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Top Aquarium Water Test Kits


Here is a list of popular brand name lines of test kits that are most often chosen by saltwater and reef aquarium keepers. With a full range of standard aquarium to specialized reef tank water testing kits available, these manufacturer's test kit lines are ones we consider to be reliable, accurate, easy to use, and affordable. Because these test kits utilize a wide variety of dry chemical powder and table or liquid solution reagents, why not try the various types out to see which you like best. Aquarium water test kits also make a great gift.

1. Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Test Kits

Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Dry-Tab
Photo by PriceGrabber

By Aquarium Pharmaceuticals, these dry tablet reagent test kits are a top choice of many aquarists that maintain a fish-only or FOWLR system, but are also favorable amongst reef keepers as well.

2. Hagen Test Kits

Hagen Test Kits
Photo by PriceGrabber
This line of test kits by the Rolf C. Hagen Corp. have simple to use liquid solutions and a full line of both basic saltwater and reef testing kits available to choose from. They are said to be easy to use and fairly accurate, but some may find it hard to read the color comparisons.

3. Instant Ocean® Aquarium Test Kits

Previously fasTest Saltwater and SeaTest Reef Test Kits by Aquarium Systems.
Photo©Aquarium Systems
Previously the fasTesT® Saltwater and SeaTest® Reef lines by Aquarium Systems, these now named Instant Ocean® Test Kits are ever-popular as usual. Nothing has changed about these products, except rather than having to buy separate Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, and Phosphate tests, these are now simply combined into two-in-one Ammonia-Nitrite and Nitrate-Phosphate kits. As before individual pH, Alkalinity, Calcium, and Copper tests, and multi-kits are available. Top features include easy to read one-piece color comparator chip, durable plastic wide-mouth and wide-base tester that has more room to add the chemicals and help prevent spillage, and the dry reagent test chemicals are in foil packets to keep light and moisture out, and freshness in.

4. Instant Ocean® Master Test Kits

Previously known as fasTest and SeaTest Kits
Photo©Aquarium Systems
Why buy a lot of separate test kits when you can save money with a multi-test kit? Combining their individual tests into convenient all-in-one testing kits, Aquarium Systems' Instant Ocean® Ocean Master Test Kit is a complete marine test kit that contains Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, Alkalinity, and pH, with the Reef Master kit containing Phosphate, Nitrate, Calcium, Alkalinity, and pH. To create a complete saltwater and reef combination set, just purchase the Reef Master Kit and add an individual Instant Ocean Ammonia-Nitrite Test Kit above. Better yet, get both kits. Even though this doubles-up on some of the tests, this is good. You won't have to buy refills for a while.

5. Liquid Test Kits

Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Liquid Test
Photo by PiceGrabber
Just as popular with aquarists as the Dry-Tab® line above, this line of test kits by Aquarium Pharmaceuticals uses liquid solution testing reagents.

6. Mardel Dip Test Strips

Mardel Test Strips
Photo by PriceGrabber
These easy-to-use strips simplify testing of aquarium water parameters. These strips accurately test the readings for nitrites, nitrates, pH, hardness and alkalinity at one time. Simply dip the strip in the tank water and wait 60 seconds. Compare the strip to the color charts on the strip bottle to read the results.
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7. Mini-Lab Series Test Kits

Red Sea Test Kits
Photo by PriceGrabber
There are mixed reports on these test kits by Red Sea, from being great in all aspects, to the total opposite of being of poor quality and notoriously inaccurate. So are they a good choice, or bad?

8. MultiTest & Reef Status Series Test Kits

SeaChem MultiTest
Photo by PriceGrabber
Both the MultiTest and Reef Status Series test kits by Sea Chem are a little more complex to use, and are not recommended for the beginner. However, if you are looking for advanced, high precision water tests, these may be for you.

9. Salifert Test Kits

Salifert Test Kits
Photo by PriceGrabber
Made in Holland, Salifert test kits are said to be a little more complex and costly to use than other brands. However, they are touted by many aquarists, particularly reef keepers, as being the best choice on the market because of the wide range of both basic and reef water tests available, and their precisioned accuracy.

10. Tetra EasyStrips Aquarium Test Strips

Tetra EasyStrips
Photo by PriceGrabber
These convenient test strips will test either fresh or saltwater aquariums and are fast and easy. 6 tests with one fast dip. Test for chlorine, nitrite, nitrate, alkalinity, hardness, and pH in a single dip with results in 60 seconds.
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11. Tetratest® Kits

Photo by PriceGrabber
This line of liquid solution reagent test kits by Tetra are simple to use, said to provide accurate readings, and the contrasting and differing color comparisons make them extremely easy to to read.

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