5 Reasons to Test Water Quality in your Aquarium

5 Reasons to Test Water Quality in your Aquarium

Testing your tank consistently will avoid algae buildup from toxins present in your system. There are many different types of kits available and this article will inform the reader of 5 strong reasons why you should test the water quality for ammonia, phosphates, calcium, chlorine, and pH levels.

aquarium water quality test kit

For any type of aquarium, water quality upkeep is the best way to protect fish and plants.

A test kit can tell you if ammonia, nitrates and other toxins are present and allow you to treat the unbalanced nutrients accordingly.

This knowledge gained each month can save ill or dead fish and keep you from having an unsightly tank. Prevent chemicals from having a negative effect on the health of your tank inhabitants by testing water quality consistently which will inform if you need any elements to boost plants, coral, and fish health.

To discuss the potential problems caused by an increase of one nutrient or another, let’s look at the top 5 water quality issues that a test kit can help you to avoid. Preventive supplements like Nualgi Aquarium will help keep your tank free of chemical unbalance, but no matter what additives you are using, a test kit is a necessary complement.


1. Ammonia/Fish Kill

If ammonia levels are allowed to get too high, this can have a detrimental effect on your tank inhabitants. Unfortunately, if the water isn’t tested regularly the first sign of high ammonia levels is ill fish. Ammonia is a by-product of fish waste and is highly toxic. High levels can be caused by over feeding, too many fish, or as part of the cycling of a new tank.

fish gasping high ammonia levelsSymptoms:

  • Fish gasping at the surface
  • A red/purple color around the gills
  • Lethargic or even lying at the bottom of the aquarium
  • Dead fish

If you see these signs, then you must treat with a suitable ammonia remover immediately. To prevent ammonia levels from rising in the future avoid overfeeding or overcrowding and keep a clean tank while continuing regular testing.


Preventing Algae in Aquariums2. Green Water/Algae Growth

If the water is murky and green, this is probably caused by algae blooms in the water. Testing for phosphates will no doubt show a high level if your water appears unclear. Algae thrives on light, water, nutrients (normally phosphates), and can quickly spread throughout your tank. Good maintenance and a treatment will remove the problem. Again testing at regular intervals will help prevent nuisance algae from growing.


3. Calcium/ Coral Growth

clear tank with no algaeTesting the calcium levels is essential for a healthy reef tank. Corals use calcium to form and strengthen their skeletons. They draw the calcium from the reef water, and as a result it can quickly be depleted. Testing for calcium levels and adding the appropriate supplement will restore the nutrient into the water. Most reef aquarists aim to keep the calcium level at about 380 – 420ppm.


4. Chlorine/Chloramine

Tap water contains chlorine to make it safe for human consumption, however it is not safe for fish. So if you use it to top off your aquarium, it must be treated with a dechlorinator to make it suitable. To make sure the chlorine level is safely 0, use the test to highlight the levels.

Signs that chlorine levels are too high:

  • Quick, jerky movements
  • Gills have a white tinge
  • Fish appear distressed, almost jumping from the water


5. pH Level

aquarium water quality test kitIn all tanks, the pH level is important. Marine tanks especially need regular testing to ensure that the pH level is correct. The pH level denotes how acidic or alkaline the water is. In saltwater aquariums, it’s generally more acidic which is beneficial to reef and marine life. If the pH is higher than around 7, it’s more alkaline than necessary. Add a suitable buffer to restore the balance and support a healthy tank.

Test Often to Protect Fish & Prevent Algae Overgrowth

Algae overgrowth is one of the largest dangers an aquarium owner faces and only gets harder to treat as time progresses. It is easier to tackle the many types of algae if you catch it in its early stages, which is where test kits will show if there is a chemical unbalance in your tank.

It may be worthwhile to keep a selection of kits in your aquarium cabinet such as Ammonia test strips or Phosphate test kits , which will let you know if certain algae-feeding chemicals are present allowing you to take action and starve the algae out.


What Should I Use To Test Water Quality in my Tank?

aquarium water test kitA wide range of affordable kits that will test for everything you can imagine are available to be purchased easily online through Swell UK.

They even offer free next day delivery if you need a test kit FAST!


An all-in-one test kit will have test strips for many chemical levels such as the pH, calcium, nitrates, and much more. There are other more specific test kits to use in your aquarium but for the beginner an all-in-one kit will make it easier to manage. Each type of tank will have different preferred levels of nutrients to prevent algae buildup and maintain fish health. The amount of lighting and other equipment will also alter the best nutrient levels for your setup.

New to the hobby? Learn more about aquarium lighting options.

Using a test kit is a key part of maintaining a healthy aquarium, so whether you’re a novice or an experienced fish keeper, a good kit should be used at least once a month or before each water change. Preventive maintenance and testing will stop potential algae control problems in your tank, if treated correctly.

Prevention vs. Cure of Aquarium Issues

As you can see prevention is better than cure when it comes to your aquarium. Testing at least once each month will let you see the onset of toxins and treat the water accordingly. Different aquariums will require different types of test kits, however all will usually contain tests for ammonia, nitrate, and pH levels.

Good maintenance is the key to prevention. Keeping the filter clean, not overfeeding the fish, and removing any uneaten food within a few minutes will lower the risk of a nitrate or ammonia build up. Use extra supplements to prevent common issues and reduce time spent on tank maintenance.


Fight nuisance algae and promote a healthier aquarium with Nualgi AquariumNualgi Aquarium for a Healthier Tank

This natural supplement helps to balance your aquarium at the nano-scale by adding essential nutrients that keep fish healthy, corals vibrant, and water crystal clear.

Use Nualgi in your Tank

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ATTENTION SHOPPERS, Prices on all sizes of Nualgi increased on January 1, 2021.