Guide To Choosing a Water Quality Lab for Your Aquaponics Operation

November 26, 2023 by
Regen Aquaculture, Joe Pate
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Choosing a Qualified Laboratory for Macro and Micro Mineral Testing of Water Quality

What to Look for in a Qualified Water Quality Laboratory

When selecting a qualified laboratory for macro and micro mineral testing of water quality, it is important to take into account the following factors:

  • Accreditation: It is important to ensure the laboratory is accredited by a recognized body to ensure that its testing methods are consistent and reliable.
  • Experience: Look for a laboratory experienced in analyzing macro and micro minerals, as this will ensure accurate results.
  • Technology: Inquire about the laboratory’s technology and ensure it is up-to-date and can produce accurate results.
  • Capability: Ensure the lab can test the parameters you want to measure. Check out the list of nutrients to monitor below.
  • Convenience: It might be easier to drive your sample to a local lab than to ship it out. Or maybe shipping your sample takes less time for you.
  • Cost: Compare the prices of different laboratories to ensure you are getting the best value for your money.

Tips for Testing Water Quality

  • Test regularly: It is important to periodically test your water quality to identify any mineral imbalances that could negatively impact your system.
  • Understand the results: Make sure you understand the results of the tests so you can make informed decisions about your water management plan. AquaBuddy will help you interpret results and make a plan for any next steps.
  • Pay attention to trends: Look for trends in your test results over time to quickly identify any issues and make corrections.

By following these tips and choosing a qualified laboratory, you can be sure you are getting accurate results and making informed decisions about your system. To help you get started, we have compiled a list of recommended laboratories that meet our quality standards.

Macro and Micro Nutrients for Aquaponic Plant Production

When it comes to growing hydroponic plants, it is important to understand the macro and micronutrients that should be tested in the water. Knowing which nutrients are in the water will allow you to adjust the nutrient levels to optimize plant growth.


Macronutrients are essential in larger amounts for a hydroponic plant’s growth and development. These include:

  • Nitrogen: Essential for photosynthesis and growth of new leaves, stems, and roots.
  • Phosphorus: Responsible for healthy root development and flower and fruit production.
  • Potassium: Necessary for photosynthesis, respiration, and the movement of sugars and starches.
  • Calcium: Essential for cell division and growth and the movement of nutrients in and out of cells.
  • Magnesium: Necessary for photosynthesis and chlorophyll production.
  • Sulfur: Required for plant proteins and enzymes.


Micronutrients are elements required in smaller amounts for a hydroponic plant’s growth and development. These include:

  • Iron: Necessary for photosynthesis, respiration, and the formation of chlorophyll.
  • Manganese: Required for photosynthesis, respiration, and the formation of proteins.
  • Zinc: Necessary for the formation of chlorophyll and plant respiration.
  • Boron: Needed for cell division and growth and the movement of nutrients in and out of cells.
  • Copper: Essential for photosynthesis and respiration.
  • Molybdenum: Necessary for photosynthesis and plant respiration.
  • Chlorine/Chloride: is involved in forming cell walls and membranes and helps with water absorption.

Trace nutrients

Trace nutrients are required in extremely small amounts for a hydroponics plant’s growth and development. These include:

  • Silicon: Aids in nutrient adsorption provide structural support and reinforce cell walls. Increases drought and heavy metal tolerance.
  • Nickel*: Required for enzyme and protein production and nitrogen fixation.
  • Cobalt*: Essential for nitrogen metabolism and production of enzymes and protein. It also helps with the nitrogen fixation process in legumes and nitrogen-fixing microbes.
  • Selenium*: It acts as an antioxidant and helps to protect plants from oxidative stress. It does this by scavenging free radicals and reactive oxygen species, which can damage plant cells. Selenium also helps form proteins and enzymes and is involved in nitrogen metabolism and fixation. In addition, selenium helps to activate certain plant hormones, which can regulate plant growth and development.

*Note: Testing these minerals is often too costly in the water column to justify testing at a farm level. However, these should be explored in greater depth at a research level. For practical purposes, we test the content of these trace elements in farm plants using Plant Sap Analysis.

Interpreting Water Quality Test

To simplify the interpretation of confusing lab reports, we have developed AquaBuddy, a proprietary software we developed in-house to help growers better understand what actions to take based on their water quality and reduce the costs when consulting with experts.

AquaBuddy uses Natural Intelligence to analyze the data you submit, categorize it, build recommendations, log data over time, and develop customized nutrient schedules.

With AquaBuddy, analyzing your lab results is as easy as:

  1. Send your water quality sample to us, a trusted lab, or run samples in-house.
  2. Once the water quality results are in, open the AquaBuddy app and input the data from your water quality laboratory.
  3. Sit back and relax while your customized report is generated and sent to your email.


When it comes to testing the water quality of your aquaculture system, it is important to choose a qualified and experienced laboratory to analyze macro and micro mineral levels. Choosing the right laboratory will ensure accurate results, allowing you to make informed decisions about your water management plan.

Are you interested in setting up a private consultation to create a nutrient management plan for your farm? Fill out our contact form or schedule a meeting today.

Regen Aquaculture, Joe Pate November 26, 2023
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