Keeping your aquarium water clean and balanced will help keep fish healthy. With this simple guide from PetSmart, you’ll learn how.

What you need:
All-in-One Test Strips
Ammonia Test Strips
Dechlorinator /Water Conditioner
Bacteria Starter
Aquarium Gravel Vacuum

Let PetSmart test the waters for you! Just bring a sample of your aquarium water to your local store.


Once a month, change the filter cartridge, or clean filter media once a month to maintain proper water quality. Test water once a week. Based on test results, treat accordingly:

Step 1: Ammonia testing

Dip the test strip. Swirl for 10 seconds. Compare the ammonia test strip to the ammonia scale within one minute. Normal results: 0.0-0.25.

If ammonia is .5 or above vacuum the gravel in the tank and change 1/4 of the water. Treat the replacement water with dechlorinator/water conditioner and bacteria starter

If ammonia is 3 or above change 50% of the water and add ammonia detoxifier

Step 2: All-in-one test measures other chemical levels in the water

Dip the test strip. Swirl for 2 seconds. First, compare the nitrate test to the nitrate scale. Normal results: 0 – 20.

If nitrate is 40 or above change 1/4 of the tank water. Replace with water treated with dechlorinator/water conditioner and bacteria starter.

Next, compare the nitrite test to the nitrite scale. Normal results: 0.0 – 0.5. If nitrite is 1.0 or above change 1/4 of the tank water.


Next, compare the chlorine test to the chlorine scale. Normal results: 0.0. If any chlorine is found add dechlorinator/water conditioner to tank.


Compare the hardness test to the hardness scale. Normal results: 75 – 150. If hardness is above 150 add distilled or reverse osmosis filtered water to the tank. If hardness is below 75 add buffer/PH up treatment.


Compare the alkalinity test to the alkalinity scale. Normal results: 40 -180. If alkalinity is below 40 change 25% of the water and add buffer/PH up. If alkalinity is above 180 change 25% of the water.


Compare the PH test to the PH scale. Normal results: 6.8-8.4. If PH is below 6.8 or above 8.4 change 1/4 of the water, or use PH up or PH down to change levels.

At PetSmart we offer quick and free water testing in every store.

Water tests vary by brand, so always read the instructions that come inside the packaging.

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