Test Kits? Question

Discussion in 'Saltwater Beginners' started by n8r, Jul 14, 2019.

  1. n8r

    n8rNew MemberMember

    What are the best test kits for saltwater?
  2. NC122606

    NC122606Well Known MemberMember

    I’d use APIs Saltwater test kit.
  3. Lchi87

    Lchi87ModeratorModerator Member

    Welcome to Fishlore!

    As far as test kits go, Red Sea and Salifert are pretty solid imo. Another option available are digital checkers (Hanna makes the ones I’m most familiar with) which may be more convenient to use but require more of an investment upfront.
  4. NC122606

    NC122606Well Known MemberMember

    Yeah I should probably leave saltwater to you...
  5. Lchi87

    Lchi87ModeratorModerator Member

    No way! Everyone’s opinion is welcome here :)
  6. Jesterrace

    JesterraceWell Known MemberMember

    API is the worst option outside of test strips IMHO and is a bad habit from freshwater when it comes to transferring over. It's okay for freshwater but it's shortcomings become more apparent in saltwater. Red Sea and Salifert are probably the best bang for buck type kits for saltwater.
  7. NC122606

    NC122606Well Known MemberMember

    Ah, my bad.
    Should have looked a bit better when suggesting.
  8. Jesterrace

    JesterraceWell Known MemberMember

    It's okay. All part of learning. After using and comparing both API and Red Sea, here are the shortfalls I have found with API

    1) Periodic False Positives for Ammonia
    2) Nitrate test where you can't tell the difference between 10-20 or 40-80 on the color chart. This is particularly frustrating with reefs as 10 is generally good to go and 20 generally means you need to change the water.
    3) An easy fix but still no test syringe comes with the kit to measure out water from the tank
    4) Long narrow vials that are a pain to clean out properly (ie wipe out chemical residue after the initial rinse out)
    5) My biggest complaint. Cheap plastic caps that don't seal properly and are very prone to leak (a common complaint with other reviews).
    6) The only test kit I have seen that doesn't have a water proof color chart for comparing tests, which given the aforementioned leak prone issue is a serious factor with these

    The Red Sea, Salifert and other kits come with the shorter and wider vials that are easier to clean out and have screwtop lids that seal good so you don't get a single drop of test solution on you.
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2019
  9. stella1979

    stella1979ModeratorModerator Member

    I agree that API has its shortfalls, including the ammonia false positive (it always shows a low reading even when there is no ammonia in my tanks), and the difficult color comparison/bad accuracy of the nitrate kit is frustrating across salt and fresh for me. Lol, that said, my test kits for the reef tank are a bit of a mess.

    Ammonia - never upgraded from API because it works for cycling or spikes and I know that zero ammonia will show a slight greenish tinge. I rarely test for ammonia but I find API works for what I need it to.

    Nitrite - no problem with API's test, so again, never upgraded this.

    Nitrates - Salifert for testing freshwater or cycling saltwater, RedSea for the reef tank

    Phosphates, Alkalinity, Calcium and Magnesium - tried API here in the very early days of the reef tank and found them difficult to trust the accuracy and have been using RedSea ever since.

    No worries about mistakes @NC122606 ;) All opinions are welcome and we all start somewhere. Obviously, I went ahead and bought that API Master Saltwater kit before doing proper research as well... that was money down the drain but it's all a learning experience. And hey, it's not so bad that I proved the downfalls of API to myself through experience... I guess.:p
  10. GlennO

    GlennOValued MemberMember

    For me too...I use Salifert for Nitrate even in freshwater.
  11. NC122606

    NC122606Well Known MemberMember

    I have the same problem with Ammonia for Freshwater.
    I was at zero but there was like the slightest green tint in it, I had to go to my LFS to get it checked out and of course, it was 0... :)
  12. GlennO

    GlennOValued MemberMember

    Well dang...currently using a different brand for ammonia but nearly finished and have an unopened API ready to replace it. :rolleyes: