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A Beginner's Guide to Using a Dissolved Oxygen Meter

by:BOQU     2023-06-01

A Beginner's Guide to Using a Dissolved Oxygen Meter

If you're an aquarium keeper, a fish farmer, or an aquaculture enthusiast, you know the importance of keeping the water quality in your aquatic system optimal. One of the critical water parameters to monitor is dissolved oxygen (DO). A dissolved oxygen meter is an essential tool that helps you measure the amount of oxygen available for aquatic beings in the water. In this beginner's guide, we will take you through the basics of using a dissolved oxygen meter.

Understanding Dissolved Oxygen

Dissolved oxygen is the amount of oxygen gas that is present in water that can be absorbed by fish or other aquatic organisms. The DO concentration in the water is affected by various factors such as temperature, water flow, atmospheric conditions, and biological processes that consume or produce oxygen. DO is essential in maintaining healthy aquatic life as it helps in respiration-in fish, DO is taken in by gills and exchanged with carbon dioxide.

Types of Dissolved Oxygen Meters

There are three primary types of dissolved oxygen meters, and they include:

1. Chemical methods - Here, a reagent is added to a water sample, and the resulting color change is compared to a standard color chart to determine the DO concentration.

2. Optical sensors - These meters use optical sensors to measure the DO concentration by detecting the changes in luminescence when a specific wavelength of light is passed through the water.

3. Electrochemical sensors - The most commonly used method in measuring DO levels is electrochemical sensors. A dissolved oxygen meter that utilizes electrochemical sensors comprises a probe that contains a cathode and an anode that reacts with the dissolved oxygen. The change in electrical current is then converted to a reading that reflects the DO concentration.

Using a Dissolved Oxygen Meter

Step 1: Preparing Your Meter

Before using your dissolved oxygen meter, it is fundamental to calibrate it using appropriate standards. This helps ensure that you get accurate and precise readings. For example, a two-point calibration means that you need to use two different standard solutions with a known DO concentration. The meter will then adjust its readings based on the variance between the expected values and the measured values. To calibrate the meter, follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer.

Step 2: Preparing the Sample

Once your meter is calibrated, you need to prepare the water sample correctly. Take a sample from the aquarium, fish tank, or pond, and follow the instructions given by the manufacturer. You may need to filter the sample if there are impurities present. Some meters come with a separate temperature probe, and if yours does, you need to take a temperature reading of the sample.

Step 3: Measuring DO

Now that everything is ready, it's time to measure the DO concentration. Dip the probe into the water sample and wait for a steady reading. It's essential to keep the probe in the water for at least 2 minutes to ensure that the concentration is stabilized and accurate.

Step 4: Recording Data

Finally, record the DO concentration readings obtained from the meter. You may use a notebook or spreadsheet software, depending on the number of samples you're testing.

Tips and Tricks

1. Always rinse your meter and probes thoroughly with distilled water after use and store them in their protective cases.

2. Keep your meter's probes moist to prevent them from drying out.

3. Calibrate your meter regularly to ensure accurate readings.

4. If you're testing water with a high concentration of dissolved solids, use a DO meter that is resistant to fouling.

5. Temperature affects dissolved oxygen concentrations in water. As a result, it's critical to use a meter with a temperature probe for accurate readings.


In conclusion, using a dissolved oxygen meter is a crucial aspect of maintaining optimal water quality in aquariums, fish tanks, ponds, and other aquatic environments. With the tips and tricks provided above, you can start measuring DO concentration like a pro. However, always remember to follow the manufacturer's instructions for the best results.

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