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Water Test Strips- Product Review

Water test strips are a very important part of your Aquaponics supplies.  In order to keep your plants and fish healthy, testing the water every day is necessary.  After your system is established, moving to once a week testing is okay.

Some water test strips test for different things and its important to be aware of what you are buying.  Here I break down different water test strip kits so you can make an informed purchase.

API 5 in 1 Aquarium Test Strips

What I need to know: This water test strip kit tests pH, Nitrites, Nitrates, Carbonate Hardness and General Hardness.  This kit has five colored spots that react to the aquarium water to give you a reading within thirty seconds of testing.

Pros: This test is quick and easy. You dip the strip in the water you want to test and read the results all within 30 seconds.

Cons: It might be difficult to distinguish the colors for proper understanding of your water’s levels. Also, the ranges that these water test strips test for is limited.  Very high or very low readings all get grouped together.

This product has a high rating from a moderate number of customer reviews.

This product is best for: mature systems doing routine checks, quick and easy readings from a fairly reliable source. 

Tetra Easystrips 6-In-1 Aquarium Test Strips

What I need to know: This kit tests for chlorine, nitrite, nitrate, general hardness, alkalinity and pH.  This water test strip kit has been designed to stop the water reaction after 60 seconds to minimize the chance of artificially high readings.

Pros: This test is quick and easy.  You dip the test strip and you can read the results at any point.

Cons: This test strip also has a limited range for readings. pH levels higher than 8 and lower than 6 will group together.

This product has high ratings from a moderate to large number of customer reviews.

This product is best for: mature systems doing routine checks, quick and easy readings from a reliable source, if you need to be testing for chlorine levels

API Freshwater Master Test Kit

What I need to know: This kit is not a water test strips kit, it is a kit with glass vials in which you mix your tank water with a provided solution to give you highly accurate readings on your water.  This kit tests for pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate.

Pros: This water test kit is highly accurate.  This kit tests for ammonia, which other kits do not.  The provided color card is easy to understand.  This kit provides up to 800 different tests, compared to water test strips kits which usually offer up to 100 water test strips per container.

Cons: Compared to water test strips, this kit is not as easy to use.  It requires a steady hand and a mixing of bottled solutions with your tank water.

This product has high ratings from a large number of customer reviews.

This product is best for: Very reliable readings, weekly to biweekly checks, testing for ammonia spikes when beginning your system

Nutrafin Mini Master Test Kit, Contains 4 Test Parameters

What I need to know: This kit tests for a wide range of pH, Ammonia, Nitrate, Nitrite.  It is also a test kit that utilizes test tubes and provides a solution that mixes with your water to create a color reaction.

Pros: This kit is highly accurate.  It provides enough solution for weekly tests for around 6 months.

Cons: This kit is more expensive than the other kits and still requires you to mix your pond water with a solution provided.

This product has high ratings from a very small number of customer reviews.

This product is best for: Very reliable readings, testing for ammonia

Aquaponics Resource ultimately suggests you buy the API Master Test Kit to do daily checks during the start of your system and weekly checks after its established. We also recommend buying the 5 in 1 water test strips for convenient and easy testing daily, in between the master kit tests, in order to spot spikes early.

If you haven’t already, read up on pH levels and why they matter as well as about Nitrates vs Nitrites.  These two guides will help you understand what you are testing for and why!

 

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