Lake Master Pros a Pond and Lake Management Company

Stock my Pond Oklahoma

Understanding pH in your pond or lake

To understand why a pond needs lime, you must first be familiar with pH. In technical terms, pH is defined as the negative log of the molar concentration of hydronium ions. In practical terms, pH is a measure of acidity. The pH scale ranges from 1-14, with a pH of 7 being neutral. Readings less than 7 are considered acid; readings above 7 are basic. To make matters more complicated, the pH of a pond's water increases during the day, as photosynthesis takes place, removing carbon dioxide. So a single measurement really does you no good.


Adding Lime to your Pond or Lake

The best way to add lime to your pond is to scatter it evenly over the bottom. This is usually done by loading lime on a barge and either shoveling it off or washing it off with a hose. There are very few people who are equipped to provide this service. Check with your state game and fish department or local farmers' co-op for leads.

Why Lime your Pond or Lake

Several factors contribute to lowering the pH in ponds. Rain is acidic, usually with a pH of 5.2 to 5.6, and industrial pollution can lower it to 2.5. In areas with coniferous forests, rain percolates through the pine needles, making it even more acidic. Over time, this leaches all the minerals out of the soil. Also, the clay bottom necessary to keep a pond from leaking is acidic, and decaying plants can release additional acids. Agricultural lime is crushed limestone (calcium carbonate), which will neutralize these acids and act as a buffer to keep the pH from changing rapidly.

Pond fertilization should be considered in any pond or lake.
However, you should first lime your pond to optimize the benefits of adding fertilizer. Unless you live someplace like west Texas or Missouri, which have limestone aquifers with hard water, your pond probably needs one to three tons of agricultural lime per acre. In this issue, we will look at how to test your pond, what the results mean, and how to add it. 

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pH Ranges and Affects

Fish can live in water with a wide range of pH, from about 4 to 10. However, rapid changes in pH can kill fish, even within this range. While fish can adjust their body chemistry to different environmental pH values, this takes energy which could otherwise be used for growth and reproduction. Maintaining a constant internal pH in an extreme environment causes fish stress, making them susceptible to disease and parasites. In a limed pond, the fertilizer element phosphorus is in the soluble, orthophosphate form that is available to plankton; otherwise, it will be mostly tied up in bottom sediments. Finally, liming can increase the amount of carbon dioxide in water, which is used in photosynthesis. For these reasons, liming ponds has been shown to double bluegill production in ponds, without adding any fertilizer.