Best Test Kit For Measuring Aquarium Water Parameters

Aquarium test kits are designed to measure water parameters of both saltwater and freshwater aquariums. It measures the important parameters in both tap and aquarium water, such as pH, ammonia, hardness, chlorine, chloramines and nitrate. Testing for these parameters is so important because an imbalance can cause chaos in the aquarium. If the levels are too high, the fish is on the risk of dying.

An average test kit contains the following:

  • Instruction guide
  • Test tube
  • Testing solution
  • Color card

What are the parameters for which water-testing is done?

  • pH (Alkalinity)
  • KH (Carbonate Hardness)
  • GH (General Hardness)
  • Ammonia
  • Iron
  • Calcium
  • Phosphate
  • Copper
  • Potassium
  • Silicate
  • Iodine and Iodide
  • Nitrites and Nitrates

Best Beginner's Aquarium Test Kit

API Master Test Kit

API FRESHWATER MASTER TEST KIT 800-Test Freshwater Aquarium Water Master Test Kit, White, Single
  • Contains one (1) API FRESHWATER MASTER TEST KIT 800-Test Freshwater Aquarium Water Master Test Kit, including 7 bottles of testing solutions, 1 color card and 4 glass tubes with cap
  • Helps monitor water quality and prevent invisible water problems that can be harmful to fish and cause fish loss
  • Accurately monitors 5 most vital water parameters levels in freshwater aquariums: pH, high range pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate
  • Designed for use in freshwater aquariums only
  • Use for weekly monitoring and when water or fish problems appear

Last update on 2021-12-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This is the best test kit for giving a good knowledge to the beginners about what is happening in their aquarium. It is easily available and affordable. It comes in four variations: Freshwater, Saltwater, Reef and Pond. Each of these variations have a different water quality requirements, and API master kit is suitable for each of them.

  • Freshwater kit is for testing ammonia, pH, nitrite and nitrate.
  • Saltwater kit is for testing ammonia, high range pH, nitrite and nitrate.
  • Reef kit is for testing KH, calcium, nitrate and phosphate.
  • Pond kit is for testing ammonia, pH, phosphate and nitrite.

How does the test kit works?

  1. Filling the test tube: The first step is to fill the test tube with your aquarium water. I will suggest you not to dip it in the aquarium as any leftover chemicals from the last test can sneak into the tank. Instead, use a disposable pipette to transfer the water.
  2. Add the testing solution: Now add a few drops of the solution to the test tube. As you add it, you will see a colored cloud beginning to form in the water.
  3. Shake the tube: Give the test tube a little shake, so as to ensure that the testing solution has evenly mixed with the water.
  4. Match it up!: The final step is to match the color of the test tube with the color chart. The result will be the closest color match.

Note: Steps may vary between test kits, so always refer to the instruction manual.

How often to use a test kit?

When you start cycling your aquarium, test the water every day. It will assist you in keeping an eye on how your tank is progressing through the nitrogen cycle.

Once the tank is setup and cycled, you can drop the testing to once a week. But in case you notice any irregularities inside the tank, do test for parameters.


When it comes to accuracy, test kits sit in the middle of the road - test strips give the least accurate results and scientific meter and probe give the most precise results. Test kits may not be the most precise, but they are the best for beginners and for those who treat fish-keeping as a hobby.


[Revised and Updated for July, 2019]
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Written by Debra Hutchinson, founder of FishXperts

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