Why is testing aquarium water important?

Whether you have a new or established aquarium, testing the water is vital to ensuring your fish thrive. Just as it's important to ensure the air you breathe is clean and healthy, your fish need their water to be clean and healthy too. If the bacteria in your water get out of balance or levels like ammonia get too high, your fish may face all kinds of issues, including potentially fatal illnesses. To help monitor water quality more closely, Aqueon has introduced two new products to help catch any issues early, before your fish suffer.

Aqueon 7-in-1 Test Strips

Aqueon Ammonia Test Strips

Aqueon 7-in-1 Test Strips

Water issues can be wide-ranging. Sometimes the issues are simple, like cloudy water in a new tank that might resolve on its own or green water caused by an algae outbreak. But things can also get more complicated, especially when an aquarium's nitrogen cycle is disrupted. If this happens, your fish might be in danger unless you take action.

Below is a closer look at the role your tank's water quality plays in the well-being of your fish:

  • Nitrates: These typically aren't toxic to freshwater fish unless the levels are very high. Changing the tank water can lower nitrate levels, as can live aquarium plants.
  • Nitrites: Elevated nitrites are highly toxic because they bind to the hemoglobin in your fish's blood, making it tougher for their blood to carry oxygen.
  • pH: Your tank's pH levels help determine if your water is alkaline or acidic. Sudden pH changes can be harmful or fatal to fish.
  • Alkalinity: The alkalinity of your tank affects how well your tank can resist sudden pH changes.
  • Free chlorine: Water treatment facilities add chlorine to tap water, but chlorine is toxic to fish and should be neutralized before you add tap water to the aquarium.
  • Iron: Too much iron can lead to excess algae, but if you are growing live plants in your aquarium, they need iron to grow.

The new Aqueon 7-in-1 Test Strips take the guesswork out of determining if your water's parameters are safe for your fish. The strips provide an easy way to check your aquarium's total alkalinity, pH, hardness, nitrate, nitrite, free chlorine, and iron levels. Just dip a strip in the aquarium water, remove it, and wait 30 seconds while the strip changes color. Then compare the results to the chart that comes with your test strips to know if your levels are safe.

If any of the levels are off, they're easy to fix. This chart briefly explains how.

7-in-1 Test Strip chart

Aqueon Ammonia Test Strips

Aquarium water testing isn't complete without also testing your tank's ammonia levels. Ammonia is created from fish waste, most often excreted from their gills. Decomposing uneaten food or organic matter can also raise ammonia levels in your tank. High levels of un-ionized ammonia can damage fish gills and cause other health issues.

Nitrifying bacteria are essential to keeping your tank water healthy, including your ammonia levels. One type consumes ammonia and produces nitrite, while another type consumes nitrite and produces nitrates. Fish tank owners often use biofilter media to help keep nitrifying bacteria healthy, but you still need to keep a regular eye on your tank's ammonia levels.

You can easily watch your ammonia levels with Aqueon Ammonia Test Strips. Dip a strip into the aquarium water, remove the strip, wait about two minutes, then compare the color-coded results to the provided chart. This will let you quickly determine if your ammonia levels are safe.

You can fix ammonia levels if they are out of range. This chart briefly explains how.

Ammonia Test Strip chart

Learn how to change out a portion of the water to help with ammonia levels in this short video.

Keeping Aquarium Water Healthy Is a Balancing Act

Keeping the water levels optimal in your tank can be a delicate balancing act. Sudden changes or spikes can put the health of your fish in danger. The 7-in-1 Test Strips and Ammonia Test Strips from Aqueon make it easy for you to keep a consistent, close eye on the health of your tank. And if anything is wrong, Aqueon offers a full line of water care solutions to address your most frustrating tank issues.