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Aquarium keeping begins with proper water quality to ensure a healthy aquatic environment.  Although water may appear crystal clear and safe for fish, that cannot be assumed. Consistent testing and maintaining water parameters is essential for healthy aquarium life. Regardless of which type of aquarium you are keeping, it is important to regularly test your water. Setting a schedule and being consistent in your water testing will greatly improve your aquarium keeping success.

Not all aquarium life requires the same water parameters. It is critical for success to know which the species you are keeping, their water requirements, and what your water quality levels.  Check out our guidelines below and the various instruments used to analyze your aquarium water!

Freshwater Aquarium Parameters

The following chart represents a general guideline for popular types of freshwater aquariums and their preferred water parameters. Please note that certain species or life cycle stages may have more specific requirements.

Guidelines to Freshwater Aquarium Water Parameters
Water Parameter Freshwater Tropical African Cichlids Discus Planted Tanks Shrimp Tanks
pH 6.5 - 7.5 7.8 - 8.5 5.0 - 6.8 6.0 - 7.5 6.5 - 7.5
Temperature 72 - 82˚F 72 - 82˚F 80 - 86˚F 72 - 80˚F 72 - 82˚F
Ammonia 0 ppm 0 ppm 0 ppm  0 ppm  0 ppm  
Nitrite 0 - 10 ppb 0 - 10 ppm 0 - 10 ppb  0 - 10 ppb  0 - 10 ppb  
Nitrate <50 ppm <50 ppm <30 ppm <30 ppm  <30 ppm  
Alkalinity 65 - 135 ppm 165 - 300 ppm 50 - 100 ppm 50 - 135 ppm  50 - 135 ppm  
General Hardness 65 - 200 ppm 200 - 335 ppm 50 - 100 ppm 50 - 135 ppm 50 - 135 ppm

 

The following table shows various Hanna Instruments suitable for testing freshwater aquariums. Included is also reagent refills and storage solutions for your pH electrodes. Our general hardness test kits vary depending on low range (0-150 ppm) or medium range (40-500 ppm). The medium range is more suited for African Cichlids and fish requiring higher hardness while the low range is more suited for Discus and aquariums requiring lower hardness.   

Hanna Instruments for Testing Freshwater Water Parameters
Water Parameter Hanna Instruments Reagent/Solution
pH HI98100 Electrode Storage Solution/Calibration Solutions
Temperature HI147 NONE
Ammonia HI700 HI700-25
Nitrite HI707 HI707-25
Nitrate HI3874 HI3874-100
Alkalinity HI775 HI775-26
General Hardness HI3840/HI3841 HI3840-050/HI3841-050


Saltwater Aquarium Parameters

The following table represents general guidelines to water parameters for reef aquariums, fish- only saltwater aquaria and coral reefs where many marine ornamentals are naturally found. Natural marine environments are used as a guideline for home aquariums to promote a similar setting. Fish- only saltwater aquariums generally have a broader range of acceptable water parameters while more sensitive coral reef aquaria require stricter limits. Some marine species may have more specific requirements and it is important to research each inhabitant before introducing them into your aquarium. The parameters highlighted in green represent what Hanna Instruments is able to measure in saltwater.

Saltwater Aquarium Water Parameters Guidelines
Parameter Reef Aquarium Fish Only Nature (Coral Reef)*
Temperature 76 - 82 °F 72 - 78 °F 82 °F
Salinity 1.023 - 1.026 (32 - 35 ppt) 1.020 - 1.025 1.025 - 1.027 (34 - 36 ppt)
pH 8.1 - 8.4 8.1 - 8.4 8.0 - 8.5
Ammonia (NH3) 0 ppm 0 ppm Near Zero
Nitrite (NO2) 0 - 150 ppb 0 - 150 ppb Variable (Typically <0.1 ppb)
Nitrate (NO3) Low Values Preferred <30 ppm Variable (Typically <0.1 ppm)
Phosphate (PO4) <0.05 ppm <0.2 ppm 0.005 ppm
Phosphorus <20 ppb <100 ppb 2 ppb
Alkalinity 8 - 12 dKH (142 - 215 ppm) 8 - 12 dKH (142 - 215 ppm) 7 dKH (125 ppm)
Calcium 380 - 450 ppm 350 - 450 ppm 380 - 420 ppm
Magnesium 1,250 - 1,350 ppm 1,150 - 1,350 ppm 1,280 ppm
Iodine 0.06 - 0.10 ppm 0.04 - 0.10 ppm 0.06 ppm
Potassium 380 - 420 ppm 380 - 420 ppm 400 ppm
Strontium 8 - 14 ppm 4 - 10 ppm 8 - 10 ppm
SIlica 0.06 - 2 ppm <3 ppm <0.06 - 2.7 ppm
ORP 250 - 400 mV 250 - 400 mV Variable
Iron 0.15 ppm ~0.15 ppm 0.00006 ppm
Boron <10 ppm <10 ppm 4.4 ppm
*Note that values for natural coral reefs are based on typical surface ocean value and can change.
ppm = Parts Per Million ppb = Parts Per Billion ppt = Parts Per Thousand dKH = Degrees Karbonathärte

 

The following table shows various test kits offered by Hanna Instruments to measure your saltwater aquarium.  Included is also the reagent refills or necessary storage solution to prolong the life of your electrode.

Hanna Instruments for Saltwater Aquarium Water Quality Analysis  
Water Parameter Hanna Instruments Reagent/Solution
Temperature HI147 None
Salinity HI96822, HI98319 None, HI70024P
pH HI98100 Electrode Storage Solution/Calibration Solutions
Nitrite HI764 HI764-25
Phosphate HI774 HI774-25
Phosphorus HI736 HI736-25
Alkalinity HI772/HI755 HI772-26/HI755-26
Calcium HI758 HI758-26
ORP HI98120 Electrode Storage Solution
Iron HI38039 HI38039-100

Marine Line

There are many instruments available for testing aquariums. From our handheld colorimeters to waterproof testers; the classic Checker and our newest, HALO, the world's first app-enabled Bluetooth electrode, we have a wide variety of tools for every budget, preference, and skill level. Which one is right for you?

 

HIREEF-Marine-Kit-Square

Questions?

If you have any questions about testing in aquariums you can leave a comment below, or contact us by phone at 800-426-6287 or email at sales@hannainst.com.