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Ammonia Test Kits

Visual Kits

Range MDL Method Type Kit Cat. No. Refill
0 - 4.0 & 0 - 80 ppm 0.125 ppm Hydroxybenzyl Alcohol (HBA) CHEMets K-1420 R-1402
0 - 125 & 0 - 2,500 ppm 8 ppm Hydroxybenzyl Alcohol (HBA) VACUettes K-1420D R-1402D
0.0 - 1.0 & 1 - 10 ppm 0.05 ppm Direct Nesslerisation CHEMets K-1510* R-1501*
0 - 30 & 30 - 300 ppm 5 ppm Direct Nesslerisation VACUettes K-1510D* R-1501D*
0 - 60 & 60 - 600 ppm 10 ppm Direct Nesslerisation VACUettes K-1510A* R-1501A*
0 - 120 & 120 - 1,200 ppm 20 ppm Direct Nesslerisation VACUettes K-1510B* R-1501B*
0 - 1,000 & 1,000 - 10,000 ppm 100 ppm Direct Nesslerisation VACUettes K-1510C* R-1501C*

Instrumental Kits

Range Method Type Kit Cat. No.
0 - 3.00 & 0 - 60.0 ppm Hydroxybenzyl Alcohol (HBA) Vacu-vials K-1413
0 - 7.00 ppm Direct Nesslerisation Vacu-vials K-1503*
0 - 10.00 ppm & 0 - 150 ppm Direct Nesslerisation (Extended Shelf Life) Vacu-vials K-1513*
0 - 14.0 ppm Direct Nesslerisation Vacu-vials K-1523*

CHEMetrics offers test kits for the determination of Ammonia in aqueous solutions employing the well-known Nessler reagent to deliver sensitivity and accuracy within two minutes or less, as well as kits employing the Hydroxybenzyl Alcohol (HBA) method which offers similar sensitivity without generating any mercury-containing waste. Ammonia concentrations are routinely measured in wastewater effluent, drinking water, surface water and seawater.

Based on CHEMetrics patented Self-Filling Reagent Ampoule technology. Premixed. Premeasured. Precise. Each kit contains 30 tests. Visual and instrumental ammonia testing kit formats span low and high measurement ranges. CHEMets® and VACUettes® visual test kits use colour comparators for analysis while Vacu-vials® instrumental kits rely on CHEMetrics direct-readout photometers or spectrophotometers capable of accepting a 13-mm diameter round cell.

A new, dedicated SAM Photometer A-2024 is now available to measure both K-1413 and K-1513 test kits in both test ranges, giving a total of 4 possible test ranges.

The Ammonia Vacu-vials test kits K-1503 and K-1523 can be used with a Hach DR900 Colorimeter in conjunction with the CHEMetrics DR900 Vacu-vials® Adapter, Cat. No. A-0215. No endorsement by Hach Company is implied or intended.

The Direct Nesslerisation Method

The CHEMetrics 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 testing. The supplied stabiliser solution is used with some waters where the calcium and magnesium concentrations causes cloudiness of the reagent. Adding a few drops of the stabiliser solution (Rochelle Salt) will prevent this cloudiness. References recommend distilling samples prior to analysis. Results are expressed as ppm (mg/l) ammonia-nitrogen, NH3-N.

Although the Nessler reagent is itself stable, its high alkalinity attacks the glass ampoule over time, resulting in a precipitate which interferes with colour comparison. If stored at room temperature, we suggest stocking up to a five month supply of CHEMets® and VACUettes® ampoules; and a two-month supply of Vacu-vials® ampoules. We recommend refrigerating these ampoules when not in use, which will dramatically extend their shelf life by 18 months. The K-1513 Vacu-vials kit employing the Direct Nesslerisation (Extended Shelf Life) chemistry is stable for at least 12 months without refrigeration.

ASTM D 1426-08, Ammonia Nitrogen in Water, Test Method A.
APHA Standard Methods, 18th ed., Method 4500-NH3 C - 1988.

Technical Data Sheet

The Hydroxybenzyl Alcohol (HBA) Method

In the ammonia test method 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 coloured 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 Nesslerisation Method but with the added benefit of being Mercury-free, thus not generating any Mercury-containing waste.

Krom, Michael D., Spectrophotometric Determination of Ammonia: A Study of a Modified Berthelot Reduction Using Salicylate and Dichloroisocyanurate, The Analyst, v.105, pp. 305-316, 1980.

Technical Data Sheet


Higher ammonia concentrations in surface waters can indicate contamination from waste treatment facilities, raw sewage, industrial effluents (particularly oil refineries), or fertiliser runoff. Regulatory requirements mandate ammonia monitoring for diverse industries to protect downstream aquatic environments, such as wastewater, landfill, acid mine drainage and animal feeding operations, where ammonia is measured in effluent, leachate, and unintended discharges. Environmental scientists often test water bodies for ammonia to help them assess trends associated with other aquatic health indicators. The aquaculture industry frequently measures and controls ammonia concentration to keep fish and shellfish alive and healthy. The Specified Concentration or Value (SCV) for ammonia in drinking water supplies in the UK is 0.50 mg/l (ppm), and in Ireland is 0.3 mg/l (ppm).

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 plant or animal matter. Higher concentrations in surface waters are toxic to aquatic life.

Total ammonia is the sum of both NH3 (ammonia, the un-ionised form) and NH4+ (ammonium, the ionised form). Total ammonia is what is measured analytically in water. Ammonia toxicity is influenced by pH and temperature, whereby an increase in either will convert more NH4+ to NH3, thereby increasing toxicity.