Thursday, March 1, 2007

Everyone NEEDS a decent Master Test Kit


UPDATE - 2009 - has the best prices on the API Master Test Kit and the Tetra-Laborette Master Test Kit, for around $15.00 and $17.00 respectively.  They offer FREE shipping to your local WalMart store.  I highly recommend either of these kits with the API being most recommended.  You would have to add on the optional GH/KH Combo kit to the API and the Nitrate kit to the T-L.


I've been doing some online shopping from "Clearance" pages from several popular web sites and I have also seen these prices on Master Test Kits that everyone should have. The basic tests that are needed are ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, ph (high and low), KH and GH. There are many other things happening in our tanks we cannot easily test for but these basic tests will go a long way in keeping our tanks healthy and happy.

Also, I know that my local PetsMart will match their internet prices for anything so I always look on for my items before I go there. Print the page and show the cashier and they'll reduce their store price.

As you will see, I did not do any research on the "dip sticks" as every brand I've tried have not lived up to my expectations. They seem to give very inconsistent readings. I think everyone should have a decent Master Test Kit using test tubes and liquid reagent to get more accurate test results.


Tetra-Laborette Test Kit -

A complete test kit for freshwater aquariums. Kit includes ammonia, nitrite, pH, carbonate hardness and general hardness tests. Also includes a testing booklet, log book, syringe dispenser, and two test vials.

I received this test kit and along with doing the above tests, there is also a conversion chart to give you your CO2 reading using the pH and KH readings. Also, the pH test on this kit is not as accurate as the Aquarium Pharmaceuticals test kit IMO.

(OLD LINK NO LONGER WORKS);category_id=3233;pcid1=;pcid2=

Here is new link for the Tetra-Laborette Master Test Kit for $14.39 now:

But I also found this one online: Same Kit but $13.92 US.

NOTICE - I did order this along with a few other items from BigAlsOnline since the "Master" kit, below, that I have did not test for GH or KH. This one DOES NOT test for Nitrates which is one of the more common tests in the long run.


BigAl's also has the Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Master Test Kit at a good price as well.... not the lowest but a good price none the less. This old link was for when it was on sale for only $12.99 but that sale is over.

(LINK NO LONGER WORKS);category_id=3233;pcid1=;pcid2=

Here is new link for the API FreshWater Master Test Kit for $15.99... still a pretty good price!:

Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Freshwater Master Test Kit at Wal-Mart for $17.64 -

The Freshwater Master Test Kit Includes Tests for: Freshwater pH, High Range pH, Ammonia, Nitrite, GH (general hardness) and KH (carbonate hardness) (You will need a separate Nitrate test kit)

(NOTICE - I bought one of these at my local PetsMart, $24.99, when I first got into the hobby and it did not test for GH or KH... but it did instead test for Nitrates so there may be a typo or different "Master" test kits from API or API may have changed the packaging on this test kit.)


$11.09 Mini Freshwater Test Lab -
$29.79 Deluxe Freshwater Test Lab -

The Deluxe Freshwater Test helps serious aquatic hobbyists to maintain the healthiest tanks. All inclusive kit contains tests for pH, ammonia, nitrite, hardness GH & KH, iron, CO2, and chlorine.


(NOTICE - I could not find a brand name on the above two kits or any information on the Mini kit but these do perform many different tests compared to other kits.)


Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Freshwater Master Test Kit at for only $13.49 as I write this Blog but their regular online price is still only $15.99 and remember that most PetsMart's retail stores will match their online prices if you bring in their printed online page -

Freshwater Master Test Kit is a complete kit for testing tap water & aquarium water. Tests water 6 different ways to protect tropical fish from dangerous water conditions. Tests include: freshwater pH, ammonia, nitrite, high range pH, Nitrate, 4 test tubes, tray.

(NOTICE - This is the first test kit that I owned and still use. I did recently order the Tetra-Laborette kit since it does the GH and KH tests as well as the above tests, but recent internet searchs and API's website now show their FW Master Test Kit has the GH and KH tests but not the Nitrate Test... so you may have to buy the Nitrate test kit separately.)

******************************************* has the API FW Master Test Kit for regular price of $18.99 but on 3/18/2007, it was on sale for $15.19.



Hagen Master Test Kit for $39.99 at -

Aquarium tests for fresh and salt water. Every test you'll ever need in one complete kit. Hard plastic attache is portable and stores all your kits for future use. Tests for ammonia, calcium, nitrate, phosphate, nitrite, pH, iron, carbonate hardness, and general hardness. 9 instructions booklets, 5 glass test tubes with caps, 2 pipettes, and 1 spoon.

(This kit does not mention it but since it has all of these tests, but the instructions may have the conversion chart for CO2, or you can also use available online charts to determine your CO2 levels.)

Kordon AquaTru Test Kits (highly recommended by file://steve//) and I've read over the information at and I can see why file://steve// speaks highly of this kit. It's a much higher price than many of the above mentioned test kits but since accuracy is something we strive for, it's certainly something to be considered.


Kordon AquaTru Water Quality Test Kits pioneered the use of dry reagents for use in aquarium and pond water testing using colorimetric water test kits. The major advantage of dry reagents is in their accuracy and shelf life. AquaTru Dry reagents for water testing are more stable than colorimetric tests done with test strips or liquid reagents. This means that the aquarist and pond keeper can perform tests using Kordon AquaTru water tests with the confidence of knowing the results will be as accurate as is possible for a "colorimetric" type test. Also, Kordon dates their reagents with their expiration dates. All manufacturer's reagents, whether dry or liquid, are subject to degradation. Because the reagent chemicals break down over time, it is important to know when the reagents are going to go out of date. Therefore, it is not recommended to use reagents that are not dated to show when they are out of date.

AquaTru's color comparator system has been carefully designed to reflect the needs of the concerned aquarist and pond keeper. The top is flared to make adding reagents easier,. The wide base increases stability. A special sliding window helps make color comparisons more accurate. The color strip consists of translucent colors applied to a durable plastic, rather than a printed paper card. The translucent color strip allows light to pass through, providing a much more accurate match when comparing the cube's colors to those produced by the reagents. Reflected colors, such as those produced on a printed comparator do not match as well when compared with the translucent colors in a test cube.

The quality of tap water varies widely and aquarium and pond systems. It is increasingly important to monitor water conditions carefully in the aquarium and pond. It is equally important to select only top quality, reliable test equipment to monitor these conditions. It is beyond the scope of most aquarists and pond keepers to analyze the accuracy of a test kit. They must depend upon the manufacturer to provide them with accurate, dependable test kits. Kordon has provided professional quality accurate water quality test kits in its AquaTru products for over 30 year, which are of the same grade as provided to scientific laboratories, government agencies, academia, and to commercial aquaculture.

The best price I could find on the Freshwater Master Test Kit was from an eBay store for around $60.00 plus 6.99 shipping. and here is the seller's online store site if the above link fails... but file://steve// provided this link where this kit is on sale for $48.00 right now (10/17/08) but it's regular price is $78.00 plus shipping when the sale ends.


Often, I see people asking, "How long do the test kits last?". You should check the manufacturers website for current information but here is a forum link where the API (Aquarium Pharmaceuticals, Inc.) test kits shelf life info has been posted. which actually got the information from another forum so I'll just re-print it here for simplicity.

Hope these answers help. Each bottle has a lot number printed on them. The last
four digits are the date of Manufacture. (e.g. ab120202 is manufactured Feb.
2002). The people at Tetra & API informed, that test kits have a shelf life
of 3 years from the date of manufacture & hence a lot number of ab120202
would be 'in date' until Feb. 2005.
Info from :
Test Solutions Shelf Life from bottling date:
Wide Range pH Test Solution 3 years
Ammonia Test Solution #1 3 years
Ammonia Test Solution #2 3 years
High Range pH Indicator Solution (m-Cresol Purple) 3 years
Nitrate Test Solution #1 3 years
Nitrate Test Solution #2 3 years
GH Test Solution 3 years
KH Test Solution 4 years
Nitrite Test Solution 4 years
Fresh Water Ammonia Test Solution (Nessler) 5 years
Fresh Water pH Indicator Solution 5 years
High Range pH Indicator Solution (Cresol Red) 5 years
Salt Level Test Solution #1 5 years
Salt Level Test Solution #2 5 years

Here is a recent thread from about how the Nitrate Test Kits and how the last reagent bottle may have testing abnormalities due to chemical separation. There are solutions in the thread on how to keeping this problem from happening.

Hope this helps some of the newbies and experts.

GoldLenny - FREE, secure, encrypted and automatic online backup of your documents and files. Check out how simple and secure it can be to use the Mozy backup system. It will back up your most important files, photos and folders... or your entire hard drive, every day/night (you set the schedule) while you aren't using your computer... and did I mention... it's FREE. I have been using this product/service since it was in Beta Testing and have been 100% satisfied with the final product!!!

1 comment:

  1. Hello Guys i'm using Micro Essential Laboratory ph tester...see her color and tally with ph..thanks


Related Posts with Thumbnails

World Flag Counter added April 14, 2010 and U.S. State's Flag Counter added April 22, 2010

World Flag Counter added April 14, 2010 so the numbers are artificially low by over 10,000 hits (pageviews) based on Google's Adsense numbers. I'm only showing the top 60 countries but if you want to see the full list, open the FlagCounter in a new tab/window and you can then navigate around to see a Map, List, etc. The "Visitors" number is based on unique visitors so this counter does not re-count the same person who visits again. free counters Free counters!