API Freshwater Master Test Kit
The API Freshwater Master Test Kit is a test kit to test the levels of several chemicals in fill water or your aquarium water.
It is important to monitor the water chemistry in your aquarium as it is directly related to the health of your fish, invertebrates, and plants. It is very dangerous to their health if the pH of the water changes very much in a short period of time and the living entities have evolved to exist in pH of a certain range. Food, waste, and your critters themselves all contribute to the level of ammonia in the water and can be very detrimental to their health. Ammonia is converted to nitrite by beneficial bacteria in your system, and nitrite is converted to nitrate by other beneficial bacteria. Levels of ammonia and nitrite should be a or near zero at all times, nitrates should be kept minimal and is removed by periodic partial water changes. The API master test kit contains everything you need to monitor the levels of these parameters. I usually test each parameter once per week. If your aquarium is not yet stable you may need to test more often. You may also need to test your fill water to see what you're putting into it. I test fill water maybe once a month.
The API Master Freshwater Test Kit contains the following:
- 4 test tubes (5 ml)
- pH test reagent
- high range pH test reagent
- ammonia test reagent number 1
- ammonia test reagent number 2
- nitrite test reagent
- nitrate test reagent number 1
- nitrate test reagent number 2
- color comparison chart
- a handy-dandy little kit to keep it all in
- Rinse each test tube a couple of times in the water to be tested to clear out any impurities and old water.
- Fill each tube to the white mark (5 ml) with sample water, put the caps on the tubes so you don't spill the sample.
- Holding the bottle of pH test reagent or the high range pH test reagent, as needed, upside down over the first tube, add 5 drops of reagent to the sample. I usually replace the cap and invert the tube over and over for about 30 seconds. Let it stand while you do the rest of the tests.
- Holding the bottle of the ammonia test reagent number 1 over the second tube, add 8 drops of reagent to the sample. I usually replace the cap and invert the tube over and over for about 30 seconds. Then remove the cap and add 8 drops from the ammonia reagent number 2. I usually replace the cap and invert it over and over for another 30 seconds. Let it stand while you run the next two tests.
- Holding the bottle of nitrite reagent upside down over the next tube, add 5 drops of reagent to the sample, replace the cap. I usually invert the tube over and over for about 30 seconds. Then let the sample stand while you run the last test.
- Holding the bottle of nitrate reagent upside down over the last tube, add 10 drops of reagent to the sample. I usually replace the cap and invert the tube over and over for about a minute. Remove the cap and add 10 drops of nitrate reagent number 2 to the sample. This reagent is pretty thick, you'll need to squeeze the bottle a little harder. Replace the cap and invert the tube over and over for about a minute. Let this and the other samples for at least 5 minutes to allow the chemical reactions to complete.
- While they are standing, I usually run the phosphate, GH, and KH tests.
- Hold each sample tube next to the corresponding chart on the back of the instruction book that came with the kit one at a time and compare the sample color to the color chart. The one the closely matches color indicates the level of each sample.
- pH will indicate pH level in the range of 6.0 to 7.6, the high range pH will indicate pH level in the range of 7.4 to 8.8. If your pH is in the range of 7.4 to 7.6, the two samples, if you run both, may not quite indicate the same pH. The chemistry may run different.
- Ammonia (NH3, NH4<sup+</sup>) test will indicate in the range of 0 to 8.0 ppm (mg/l). It should always indicate zero (yellow), or 0.25 at the most.
- Nitrite (NO2<sup-</sup>) test will indicate in the range of 0 to 5.0 ppm (mg/l). It should always indicate zero (blue).
- Nitrate (NO3-) test will indicate in the range of 0 to 160 ppm (mg/l). It should always indicate 20 ppm or less, preferably 10 or less. Up to 40 ppm indicates that it's time for a partial water change.
- After testing, rinse out all the tubes several times with fresh water, replace them and all materials in the kit container. I usually store the tubes with about 5 ml fresh water to prevent mineral buildup due to drying out in the tubes. Keep the kit in a cool dark place.
- pH here at The Aquarium Wiki
- Ammonia here at The Aquarium Wiki
- Nitrite here at The Aquarium Wiki
- Nitrate here at The Aquarium Wiki
- pH at Wikipedia
- Ammonia at Wikipedia
- Nitrite at Wikipedia
- Nitrate at Wikipedia