Best tools for water testing?


New member
Im wondering what you guys use for measuring your water chemistry. Im using API kits but I see some dont recommend it since they give wide measures.

Whats your recommendation?

Thanks in advance !


New member
Anything but API :p (personally I think they get a bad rap... I still have API kits that are almost 10 years old now way past their expiration and still reading accurate enough..

But I use Red Sea stuff for the most part.. Got some nyos for nitrate now its fine too.. Salifert is good too..


Hanna for KH, CA and Phosphate. Red Sea for everything else. Although I am going to order the Hanna Ph tester soon.


New member
Salifert with the exception of PO4-Hanna. I will say i am at a toss up on the Hanna PO4 test between the salifert-it takes longer, has a pretty good margin of slop, and unless your using wax paper to transfer the reagent, your probably adding more slop into the test. But the number is nice.

I tried a Nyos NO3 kit and find it much easier to read than the salifert, however it takes more steps and 3 minutes longer to read and is not as sensitive as the salifert.


Premium Member
API - Nitrate, pH, alkalinity, calcium, PO4

Nyos - Nitrate, PO4

Elos - PO4 Pro

Red Sea - Magnesium, Nitrate Pro

Haven't tested ammonia in a while and nitrite in probably 15 years.

API definitely gets a bad rap.


New member
Red Sea for everything except Mag since they've been known to be inaccurate...Salifert for that one.

Ron Reefman

New member
I use API all the time. I rarely test for anything but Ca and alk. Mg (Salifert) only like every 3rd or 4th test session (every 2 weeks). I'll test for nitrate and phosphate with API if I see anything out of the ordinary in the way of algae or cyano (very rare).

For Ca and alk I use API, but I do have Salifert test kits as a backup. I us to be concerned about the API kits because so many here do slam them as no good. The truth for me is that when I have done both the API and Salifert tests, I get results that are so close that I wouldn't care about the degree of difference. And I just find the API kits are so simple and easy to use.


New member
Salifert isn't bad but I prefer Red Sea myself for testing. I've thought about the hanna checkers at times though.


New member
i use red sea....the first couple times may be hard to tell exactly what color the test is but it gets more clear after a few times using the test kits


New member
API, Red Sea, and Salifert. API is not as precise, but for normal testing it gives you a good idea what the tank is doing, and if you need a little more precision like for setting up dosing or something you can break out the Salifert or Red Sea.


New member
Yeah I use API for cal. Salifert for Mag. And used to use Hagen for everything else but just got Red Sea essentials kit for 50 on amazon

Sent from my SM-G930W8 using Tapatalk


New member

Hi newbie here!
What are the mandatory tests that I need? I'm guessing: Nitrate and ammonia at a minimum.

Ron Reefman

New member

Hi newbie here!
What are the mandatory tests that I need? I'm guessing: Nitrate and ammonia at a minimum.

For a new set up?
Ammonia and nitrate for sure, nitrite if you feel the need to really follow the initial cycle of the tank.
Salinity (Specific Gravity-hydrometer or refractometer... both work if calibrated).
Most newbies check for pH as well, but it's really not a regular concern.

In time your coral will start to take more Calcium, alkalinity and maybe even more magnesium out of the water than you replace with water changes. Then you'll want to test for those and start dosing. But that's mostly for lps and sps heavy tanks becuase they are building skeletons with those.


Active member
Best tools for water testing?

I used to be a test junkie and tried everything out there including electronic testers. In the end, I went back to using API only for alk, ca and nitrate. I don't test for po4 because I don't have algae problem. API works just fine and I've used it for the last 5 years. Each kit lasts me over a year or until it expires. Using a more expensive test kit will not automatically make you a pro.


New member
Hello all,

I'm a newbie and tank is approx 5 months old (Red Sea reefer 250). I sometimes have algae issues (cyano/brown algae) and I am using red Sea nopox to reduce relevant nutrients.

The issue I'm having is whenever I test for nitrate (API) or phosphate (Salifert) I tend to get 0 reads (other than during the initial cycle when nitrates were as high as 40ppm. I guess my question/s is:

Do I need high res test kits?
What are the best high res kits for nitrate/phosphate?
Is there an ideal time to carry out these tests (day/night)?
Should I stop dosing nopox?

Thanks in advance ��


Staff member
RC Mod
I'd go ahead and use it until you have nitrate at about 5. Just wait 8 hours after dosing (say) buffer (alkalinity) or calcium or magnesium. All tanks corals or not need alkalinity testing. A good reading is 8.3.