API Freshwater/Saltwater Ammonia Test Kit, Test kit of 130 tests

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Aquarium Pharmaceuticals, API, MARS Fishcare

Salicylate test measures ammonia levels in both fresh & saltwater aquariums. Ammonia, the #1 killer of tropical fish, is continually produced in the aquarium from fish waste & uneaten fish food. Tests ammonia levels from 0 to 8 ppm. Test kit of 110 tests.

Why test for Ammonia?
Tropical fish continually release ammonia (NH3) directly into the aquarium through their gills, urine, and solid waste. Uneaten food and other decaying organic matter also add ammonia to the water. A natural mechanism exists that controls ammonia in the aquarium – the biological filter. It is made up of nitrifying bacteria, which live in the gravel bed. However, as with any natural process, imbalances can occur. Testing for the presence of toxic ammonia is essential, so that once detected, steps can be taken to remove it. Otherwise, ammonia in the aquarium will damage gill membranes, and prevent fish from carrying on normal respiration. High levels of ammonia quickly lead to fish death. Even trace amounts stress fish, suppressing their immune system and thereby increasing the likelihood of disease outbreaks and subsequent fish loss.

Testing Tips:
This salicylate based ammonia test kit reads the total ammonia level in parts per million (ppm) which are equivalent to milligrams per Liter (mg/L) from 0 ppm to 8.0 ppm (mg/L), in either fresh or saltwater aquariums. Thus, there are two Ammonia Test Color Charts — one for freshwater aquariums, and one for saltwater aquariums — so be sure to use the correct chart for your type of aquarium when interpreting test results. The Freshwater Ammonia Test Color Chart is the appropriate chart to use for testing freshwater aquariums to which salt has been added.

Directions for Testing Ammonia Levels

  • Read thoroughly before testing. Do not allow Test Solutions to get into aquarium.
  • To remove childproof safety cap: With one hand, push red tab left with thumb while unscrewing cap with free hand.
    • Fill a clean test tube with 5 ml of water to be tested (to the line on the tube).
    • Add 8 drops from Ammonia Test Solution Bottle #1, holding the dropper bottle upside down in a completely vertical position to assure uniformity of drops added to the water sample.
    • Add 8 drops from Ammonia Test Solution Bottle #2, holding the dropper bottle upside down in a completely vertical position to assure uniformity of drops added to the water sample.
    • Cap the test tube and shake vigorously for 5 seconds. Do not hold finger over the open end of the tube, as this may affect the test results.
    • Wait 5 minutes for the color to develop.
    • Read the test results by matching the test solution against the Ammonia Test Color Chart. The tube should be viewed against the white area beside the color chart. Color comparisons are best made in a well-lit area. The closest match indicates the ppm (mg/L) of ammonia in the water sample. Rinse the test tube with clean water after each use.
What the Test Results Mean:
In a new freshwater or saltwater aquarium, the ammonia level may surge to 6 ppm (mg/L) or more, and then fall rapidly as the biological filter becomes established. The ammonia will be converted to nitrite (also toxic), then to nitrate. This process may take several weeks. Use Aquarium Pharmaceuticals STRESS ZYME® to speed up the development of the biological filter. In an established aquarium, the ammonia level should always remain at 0 ppm (mg/L). The presence of ammonia indicates possible over-feeding, too many fish, or inadequate biological filtration.

The ammonia level is not an indication of the nitrite level; nitrite is another toxic waste material which must be tested separately.

Monitoring Ammonia Levels:
Regular testing is necessary to make sure the ammonia level is safe. Aquarium water should be tested for ammonia every other day when the aquarium is first set up, and once a week after the biological filter has been established (in about 4 to 6 weeks).

Detoxifying Ammonia Using AMMO-LOCK® in Freshwater and Saltwater Aquariums:
To detoxify ammonia, use Aquarium Pharmaceuticals AMMO-LOCK to instantly lock up ammonia. AMMO-LOCK does not remove ammonia, it simply converts toxic ammonia to a non-toxic form. Ammonia test kits will still test positive for ammonia, even though it is non-toxic. The biological filter will then consume the non-toxic ammonia, converting it to nitrite and then to nitrate.

Filtering Method to Remove Ammonia in Freshwater Aquariums:
Filter aquarium water with Aquarium Pharmaceuticals AMMO-CARB® or AMMO-CHIPS® to remove ammonia and improve water quality.

Water Changes
Changing 25% of the aquarium water will reduce the ammonia level. In an emergency, a daily water change may be required over several days. Be sure to use a water conditioner like Stress Coat® or AMMO-LOCK, when adding tap water back into the aquarium.

  • Bottle #2 contains sodium hydroxide and sodium hypochlorite
  • Causes severe burns
  • Contact with acids liberates toxic gas
  • Toxic by inhalation, in contact with skin and if swallowed
  • Danger of cumulative effects
  • Keep locked up and out of the reach of children
  • Keep away from food, drink and animal feeding stuffs
  • In case of contact with eyes, rinse immediately with plenty of water (at least 15 minutes) and seek medical advice immediately. If contact lenses are present, remove after 5 minutes and continue rinsing
  • After contact with skin, wash immediately with plenty of water. Remove contaminated clothing
  • Wear suitable gloves and eye/face protection
  • In case of accident or if you feel unwell, seek medical advice immediately (show label where possible)
  • Do not mix with acidic materials

Manufacturer Info

Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Aquarium Supplies
Aquarium Pharmaceuticals (API) has been helping people take good care of ornamental fish for over 40 years. Their research and development scientists have advanced the care of fish with all-natural medications, stable bacteria for biological filtration, one-bottle test kits, consumer-friendly dosing caps and much more. They’ve received over 25 global patents for their breakthrough innovations in the aquatics industry. And they continue to look for ways to improve the fishkeeping experience for hobbyists. Research. Experience. Dedication to scientific, quality treatment for healthy fish. It’s what makes API the first choice of aquarium owners. API manufactures and sells hundreds of products across many different product categories, including aquarium and pond treatments, aquarium equipment, aquariums and fish nutrition.



Experience Level: Intermediate

A must have!!

This is the best ammonia test out there in my experience. Takes only 5 minutes to read and is at great price!! I will always use this brand.

1 out of 1 found this review helpful

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DRH1 from Vermont


Experience Level: Expert

One of the best ammonia kits

This is another excellent product from Aqua. Pharm. Accuracy is very good ... within my ability to determine color differences. It benchmarked well against an ASTM method and within the limits of such a simple method for determining ammonia/ammonium for this type of method. Long term stability of the reagents appears to be very good (I've got the same kit only it is three years old...both agree with test values). Much better than paper strips and cheaper per test!

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Experience Level: Beginner


Good easy to use and easy to read. Adequate for beginners

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Experience Level: Beginner

Seems to be accurate

Tested with both fresh water and saltwater @ 1.023 SG. API always seemed to closely match test results of saltwater using Aquarium Systems' test kit with powder packets. The clear test sample always developes globule-like clouds when testing saltwater. Whereas, it is clear with freshwater. Makes me suspect all is not right with the test. But it may be normal. Yet the results seems to match the other brand. Test kit comes with separate color charts for fresh/salt water. I didn't put 5 stars because I'm a beginner and don't have enough experience with various test kits to call this excellent. Test results take 5 minutes, whereas Aquarium Systems' test takes 15-20 minutes to develope. I prefer working with API's drops out of bottles to Aquarium Systems' powder packets. Easier to spill grains of powder.

0 out of 2 found this review helpful

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Vicki from Texas


Experience Level: Intermediate

Excellent, definitely works

This test works very well. It's easy to use, very fast, and not only much more accurate than test strips, but much less expensive per test. As far as the other reviewer, possibly the person did not perform the test correctly or had an old, expired test kit. This is the very same test kit that comes with the full Freshwater Master Test Kit which is very highly recommended by those in the business and by those in online forums. This test is an absolute must have, especially when starting a new, uncycled aquarium.

8 out of 10 found this review helpful

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Experience Level: Intermediate


I got this test kit for my reef, and every time i tested the ammonia it tested 0 (good right?) wrong i come to find out my ammonia levels were high, thanks to one of my friends that had a seachem test kit. so i went home and experimented. i put one ml of windex( has ammonia in it) in the test tube and the rest salt water, still tested 0. Do not get this product i reccomend seachem!!

4 out of 6 found this review helpful

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