All aquarists should know that maintaining a good water quality of the fish tank is of utmost importance. It is a matter of life and death for the fishes that we keep.
However, we are not able to know the quality of our fish tank water without some help… unless we are one of those with super powers and strong intuition in such thing. For the rest of us who do not have those, we need fish tank water testing to tell us what the water condition is.
For more information on what to look for in water quality and the types of water test, please check out this post.
For me, I have been using API Freshwater Master Test Kit for my fish tank water testing. Here is my take on this product and the 3 simple reasons why this is essential for our fishkeeping hobby.
Note: This post contains affiliate links. For more information, please visit my disclosure page.
An overview of the product…
- Product: API Freshwater Master Test Kit
- Product Dimension: 9.1 x 3.5 x 4.6 inches ; 4.2 ounces
- In the packaging:
a) Liquid testing solutions for pH, high range pH, Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate.
b) 4 test tubes and test tube caps
c) A test result color chart
d) Instructions booklet
Check out the video below on how to use this master test kit for our fish tank water testing:
3 reasons why we need this Master Kit
Reason #1: 1 Master Kit, 5 Test Solutions…
1) pH test solution
pH is a measurement of the acidity of water. The scale of 7.0 means neutral, anything less than 7.0 is acidic and anything more is alkaline. Different fishes have different pH requirements and pH fluctuations will affect the water quality.
The pH test solution comes in one 37ml bottle and 3 drops from it are needed for each test. This test can only read the range of pH 6.0 to pH 7.6. For anything higher, we will need to use the next test solution.
2) High range pH test solution
The high range pH test solution is used for extreme water conditions and it can read from pH 7.4 to pH 8.8. This test solution comes in its own 37ml bottle and 5 drops are used for each test.
3) Ammonia test solution
Ammonia is produced from fish wastes, uneaten food and decaying organic matter. This is a highly toxic chemical compound and even trace amounts of it will stress up our fishes, impacting their immune system and make them disease prone.
Having a cycled fish tank will significantly reduce this risk, but imbalance may occur from time to time. So it is important to do regular (at least weekly) fish tank water testing.
The Ammonia test solution comes in two 37ml bottles. 8 drops from each of these bottles are needed for an Ammonia test.
4) Nitrite test solution
Nitrite is the 2nd chemical compound produced from the Nitrogen Cycle that happens in our fish tanks. It is also toxic and even a small amount will affect our fishes respiratory system. Like Ammonia, the risk of this is low when we have a cycled tank but imbalance may happen sometimes. So, it is still essential for us to test for it.
The Nitrite test solution comes in a single 37ml bottle and 5 drops are used for each test.
5) Nitrate test solution
Nitrate is the final chemical compound produced from the Nitrogen Cycle and thank goodness that this is a non-toxic compound. Even so, a large amount of this will impact the fishes and encourage algae growth. So it is recommended to keep this to less than 50ppm.
Nitrate test solution comes in two 37ml bottles. 10 drops from each of these bottles are needed for a single Nitrate test.
Reason #2: A total of 700+ tests
Although the packaging claims that this master test kit can conduct up to 800 tests, but doing a quick calculation will tell us that it is less than that. Even so, it is still a big number of tests!!
For the sake of estimating how many times we can repeat each test, let us do some maths…
1 bottle of test solution = 37ml
1 drop of test solution = 0.05ml
For the pH test solution:
3 drops required for each test = 3 x 0.05ml = 0.15ml
For a 37ml test solution = 37/0.15 = 246 pH tests
For the high range pH test solution:
5 drops required for each test = 5 x 0.05ml = 0.25ml
For a 37ml test solution = 37/0.25 = 148 high range pH tests
For the Ammonia test solution:
8 drops from each bottles required for each test = 8 x 0.05ml = 0.40ml
For a 37ml test solution = 37/0.40 = 92 Ammonia tests
For the Nitrite test solution:
5 drops required for each test = 5 x 0.05ml = 0.25ml
For a 37ml test solution = 37/0.25 = 148 Nitrite tests
For the Nitrate test solution:
10 drops from each bottles required for each test = 10 x 0.05ml = 0.50ml
For a 37ml test solution = 37/0.50 = 74 Nitrate tests
So the approximate total number of tests that can be done with this API Freshwater Master Test Kit is 246+148+92+148+74 = 708 tests
Reason #3: Economical
API Freshwater Master Test Kit comes in a full set for our fish tank water testing requirement on the 4 main water parameters. The kit includes the necessary test solutions with the test tubes (and caps too!).
If these test solutions are to be bought separately, the total amount that we need to spend will definitely be higher than the cost of this master kit. Oh… and remember the number of tests that we can do with them too! We are becoming some sort of chemist, aren’t we?
Besides that, as these are liquid test solutions, they tend to be more accurate than test strips. I think this may due to test strips being more exposed to external contaminants such as moisture or the situation where we accidentally hold it with our hands. Anyhow whether they are liquid test solutions or test strips, we should always check for the expiry dates.
API Freshwater Master Test Kit is indeed the test kit that every aquarist should have, more so when you are a beginner. It comes with the complete fish tank water testing set for the 4 main water parameters that we should at least look out for.
With this master test kit, we can conduct approximately 246 pH tests, 148 high range pH tests, 92 Ammonia tests, 148 Nitrite tests and 74 Nitrate tests. Those come up to a total of 700+ tests!
When things come in a set, they usually cost less than when you buy each of them separately. So doesn’t it make more sense to get this master test kit than to source for each of the test solutions separately, especially when all of them are needed?
So what are you using for your fish tank water testing? If you have used or are using this master test kit, do share your thoughts on it. Looking forward to hearing your comments!