7 Best Freshwater Aquarium Test Kits & Strip Reviews in 2021

The best freshwater aquarium test kits will help you maintain the quality of your water and protect your fish. There are a number of different factors to consider when purchasing a freshwater aquarium kit, including hardness, pH, ammonia level, nitrite level and nitrate level. We’ve reviewed the top five freshwater aquarium kits on the market today so you can find one that meets all your needs.

What is The Best Freshwater Aquarium Test Kits and Strips

 API Freshwater Master Test KIT Check Price on Amazon
 API TEST KIT Check Price on Amazon
 All Seas Marine Salifert Nitrate Test Kit Check Price on Amazon
 Ammonia Test Kits Check Price on Amazon
 API NITRITE TEST KIT Check Price on Amazon
 Phosphate Test Kits Check Price on Amazon
 Aquarium Test Strip Kit With Thermometer By SJ Wave Check Price on Amazon

7 Best Freshwater Aquarium Test Kits and Strips Reviewed

API Freshwater Master Test KIT

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API Freshwater Master Test Kit is the most reliable analysis on freshwater aquarium water. Use this starter test kit to make sure your tanks are as healthy and happy as they can be. Includes one 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.

API helps monitor water quality which in turn makes for a happier home for fish who require pristine conditions to thrive. Prevent any invisible problem that could cause tank fish loss using API’s professional expertise

An easy way to check pH level, ammonia or nitrite levels among other things without the need for an expensive lab test kits!

API’s Freshwater Master Test Kit will monitor pH, high range pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels in freshwater aquariums. This kit includes all six needed test reagent packs with instructions for day-to-day as well as problem water indications.


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Don’t be overwhelmed by the possibility of invisible water disasters. Know that your fish and treatments are safe with our API Copper Test Kit! It’s easy to get started, simply add a few drops of testing solution to the tube and swirl it around until bubbles form. The test will show one or more colors dependent on the level of copper in your aquarium, so you can then make adjustments as necessary to provide for optimal conditions for your little ones.

Want to know the real difference between tap water or aquarium water? Your fish will be healthier and your fish tank will run smoother with API’s Copper Test Kit. This regularly used testing kit is an accurate way to detect low copper levels. If you’re looking for a way to ensure that your aquatic animals are safe, make sure you have the API test kit on hand at all times!

All Seas Marine Salifert Nitrate Test Kit

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With the All Seas Marine Salifert Nitrate Test Kit, you can be sure your nitrates stay where they belong- not in your water column! This inexpensive liquid kit is perfect for those new to aquariums and experienced hobbyists alike.

Quickly measure nitrogen levels with our easy-to-read color charts and precise measuring lines. Remember that some fertilizers can cause an increase in nitrate, such as root tabs and plant food with iron sulfate. With a bottle of these on hand, you’ll be able to keep your green machine running fastidiously while viewing the true picture of life under water!

This kit accurately detects nitrates in both reef aquarium and fish-only aquarium. It is designed for reefers with sensitive tanks who need to know exactly how much nitrate they have without overdosing their corals or fish. The calibrated dual range color chart lets you see when levels are high enough to be a problem.

Ammonia Test Kits

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Monitoring ammonia is one of the most important factors of fish health. Ammonia levels are often difficult to stay on top of for a variety of reasons, but these test kits make it easy and quick. They’re ideal for saltwater or freshwater tanks, and will help you prevent fish loss from poor water quality. Easy-to-read strips show both if there’s high ammonia levels present (the color changes) as well as how much ammonia is in your water at any given time. Our test kits are simple to use, with instructions right on the packaging so you have all the information you need before using them.


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Aquarium ammonia test kits are an essential resource for any fish keeper. The API Nitrite Test Kit includes everything one needs to monitor and diagnose nitrite levels – a bottle of testing solution, a color card, and a clear glass tube with cap. If you’re concerned about harmful water problems that can be invisible in aquariums, then it’s imperative that you invest in this ammonia kit and use it on a regular basis so as not to jeopardize the health of your pets!

All aquarium owners should be able to test the nitrica levels in their tank. Whether you’re a professional or an amateur freshwater fish owner, ammonia nitrate tests work for everyone.

The Ammonia Nitrate Test Kit can accurately detect high nitrite levels from 0-5 ppm and a fast result is achieved with results available in 15 minutes. If you notice high nitrites, use our kit almost weekly to monitor them so that your pet’s optimum environment is maintained.

Phosphate Test Kits

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Phosphate Test Kits for fresh and salt water are designed to be easy-to-read kits, highlighting the importance of limiting phosphate levels in our reef tanks. With high phosphate levels tending to lead towards algae growth, it’s important for aquarists to monitor their tank’s chemical parameters so as not to promote unwanted microorganisms.

These test kits let you easily keep an eye on your phosphorus levels by using a low-tech method that gives accurate results at a glance. We’ve got options for every type of aquarium enthusiast whether you’re a seasoned hobbyist or just getting started!

Aquarium Test Strip Kit With Thermometer By SJ Wave

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Aquarium Test Strip Kit With Thermometer is a home testing kit that provides accurate and fast results on seven critical parameters in your fish tank. There are carefully designed test strips with detailed color charts to negate any unforeseen water problems with your precious pets while allowing you the peace of mind knowing they’re safe. All it takes us one quick dip to get reliable result, no waiting time or complicated set up required!

Your aquarium can only be as clean as the tests show, so take care of your fish today with SJ Wave’s Aquarium Edible Strips!

The Aquarium Test Strip Kit With Thermometer by SJ Wave is the perfect and easy-to-use kit for any hobbyists who want to test water quality. This kit contains 100 testing strips packed in separate packages so you can test your aquarium’s water quality at regular intervals without having to rush using all of them, giving you peace of mind at knowing when it’s time to make adjustments or purchase more.

The strip is extremely easy and quick to use—simply dip one into the testing liquid and compare against the color chart for convenient results in just a minute! The thermometer on this kit gives accurate readings that are great for temperature regulation among other things with fish tanks.

What To Look For In An Aquarium Test Kit

1. Accuracy

When it comes to accuracy, nitrate kits are often considered the best of the bunch. These tests measure a level that is actually a function of two other measurements: ammonia and nitrite. The test must take both readings into account when measuring for nitrate levels. As long as your sample water is representative of the tank’s chemical profile, these tests will give you accurate readings.

2. Number Of Tests Per Kit

If you were given an unlimited budget, there would be no limit to the number of kits you could buy per day. Unfortunately that isn’t always possible in practice so if you’re on very tight budgetary constraints then make sure you get enough tests per kit for all the parameters you need measured. I personally prefer to sample each of my tanks between 3 and 5 times per week, so I look for the best value on quantities that are divisible by that figure (5).

Most kits will also have a shelf life. The easiest way to tell how long your test has until it expires is either to check the product box or instructions…or you can always follow the date printed right on the test vial itself. Most of these tests will be good for at least 18 months if stored in a cool dry place.

If you use up all your tests but still need some more, never fear! There are usually plenty of no name brands around that will work just fine as long as they’re made by companies like Seachem, Salifert or Hach. Those are just the most popular ones. In this case you can often find them at your local pet shop or online priced around $3-$5 for a 50 test bag.

If your favorite brand isn’t carried locally, don’t worry about it…just go ahead and order them off Amazon (or wherever) instead of trying to hunt down the no name brands in stores. You’ll end up saving yourself time and extra shipping costs that way too! And yes I realize that those tests may not last as long if they’re not stored properly…but hey…at least you got ’em right?

3. Affordability

Believe it or not, the cheapest tests out there still don’t cost as much as you might think. If someone sells you a test for $20+ that tells you your protein level is “1 ppm”; ask yourself if its really worth it? As long as we’re talking about Nitrate/Nitrite kits…maybe. But most other parameters are measured in either mg/L or ppb anyway and those qualities aren’t nearly so precise.

4. Convenience

This may be the most important factor to consider when comparing different brands of aquarium test kits; how easy are they to use? I know this isn’t something that we often think about too hard, but let me ask you what would happen if all your test kits came with 5 different droppers? You’d have to pick up the tank, siphon out a sample into each one and stick them all in your fridge before heading off to work right? Well fortunately there are much easier ways of doing things.

Different Kinds Of Test Kits

1. Test Strips

Test strips have been around for some time now, and most people are familiar with them. They’re very easy to use, but they do have a few shortcomings that must be considered. For one thing, not all test kits come with color-coded guides. Normally they will have numbers from 0 to 6 printed on them in black, but the exact level at which each number is written can vary from kit to kit or even batch to batch. The way around this problem is rubber bands…you’ll need one per strip to keep track of where you are on the chart as you go along (I know…its not rocket science).

2. Liquid Tests

Liquid tests are just like regular aquarium test kits except that instead of using vials they come with droppers that are marked exactly like test strips. They cost a few extra dollars to make, but it’s worth the investment because they’re dead simple to use and calibration is never an issue. If you want to go this route I’d recommend the liquid tests over test strips any day!

3. Electronic Water Tests .

These futuristic-looking devices have been out on the market for years now…and their popularity continues to grow every day as more and more people discover them. Not only do these things provide you with instant results (no waiting around 24 hours for your test reagents to react!) but they also measure up to 4 different parameters at once; some even measure oxygen levels too! Another great thing about these things is that you never have to worry about calibration…again due to the fact that you’re using a sensor instead of reagents.

If your aquarium has all of its parameters within acceptable ranges, then quite honestly there’s no reason for you to spend money on one of these things right? Well I’m here to say that I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how often this thing has come in handy. The first time was when I discovered my tank had 0 Ammonia (NH3) and Nitrites (NO2) despite the fact my nitrite test kits were saying they were off the charts! After some Googling it turned out that NH3 converts into NO2 almost instantly so there was no need to panic or change anything up; as long as the NO2 level remained high my tank was in great shape. The other time came just recently when I noticed that my Nitrates and PH levels had been steadily creeping up over a period of several weeks; it suddenly dawned on me that this must have been caused by some constant drain due to evaporation because I’d have seen pH fluctuations otherwise (but don’t you worry…my tank is still running perfectly fine).

Now don’t get me wrong, this isn’t the only test kit out there for aquariums but it’s certainly one of the best ones. It provides you with both accurate results and all those things we discussed earlier under “Convenience” so if you’re looking for a reasonably priced, easy-to-use device that provides excellent results then the Aquarium Mate is practically a no-brainer.

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How To Use Aquarium Test Kit

1. Read the Instructions First

All tests work differently, so before you do anything make sure to read the instructions clearly. What works for one test may not apply to another; take some time getting familiar with how they all operate from start-to-finish.

2. Collect Your Materials

Sometimes the materials you need are obvious, like a test kit for testing something about your aquarium. Other times they’re more esoteric, like a temperature probe for measuring water temperature. Regardless how simple or complicated your project may be, make sure to have everything on hand BEFORE you begin. Anything that wastes time and money in this process is going to frustrate you (and most likely end up costing you in monetarily in the long run).

3. Gather Your Sample

When using tests it is important to collect samples properly before beginning. Some will require that no sample contact anything but air until reacting begins–others don’t mind if your hands touch the sample directly. Ask any questions if there’s any doubt; just taking 5 minutes now to avoid errors later can save you hours of frustration.

4. Add the Reagent

After you’ve got your sample, reagents must be added to begin the reaction process and start readings forming. You may need a pipette or dropper for this; I recommend keeping these filled with distilled water and in their own small container ready to go at all times so you don’t waste time looking for one at the moment that could cost a few dollars saved if found quickly enough.

5. Shake and Wait

Sometimes it takes some time for reactions to proceed, and waiting impatiently will just make things worse overall. There’s usually no foolproof way out of this situation–just wait until the results form, then interpret them according to the instructions.

6. Compare Colors and Data

Now that you’ve got your results, it’s time to interpret them and see how well everything is or isn’t functioning in your aquariums ecosystem. Again, this may be as easy as comparing two colors–or more complicated than analyzing a variety of numbers, percentages or other values. Either way, make sure to read up on what the test kit says (in it’s instructions) with regard to interpreting the data provided by the tests themselves!

7. Clean Up

Depending on what tests you’re using they can leave behind some unsightly substances after use (usually due to titration processes taking place). This can stain tank equipment left in direct contact with reagents; many times these substances can be neutralized with vinegar or simply scrubbed away. Be sure to read the instructions again to find out any precautions in this area–and follow them as closely as possible to keep things easier on yourself!

8. Take Your Time

Taking your time is perhaps one of the most important parts of using a test kit correctly; if you rush through everything all at once then there’s really no way you’re going to get desired results from the tests themselves. By taking your time you’ll be able to not only work more accurately, but also avoid mistakes that could cost money or frustrate you down the road when having to repeat one step because it was rushed and completed incorrectly.


1. Are aquarium test kits accurate?

Answer: Depends on the test. Some have margins of error so big that they are practically useless for aquarium use (doing the same things with a $25 dollar kit to see what happens–not the best idea you’re going to want to try). However, most kits do not have these kinds of problems; they work well and provide accurate information when used properly.

2. Are API test kits accurate?

Answer: Yes, generally speaking. They tend to be better than independent brand tests; however, this does not mean they are perfect by any means. Two brands will never give identical results whenever dealing with chemical reactions (and yes, all chemical reactions are different based on their own complexities). That said, both API and independents tend to be more reliable than some of the less-reputed brands on the market.

3. What is the best way to test fish tank water?

Answer: If you’re looking for accuracy, stick with test kits that fall into a specific range (like ammonia, pH, hardness and nitrites)–there’s no point in mixing kit types unless you have them all run individually at the same time (or even then). However, if you want something cheap or more “general” use I recommend floating sticks like API Algae Free or TetraEasySticks which indicate changes in general water quality over time as opposed to only showing high concentrations.

4. Which ammonia test kit is best?

Answer: Probably this one . The API Freshwater Aquarium Ammonia Test kit is consistently the most popular in regards to ammonia. However, API Reef Master and Salifert’s Ammonia test kits are also very good (from a much smaller pool of reviews).

5. What about Tetra brand test kits?

Answer: They’re alright. The alkalinity test tends to be more accurate than other brands; however this could just be a case of different reagents being used by competitors back when Tetra was first coming out with their own tests (I have no way of knowing for sure; there may even have been others that did not get into the aquarium trade as widely as API or Salifert). I don’t recommend them over any regular test kit, but if you’ve got them and need to read them, they’ll do fine.

6. Which reagent is best?

Answer: Depends on your needs; check out this table . Generally speaking I would not advise using the “stock” solutions sold by all test kit companies (or even the ones at fish stores); most of the time there are better reagents for sale online that cost a few dollars more but last longer and provide more accurate results when working with different types or levels of substances in your aquariums water. The only reason to use the stock solutions is if money is tight (though Tetra’s are pretty cheap). My recommendation is Salifert Potassium Permanganate Solution as it does well with ammonia and pH tests.


The best freshwater aquarium test kit will give you peace of mind. It is important to keep your fish healthy and happy, so it’s essential that you have the right tools for monitoring their health. We’ve put together a list of some of the top products in this category below, and we hope that our research helps make your decision easier! You may want to consider different factors when choosing which product would work best for your needs – such as what type of water parameters are most suitable or how many tests come with each package. Best wishes on finding the perfect freshwater aquarium kit for keeping your fish family safe and sound!