Discover the very best pH meter

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All fish species have different preferences in terms of water quality. Failure to provide your fish with the conditions they need will stress your pets, weaken their immune systems, and make them prone to common fish diseases.

Checking the pH and hardness of your aquarium water should be part of your regular aquarium maintenance routine. How do you test the pH of your aquarium water? With a high quality pH meter, of course!

In this guide, we introduce some of the best pH meters on the market. We're also exploring other methods of testing your aquarium pH to determine which method is the most accurate.

The best pH meters on the market today

First, let's take a look at the best pH meters you can buy today.

Apera Instruments AI316 Premium Series PC60

The PC60 pH meter of the Apera Instruments AI316 Premium series is a very high quality pH meter with excellent reliability.

The Apera Instruments device measures five water quality parameters, including salinity. This is perfect if you have a marine or reef tank. We love the easy to read LCD that shows multiple water parameters at once and changes color relative to the mode used.

What we like:

  • Measures electrical conductivity (EC), pH, total dissolved solids (TDS), temperature, and salinity
  • 0.01 pH resolution
  • Comes as a complete kit including batteries
  • Provides highly accurate readings

Room for improvement:

VIVOSUN digital pH test pen

Digital PH meter, PH meter 0.01 PH high-precision water quality tester, PH range 0-14, Suitable for …

  • (Widely Used): Very suitable for home or laboratory use. It is suitable for testing the pH balance of drinking water, swimming pools, aquariums, reverse osmosis systems, hot springs or hydroponics. It…
  • (Backlit LCD display): Backlit PH tester LCD display, easy to use regardless of day or night, accurate measurement and clear display results.
  • (Automatic temperature compensation): The pH meter has an integrated automatic temperature compensation function (ATC), so that it no longer has to worry about the temperature of the test liquid so that it …

The VIVOSUN Digital pH Tester Pen is an easy-to-use, accurate digital pH meter aimed at those who don't want to spend a fortune on a pH tester.

The pH pen has a clear, easy-to-read, backlit digital display. The device is small and compact enough to fit in your pocket. The measured values ​​are accurate to a resolution of 0.01.

What we like:

  • Inexpensive
  • Easy to use
  • Compact and easy to transport

Room for improvement:

  • Doesn't last long
  • The calibration is unreliable

Dr.meter PH100-V

Dr.meter PH100-V 0.01 resolution Highly accurate pocket size pH meter with ATC, 0-14pH measurement …

  • ▶ 【Automatic calibration】: Often disturbed by calibration problems? You can calibrate the digital pH tester with just one touch of a button. Using a three point calibration method with simple …
  • ▶ 【Practical pH reading】: Get the job done with ease. Ready to read the pH? Just know the liquid quality with one-button reading function. It really is that simple.
  • ▶ 【Automatic temperature compensation Mit: With the automatic temperature compensation function (ATC), the Dr.meter pH meter can correct possible inaccuracies caused by the change in the liquid temperature, …

The Dr.meter PH100-V pH meter is easy to use and delivers accurate measured values ​​very quickly.

The device is easy to carry and offers a high resolution of 0.01, which is impressive when compared to some other pH meters. Calibration takes place automatically at the push of a button and the digital display is extremely easy to read. You also get a practical carrying case for easy mobility.

What we like:

  • Easy to calibrate
  • Delete ad
  • Compact and easy to transport

Room for improvement:

Precise pH meter

The Pinpoint pH Meter is quite expensive compared to some of the other options we tested. However, this pH meter is a laboratory device with a variety of excellent functions.

The meter has a fully waterproof electrode that is connected to the device with a 10 foot suppression cable. There is a clear digital display that shows you the measurements of the pH resolution of 0.01. The pH meter is part of a kit that contains everything you need to collect readings, e.g. B. calibration fluid, storage fluid, and a probe storage bottle.

What we like:

  • Simple 2-point calibration
  • Delete ad
  • Accurate and reliable

Room for improvement:

  • 9V battery not included, which is disappointing given the price of the meter
  • Expensive

Bluelab METCOM Combo Meter


Bluelab METCOM Combo Meter for pH, temperature and conductivity measurements, easy calibration

  • Measures pH, temperature and (tds) EC, ppm 500, ppm 700, and CF with laboratory-grade glass that can be used for the pool, drinking water, hydroponics, brewing, and waxing
  • SIMPLE two-point calibration and automatic temperature compensation make this digital measuring device a practical tool with a backlit LCD display and calibration reminders
  • Quickly monitor your nutritional levels to maximize your growth and make sure the plants are getting the balanced forage they need

The METCOM Combo Meter from Bluelab is the most expensive pH meter that we presented in our reviews and instructions. However, you are sure to get a lot of money with this laboratory-quality device and its multitude of excellent features.

This pH meter is light and easy to transport. With the Bluelab Combo you can measure three different water parameters, including pH, conductivity and temperature. To use the meter, press and hold the backlit LCD screen and insert the probe into your water sample. The digital pH meter is easy to calibrate and offers automatic temperature compensation. There is also a battery level indicator and an auto-off function.

As you'd expect for the price, the pH meter is part of a complete kit that includes a lanyard, calibration solution, battery, and a long connection cable.

What we like:

  • Simple 2-point calibration
  • Clear the LCD screen
  • Accurate and reliable
  • Comes as part of a complete kit

Room for improvement:

  • Expensive
  • Does not show all parameters at the same time

Extech – 5302643 PH220-C Palm pH meter with wired electrode

The Extech 5302643 PH220-C is a clever device that consists of two parts. There is a large, clear LCD screen that you hold in your hand and a measuring probe that connects to the pH meter with a 39-inch cable.

The meter measures both pH and temperature and allows you to store up to 25 separate readings in the device so that you can access your previous test results at any time. The measurements are set for automatic temperature compensation, and there is also buffer recognition.

What we like:

  • High resolution
  • Clear, easy-to-read LCD screen
  • Accurate and reliable
  • Ability to save measured values ​​for future reference

Room for improvement:

  • Expensive
  • Does not contain much calibration solution

What's the most accurate way to measure the pH of an aquarium?

Three types of pH test kits can be used to measure the pH in the aquarium: liquid, submersible and electronic.

Fluid tests

Most hobbyists are familiar with test kits for liquid aquarium water.

You take a water sample in a small test tube, add the prescribed drops of liquid and wait a few minutes for the water to change color. The results are based on the change in color of the indicator liquid caused by the concentration of hydrogen ions in the water. The change in color is measured using a standard color card that corresponds to a known pH value.

pH tester kits differ in that some can measure a wide range of pH, e.g. B. 3 through 10. However, these kits tend to be inaccurate when the water is acidic. Better results can be achieved with test kits in the pH range from 6 to 7.6 or 7.4 to 9.

Immersion tests

Immersion tests can give a quick result, although they are often less accurate than a fluid test. Due to the high humidity and aging of the strips, the effectiveness of the strips deteriorates quickly so you have to replace them regularly, which is costly and wasteful.

All you do is dip the best strip in your aquarium and match the color on the table provided.

Electronic tests

Electronic pH tests are usually very accurate, even more so than liquid or immersion tests.

These devices can be hand-held or integrated into the tank. They give you an immediate result and are quick, convenient and uncomplicated to use. Some devices use probes that contain a reference electrode and a glass electrode. The pH value is determined by measuring the voltage between the two electrodes.

The results are highly dependent on the quality and sensitivity of the probe. In general, more expensive devices offer high accuracy. Some devices can even maintain and control the pre-set pH for you.

Calibration is another problem that can greatly affect the accuracy of the device. You need to calibrate an electronic pH probe regularly. Inexpensive probes use a one-point calibration at pH 7, while devices with better quality have a two- or even three-point calibration at pH 4, pH 7 and pH 10. Some probes must be stored wet and others dry. You need to get this right, as a dried out electrode will not provide an accurate pH.

Are Cheap pH Meters Accurate?

Some of the cheaper models of pH meters are fairly accurate, although these devices are typically short-lived. If you can afford it, buy a lab-quality pH meter that will last longer and give more accurate results.

Which is more accurate, pH paper or pH meter?

Overall, tests show that pH meters are generally more accurate and more reliable than immersion tests or fluid tests.

Proper buffer capacity is essential to keep the pH in your tank stable. To measure the buffer capacity, you need to do a carbonate hardness test (KH) and make any necessary adjustments.

When the pH is near neutral and the KH is relatively high, the results of most pH tests are fairly accurate. However, once you get closer to lower pH levels, especially when combined with a low concentration of carbonate, the results will be more variable.

Using a pH meter

Now that you've selected your pH meter, you need to know how to use it.

Most pH meters work very similarly. However, you should always check the manufacturer's instructions before starting.

Here is a general guide:

Calibrate the meter

Before you can test the water in your aquarium, you need to calibrate the pH meter. To do this, collect the calibration solutions that came with your kit and take the pH electrode probe.

Clean the electrode probe with deionized water, then blot it dry with a clean cloth or paper towel. Now place the probe in a solution with a pH value of 7 and let the probe stabilize. Program the meter to read 7.0. The measuring device is now ready for the next use.

Repeat the process, but this time use a buffer solution with a pH of 2.0. Remove the probe from the solution, rinse it, and then dry it with a clean cloth or paper towel.

The pH meter is now calibrated and ready for use.

Measure pH levels

Once you have completed the calibration process, you can start measuring the pH of your aquarium water. Turn on the meter and let it set. this usually only takes a few minutes. Set the meter to pH mode.

Insert the probe into your water sample and leave it there for a few minutes. It is important not to withdraw the probe too early, otherwise the reading will not be correct. Allow the numbers to stabilize before you record the reading.

When you have your reading, rinse the pH meter and place it in the storage solution.

How often should you calibrate your pH meter?

In order for your pH meter to work well, you need to calibrate it, but how often do you need to do this?

The frequency with which you calibrate your pH meter depends on several factors. If you have a very high accuracy pH meter, you will need to recalibrate the device each time you use it. Cheaper, more general gauges can generally be calibrated every few weeks.

However, there are some instances when you should calibrate your pH meter regardless of its accuracy. For example, if you have not used the electrode before or if you have stored it for a long time, you should calibrate it. A recalibration is also required after measuring a very strong acidic solution or a strong base. You should also recalibrate your device if there is a significant difference between the temperature of the buffer and the water sample you tested.

Why is the pH of the aquarium water so important for your fish?

Now you know more about pH meters and how to use them. Let's take a look at why the pH of your aquarium water is so important to the health of your fish.

What is the pH?

The pH value describes how basic or acidic a substance is. The H stands for the number of hydrogen ions and hydroxide ions in a liquid, such as your aquarium water.

The lower the number of hydrogen ions, the more acidic the water. Conversely, the more hydrogen ions are present, the more basic the water. The pH scale is used to illustrate the various water conditions.

  • Pure water has a neutral pH of 7.0.
  • Milk has a pH of 6.0.
  • Lemon juice has a pH of 2.0.

So you can see that the lower the number, the more acidic the substance is. pH values ​​of 7.0 or more are alkaline or basic.

pH levels and your fish

Aquarium fish thrive when the pH level in their tank water matches that of their natural habitat. The pH preference of different species varies. For example, koi carp prefer a pH of 7.5, although they can tolerate water up to 8.2. African cichlids require more alkaline water with a pH of 8.5.

Harmful pH levels

If the pH in the water gets too acidic, it can actually burn the fish's skin. If the water is very basic or alkaline, it can burn your fish's skin. In general, young fish are more sensitive to high acidity than mature fish. If the pH drops to 5.0 it is too acidic for fish eggs and will kill them before they hatch.

pH level adjustment

You should test the pH in your aquarium every week to make sure it has not changed. If the pH is too low, the water will be too acidic. You can raise the pH by adding crushed coral or limestone to the water, oxygenating the tank with an air pump to remove carbon dioxide, or using a suitable chemical buffer to neutralize the acidity and bring the pH closer to bring it to neutral, or 7.0.

Some areas have naturally hard water or water with a high pH. You can bring this down by adding a chemical acid buffer or water softener, or filtering the water through peat moss.


Maintaining the correct pH for the types of fish you keep is vital to the health of your livestock.

To ensure that the pH in your aquarium is correct for your fish, you must test the water every week as part of your regular maintenance routine. The most accurate test results are obtained with an electronic pH meter. All of the equipment we've reviewed in this guide is perfect for the job. Order one today!

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