Paintafish.org is reader-supported. When you buy via the links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you.

The Best Aquarium Test Kits of 2020

Best-Aquarium-Test-Kits

Fish tank owners need only the best aquarium test kits to help them ascertain the correct and ideal living environment for their fish, aquatic plants, and other aquarium elements. A good test kit gives a clear picture of the important parameters that can have an impact on the living organisms in the fish tank. This gives fish tank owners accurate information that can help them decide how best to care for their aquarium and its inhabitants. If you are looking for a test kit you can use for your aquarium, we have 7 of the best on the market today.


What is the Best Aquarium Test Kit


Top 7 Best Aquarium Test Kits Reviews

1. API Freshwater Master Test Kit

API-Freshwater-Master-Test-Kit

Owners of freshwater aquariums will love the Freshwater Master Test Kit from API. This is an accurate and easy-to-use solution for determining the status of the basic parameters of aquarium water. Each kit already comes with 7 bottles of reliable testing solutions that allow you to perform at least 800 tests on your fish tank.

Using the test kit is also as easy as adding a drop of the solution in 5 mL of aquarium water. You can get the results in under a minute. The only real issue is if you cannot discern the color of the tested water and the color on the chart.

Nevertheless, the API Freshwater Master Test Kit is perfect for determining the pH, ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite levels of freshwater aquariums.

Pros

  • Measures basic freshwater aquarium parameters
  • Very easy to perform
  • Good for at least 800 tests

Cons

  • Interpreting the results can be subjective

2. Tetra EasyStrips 6-in-1 Aquarium Test Kit for Fresh and Salt Water

Tetra-EasyStrips-6-in-1-Aquarium-Test-Kit

For those who want a fast and convenient way of testing their aquarium water, there is the Tetra EasyStrips. This product allows you to assess six basic water parameters without ever diluting a reagent. Dip in aquarium water and you will have the results in a minute.

Each bottle of EasyStrips comes with 100 strips. Each strip has 6 pads that test for pH, nitrates, nitrites, alkalinity, chlorine, and water hardness. The best part about the EasyStrips is that you can use it on either a freshwater tank or a saltwater aquarium. The only downside is that the product is not that cost-efficient on a per test basis.

The Tetra EasyStrips is perfect for anyone who likes to keep the tests simple. Its versatility is obviously EasyStrips’ best feature.

Pros

  • Versatile aquarium test strips
  • Very convenient to use
  • Tests more than the basic water parameters

Cons

  • Not as cost-efficient as liquid tests

3. API Saltwater Master Test Kit

API-Saltwater-Master-Test-Kit

The Saltwater Master Test Kit is API’s offering to owners of saltwater aquariums. It is almost similar to the Freshwater Master Test Kit, except that the formulation of the solutions in this kit is specific for saltwater.

While this API product can test pH level, ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite with amazing accuracy, it does not test water alkalinity and hardness. You will have to purchase separate testing solutions for these parameters. Nevertheless, the kit’s color chart is easier to use than the color chart of other products.

The API Saltwater Master Test Kit falls short when it comes to testing the important parameters of saltwater. Regardless, it remains a wise buy because of its cost-efficiency, ease of use, and accuracy. A good weekly tester.

Pros

  • Ideal for weekly monitoring of saltwater quality
  • Good for testing basic water parameters
  • Fast and accurate results

 

Cons

  • Does not test water hardness and alkalinity

4. API Individual Aquarium Water Test Kit

-API-Individual-Aquarium-Water-Test-Kit

There are some people who only need a specific test to evaluate water quality in their fish tank. If you are like these people, then you should get the Individual Aquarium Water Test Kit from API. It remains a kit because each package comes with two bottles of testing solutions, a glass test tube, and a pair of color cards.

Using the Individual Water Tests is as easy as mixing the solution in a water sample. Wait about a minute and compare the color of the solution to the one on the color card. While the results are accurate, there can be differences in the way people interpret the color.

Nevertheless, the API Individual Aquarium Water Test Kit is a cost-effective solution for determining a specific parameter of fish tank water.

Pros

  • Recommended for people who only need specific tests
  • Versatile use
  • Cost-efficient testing solution

Cons

  • Results can be subjective

5. RUNBO Aquarium 6-in-1 Test Strips for Salt and Fresh Water

RUNBO-Aquarium-6-in-1-Test-Strips

Leading brands of aquarium test kits do not test for hardness, alkalinity, and free chlorine. The RUNBO does. That is why more and more people are using this product to help them determine the quality of their aquarium water.

The RUNBO works with both freshwater and saltwater fish tanks. Like all test strips, the RUNBO is a cinch to use. The bottle already comes with a color chart that you can use to interpret the results. However, the different shades of the color can be difficult to discern for some people. This can lead to less than accurate interpretation of the result.

Despite this, the RUNBO is a wonderful aquarium test kit if you are concerned about checking the water hardness level of your fish tank, its alkalinity, and its free chlorine.

Pros

  • Versatile water test kit
  • More comprehensive water test parameters
  • Very easy to use

Cons

  • Not entirely accurate

6. JNW Direct Aquarium Test Strips for Fish Tank 9-in-1

JNW-Direct-Aquarium-Test-Strips

Most products claim that they have a master test kit. Unfortunately, they lack certain solutions that will test other important parameters of aquarium water quality. The JNW Direct Aquarium Test Strips provide a good idea on 9 important water parameters.

The JNW Direct not only includes the usual test parameters of pH, nitrates, and nitrates. It also tests for general hardness, alkalinity, copper, carbonate hardness, and free chlorine. The only parameter it does not test is ammonia. The good news is you also get access to its free app and e-book to make your aquarium experience more exciting.

This aquarium test kit from JNW is a great buy for people who want to test more water parameters than what most other aquarium test kit brands can provide.

Pros

  • Provides a very comprehensive test of water parameters
  • Versatile application
  • Comes with an e-book and downloadable app

Cons

  • Does not test ammonia

7. BOSIKE Aquarium 6-in-1 Test Strips

BOSIKE-Aquarium-6-in-1-Test-Strips

The BOSIKE Aquarium 6-in-1 Test Strips are a good choice for people who want to test the basic parameters of their aquarium water. Using it is never a problem because of the reliable design of each strip. You can have the results you need in a little over a minute.

While the BOSIKE tests for pH, carbonate hardness, general hardness, free chlorine, nitrate, and nitrite, it does not test for ammonia. This can be an issue for fish tank owners who need to test ammonia levels in their aquarium.

Other than that, the BOSIKE offers the convenience of testing some of the more important water quality parameters. You will feel safer for your fish and other aquatic life forms with these test strips in your cabinet.

Pros

  • Tests basic aquarium water parameters
  • Test pad does not bleed
  • Can test different types of aquarium water

Cons

  • Does not test for ammonia

Aquarium Test Kits Buying Guide

Buying an aquarium test kit is easy if you know what you need to test in your fish tank’s water. For starters, you should know that freshwater has a slightly different chemical composition compared to saltwater. In general, freshwater aquariums require testing of the water’s pH and the levels of ammonia, nitrates, and nitrites.

There are freshwater fish that thrive best in a slightly acidic environment, while others prefer a more neutral or slightly alkaline water environment. A good rule of thumb to follow is to buy a test kit with a wide range of pH. Generally, most fish species thrive in an environment with a water pH of 6.6 to 7.8.

Pick a test kit that can assess the levels of ammonia in water. This substance is a waste product that can harm your fish. It comes from the breakdown of organic material, such as fecal matter and unconsumed fish food. The same is true for nitrites that result from the action of bacteria against ammonia.

It is also wise to pick an aquarium test kit that can evaluate water hardness. If the water is too soft, it can lead to an acidic environment. Some fish thrive in soft water, while others do not.

If you have a saltwater aquarium, then the test kit should also assess the levels of magnesium, phosphate, and calcium. Elevated phosphate levels can promote algal growth. The right levels of magnesium and calcium are crucial for optimum coral growth and development.

If your fish tank has aquatic plants, then you should also pick a test kit that can provide you with an idea about Carbonate Hardness (KH) and General Hardness (GH). Carbonate hardness indicates the level of alkalinity of the water. The ideal levels of both types of water hardness can promote the optimum growth of aquatic plants.


What is an Aquarium Test Kit?

Aquarium-Test-Kit

An aquarium test kit allows fish tank owners to assess the parameters of aquarium water, such as pH and levels of ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, phosphate, oxygen, iron, and copper, among other substances that can affect water quality. An aquarium test kit can also test for the hardness of aquarium water.


Types of Aquarium Test Kits

Aquarium test kits are available in three general types.

Test Strips

This is the simplest, most practical, and most convenient method of testing the different parameters of aquarium water.

The strip features reactive pads that change in color when dipped in aquarium water. You compare the color with a color chart to interpret the results. The color change is the result of the reaction between the chemical in the pad and the dissolved substances in water.

The downside to test strips is that they are not as accurate. People who have difficulty discerning different shades of a particular color can misinterpret the results.

Liquid Tests

These test kits offer more accurate results. They also last longer than test strips. There is also a lower risk of contaminating the testing solution.

You take a sample of aquarium water and add a few drops of the testing solution. Shake it well and leave it for a few minutes. The chemicals in the solution and the aquarium water react to produce a distinct color.

The disadvantage of such test kits is that it takes more time to get the results. It can also pose a problem when you are dealing with several fish tanks. There is also the risk of chemical exposure that can lead to skin and membrane irritation.

Electronic Testers

These aquarium testers provide the most accurate results. It produces a digital readout of the test results.

The issue is that they are expensive, requiring the regular purchase of the testing reagent.


Why Do You Need Aquarium Test Kits?

Fish and other aquatic life forms require a healthy and safe environment for them to grow, thrive, and be happy. It is similar to humans and other land-based creatures that require fresh and clean air and water to survive.

An aquarium test kit does not stabilize the aquatic environment. It only assesses the quality of the water so that the fish tank owner will know what to do next. For example, if the test kit reveals that the aquarium water’s hardness is higher than ideal, then he can institute measures to ‘soften’ the water. This will allow certain species of fish to thrive better, such as Tetras. If you own African Cichlids, then the water hardness level will not matter.

Fish eat, digest their food, and then excrete their waste into the water. This can raise the level of nitrogenous and organic wastes in the water. Aquatic plants can take care of these wastes. However, there is still the risk of ‘polluting’ the water and make it difficult for fish to thrive. An aquarium test kit can help you determine whether the substances in the water are still within safe limits for your fish or not. You can then take the necessary action.


Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs-fish

What are the most popular aquarium test kit brands?

API and Tetra are two of the most popular brands of aquarium test kits. These brands offer a wide variety of test kits that cater to different types of fish tank owners. Other noteworthy brands that you can try include RUNBO, JNW, and BOSIKE.

How to test aquarium water?

Testing aquarium water depends on the type of test kit that you have. Test strips require dipping a test strip into a sample of aquarium water. Wait for it to change color and compare the color to a color chart. Liquid tests allow you to add a few drops of the testing solution to a water sample. Give it a shake, wait a few minutes, and interpret the color change. If you are using an electronic tester, add a reagent to a sample of water and place the solution in the device. It will then interpret and display the results on the screen.

How often should I use aquarium test kit?

We recommend daily testing of your aquarium water during its first cycle. This gives you a good idea of the fish tank’s ability to process nitrogenous wastes. After the first cycle, you can reduce the frequency of testing to once a week. Make sure you already have a good, regular maintenance routine in place. Any irregularity in the fish tank can also be an indication for aquarium water testing.

Where to buy?

Amazon is always a reliable e-commerce platform to buy a good aquarium test kit. They have many brands and types to choose from. You can also read the reviews to give you an idea of what you are getting. Other online commerce sites and your local aquarium supplies store can also provide you with such products.


Conclusion

The best aquarium test kits offer accurate water parameter results. These products are also very convenient to use. The best fish tank water test kit can give you peace of mind when taking care of your aquatic friends. These products give you information you can use to plan your next move. You can change the water, balance its pH, and make sure that it has all the right levels of dissolved substances in the right proportions. This is a great way to help your fish and aquatic plants thrive, so that they can continue giving your home the aesthetics it deserves.

Leave a Comment