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What are Aquarium Test Strips?

What are Aquarium Test Strips

Scientifically known as a colorimeter, an aquarium test strip is a device that comes with reagent tablets that change colors upon contact of the reagents with a water sample. This allows us to determine the amount of ammonia, nitrite, and pH levels in the water. The test kit is not considered complete without a digital readout that helps you calibrate the tests against the indicator readings.

The Importance of Aquarium Test Strips

No matter what kind of tank you have or what aquatic creatures you’re caring for, water testing is very essential. Water composition is far more complex than most think. While it all looks the same, all water has dissolved minerals, chemicals, and other contaminants. It’s the presence of those contaminants that change the water’s chemistry and impact its viability to hold life.

Contrary to what others believe pure distilled water isn’t always the best thing for fish! Some beneficial minerals are a must-have for all aquatic creatures. Your fish are used to living in very specific conditions.

They might come from tropical rivers with high concentrations of acidic tannins or cool ponds with near-neutral pH balance. Water the case may be, an aquarium test kit will help you recreate it!

These kits let you look at your aquarium water from a new scientific perspective. You can learn about the chemical composition of the water and ensure that it’s right for your fish. Thanks to the accuracy of modern kits, fine-tuning water parameters has never been easier!

But of course, it’s not just about establishing the base living conditions. When you add living creatures into the mix, water conditions will constantly evolve and change. For this reason, it’s important to perform periodic testing.

You need to make sure that the environment continues to be safe for your fish. Contaminants like ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates occur due to the waste your fish produce. When those contaminants get out of hand, your fish tank could turn into a ticking time bomb of disaster!

Water testing makes it easier to prevent mass disasters, keeping you abreast of what’s going on beneath the surface. Potentially life-threatening water changes do not occur overnight. They take time to develop, giving you plenty of opportunities to rectify them before major damage is done.

With regular water testing, you can stay up to date on conditions and make appropriate changes to keep your fish healthy.

Things to consider when looking for an Aquarium Water Test Strips


Aquarium water needs testing regularly. We need to consider that when we purchase the test kits it can manage your daily budget so you can also get other stuff needed for the fish and aquarium. Test kits cannot measure parameters alone. Water samples have to be mixed with liquid or powder chemicals, called reagents. Reagents are responsible for giving you an accurate reading of the data. Whether you’re using simple strips or a fancy electronic tester, it needs regents to operate efficiently.


In every test kit that we consider we need to make sure that they are accurate. What is the use of getting one when it’s not? It is important for us to do some research or ask around or better yet ask for recommendations.

Number of strips

The number of tests in the kit matters, too. There are two separate factors in play here. You need to figure out how many tests you can perform before you run out of materials, and you need to figure out how many parameters the test measures.


Strip-based tests are the most convenient of them all. The only thing you have to do is dip the testing strip in the water and wait for the chemicals inside it to react and provide a reading. Other tests may require more time and more time to get an accurate reading.

Four types of Aquarium test strips

  • Liquid test kits - this test kit comes in freshwater, saltwater, and reef versions, depending on your tank setup.

  • Testing strips - Testing strips are pieces of narrow paper, about 3 inches in length, that usually have multiple water parameter testing pads like 6 or 7 parameters attached to them.

  • Local fish store test - Your local fish specialty store, and most franchise pet stores, will test your aquarium water parameters for you if you bring in a water sample from your fish tank. Sometimes they will even run the tests for free.

  • Testing meters - this is the most precise and economical way to test for pH.


Aquarium test strips are used to test water for the possible presence of ammonia, nitrate, and other parameters. Some tests measure 6,7 to 10 parameters. Aquarium test strips come in different types with the same function but are done differently. The most convenient test strip by far is the test strip.



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