An aquarium test kit is a must-have for every aquarium and fish tank owner to monitor and accurately read the state of the freshwater tank, pond, or salt-water tank. Without aquarium water testing kits, you’ll be in the dark about the state of your aquarium, and your fish may suffer.

In this review, you will find the best aquarium test kit for your needs.

Best Aquarium Test Kits at a Glance

  1. Best OverallAPI Freshwater Master Test Kit
  2. Runner UpTetra EasyStrips Complete Aquarium Test Kit
  3. Extended Longevity – BOSIKE Aquarium 6-in-1 Test Strips
  4. Best for BeginnersAqua Care Pro Freshwater Aquarium Test Kit
  5. Easy Ammonia TestingAPI Ammonia Test Kit
  6. Trace Heavy MetalsLife2O Ultimate 14-in-1 Water Testing Kit
  7. Best ValueAPI 5-in-1 Test Strips
  8. Runner Up Saltwater TestingQguai 9-in-1 Aquarium Test Kit
  9. With ThermometerSJ Wave 6-in-1 Test Kit
  10. Best for Saltwater TestingJNW Direct 9-in-1 Aquarium Test Kit

Review Summary

Though all the aquarium test kits are solid choices, certain test kits have the edge over others in certain areas.

  • In terms of durability (shelf life), we recommend the Qguai, API Freshwater Master Test Kit, and BOSIKE test kits.
  • We recommend the Life2O Ultimate and BOSIKE test kits in terms of versatility.
  • For range, we recommend Life2O Ultimate, the API Freshwater test kit, and JNW Direct.
  • We recommend API and the Tetra EasyStrips for affordability.

10 Best Aquarium Test Kits Reviews

1. API Freshwater Master Kit

API Freshwater Master Kit

  • Tests for pH, nitrite, high range pH, ammonia, and nitrate levels

  • Easy to use

  • Recommend for weekly testing of your freshwater aquarium

  • It comes with 4 glass test tubes, 7 testing solutions, and a color card.

  • Very precise readings

  • Comes with 800+ tests

API Freshwater Master Test Kit is best for those who want to test the five most important water parameters.

This is unarguably one of the best and most reliable freshwater aquarium test kits on the market. API liquid test kits are foolproof, and their testing process is straightforward.

It bases its usage on the use of colors for enhanced simplicity. In addition, the test kit comes with drip-style reagent bottles, which is vital for getting very precise readings.

This test kit includes a color chart to compare with the color of your testing solution. It delivers the test results within a few minutes. However, the best thing about this test kit is that it’s very durable. It can serve you for up to 800 tests in your freshwater aquariums.

Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Straightforward testing process.
  • Its instruction manual is easy to understand.
  • Its bestseller status on Amazon reflects its high quality.
  • Can conduct up to 800 tests.
Cons
  • Considered expensive when compared to the prices of other aquarium test kits
  • There may be test tube leakage

2. Tetra EasyStrips Complete Aquarium Kit

Tetra EasyStrips Complete Aquarium Kit

  • Tests for alkalinity, pH, hardness, nitrate, chlorine, ammonia, and nitrate

  • It comes with twenty-five 6-in-1 test strips

  • There are twenty-five ammonia test strips

  • Delivers readings very quickly

  • Scientific and medical quality

Tetra EasyStrips Complete Aquarium Kit is best for those who specifically want to test for ammonia levels in their freshwater or saltwater aquarium.

Of course, its ability doesn’t stop there; it also extends to testing other water parameters such as chlorine, hardness, pH, nitrite, and nitrate. As a result, this kit is more versatile than API Freshwater Master Test Kits, that test for only five parameters.

The six parameters mentioned above can be tested using a single 6-in-1 strip. All you have to do is dip the strips into the water for a minimum of 60 seconds. Then, take it out and make a color comparison with the color chart.

This test strip is buyers’ favorite because of its unique design. Unlike other test kits, it doesn’t stack several testing pads on top of each other.

Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Its test strip can test for six vital water parameters.
  • It has separate aquarium test strips for ammonia.
  • Delivers results in about 60 seconds faster than API Freshwater Master Test Kit, which requires a few minutes.
  • One can use it for both freshwater and saltwater aquariums.
Cons
  • It’s expensive if you want to purchase per strip.
  • Strips are not reusable after a test.

3. BOSIKE Aquarium 6-in-1 Test Strips

BOSIKE Aquarium Test Strips

  • Professional grade testing strips

  • Tests for Cl2, nitrate, total hardness, nitrite, pH, and carbonate hardness

  • Delivers results within 90 seconds

  • Incredibly versatile (fish tank, Betta tank, pond, breeder tank, shrimp tank, etc.)

  • Strips can last for 2 years in sealed bottle

BOSIKE Aquarium 6-in-1 Test Strips are best for those who want to test a variety of water bodies such as standard tropical freshwater tanks, shrimp tanks, fish tanks, ponds, Betta tanks, etc. It’s also ideal for those who want to test for carbonate hardness and general hardness, among other testing parameters.

This liquid test kit utilizes strip-style testing. Its strips come with six panels for testing distinct parameters. Like Tetra EasyStrips, these six panels have sufficient space between them to prevent inaccurate results and bleeding.

Though this kit can’t directly test for ammonia levels in freshwater aquariums, it shows readings for nitrite and nitrate, which align with ammonia.

The test strips are incredibly easy to use. Simply place them horizontally in a water sample for about 60-90 seconds. This is enough time for the colors to indicate the results of the water test.

Pros and Con

Pros
  • Reasonably priced
  • Very versatile
  • Delivers test results within a minute or thereabouts
  • Good shelf life
  • The color code is on the bottle
Cons
  • Colour accuracy on the bottle may be compromised

4. Aqua Care Pro Freshwater Aquarium 6-in-1 Test Strips

Aqua Care Pro Freshwater Aquarium Test Strips

  • These kit tests are used for general hardness, pH, nitrate, carbonate hardness, nitrite, and chlorine levels

  • Easy to read design

  • It comes with 64 test strips

  • Tests freshwater aquariums (and ponds)

This water testing kit is for those who want to test for general hardness and carbonate hardness, among other parameters. Its test strips are packaged in a small and well-sealed container.

The container is tightly sealed against air, so there’s no risk of the strips being exposed to and damaged by humidity or light.

It’s incredibly easy to use; even a child will have no trouble with water testing where this liquid testing kit is concerned. Like Tetra and BOSIKE, it has six panels though they don’t all test for the same six parameters.

Like BOSIKE, there’s ample spacing between each panel and a color chart/code on the container.

The incredible design of its test strips makes this kit a buyers’ favorite. The use of colors has simplified everything to a basic level. However, to prevent false readings and bleeding, you must place it horizontally on a table.

Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Quicker and easier than liquid test kits
  • Airtight packaging gives it long shelf life
  • 6-in-1 strips
  • Very accurate and easy to use
  • Multiple test strips (up to 64)
Cons
  • The average cost per strip is high

5. API Ammonia Test Kit

API Ammonia Test Kit

  • Periodic testing

  • It comes with a couple of test vials, a user manual, two glass test tubes, and color charts

  • For fresh and salt water

  • Multi-colored

  • 130 tests

The API Ammonia test kit is for those who want to test for free ammonia levels in their saltwater tanks or freshwater aquarium. It’s produced by Mars Fishcare, the same manufacturer of API Freshwater Master Test Kit.

To use this kit, get a test tube and pour 5 ml of your tank water into it. Then concurrently, put eight drops from each ammonia liquid dropper while holding the container upside down in a completely vertical position.

Once the test tube is covered and shaken, it will require about 5 minutes for the test solution to produce results. This is much slower than Tetra, Aqua Care Pro, and BOSIKE kits.

Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Produced by Mars Fishcare, a reputable brand known for high-quality aquarium water test kits
  • One can use it for freshwater and saltwater aquariums
  • Very accurate in a water test for ammonia
  • Effective in algae control in your aquarium water
Cons
  • It mainly tests for ammonia
  • It takes up to 5 minutes for the results of your water test

6. Life2O Ultimate 14-in-1 Water Test Kit

Life2O Ultimate Water Test Kit

  • Professional grade drip-style strips

  • Highly accurate

  • Comprehensive test kit

  • Can test for 14 parameters, including hidden ones such as dissolved minerals and low range fluoride levels

  • Quick results

This is one of the go-to aquarium test kits if you want to test for the widest range of parameters possible in a single aquarium testing.

It can test for 14 parameters, including general hardness, carbonate hardness, chlorine, pH, mercury, nitrate, lead, iron, zinc, nitrite, alkalinity, copper, manganese, and fluoride.

This kit helps you test for heavy metals, which fish can be very sensitive to. We noticed that ammonia, an important parameter, is not among the 14 parameters this test kit can measure in your water.

Also, this kit only detects free chlorine, not total chlorine. This means that components such as chloramine will elude detection.

Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Test your water for more parameters than API Freshwater Master Test Kit, BOSIKE, Tetra, Aqua Care Pro, API Ammonia kit, etc.
  • Suitable for evaluating the effectiveness of your RO filter
  • Measures mineral levels
  • Affordable
Cons
  • Excludes ammonia test
  • It doesn’t test for total chlorine
  • 14 parameters may be overkill

7. API 5-in-1 Test Strips

API Test Strips

  • Freshwater and saltwater liquid testing strips

  • Weekly liquid tests

  • Quick and precise results

  • 5-in-1 strips for fresh and salt water

This is one of the best aquarium test kits for those who want to test for general hardness, carbonate hardness, nitrate, pH, and nitrite. It’s easy to use, and it just requires you to dip the test strips in your water and swirl it twice. Then, bring it out horizontally, ensuring the panels are facing upwards.

It takes just 30 seconds to provide the readings you need. This makes it faster than aquarium test kits such as API Ammonia Test Kit and Tetra EasyStrips.

Pros and Cons

Pros
  • It quickly provides readings
  • It’s straightforward to use
  • It can test for five essential parameters
Cons
  • It doesn’t test for ammonia and total chlorine, just like the Life2O Ultimate 14-in-1 test kit
  • Test strips are not reusable after liquid tests

8. Qguai 9-in-1 Aquarium Test Kit

Qguai Aquarium Test Kit

  • Very affordable

  • Quick results in under 2 minutes

  • Tests for nine parameters

  • Dip-style testing

  • Money-back guarantee

This kit is best for testing for alkalinity, chlorine, pH, nitrates, general & carbonate hardness, copper, nitrates, and iron.

The Qguai test kit works for both freshwater and saltwater aquariums, such as breeder tanks, shrimp tanks, etc.

The test delivers results within 60 seconds and has a shelf life of 2 years with proper storage. It also comes with 50 test strips that can serve you for several basic tests.

Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Produces results fast, similar to API 5-in-1 Test strips
  • Can test for nine parameters
  • Shelf life can be up to 24 months
Cons
  • It doesn’t test for ammonia

9. SJ Wave 6-in-1 Aquarium Test Kit

SJ Wave Aquarium Test Kit

  • Quick and precise liquid tests

  • Easy to use

  • 100 frewater test strips

  • It comes with a thermometer

This test kit is best for those who want to test parameters such as nitrate, chlorine, carbonate hardness, nitrite, general hardness, pH, and water temperature. The panels are color-based, so that the test readings will be based on comparisons with the color chart. This kit also has a test tube that can fit the entire strip.

Pros and Cons

Pros
  • It takes about 30 seconds to deliver readings
  • It features a tube for more accurate results
  • Very easy to use
Cons
  • Less durable than test kits such as Qguai 6-in-1 and BOSIKE test kits

10. JNW Direct 9-in-1 Aquarium Test Kit

JNW Direct Aquarium Test Kit

  • For aquarium and fish tanks

  • Tests for nine parameters in freshwater and saltwater tanks

  • Accurate and quick results

The JNW Direct 9-in-1 test kit is best for those who want to test for up to 9 parameters and keep track of their results with a mobile application. The strips in this kit can test for nitrates, carbonate & general hardness, nitrites, chlorine, pH, copper, total alkalinity, and iron. It’s ideal for the long-term maintenance of your aquarium water.

Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Can test for nine vital parameters
  • It can be used for freshwater and saltwater tanks
Cons
  • Results may fluctuate

Buyers Guide: What to Look for in an Aquarium Kit

Consider the following before you buy an aquarium kit:

Precision

Admittedly, not all kits will have pinpoint precision in their readings or results. However, your kit should attain a high level of accuracy to give you a good picture of the state of your aquarium. The level of precision you should go for depends on your needs. For example, a basic test doesn’t need pinpoint precision, while a saltwater or reef aquarium requires it. Also, high-precision kits cost more when you factor in recurring testing costs.

Affordability

Does the price tag favor your budget? If not, go for something else. There are highly accurate kits (whether strips or electronic test kits) that are also affordable; you can go for those.

Convenience

Testing comes in a few different forms. Some involve simple dip-style testing. On the other hand, other tests involve a more complicated testing process and take more time. So, naturally, you’ll be inclined to go for a more convenient testing option.

Amount of Tests Per Kit

This factors two things: the number of parameters in a single test and the number of tests in the kit.

Going for a test kit with a sufficient number of tests is recommended. Some of the kits mentioned above can last you for a year or more if you’re testing weekly.

Also, some kits can test for more parameters than others. Don’t focus on the numbers; consider the parameters as well. For example, some don’t test for total chlorine and ammonia, which are vital parameters.

Different Types of Kits

Testing Strips

aquarium test strips chart

These testing options are the easiest to use and most popular. These strips contain pads, the amount of which varies depending on the kit you buy. For example, some strips have 3 or 4 pads while some number up to 14 on a single strip.

They are color-based because they require color comparison to provide your test results. They are fairly quick, and they are very convenient. However, they don’t last for long compared to certain types of kits, and their accuracy may be compromised sometimes.

Liquid Tests

Liquid tests are color-based, just like strips. However, they take more time and involve small water samples and the addition of reagents to these samples. They are more accurate and detailed than strips. Their readings are more reliable, and they last much longer than strips. They are also more expensive.

Electronic Test Kits

Electronic PH tester for fish tank

Electronic testers are portable, battery-operated devices that you can use to test water samples. There’s no specified testing time; it can range from a few seconds to a few minutes. It’s the most accurate testing kit, and it comes with a LED display to show its readings. It’s more precise in readings than even liquid tests.

Though they are expensive, their value is worth their price tag. In addition, they save you the cost of purchasing multiple test kits to test different parameters. The only real downside is that sometimes, they require calibration for maximum efficiency and precision.

Tips on How to Use Aquarium Test Kit Properly

  • Read the usage instructions before you test your tank water.
  • Collect all your materials from the kit in one place so that they can be within easy reach when testing.
  • Collect your sample, especially if it’s a liquid test or electronic test kit you’re using.
  • Add the reagents in the proportions specified by the manufacturer to prevent false readings.
  • Shake thoroughly and wait for a while. Some kits may require shaking for a specified period.
  • Carry out the test in natural light to avoid having trouble comparing colors and data.

About the Author

Diana Masson

Diana works as a saleswoman in a hardware store. She knows the smallest differences between the various water filter brands and knows exactly what her customers want. Diana is a mother of 3 children and has been a homeowner for 2 years. Her family can rely on having the purest drinking water because she had a water filter installed herself last summer. Which one? Ask her yourself :)

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