Keeping healthy and balanced aquarium water is, no doubt, the key to a thriving aquatic environment for your finned pets. While there are a few other components to monitor in your tank, you should definitely test the water of your aquarium every week.
Trust me, it is the most effective way to quickly determine when something is not right. Furthermore, it can help you figure out the issue when your aquatic pets begin to exhibit some odd behavior.
And, to make that you are creating a healthy aquatic ecosystem possible, you need to score the best aquarium test strips.
Table of Contents
What is an Aquarium Test Strip?
The aquarium test strip is one of the most essential tools in fishkeeping. With an aquarium test kit, you are opening a window to the undervalued and invisible world of tank water quality.
Sadly, some fishkeepers take water testing lightly until something wrong happens in their tank.
Aquarium test strips and kits are designed to monitor and maintain the levels of elements inside your tank. These elements usually include magnesium, iodine, pH levels, carbon, nitrates, nitrites, ammonia, and many more.
Even though they are not harmful to humans, these elements can be dangerous and even fatal for your fish.
Since we mostly use tap water for our aquariums, these test strips ensure that the tank water is safe from any harmful elements.
These test strips, however, do more than just prevent an aquarium disaster. Aquarium test strips also let you fine-tune your aquatic ecosystem or environment, allowing your invertebrates, plants, and fish to look absolutely stunning.
As you use these strips, you may even add some algae-promoting minerals to make your aquarium look cleaner.
Types of Aquarium Test Kit and Strip
Various kinds of aquarium test kits and strips will help you maintain a healthy and thriving aquarium. Here are the most common aquarium test kits and strips.
Master Test Strips
Master or combination test strips are often deemed as the ultimate test kits since they provide all the tests you need for a healthy aquarium. These combo kits cost lower per test and are an easy way to keep all the basic and essential tests at once.
On the low side, some of these kits do not have customizable test options.
Alkalinity Test Strip
This test kit is used to find out the stability of your aquarium’s shift of pH levels. The ideal reading should be around 7 to 12 dkH.
pH Test Kit
This test strip gives precise readings of the levels of alkalinity inside your tank.
Calcium Test Kit
With this kit, you get to introduce appropriate levels of calcium, helping the growth of your corals.
Ammonia Test Kit
Ammonia is one of the leading causes of death for domesticated fish in aquariums. The reading and ammonia presence on your tank should be totally zero.
Chloramine Test Kit
This testing tool is built to determine the level of chloramine, which is a compound combination of ammonia and chlorine.
Copper Test Strip
Copper is usually present in tap water that goes through old copper pipes. Since this element is not needed by fish, it should be eliminated from the water before it is poured into the aquarium.
Chlorine Test Kit
Chlorine is pretty abundant in tap water because it is commonly used for killing bacteria and disinfecting the water. Unfortunately, it is a harmful element for your fish.
But, a chlorine test kit will let you monitor the level chlorine in your tank, helping you create a safer environment for your fish.
Magnesium Test Strip
Natural saltwater has a magnesium level range of 1200 to 1400 ppm. With a magnesium test kit, you will get to maintain the ideal magnesium level for your saltwater aquarium.
Iodine Test Strip
Iodine is a vital nutrient for invertebrates, corals, and other saltwater tank organisms. Iodine overdosing, however, can be deadly to them. That is why you should check your saltwater aquarium’s iodine levels using this test kit.
Nitrite Test Strip
Nitrites are lethal for fish, so this test kit will help you maintain the perfect nitrite levels of your aquarium. Ideally, nitrite levels in your fish tank should be zero.
Nitrate Test Kit
Nitrates may not be as dangerous as nitrites and ammonia, but can still be pretty harmful to your finned pets. This aquarium test strip lets you maintain the ideal nitrite level (less than 20 ppm) in your aquarium.
Aquarium Test Kits and Strips – Comparison Chart 2020
After years of fishkeeping and evaluating dozens of products, I have formulated a list and chart of the 15 best aquarium test strips to fulfill all your needs. Additionally, this detailed chart will help you pick the most accurate test kits for your aquarium.
|Product Name||Suitable||Tests for||Quantity/Package Included|
|Tetra 6-in-1 Aquarium Test Strips - Best Budget||Saltwater and freshwater aquariums||Hardness, pH, alkalinity, chlorine, nitrite, and nitrate||25 to 100 strips|
|Api 5-in-1 Aquarium Test Strips - Best for Beginners||Saltwater and freshwater aquariums||pH, KH, GH, nitrate, and nitrite||4 to 100 strips|
|Api Freshwater Aquarium Test Kit - Best Overall||Freshwater aquariums||Nitrate, nitrite, ammonia, high range pH and low range pH||Complete kit|
|Novoblue 14-in-1 Test Kit - Most Versatile||All types of aquariums and other home water-related accessories||14 parameters in one strip||Complete kit|
|Salifert Aquarium Test Kit - Best for Reef Tanks||Saltwater aquariums and reef tanks||Magnesium, phosphate, pH, nitrate, calcium, and alkalinity||Complete kit|
|Red Sea Aquarium Test Kit - Best for Saltwater Tanks||Saltwater aquariums||Alkalinity, pH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate||Complete kit|
|Jnw 7-in-1 Aquarium Test Strips - Best for Freshwater Ponds||Saltwater and freshwater aquariums as well as fish ponds||Carbonate, total alkalinity, pH, nitrate, hardness, and chlorine||150 strips|
|Seachem Ammonia Aquarium Test Kit - Best for Ammonia Tests||Saltwater and freshwater aquariums||Ammonia||1 or 2 packs|
|Stript Health Aquarium Test Strips||Freshwater tanks and drinking water||Free chlorine, nitrite, nitrate, lead, copper, iron, total hardness, pH, and total alkalinity||100 strips|
|Honeforest Aquarium Test Strips||Freshwater tanks, saltwater aquariums and pool||Calcium, magnesium and total hardness||100 strips|
|Nyos Nitrate Aquarium Test Kit||Saltwater aquariums||Nitrate||Complete kit, including calibrated droppers|
|Bskj Aquarium Test Strips||Freshwater aquariums||Carbonate, chlorine, hardiness, nitrate, nitrite, and pH||100 strips|
|Api Saltwater Aquarium Test Kit||Saltwater aquariums||Nitrate, nitrite, ammonia, and high range pH||Complete kit|
|Stript Health 7-in-1 Aquarium Test Strips||Saltwater and freshwater aquariums||Nitrite, nitrate, free chlorine, general hardness, pH, total alkalinity and carbonate||100 strips|
|Capetsma Aquarium Test Strips 9-in-1||Freshwater aquarium and fish pong||Copper, iron, total alkalinity, free chlorine, hardness, carbonate root, nitrites, nitrates, and pH||50 strips|
What are the Best Aquarium Test Kits and Strips to Buy?
Want more specific answers? Whether you are looking for a wallet-friendly option or the best saltwater tank solution, you will find answers in this shortlist.
- Best Overall – Api Freshwater Aquarium Test Kit
“Formulated carefully and perfectly, this API kit features all the essential materials that you need to test your freshwater aquarium’s elements.”
- Best Budget – Tetra 6-in-1 Aquarium Test Strips
“This wallet-friendly and easy-to-use, multi-purpose kit tests a variety of critical components, such as alkalinity, hardness, chlorine, and many more.”
- Best for Beginners – Api 5-in-1 Aquarium Test Strips
“From nitrate to pH, this multi-purpose kit practically has everything beginners need to test their freshwater tanks.”
- Most Versatile – Novoblue 14-in-1 Test Kit
“Not only is it suitable for all aquariums, but this FDA-approved test kit can also be used for pools, spas, and even lemon juice!”
- Best for Reef Tanks – Salifert Aquarium Test Kit
“With its precision, this easy-to-use tester can detect the tiniest trace of specific elements in your reef tank.”
- Best for Saltwater Tanks – Red Sea Aquarium Test Kit
“Engineered perfectly for saltwater aquariums, this kit gives accurate and quick readings for alkalinity, magnesium, and calcium.”
- Best for Freshwater Ponds – Jnw 7-in-1 Aquarium Test Strips
“With its instant and reliable, laboratory-quality results, this multi-purpose testing kit is truly the best water tester for freshwater fish ponds.”
- Best for Ammonia Tests – Seachem Ammonia Aquarium Test Kit
“Say goodbye to harmful ammonia, and create a thriving aquatic environment with this highly effective aquarium test kit!”
Top 15 Best Aquarium Test Kits and Strips
One of the best ways to score the best aquarium test strip is to read a bunch of online reviews. And, to make things a bit simpler on your end, I have rounded up my personal reviews of the most popular, top-selling and best performing aquarium test strips today.
1. Tetra 6-in-1 Aquarium Test Strips
Tetra 6-in-1 is not just easy on the wallet, but is convenient and quick as well, allowing you to check your aquarium’s health in a few steps. As a matter of fact, you get accurate readings in 60 seconds or even less.
With its advanced and sophisticated technology, it gives you more precise results, as compared to other aquarium test strips.
One of the most crucial features of this product is its ability to effectively measure pH levels, alkalinity, nitrites, nitrates, chlorine, and water hardness.
Even better, this aquarium test strip is suitable for both saltwater and freshwater fish tanks.
- Complete aquarium water testing solution
- Easy and convenient
|Quantity||25 to 100 strips|
|Dimensions||1.8 by 1.8 by 3.8 inches|
- Quick results
- Extremely accurate
- Easy to use even for beginners
- It takes some time to read the data and information on the strip
2. Api 5-in-1 Aquarium Test Strips
(Best for Beginners)
These aquarium test strips from API are ideal for newbies to test their freshwater aquariums. The API 5-in-1 strips will test general hardness, carbonate, nitrate, nitrite, and pH.
Except for ammonia, it has everything an aquarist needs to test its freshwater fish tanks.
It is quite simple to use, and you just need some sample from your water’s aquarium where you can dip the strips.
The results quickly show up, and you can compare it to the color chart that comes with the package.
And did I mention that it is pretty affordable?
The strips, however, do not test ammonia, meaning you will have to buy a separate test strip for it. Additionally, it is not extremely accurate for saltwater fish tanks.
- Monitors the critical aquarium parameters
- Prevents invisible water problems
|Quantity||4 to 100 strips|
|Dimensions||3.5 by 1.8 by 6.5 inches|
- Simple to use
- Has all the necessary tests a beginner needs
- Not supremely accurate for saltwater aquariums
- Does not include ammonia tests
3. API Freshwater Aquarium Test Kit
Looking for the best aquarium test strips? Then, make sure to consider API Freshwater Aquarium Test Kit as your top option, especially if you have a freshwater tank.
With this aquarium test trip, you can quickly examine your tap water and aquarium. Plus, it lets you measure the levels of pH, nitrites, ammonia, nitrates as well as the high pH range present in your tank.
Another upside to this test kit is it is affordable and reasonably priced. And, since it is versatile and multi-purpose, there is literally no need for you to buy a bunch of different aquarium water parameters.
On top of it all, API Freshwater is quite easy to use even for newbies, thanks to its incredibly detailed instruction guide.
- Accurately monitors the most essential water parameters
- Used for weekly monitoring
- Prevent invisible water problems
|Dimensions||9.1 by 3.5 by 4.6 inches|
- Easy to use
- Delivers amazingly accurate readings
- Runs every test you need for a healthy water tank
- The color chart is a little subjective
- Runs test for total ammonia only
4. Novoblue 14-in-1 Test kit
Unlike other aquarium test strips, this one is actually suitable for a variety of purposes. After all, this multi-purpose test kit helps measure the water levels for chlorine, nitrite, nitrate, copper, iron, lead, fluoride, hardness, and a whole lot more.
Moreover, you can use it for your drinking water, spa, tubs, pool, and many more. Just drop a strip into the water that you want to test, and check the results by comparing it to its chart.
And guess what? You do not need a mail-in analysis or a single lab test because the results are quick and easy to read.
It is certified by the CE and approved by the FDA, meaning it is a product that you can depend on.
- Reliable and accurate
- Generous strip quantity
- Complete and versatile 14-in-1 kit
- Fast results
|Dimensions||5.9 by 2.2 by 2.2 inches|
- Steady and fast results
- Easy to use
- Determines the liquid’s 14 paraments
- Precise results
- Instructions are not in-depth or detailed
5. Salifert Aquarium Test Kit
(Best for Reef Tanks)
Salifert is tailored to suit the needs of every reef aquarist. This Holland-based provider offers the typical aquarium water strips for pH, nitrate, nitrite, and ammonia.
Additionally, they have calcium, magnesium, alkalinity, and phosphate kinds, which are vital when keeping LPS and SPS corals.
Even better, it has a silicate kit to test RO water, deionized water, tap water, and aquariums. With this kit, you can also check for iodine and strontium, making it an ideal test kit for keeping live corals.
The kits have clear color charts and instructions. Test tubes include caps and are made of amazingly clear plastic.
- Has all the core and essential parameters of any marine reef tank or saltwater aquarium
- Complete test kit
- Accurate readings
|Dimensions||7.4 by 7.4 by 6.7 inches|
- Premium quality water test kits
- One of the top calcium testers
- Comprehensive kits
- A little expensive
6. Red Sea Aquarium Test Kit
(Best for Saltwater Tanks)
I always recommend Red Sea whenever beginners ask me for the best saltwater aquarium test kit. Offering an array of water tests, this kit tests levels of alkalinity, pH, nitrite, nitrate, and ammonia in aquariums.
Plus, it is a pretty generous test kit since you will get a hundred nitrate tests and a hundred ammonia tests.
I really love this kit because it is premium quality compared to the ones sold at local stores. Moreover, this kit has an alkalinity test, which makes things easier on your end to maintain your reef tank.
- Accurate tests for ammonia, alkalinity, pH level, and nitrate
- Easy to use
- Has all the kits you need for a healthy aquarium
|Dimensions||5.5 by 6.7 by 3.2 inches|
- Beginner-friendly and easy to understand
- Exceptional ammonia test kit
- Decent alkalinity test kit
- Slightly pricey
7. Jnw 7-in-1 Aquarium Test Strips
(Best for Freshwater Ponds)
JNW is an easy and quick solution to maintain a happy and sustainable aquatic environment for your pet. I have used these aquarium test strips quite often, thanks to its consistent and accurate results.
They can find the primary reasons for your aquarium’s pollutants. This water test kit has 7 potent parameters that test the water of your aquarium.
With this kit, you get to calculate the hardness, carbonate, total alkalinity, pH, nitrate, nitrite, and free chlorine. And, you do not have to wait for days or weeks to get the test results from costly laboratories with JNW since it delivers reliable results in an instant.
- Supremely easy to use
- Quick results
- 150 tests
|Dimensions||1.8 by 1.8 by 4.3 inches|
- Instant and consistent results
- Easy to use
- Over 100 aquarium test strips
- 7 potent test parameters
- Some of the test patches are a bit lose
8. Seachem Ammonia Aquarium Test Kit
(Best for Ammonia Tests)
Seachem Ammonia has been a staple in my aquariums for years. I use this water test kit on each of the quarantined aquariums in my indoor space.
It is a functional free ammonia test kit, which makes it different from the other best aquarium test strips. And, if in case you do not know, free ammonia is the kind of ammonia that you should look out for because it is pretty deadly.
A lot of today’s kits only measure total ammonia, which does not exactly give you the whole picture of your tank’s water quality. Even better, it measures the level of ammonia in your tank nonstop, meaning you will know instantly if something in your aquarium is off.
- Ideal for freshwater and marine use
- Constant ammonia readers
- Superior sensor technology
|Quantity||1 or 2 packs|
|Dimensions||3.4 by 3.3 by 0.7 inches|
- 24/7 ammonia monitoring system
- Tests free ammonia
- Somewhat hard to read
- Do not usually last for a year
9. Stript Health Aquarium Test Strips
Save tons of money and a great deal of time with these quality aquarium test strips! As you use this kit, you will get to diagnose a variety of symptoms of any contaminated aquarium water.
And, this kit is multi-purpose too. It can even be used to test the water in your aquarium, pool, or even drinking water.
The water test strip is designed to ensure that your water is supremely clean and pure. Plus, you can get instant readings in just a minute after dipping it into the water.
The premium water tester gives you a precise analysis of the overall level of free chlorine, nitrate, nitrite, lead, iron, copper, total hardness, alkalinity, and pH in your water.
- Effective 9-in-1 test strips
- Instant results
- 100 test strips
|Dimensions||4.4 by 1.9 by 1.7 inches|
- Premium quality
- Delivers measurement quickly
- Not very accurate in testing lead
10. Honeforest Aquarium Test Strips
The HoneForest test kit is an absolute must-have for your fish tank and home appliance. With its sophisticated technology, you will get accurate and steady results in a pretty short amount of time.
And, unlike other test kits, the colors are clear and apparent. For instance, when the test strip of water hardness turns to red from green, you will have an easy time comparing it to the color chart included.
The package comes with 1 packing color box, 1 packing bottle, 1 desiccant bottle, and 100 test strips. To me, this kit is an upgrade over the regular aquarium test strips.
- Suitable for home use
- 100 strips
- Easy to read and distinguish
|Quantity||Complete kit, including 100 strips|
|Dimensions||5.2 by 2.1 by 2.1 inches|
- Versatile and multi-purpose
- Complete kit
- Clear results
- Quick readings
11. Nyos Nitrate Aquarium Test Kit
For years, this German company has been known for their prolific water pumps and protein skimmers. But, Nyos also creates additives and test kits that help you create a healthier and cleaner aquarium.
This Nyos test kit, for one, is an excellent option if you are looking for a superb and effective nitrate test strip.
After all, this test kit is easy to understand, simple to read, and rather accurate. And, did I mention that it covers a ton of levels?
As a matter of fact, you may perform up to 40 water tests with this saltwater aquarium test kit. And, yes, the results are always exact and accurate.
- Made 100% in Germany
- 50 tests
- Accurate and instant results
|Quantity||Complete kit, including calibrated droppers|
|Dimensions||4 by 2 by 2 inches|
- Crystal clear results
- Easy to use
- Not ideal for low nutrient aquariums
12. Bskj Aquarium Test Strips
Aquarium care can often be demanding and daunting for newbies. Luckily, there are aquarium test strips that can make it easier for those who just ventured into the world of fishkeeping.
And, one of the best aquarium test strips that I usually recommend to newbies if the BSKJ water 6-in-2 strips.
It is easy to use and is approved by the FDA, meaning it is safe to use for your aquarium and fish. Not to mention, it delivers accurate laboratory-quality test results quickly.
It does have a couple of shortcomings, but nevertheless an excellent product for fishkeeping neophytes.
- Clear color reading
- Accurate results
- FDA approved
- Simple to use
- Pro-quality readings
- Exceptional customer service
- Instructions are slightly vague
- Has to be stored in a sealed, plastic bag to prevent moisture
13. Api Saltwater Aquarium Test Kit
This API test kit is well-known for its unrivaled precision and accuracy. In fact, its level of precision is quite higher compared to other premier test kits and strips of the same category.
But, this API kit only focuses on the significant saltwater aquarium issues, including nitrates, nitrite, high pH, and ammonia. So, it is just a practical option if your aquarium water is doing fine on other aspects.
If you go with this option, it will take a few more testers to ensure that your saltwater aquarium is risk-free for your finned pets.
- Complete kit
- Measures adequately high levels of nitrate, nitrite, ammonia and high range pH
- Accuracy is second to none
- Prevents fish death
- Creates a safe aquatic environment
- Includes 6 tank water test solution bottles, 1 color card, and 4 glass tubes
- Not as complete as other aquarium water test kits
14. Stript Health 7-in-1 Aquarium Test Strips
I totally admire these aquarium test strips. In just one strip, I can quickly determine the aquarium water’s conditions in a couple of minutes or less.
And, with a total of 7 aquarium water parameters, it will be a whole lot easier for you to create a healthy aquatic environment.
No waiting game, and no complicated task.
The way I see it, this is the perfect solution for those who want to spend more time doing hands-on tasks in aquarium care.
Another upside to this product is its money-back guarantee, which is a rarity among the best aquarium test strips.
- 7 tests in 1 strip
- Outstanding solution
- Quick results
- No nonsense solution
- Multi-purpose tool
- Great value of the price
- One strip can determine the tank’s condition
- Quick results and testing
- Not as accurate as some of the best aquarium test strips
15. Capetsma Aquarium Test Strips 9-in-1
In the past, most of the aquarium test strips were hard to interpret. Thankfully, today’s kits like the Capetsma strips reduce that stress.
Capetsma is, honestly, an underrated brand in the world of aquarium test strips. Still, it is a dynamic solution that can give the best aquarium test strips a run for their money.
Furthermore, these strips are affordable and may be used for a range of non-aquarium applications.
With these 9-in-1 test strips, you may check the water conditions in spas, pools, laundry, and drinking. Truth be told, some even use it to test urine.
And it is so easy to use too!
- Helps create a healthy and thriving tank environment
- Fast and easy results
|Dimensions||2.1 by 2,1 by 4.7 inches|
- Easy to read
- A comprehensive test kit
- Creates a happier and healthier aquatic environment
- Not as precise as other best aquarium test strips
How to Find the Best Aquarium Test Kit?
Budget is, for most aquarists, always a given, as far as making a purchase of any item. So, it is best to explore more on the other aspects as you look for the best aquarium test strips.
Ease of Use
Look for the best aquarium test kit that is not complex and puzzling. Simply and easy-to-use packages require minimal effort and time to obtain the results.
Sophisticated test strips, on the other hand, tend to consume more time and even require a bit of effort and knowledge before they provide precise results.
Do you need a comprehensive reading tool or something with pinpoint accuracy? Since the life of your fish depends on the elements in your aquarium, you should look for a kit that provides the most accurate readings.
Luckily, most of the best aquarium test strips have a long lifespan. While it will expire eventually, its lifespan will still depend on the kind of strip.
An aquarium test strip with a high pH range value is likely to last longer than a typical ammonia test kit because of the chemical nature used in these things.
Also, expiration dates are dependent on usage and normal storage conditions.
Our Top Pick
The API Freshwater Aquarium Test Kit leads the pack and is undoubtedly the best aquarium test strip today. Although it is only applicable to freshwater aquariums, this test kit provides the most accurate results in measuring nitrate, nitrite, and pH.
Trust me, its level of accuracy is mind-blowing and merely second to none.
Even better, the product is extremely cost-effective and user-friendly. To me, even those who are new to aquarium care will not have a hard time using this aquarium test kit.
As a bonus, the kit has a handful of handy accessories, including 4 glass tubes, 1 color card, and 7 testing solution bottles.