The Best Aquarium Water Test Kits (Review) in 2021

Last Updated June 8, 2021

A healthy aquatic environment and lively fishes depend on how good you maintain your aquarium. And by maintenance, we meant your tank stability. However, as long as your fishes are lively and healthy, all you need to worry about is the pH level and hardness of your aquarium water. Any changes that you will notice will need your immediate attention. The easiest way to identify these changes is by an aquarium water test kit.

In order for the proper function of the filter, here is a list of the best aquarium water test kit that promises that the water is in good-quality to help keep your fishes healthy, stress-free and live longer lives.

The Best Aquarium Water Test Kit


Instead of spending hours after hours every day on your aquarium, take out a few minutes of your time every week to maintain and monitor your aquarium conditions with this API Master Test Kit Aquarium Water. API Fish care has been leading the Aquatics industry for over 50 years and there is no doubt that this aquarium test kit will overlook any problems that can be harmful to fish and cause fish loss.

Containing 800-test and 7 test solutions, this kit promptly measures five significant readings in freshwater fish tanks including pH, high range pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. In addition, this refillable freshwater master test kit, with its scientific technology, happens to come with 4 glass test tubes that too including snap-tight lids and a suitable holding container for you to store at your convenience. With the use of this, you just need to test water quality once a week and that’s it! API Master Test Kit provides a hospitable underwater environment, making you feel good as a fish owner.

5 test parameters; pH, high range pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate

4 glass tubes with cap

Monitors water quality thoroughly

Prevents invisible water problems

For use in freshwater aquariums only

Weekly monitoring when water or fish problems appear

  • Brand: API
  • Model: 34
  • Weight: 1.15 pounds


The Tetra EasyStrips, as you can guess from the name, are easy to use and analyses 6 significant water quality parameters that are necessary to keep your water clean, which are nitrate, nitrite, hardness, chlorine, alkalinity and pH. Plus, you need not to worry about the fast and accurate results as these strips invented using the same technology that the experts use in medical and scientific laboratories.

It helps you keep maintain an ideal condition for your aquarium. The all-in-one strip does not require you to mix it with other chemicals, neither on glass vitals. They are extra secure, does not contain any toxins, and easy to use. All you need to do is straight away drop it into the water of your fish tank and detect the results in under 60 seconds or less, that matches with the colour coded chart. Whether it is saltwater or freshwater, Tetra EasyStrips are compatible with both, and users are recommended to test the aquarium water daily for newly established ones, whilst weekly for the well-established ones.

Suitable for both salty and fresh water

Easy to read the results

Speedy results in just 60 seconds

Test results for pH levels, chlorine, alkalinity and other harmful toxins

Maintain healthy environment for the inhabitants in the aquarium

  • Brand: Tetra
  • Model: 19543
  • Weight: 1.6 ounces


JNW Direct Pool and Spa Test Strips

Created so as to provide you with the most accurate results, in one fell swoop, these pool and spa test strips are a great choice to check for a wide range of different needs. Each strip – of which there are a 100 in total – provides 7 major checks, which ever pool owner needs. These include the pH levels, on top of chlorine and bromine, to ensure the safety of your family, as well as hardness.

Each purchase also comes with access to a free app, which allows you to record your results. This makes it easier to keep track of the overall levels of your pool – so, if you see a sudden dip or surge, you know something is wrong.

Checks for 7 parameters in total

Includes testing for chlorine, bromine, pH and hardness

Free app available for download for accurate record-keeping

100 strips per purchase

  • Brand: JNW Direct
  • Weight: 2.08 ounces


Red Sea Reef Foundation Test Kit guarantees top level accuracy titration tests, which also measures the accurate elements of magnesium, calcium and alkalinity (KHz) in the water. In order for a sustainable and successful coral health and growth, make sure all these elements are present in the water by testing with Red Sea Reef Foundation Test Kit. It has a significant effect on the water chemistry, therefore maintaining optimal levels of all the foundation elements.

This Test Kit includes 75-test calcium pro with an accuracy of 5Ppm, 75 KH/alkalinity pro test with an accuracy of 0.05Me/L and 60 magnesium pro test with an accuracy of 20Ppm. Therefore, this test kit qualifies accurate dosing of the reef foundation supplements that are part of the whole reef care program.

Accurate results

Accurate Dosing

Ensures successful coral health and growth

  • Brand: Red Sea
  • Model: 306027
  • Weight: 1 pounds


Preserve your fishes in good shape and get them thriving by keeping in check the quality of your aquarium water more often with this easy-to-use API 5-in-1 Test Strips. These strips are suitable for both freshwater as well as saltwater aquariums and help fish owners assess general hardness and the levels of nitrate, nitrite, carbonate, and pH of their aquarium water.

Simply dip one of these strips straight into your aquarium water. Match the colour-coded chart to verify if your water is safe for the inhabitants in your aquarium or adjustments are needed. For your fishes to bloom underwater, the water must be similar to the one that they find in their natural environment. Poor quality of water can cause stress, illness or even death among your fishes. Weekly monitor your aquarium water to determine any invisible water problems that can be detrimental for your fish’s health.

5-in-1 strips

Suitable for both freshwater and saltwater

25-count box

Observes pH levels, nitrite, nitrate, carbonate water hardness and general water hardness

Fast and accurate results

Helps monitor water quality

  • Brand: API
  • Model: 33G
  • Weight: 1.6 ounces


Water Hardness Test Strips

With hard water causing a wide variety of issues in and around the home, you can’t go too far wrong with these water hardness strips. Able to help you understand your water hardness levels and make adjustments, these can be an essential bit of kit for many households.

These tests provide results within seconds, and are incredibly easy to use, too. All you need to do is dip the strips in water and your results will show up in no time. The easy-to-use color indicator provides a quick, reliable and readable result. And, with each pack (75 per pack and two packs in total) offering a 3-month shelf life, you’ll know your results, for longer.

Provides results within seconds

Dip-test application

150 strips per purchase

6 month shelf life

  • Brand: SJ Wave
  • Weight: 2.75 Ounces


Are you looking for a quick and easy way to maintain your fish tank for a sustainable and happy environment for your fishes? JNW Direct is your what you need. This water test kit is believed to be the best for accurate and consistent results and for finding the main reasons of pollutants in your aquarium. This kit has 7 test parameters for you to test your aquarium water at home, calculating the hardness, free chlorine, nitrite, nitrate, pH, total alkalinity and KL/carbonate.

You no longer need to wait weeks to get results from expensive labs with JNW Direct water test kit, which reliably provides instant results. The pack comes with 150 strips for you to test 150 times, at your convenient time and whenever you feel it is necessary. The accuracy of the results ensures you that your fishes are healthy and in tip-top condition.

Consistent results

Instant results

Easy to use

7 test parameters

150 test strips

Specifically designed for fish tanks and aquarium inhabitants

Regarded as a premium quality product

  • Brand: JNW Direct
  • Weight: 1.6 ounces


Another one of the best aquarium water test kits from the Red Sea incorporates literally everything you need to maintain a perfectly healthy and clean marine aquarium, with an easy observation of the nitrite, nitrate, ammonia, alkalinity and pH levels. This simple aquarium water test kit comes with colour charts and instructions, helping you with every step during the water test. The kit enables you to monitor all the important parameters during the biological maturation period of marine and reef aquariums and for the ongoing maintenance of any saltwater aquarium.

The kit comes with 100 ammonia tests and 100 pH. While the ammonia tests have an accuracy of 0.02Ppm, the pH tests have a 0.2Ppm chances of accuracy. The 100 and 60 nitrate tests have an accuracy of 2Ppm and 0.05Ppm, respectively. The 55-alkalinity test with an accuracy of 1 dKH/0.36 meg/L.

Easy to use

The package comes with colour charts and instructions

Ensures your aquarium to be healthy

Ensures on-going maintenance

  • Brand: Red Sea
  • Model: 306030
  • Weight: 1 pounds


Salifert Carbonate Hardness & Alkalinity (Kh/Alk) Test Kits are just perfect for your aquarium. Salifert Kh/Alk tests provides very straightforward results. They are all you need for accurate and precise calculations of water levels in your aquarium. Providing an array of tests, the kit can perform 100 – 200 tests.

This simple-to-use test kit can detect even the tiniest traces of certain elements, without the hindrance of any other chemicals that might be present in the water. The strong contrasting colour variations that you will notice, makes it easier for you to interpret results so there’s no second thought. This test kit detects the smallest possible change in the carbonate hardness that can affect pH and the growth of your fishes. Suitable for both fresh and saltwater, Salifert is truly trustworthy for your aquarium.

An effective test for your water and alkalinity

Optimum up to 200 tests

Can detect even the smallest changes in the tank

Accurate and precise

Suitable for both freshwater and saltwater

  • Brand: Salifert


AquaChek 7-Way Pool and Spa Water Test Strips

Another great choice that offers checks for the 7 main factors, these test strips for pools are a great value choice for any buyer. Able to check the pH, alongside chlorine, bromine and more, you can help keep your kids happy and healthy with these tests.

The tests give results within seconds, meaning you aren’t waiting around to know how safe your pool or spa is. As well as this, the results are incredibly easy to read, with the color optimized for vibrancy, to make it easier to read.

100 strips per purchase

Dip-test application

Tests against 7 parameters

Optimized for color vibrancy

  • Brand: AquaChek
  • Model: 551236
  • Weight: 0.1 ounces

Best Aquarium Water Test Kit Buying Guide & FAQ

What to Consider When Buying Aquarium Water Test Kit

There are so many aquarium water kits to choose from. With these kits in your support, determine the health of your aquarium water having to put minimal effort. These are some tips that you need to consider when buying an aquarium water test kit:

  • Freshwater aquarium test kit: Freshwater aquarium test kits are absolutely essential if you want to measure and monitor the parameters of your aquarium water. Most of these test kits are crucial for detecting aquarium pollutants which includes harmful elements like nitrate and nitrite, ammonia, etc that are invisible to the naked eye and can only be spotted through a tester. A good quality freshwater aquarium test kit helps works wonder in keeping the aquarium water clean for weeks. Moreover, freshwater aquarium water kits include everything you need to test multiple parameters at once, saving time and money in the long-run.
  • Ease of Use: If you are a first-timer at using these aquarium water test kits, choose the one that is less complex. These are the one that requires minimal time and effort to be taken to obtain results. The test kits are the easiest to use while simply dropping or matching colours are also easier. Some are complex to use and takes more time to draw results.
  • Long-lasting: Fortunately, most of these kits have a long life. Although the water kit will expire at some point, it still depends on the type of the kit. A kit with a high-range pH value has the chances of a longer shelf life than an ammonia test kit due to the nature of chemicals used in the kits. Plus, expiration dates are also dependent on the normal storage and usage conditions. Generally, these test kits last three years before they finally expire.
  • Accuracy: Do you need to pinpoint on the accuracy or you just need a general reading? It is always advisable that you choose a test kit that provides the best possible results. More specifically, if you are testing other home appliances such as your drinking water filter, pools, tubs or spas apart from your aquarium, it would be best for you to choose the one that gives the utmost result. That is because, it is not just about your fish’s life that depends on the test kits, but also your aquarium’s cleanliness. Don’t compromise on such stuff.

Related Post: Aquarium Pumps

Benefits of Using Aquarium Water Test Kit

Although you take really good care of your aquarium inhabitants, it is no surprise that they need some extra hand sometimes while you might be away. As a fish owner, accessories like the aquarium water test kit are your life saviour. To your surprise, aquarium water test kit has more benefits than you thought it did:

  • Analyses Ammonia: Ammonia is a colourless inorganic usually produced from animal wastes. Imagine what happens if the ammonia levels in the water rise, leaving a detrimental effect on your tank inhabitants? You really wouldn’t want anything so bad to happen to your fishy, right? This is one of the first symptoms that the water in your aquarium had not been tested for long and the high levels of ammonia caused your fish to be ill. Do take note that ammonia is highly toxic and high levels of it can be caused by overfeeding, too many fish in one tank or as a part of the cycling of a new tank. Hence, an aquarium water test kit is very helpful to get rid of such ammonia toxins.
  • Checks Algae growth: Note that if the water is misty and green, chances are that is caused by algae blooms in the water. The water test kit will help you determine to show a high level of phosphates if the water appears unclear. It is very normal for algae to appear on water and can quickly spread throughout the tank. Checking the chemistry of the water regularly will help prevent algae from growing.
  • Helps in Coral growth: There are 100 grams of calcium in the water. Testing the level of calcium is important for a healthy fish tank because they use this calcium to form and strengthen themselves. They draw the calcium from water resulting in calcium quickly being washed out. Use these aquarium test kits to test the level of calcium in the water that will help your coral lives to grow. The ideal calcium level in aquarium water is about 380 – 420Ppm.
  • Determines pH level: The pH level in water denotes how acidic or alkaline the water actually is. In saltwater aquariums, the percentage of acid is greater, which is believed to be beneficial to coral lives in the aquarium. Check if the pH level is higher than 7. then it is more alkaline than necessary. Enhance the quality of your tank to balance and support a healthy environment by adding a suitable buffer. The readings from the water test kit will let you know of all these chemistries.
  • Ensures the level of chlorine: Your tap water surely consists of chlorine to make it safer for human consumption. But it is definitely NOT safe for your fishes. Use the water test kit to highlight the levels of chlorine in the water. Ensure that the chlorine level is safely 0 to confirm a healthy life for your fishes.

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Aquarium Water Test Kit Types

Is there even a difference? Well yes, there are three different types of test kits. While the purpose of all of them are to provide with accurate results about the water quality, choose the one that is most suitable for you. Here are the three types of test kits:

  • Liquid Tests: These are the most common and well-known tests kits as you probably might have heard. The results drawn from these are based on the changing of the colour of the indicator produced by the level of hydrogen ion concentration of the water. The colour at the end is then compared with the standard colour chart provided in the package with a known pH. While some of these drop tests can measure a broad pH range (for example 3 – 10 or 4 – 10), some of them might be quite inaccurate in terms of acidic conditions. The best results range from 6 – 7.6 or 7.4 – 9.
  • Dip Tests: These are easy to use kits that give you instant results. Simply dip the test strip into the water and match the colour with the reference chart or you may also use your phone camera to take the readings for you. The test strips are said to be sensitive to high humidity for which you need to keep the tub closed at all times. Although the strips give you an instant result, it might not always be accurate.
  • Electronic Tests: The handheld or built-in electronic pH meter reduces the use of indicators and gives you the opportunity to check the pH in several tanks or monitor it in constantly. These digital testers have a glass electrode and a reference electrode. It helps to determine the pH level of the water by measuring the voltage between the two. The results are derived from the sensitivity and quality, giving you more appropriate results.

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water test for aquarium

Best Aquarium Water Test Kit FAQ:

Q:  What is aquarium water test kit?

A:  The aquarium water test kit is a device that contains everything that you need to check for water contaminants that can cause detrimental health problems among your pet fishes. An aquarium water test kit is said to check the chlorine, pH level, bacteria, hardness, nitrite, nitrate and etc. for your aquarium water.

Q:  How often should I use aquarium test kit?

A:  If you are a first-timer, cycling your fish aquarium for the first time, it is best that you test your aquarium water every single day so that you can keep a close eye on how your new aquarium is progressing. Once your aquarium is set-up and cycled, and you have enhanced a good maintenance routine, you may drop the test to once a week. However, if you notice any variations or loopholes in your aquarium, which could include your fish being stressed or cloudy water, in that case, test immediately. A single water parameter could be responsible for this issue.

Q:  How many tests can be run with a single one of these kits?

Some test strips come with 100 – 200 strips for you to run the tests as many times as possible. For the electronic ones, the digital hand-held devices can be run anywhere, any time to monitor the water quality.

Q:  Can this be used on both fresh and saltwater aquariums?

A:  Most of the aquarium tests kits are meant to be used on both freshwaters as well as saltwater. However, some of them are specifically designed for freshwater usage while some are for saltwater usage.

Q:  What is the pH testing range of these kits?

A:  Majority of the freshwater tanks should have a pH level between 6.5 and 7.5. The saltwater tanks should have a pH level higher than 8.0. The low range kits max out a reading of 7.6. Chances are if you are using one of these and get a reading of 7.6 the actual pH might be higher than that.

Related Post: Best Aquarium Heater

Our Top Pick

API MASTER TEST KIT Aquarium Water Test Kit is what any knowledgeable, expert fish keeper will recommend you to add to your aquarium. And there is no reason they wouldn’t. If you look at your tank, you can possibly know what is going on. It might have a pH level imbalance or chlorine running through the water. Not all testers will provide you with an equal result, but API Master Test Kit surely will.

This freshwater water test kit is far better than most of the kits as it tests for nitrite and nitrate, ammonia, alkaline and pH levels plus an additional test for those who might have a higher level of pH in their water. The API Master kit helps in monitoring water quality and prevents any invisible water problems that may arise. These are the necessary elements that you need to be aware of in your aquarium, whether you are a beginner or a pro. This kit comes with clear and straightforward instructions for you to follow. Ensure to read the instructions carefully before using the kit for better and exact results.

Exploring the aquatic industry for over 50 years, API brings this easy to use testing kit for home use. All you need to do is use this kit weekly to monitor your fish’s happiness and healthiness.

Related Post: Best Aquarium Substrate


For beginners and for those who treat this as a casual hobby, aquarium test kits are the best way to test the limitations of your aquarium. These are really inexpensive kits for you to maintain your hobby healthily. Petting a fish at your home is relatively becoming expensive as most busy people who are fond of pets are on the go for a pet fish. Go ahead, spend that extra bucks on these test kits and drop some exotic fishes into an aquarium.

The aquarium test kits are certified to providing you with an accurate result, especially if you have an essential aquarium tool. Did you use any of these test kits to monitor your aquarium? Let us know in the comments below!


  1. How to Choose Aquarium Equipment, HowStuffWorks
Wendy Young
A freelance writer and word nerd, Wendy is a content writer with a knack for getting into the nitty-gritty of pet ownership. For the past three years, she’s been researching and writing a huge range of different topics – but always comes back to her beloved pet articles. Lover of all things four-legged and owner of Harley, Pepper and Rush, Wendy is currently completing her MNSW at Edge Hill University.
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