Best Aquarium Water Test Kit (Review & Buying Guide) in 2019

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.

API MASTER TEST KIT Aquarium Water Test Kit

API MASTER TEST KIT Aquarium Water Test Kit

Red Sea Reef Foundation Test Kit

Red Sea Reef Foundation Test Kit

API TEST STRIPS Freshwater and Saltwater Aquarium Test Strips

API Freshwater Aquarium Test Strips

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.

aquarium water kit

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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:

  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  2. 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.

aquarium water test kit

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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.

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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.

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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. 5 Reasons to Test Your Water Quality in Your Aquarium, Nualgi Aquarium
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