and sizes that died.

Has anything changed about the nearby land use recently? Have you added anything to the pond or nearby landscape that you are worried would "poison" it?

What is the water source for the pond? Spring, stream, broader runoff, some combination of the above? If it is stream-fed for instance, you may want to test both the stream and the main pond. Have you ever had any water quality tests done on the pond? A check for pH (acidity), metals, and other basic pond chemistry might be helpful. Penn State's Ag Analytical Services Lab has a pond testing package and information about tests to have done and how to interpret them: http://agsci.psu.edu/aasl/water-testing/pond-and-lake-water Kits for AASL can be picked up at county extension offices (you may want to call to make sure they're in stock) or directly from the lab. You may be able to find other labs in your area that offer testing, and some rough tests can be done with pool or aquarium kits.

There is more information on our water extension website on pond management http://extension.psu.edu/natural-resources/water/ponds. You can also contact anyone on our water team directly by phone or email with questions about water for your horses or the pond.