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Ammonia Test Kits

Ammonia Test Kits

What is Ammonia?
Ammonia is an inorganic form of nitrogen that contains hydrogen. It is a plant nutrient often found naturally in water at low levels due to the decomposition of organic matter. When ammonia is found at high levels, it usually signals contamination stemming from raw sewage, industrial effluents (particularly petroleum refineries), or fertilizer runoff. Total ammonia is the sum of both NH3 (ammonia, the un-ionized form) and NH4+ (ammonium, the ionized form). Total ammonia is what is measured analytically in water. Ammonia toxicity is influenced by pH and temperature. As pH or temperature increases, NH4+ is converted to NH3, and the toxicity also increases.

Why Test for Ammonia?
ammonia is toxic to aquatic life, the aquaculture industry frequently measures and controls ammonia concentration to keep fish and shellfish alive. Regulatory requirements mandate ammonia monitoring for diverse industries to protect downstream aquatic environments. Examples include wastewater, landfill, acid mine drainage and animal feeding operations where ammonia is measured in effluent, leachate, and unintended discharges. Environmental groups often test water bodies for ammonia as part of their monitoring program to help them assess trends associated with other aquatic health indicators.

About our Test Kits
CHEMetrics offers two different test methods for ammonia, Direct Nesslerization and Hydroxybenzyl Alcohol (HBA). Visual and instrumental test kit formats that span low and high measurement ranges are offered. Test results for visual test kits use color comparators for analysis while instrumental kits rely on CHEMetrics direct-readout photometers or spectrophotometers capable of accepting a 13-mm diameter round cell

Click on a catalog number in the tables below for more information or to purchase a test kit.

Visual Kits

Range MDL Method Kit Catalog No. Refill Catalog No.
0-4 & 0-80 ppm 0.125 ppm Hydroxybenzyl Alcohol (HBA) K-1420 R-1402
0-125 & 0-2500 ppm 8 ppm Hydroxybenzyl Alcohol (HBA) K-1420D R-1402D
0-500 & 0-10,000 ppm 30 ppm Hydroxybenzyl Alcohol (HBA) K-1420B R-1402B
0-1 & 1-10 ppm 0.05 ppm Direct Nesslerization K-1510* R-1501*
0-30 & 30-300 ppm 5 ppm Direct Nesslerization K-1510D* R-1501D*
0-60 & 60-600 ppm 10 ppm Direct Nesslerization K-1510A* R-1501A*
0-120 & 120-1200 ppm 20 ppm Direct Nesslerization K-1510B* R-1501B*
0-1000 & 1000-10,000 ppm 100 ppm Direct Nesslerization K-1510C* R-1501C*

Instrumental Kits

Range Method Kit Catalog No.
0-3.00 & 0-60.0 ppm Hydroxybenzyl Alcohol (HBA) K-1413
0-7.00 ppm Direct Nesslerization K-1503*
0-14.0 ppm Direct Nesslerization K-1523*


The Direct Nesslerization Method

Reference: ASTM D 1426-08, Ammonia Nitrogen in Water, Test Method A. APHA Standard Methods, 18th ed., Method 4500-NH3 C – 1988.
The ammonia test kits employing the well-established Nessler reagent* to determine ammonia concentrations are applicable to drinking water, clean surface water, good-quality nitrified wastewater effluent, and seawater.** In some waters, calcium and magnesium concentrations can cause cloudiness of the reagent. Adding a few drops of stabilizer solution (Rochelle Salt) will prevent this cloudiness. References recommend distilling samples prior to ammonia analysis. Results are expressed as ppm (mg/L) ammonia-nitrogen, NH3-N.Shelf-life: although the Nessler reagent is stable, its high alkali content attacks the glass ampoule. The resulting precipitate interferes with color comparison. We recommend stocking quantities of CHEMets® and VACUettes® ampoules that will be used within five months. A two-month supply of Vacu-vials ampoules is suggested. Refrigeration will dramatically extend the shelf-life of these products.*Contains mercury. Dispose according to local, state or federal laws.
**Seawater analysis requires A-1501 Stabilizer Solution (sold separately).
The Hydroxybenzyl Alcohol (HBA) Method

References: Krom, Michael D., Spectrophotometric Determination of Ammonia: A Study of a Modified Berthelot Reduction Using Salicylate and Dichloroisocyanurate, The Analyst, V105, pp. 305-316, 1980.

In the ammonia test kit that employs the Hydroxybenzyl Alcohol chemistry, free ammonia reacts with hypochlorite to form monochloramine. Monochloramine reacts with HBA, in the presence of sodium nitroferricyanide, to form a green colored complex. This test method measures the sum of free ammonia and monochloramine. Results are expressed in ppm (mg/L) ammonia-nitrogen, NH3-N. The Hydroxybenzyl Alcohol Method offers sensitivity similar to the Nesslerization Method and there is no generation of mercury-containing waste.