Aquarium project

Does anyone here know about a cheap-ish way to measure things like pH, ammonia, nitrates, nitrites, etc. in an aquarium or aquatic (continuous) setting. For a personal project of mine. :slight_smile: former FIRSTER

Check your local pet store. They should have cheap(ish) testing strips for all of those.

Well, I have all the test strips. They are not very reliable. I was looking to see if anyone had a reliable electronic sensor for at least some of these things. Perhaps I’m just getting into really expensive territory.

Continuous is tricky. I know ther used to be a color-changing pH monitor thing, but that only lasted a month at a time.
For pH I know you can buy a probe and amplify the output, but for nitrates, nitrite, and ammonia continuous sensors are not available.
The only solution I’ve seen for continuous testing of those is a sketchy setup that involved using two dosing pumps to add water and reagent to a vial and measuring the color with a spectrometer to find your concentration.
You probably don’t need to measure nitrites, if that’s any consolation. Same goes for ammonia, because you can always test for that if something looks off, and a properly developed aquarium will remove ammonia pretty quickly.

I have had good success with liquid tests for accurate readings, although tedious. Is this for saltwater or freshwater, and what size tank do you have?

Thanks, I really appreciate the info. I always dreamed of doing an automated setup involving small (like micro mmls) of solution and a color sensor. I just wished to refine that (color and chem testing) process into something useful.

I grew up with FIRST so I always thought it might be cool to automate things. :slight_smile:

Oddly enough I’ve actually spent the last few weeks looking for almost exactly the same thing.

I’ll be following this thread if anyone else has ideas.

EDIT: Forgot this, but this claims to be a Nitrate-sensitive probe:

Vernier also makes a NH4-sensitive probe but if you want to estimate NH3 you will have to acidify the sample.

Freshwater, 40 gL. I find it interesting that quicker electronic tests aren’t available for these parameters. I wish I was super good at chemistry to figure out a quick one. Anyone who is good at that stuff PM me! We could have an interesting startup… :slight_smile:

If I was able to revolutionize fish keeping, I would. By technology and sensors and stuff. :wink:

Wicked cool. I just wish I could find a cheaper way to do chemical analysis of this stuff…

As a former aquarist I personally used the api deluxe kits (freshwater and marine). I had a digital readout of PH on my homemade “life support” system but I didn’t trust it to much since the probe was a Chinese piece of crap.

Overall just buy one of the api kits for like 30 bucks.

Just a few questions are fish involved? Saltwater, or freshwater. What exactly are you trying to test.

I have experience in the hobby. I have bred seahorse, African cichilds, and some discus although I was never too good at breeding those pain and the butts.

I know a lot about water chemistry but I’m not super good at chemistry in General so I don’t think we are coming up with a potential start up. Besides the aquarium equipment world is awful. I went to a few conventions and found a lot of professionals in the business to be snobby and rude.


Here’s a break down of the water testing technology based on cost:

  1. Cheap - Simple Chemical Titration Test Kits (As mentioned pending brand will bring varying results.

  2. Digital Photometers; (For example Hanna Checkers) are a mix of chemical and spectrophotometric but is very accurate and repeatable but more costly.

  3. Most expensive - Continuous Reading monitors (Apex Controllers w/ proper probes, or single Pinpoint Monitors)

  4. Latest Technology from startup company Mindstream Monitors. I’ve signed up to Beta Test one of their units. This would be game changing.

If you’re looking to automate the aquarium industry you can check out my 5 part series of articles on

You may be able to find this kind of stuff in a pool store.

Though an arm and a leg would certainly be required.

No no no pool stores do not sell this kind of precision stuff. Simply because pools don’t need it.

I found this product with a quick Google search

It doesn’t measure everything you asked for, but it does measure Temperature, Free Ammonia, pH, and light.

The Seneye uses a bunch if consumables, so I don’t consider it as something to do continuous testing cheaply.