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Saltwater Test Kits

Saltwater Test Kits are part of the maintenance process of any marine aquarium. Some hobbyists will claim that they can eyeball a tank and tell if something is wrong with the tank. Unfortunately, what tends to happen is that the aquarium and its inhabitants have already been subjected to harmful parameters before one can see the physical signs that something is wrong. This will lead to greater efforts to correct the problem.

Keeping aquarium parameters healthy and stable is probably the most important factor of marine tank success. This is why it is incredibility important to continually test your water parameters with saltwater test kits. By actively monitoring your water parameters, you can identify problematic trends before they because a major issue in your aquarium. 

Saltwater Tank Kits

So what parameters should we test for? Well, that will depend on what type of marine aquarium you have. A fish only marine aquarium will need the following tested:
  • pH
  • Ammonia
  • Nitrite
  • Nitrate
  • Specific Gravity

A reef aquarium will need the following tested in addition to the above:

  • Alkalinity
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphate

We have provided an explanation for each parameter, what the ideal ranges are, and how often to test below for your reference. We carry the most trusted saltwater test kits on the market. Please drop us a e-mail or chat us if you have any additional questions:

Parameter What Is It? Fish Only Range Reef Tank Range How Often to Test
Specific Gravity Measurement of density of a liquid - in this case salt. Too high or low gravity can be harmful and deadly to fish and corals 1.019 - 1.026 1.023 - 1.026 Constantly. In Reef tanks this can be monitored throughout the day by an aquarium controller.
pH Acidity or basicity in your water. Swings in pH are harmful and even deadly to both fish and corals 8.1 - 8.3 Constantly. In Reef tanks this can be monitored throughout the day by an aquarium controller.
Ammonia & Nitrite Highly toxic products of the aquarium's nitrogen cycle. Produced by fish, food waste, and decaying matter. Harmful and deadly to both fish and corals. A direct result of a tank that is undergoing cycling or an overstocked tank. 0 ppm 0 ppm When cycling a tank, weekly. After cycling test weekly when new additions are added and monthly when under maintenance
Nitrate Final product of the nitrogen cycle. Produced by bacteria. High levels will stress out fish and coral and fuel excessive algae growth. Nitrates are often the reason for water changes as water changes reduce these levels. Less than 25 ppm Less than 5 ppm Test weekly or monthly
Alkalinity The measure of bicarbonate. It should be maintained at 9-12 DKH. Alkalinity keeps pH and calcium levels stable, which will allow for corals to grow and build their skeleton structure.  9-12 DKH 9-12 DKH Weekly
Calcium Used by corals to grow and build a skeleton N/A 380-450 ppm Test daily when determining dosing schedule, then test weekly after that.
Magnesium Helps maintain stable calcium and alkalinity. Also reduces precipitation.  N/A 1200-1400 ppm Weekly
Phosphate Fuels Algae growth and inhibits coral growth. Can be kept under control by RODI water, Filter material like GFO, or equipment like algae turf scrubbers. Helpful to test in fish only system to keep algae at bay, but RODI water is generally sufficient. N/A Less than 0.05 ppm Weekly