Best Aquarium Test Kits 2021 & Buyers Guide

An important aspect in making sure that fish thrive in an aquarium is to test the water. Just because the water looks pure to your naked eyes, it doesn’t mean that it’s really clean and safe for your aquatic friends. It contains microscopic substances that are harmful to the fish, and one way to detect them and check the water quality is by using an aquarium test kit.

If you love marine life in an enclosed environment, you should know what an aquarium test kit is. But for those who don’t know, an aquarium test kit is a measuring tool for different water parameters. A basic test kit features the following parameters:

  • pH – the scale of water’s acidity
  • GH – the General Hardness in water caused by calcium and magnesium
  • KH – the Carbonate Hardness, which determines the amount of carbonates or level of alkalinity in water
  • NH3 or NH4 – the level of ammonia in water
  • NO2 or NO3 – the level of nitrates in water
  • PO43 – the level of phosphates in water

The aquarium test kit allows you to see the invisible things in the water, and it helps you make the aquatic environment conducive for the fish. Water testing should be done before putting aquatic life inside the tank. But the sad truth is that some aquarists don’t think it is necessary until problems arise inside the aquarium. Although water quality doesn’t decline fast, regular testing is like a preventive measure that stops poor water quality from escalating to a critical or harmful level for the fish.

But water testing doesn’t only prevent unhealthy water conditions. With the help of the test kits, you can make the aquarium more pleasing to the eyes. You can even cultivate algae that sustain the life in the aquarium while keeping it clean.

Cheap & Good

Our Favorite

Customers Choice

Product

ASI Clear Aquarium Sealant

Tetra EasyStrips 6-in-1 Aquarium Test Strips

Aqua Luna Aquarium Test Strips 6 in 1

Content

100 Strips

25 Strips

100 Strips

Type of water

Freshwater

Fresh- and saltwater

Fresh- and saltwater

Parameters

Nitrite, Nitrate, General Hardness, pH-level, Free Chlorine, Carbonate, Temperatur

Nitrite, Nitrate, General Hardness, pH-level, Free Chlorine, Carbonate

Nitrite, Nitrate, General Hardness, pH-level, Free Chlorine, Carbonate

Our Rating

How do Aquarium Test Kits Work?

The design of aquarium test kits is based on colorimetric analysis, which yields a result by showing a specific color. Each color on the kit corresponds to the substance level present in the water. For instance, if there is too much acidity in water, the water turns purple. The color becomes darker if the pH level increases.

Other test kits are titrations that require a test chemical (either powder or liquid form) to be added to the test tubes. Depending on the number of drops indicated in the instructions, a specific color appears or disappears to indicate that the test is complete. The result is called the endpoint.

The accuracy of the tests created based on colorimetric depends on your ability to match the color shown in the tube or strip to the color card. The test shows the results fast, but it’s a low-cost method used in various fields like water treatment plants and laboratories. It’s also proven to be effective and helpful to many professional and home aquarists.

When do I Need an Aquarium Test Kit?

Is it really necessary to buy an aquarium test kit? It is possible to test the quality of water without using a ready-made tester? What will happen if you don’t use an aquarium test kit?

First of all, you need the test kit if you are serious about taking care of marine life in an aquarium. It doesn’t matter if it’s only a hobby or something you do it for a living. A big part of being a dedicated aquarist is making sure that everything inside the aquarium is healthy for the fish, especially the water.

Second, is it necessary to buy the test kit? Yes, of course. The purpose of the test kit is to help you detect the toxic elements in the water (both freshwater and saltwater) and then treat the water before it harms the marine life that you want to take care of.

Can you test the water without using the kit? Yes, it is possible, but only if you are a chemist or you like to experiment with different chemicals. Testing water suitable for aquariums is a complicated process that requires excellent knowledge and experience in chemistry. It takes a while to master it.

If you are doing it yourself, the results may not be accurate, and you end up harming or even killing the fish inside the aquarium. With the help of the ready-made kit, testing water is a much faster, more convenient, and more accurate process to perform.

The Best Aquarium Test Kits in 2021

Apparently, the number of choices is quite overwhelming. So to narrow down your choices, here are five of the best freshwater aquarium test kits to consider.

1st Tetra EasyStrips 6-in-1 Aquarium Test Strips

Features

  • Content: 25 Strips
  • Type of water: Fresh- and saltwater
  • Parameters: Nitrite, Nitrate, General Hardness, pH-level, Free Chlorine, Carbonate

One of the most reviewed freshwater aquarium test kits on Amazon, the Tetra EasyStrips 6-in-1 Aquarium Test Strips check pH levels, water hardness, nitrates, nitrites, chlorine, and alkalinity. By dipping the strip into the water, you can expect to see the results in just 60 seconds. There are no complexities. It’s so easy to use. Moreover, Tetra EasyStrips 6-in-1 Aquarium Test Strips are a versatile testing kit since you can use them on both freshwater and saltwater. With this option, you can monitor the aquarium every week or every after you change the water. You can also use it when a new fish is transferred into the aquarium.

Pros

  • six test parameters in one strip
  • can be used to test freshwater and saltwater aquariums
  • easy to use and fast results
  • low-cost aquarium test kit
  • convenient for weekly testing

Cons

  • only contains 25 strips
  • may not give accurate results
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2nd SJ Wave 6 in 1 Aquarium Test Strips with Thermometer

Features

  • Content: 100 Strips
  • Type of water: Freshwater
  • Parameters: Nitrite, Nitrate, General Hardness, pH-level, Free Chlorine, Carbonate, Temperatur

Next on the list is the SJ Wave 6 in 1 Aquarium Test Strips with Thermometer. Like the first kit, this one also has six basic test parameters. But it comes with a thermometer, which can check the water temperature in the aquarium. It’s easy to use and gives results in just 30 seconds. It can detect low levels of foreign substances and be used to monitor other types of freshwater enclosures like fish ponds, shrimp tanks, and plant aquariums, to name a few.

Pros

  • easy to use
  • fast results in 30 seconds
  • comes in 100 strips
  • multiple uses
  • has a thermometer

Cons

  • has a shelf life
  • strips must be used within three months
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3rd API Freshwater Master Test Kit 800-Test Freshwater Aquarium Water Master Test Kit

Features

  • Content: 800 Test
  • Type of water: Freshwater
  • Parameters: pH-Level, High range pH, Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate

Probably, the most reviewed aquarium test kit, the API FRESHWATER MASTER TEST KIT 800-Test Freshwater Aquarium Water Master Test Kit, comes with seven test bottles, glass test tubes, and a color chart. It monitors five water parameters in freshwater aquariums such as pH levels, high-range pH levels, nitrates, nitrites, and ammonia. You can use this to monitor your aquarium every week.

Pros

  • cost-effective
  • accurate results
  • comes with various tools
  • popular choice
  • detects even the lowest levels of impurities

Cons

  • exclusive for freshwater aquariums
  • technical method
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4th EASYTEST 6 in 1 Aquarium Test Strips

Features

  • Content: 100 Strips
  • Type of water: Freshwater
  • Parameters: Nitrite, Nitrate, General Hardness, pH-level, Free Chlorine, Carbonate

From the name itself, the EASYTEST 6 in 1 Aquarium Test Strips takes pride in its easy-to-use test strips. You only need to dip the strip into the water for two seconds, then expect the results within 30 seconds. It monitors six test parameters, including total hardness, nitrates, nitrites, free chlorine, carbonates, and pH level.

Pros

  • convenient to use and fast results
  • comes in 100 strips divided into two groups: a bottle of 50 strips and 50 refills
  • high-quality test kits
  • good for weekly water testing
  • reasonable

Cons

  • exclusive for freshwater aquariums
  • may show inaccurate readings
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5th Nutrafin Master Test Kit

Features

  • Content: N/A
  • Type of water: Freshwater
  • Parameters: Ammonia, pH-Level, Calcium, Phosphate, Iron, Nitrite, Nitrate, KH, and GH

Last but definitely not least is the Nutrafin Master Test Kit, which features 10 test parameters. It will help you determine the low-range and high-range levels of pH, phosphate, calcium, nitrite, nitrate, ammonia, GH, KH, and iron in the aquarium water. You can also use this on saltwater aquariums. The Nutrafin Master Test Kit comes in a durable case that contains everything you need in water testing.

Pros

  • has 10 test parameters
  • sophisticated packaging
  • can be used to test freshwater and saltwater
  • has a long shelf life
  • yields accurate results

Cons

  • not too cheap
  • may take a while to finish
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6th Aqua Luna Aquarium Test Strips 6 in 1

Features

  • Content: 100 Strips
  • Type of water: Fresh- and saltwater
  • Parameters: Nitrite, Nitrate, General Hardness, pH-level, Free Chlorine, Carbonate

The Aqua Luna Aquarium Test Strips 6 in 1 has six test parameters, including pH levels, nitrate, nitrite, general water hardness, chlorine, and carbonate. It’s easy to use since you only need to dip the strip into the aquarium water for two seconds. After that, you can see the result within 60 seconds.

Pros

  • easy to use and fast results
  • low-cost test kits
  • can be used on both freshwater and saltwater
  • comes in 100 pieces
  • good for weekly aquarium testing

Cons

  • may not yield accurate readings
  • made of low-quality materials
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7th API Saltwater Master Test Kit

Features

  • Content: 800 Test
  • Type of water: Saltwater
  • Parameters: pH-Level, High range pH, Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate

Labeled with ¨Amazon’s Choice¨, the API SALTWATER MASTER TEST KIT is proven to be one of the best saltwater aquarium test kits. It’s exclusive to test saltwater aquariums, checking the pH levels, ammonia, nitrates, and nitrites. It comes with six test bottles, four glass test tubes, and a color chart.

Pros

  • effective at a reasonable price
  • does a thorough check
  • shows accurate end results
  • clear instructions
  • complete with the necessary materials for the test

Cons

  • can’t be used in freshwater
  • time-consuming
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8th Qguai 9 in 1 Aquarium Test Strips

Features

  • Content: 50 Strips
  • Type of water: Fresh- and saltwater
  • Parameters: Nitrite, Nitrate, General Hardness, pH-level, Free Chlorine, Carbonate, Iron, Copper, Total alkalinity

Why settle six test parameters if you can have nine, right? And that’s what Qguai 9 in 1 Aquarium Test Strips give you. Aside from the basic water testing scales, this test kit also checks the levels of iron, total alkalinity, and copper in a saltwater aquarium. It has straightforward instructions and can test saltwater ponds, freshwater aquariums, and even swimming pools.

Pros

  • nine test parameters
  • straight instruction
  • budget-friendly test kit
  • versatile
  • various applications

Cons

  • should be used within 24 months
  • can provide inaccurate end results
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9th RUNBO Aquarium 6 in 1 Test Strips

Features

  • Content: 100 Strips
  • Type of water: Fresh- and saltwater
  • Parameters: Nitrite, Nitrate, General Hardness, pH-level, Free Chlorine, Carbonate

With over a thousand ratings on Amazon, the RUNBO Aquarium 6 in 1 Test Strips is a good choice because the strips are made of high-quality fiber paper. It checks the water’s pH level, general hardness, nitrate, nitrite, carbonates, and free chlorine. You can use it in both saltwater and freshwater aquariums.

Pros

  • very easy and convenient to use
  • results are shown in 60 seconds
  • comes in 100 strips
  • budget-friendly
  • can be used to test water in ponds

Cons

  • may not give accurate end results
  • not heat-resistant
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How do I Choose the Best Aquarium Test Kits?

There is a wide range of different aquarium test kits to choose from, but how do you determine which one is the best? Well, one thing’s for sure is that you have to look at the features of the kits and find out which of them has the excellent features. But that may take a while. So, to help you sort it out, here are the most common factors in selecting the best water testing kit for your aquarium.

Available Test Parameters

What’s an aquarium test kit without test parameters, right? The test kit must have the most basic test parameters used in testing aquarium water. It should at least have scales for alkalinity, ammonia, nitrates, nitrites, phosphates, general hardness, and carbonate hardness.

Accuracy

Does your preferred test kit yield accurate results? You have to make sure that it does because inaccuracies can harm the fish in the tank, and you don’t want that to happen. The good news is that aquarium test kits, in general, are accurate. They are even more accurate than just using test strips.

Contents of Test Kits

If you compare it to test strips, test kits are much bigger in size, and they contain materials for water testing. Basic aquarium test kits have six test parameters, while others have more utilities and coverage. If you don’t want too many complications, then go for the basic test kit. But if you’re to be precise up to the last detail, then choose the one with contents to offer.

Freshwater or Saltwater

This is also important because most aquarium fish are either freshwater or saltwater species. If you want to take care of freshwater fish, the preferred test kit should feature test parameters for freshwater. The same goes for saltwater aquariums. The test kit should have parameters that can test the condition of saltwater.

Price

The cost of the aquarium test kit is something you should consider as well. Although there are budget-friendly tools, they can be financially straining because water testing is done periodically. With that said, you have to ensure that the price of the kit is within your budget, and you can afford to buy whenever necessary.

What are the different kinds of Aquarium Test Kits?

Aquariums test kits come in various forms, and each of them follows a specific set of instructions. The following are the different kinds of aquarium test kits.

Aquarium Test Strips

They look like pregnancy tests, but they have at least, six test lines. You use them by dipping the strip into the water and wait for the test lines to change colors. It’s very easy to use and perfect for first-time aquarists. However, they don’t provide accurate results.

Liquid Aquarium Tests

This one is a bit more technical than the test strips. To use the liquid aquarium test, you need to take a water sample then add the dry or liquid chemicals. You have to shake the water sample for a few minutes and allow the color to appear. Check the color chart to find out the quality of the water.

Electronic Water Tests

For better and more reliable results, the electronic water test is an excellent method to test aquarium water. It uses batteries to power up a device in reading the parameters. Because it’s electronic, it removes the interference caused by what humans see and the natural light. It is effective in detecting the levels of alkalinity, calcium, and other basic test parameters.

How can I use an Aquarium Test Kit?

  1. Fill the test tube with sample water until it reaches the indicated line.
  2. Slowly add the test chemical to the tube with the water sample. Notice that the water changes its color and composition.
  3. Put the lid to the tube and shake it a little to combine the added chemical with water.
  4. After a few seconds of shaking, you will see the water’s final color. Match the color of the water to the color chart to get the end result.

How often should I use an Aquarium Test Kit?

There is no definite answer to that question, but most of the time, it depends on the type of aquarium you want to keep. Aquariums that are newly installed or built are recommended to have water testing once a week. You should test the water for ammonia and nitrate contents until they are no longer present in the water. You can also do the same for other parameters and slowly shift to bi-weekly or monthly frequencies when the aquarium’s condition has stabilized.

 

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