Presented by Charles & Linda Raabe
Mactan Island, The Philippines
© 2008 All Right Reserved
This subject alone is one of many concerns and methods, covering areas such as chemistry, filtration, biology and just about everything else we do to maintain our aquarium systems. Far to broad and in depth a topic for me to cover with a page such as this. As such, you will find many useful articles located at the bottom of this page. A few thoughts of my own though:
I believe one of the most common lessons learned the hard way by almost everyone involves the use of trying to adjust any number of elements that comprises salt water. When done per a stores recommendations, which usually just involves shoving multiple bottles of supplements / additives into your arms and saying "You have to add this", with no mention of what "this" can do or is even supposed to do.
A test kit for any of the additives is usually not involved in this method of getting you out of the door with enough chemicals to cause you to be placed on a security watch list. Playing around with the water's chemistry is usually always a very bad idea. The salt mix that you are using very likely already has an over abundance of any element you were told to be a "must add". Unless you know what you are doing through testing and understanding how some of these elements can effect other elements or parameters, I would avoid doing such things. Patience and Study, these two things alone will do more for the success of your tank than any thing else. The biological habitat that we are trying to mimic is going to take time to mature and balance itself, if you rush or overload it, you invite quick disasters. Study, such as you are doing right now.
Listening to advice is fine, as long as you temper it with knowing that there are many methods within this hobby to accomplish an end goal. In short, learn to think for yourself by being critical in thought when given explanations or reasons, a well worded reason can sound right and make sense while being totaly off the target. Exploring other methods can only make you a better and more educated hobbyist. All of which will be of great benefit to the marvels that we keep within our little glass boxes.
Do not let an over load of information on chemistry or any other subject for that matter cause you any concern. Simple water changes done frequently enough will do very good things for your aquarium system without you having to know why that is right away.
If through your regular testing of the water, you happen to find that one parameter is not what it should be, then by all means, you should investigate how that could come to be and how to bring that parameter back into its proper range. If that becomes too much for you, again, increased water changes will do it for you.
Please do not use any additives or supplements unless you know there is a biological need for it and can test for it.
Eutrophication effect in Coral Reefs
- "Elevated nutrient concentrations are bad news for corals. On the level of primary producers (plants) the competition between corals and macro-algae is influenced by nutrient concentrations.
" Reef Collecting
- For those of you who can collect from the ocean. Old Tank Syndrome
- " Because so many aquarists have experienced it, old tank syndrome must exist. However, as with other syndromes, the causes are many, so it is not a simple matter to say that this is just one problem
The "How To" guide to reef aquarium chemistry for beginners, Part One
- " This article is the first in a series that deals with coral reef aquarium chemistry issues on a basic and practical level. Its primary purpose is to get new aquarists to focus on those aspects of reef aquarium chemistry that are truly important, instead of on those that are not.
" Part 2: What Chemicals Must be Supplemented
- "Its primary purpose is to get new aquarists to focus on those aspects of reef aquarium chemistry that are truly important, instead of on those that are not.
" Part 3: pH
- "The ways of dealing with various sorts of pH problems are very well understood on a scientific basis. It also turns out that the answers may surprise many beginning aquarists.
" Part 4: What Chemicals May Accumulate
- "Many chemicals can build up in closed coral reef aquaria. Some of these may be part offoods, top-off water or chemical supplements. Others are generated in the aquarium itself. Knowing how such chemicals get into aquarium water, and what to do about each, are the primary focuses of this article.
" The units of Measure
- "This article provids an encyclopedic listing of the most common units of measure used in reef keeping. In most cases, the entries include definitions and conversions to other units that might be preferable to use.
- "While it is a commonly held belief that the standard box-style, swing-arm hydrometers are inaccurate, like so much else in this hobby, this belief is based solely on anecdotal evidence and experience and not based upon scientific study.
" How to properly mix synthetic salts
- "The purpose of this column is to introduce a new technique for rapidly mixing synthetic seawater, and to provide general scientific advice on that process.
" What is Sea Water?
- "This article is intended to help aquarists better understand the water in their aquaria. It strives to give a better understanding of what happens in seawater.
" Recommended Water Parameters
- "Aquarists often ask what water parameter levels make for a successful reef aquarium. This article gathers these recommendations in one place, showing them in tables, as well as the corresponding levels in natural seawater.
" Inland reef aquaria salt study - part one
--- part two
- " An independent elemental analysis of the salt mixes
" The M.A.R.S.H. salt study - part one
--- part two
- "To study the practical effects of artificial sea salts in a reef aquarium was initiated by the Marine and Reef Society of Houston (M.A.R.S.H.) who enlisted the voluntarily services of Eric Borneman as principle investigator and to design an appropriate experiment
" The use of Tap Water
- "Many aquarists ask whether it is acceptable to use tap water for their reef aquaria. The answer obviously depends on what is in their tap water.
" Local Drinking Water Information
- "Each year by July 1 you should receive in the mail a short report (consumer confidence report, or drinking water quality report) from your water supplier that tells where your water comes from and what's in it.
" Reverse Osmosis Water Filters
- "This article describes what these multistage systems are comprised of, what each stage accomplishes, and how to make the most of an RO/DI.
" Water Changes
- "Illustrates for you exactly why I believe that water changes are an integral part of the regular maintenance on reef tanks and how much should be changed at once.
" Recommended Water Temperatures
- "Animals are "optimized" by natural selection for conditions where they are most abundant. For most coral reef animals, these optimal temperatures are between 82F and 84F. All of the richest and most diverse coral reefs have average temperatures in this range.
" The Need to Breath
- Quote E. Borneman - "In this article, I report the results of numerous tests of various water conditions in closed system aquaria. I utilized various ways to "oxygenate" water and compared their effectiveness.
" ORP and the Reef Aquarium
- "The oxidation reduction potential (ORP) of marine aquaria is a measure of the relative oxidizing power of the water. It has often been recommended to aquarists as an important water parameter
Ammonia and the Reef Aquarium
- "It is one of the few important chemical issues that marine and freshwater aquaria share. Nevertheless, misunderstandings abound about ammonia's sources, nature and toxicity, which may not be recognized by many reef aquarists
" Nitrites and the Reef Aquarium
- "In reality, nitrite probably is not toxic enough to warrant measuring in most marine systems. This article serves to provide a backdrop for that opinion by addressing what nitrite is, where it comes from, where it goes, the mechanisms by which it can be toxic and the evidence for its toxicity (or lack thereof) in typical reef aquariums.
" Nitrates in the Reef Aquarium
- "Nitrate is an ion that has long dogged aquarists. The nitrogen that it is formed from comes in with foods, and in many aquaria it builds up and can be difficult to keep at natural levels. A decade or two ago, many aquarists performed water changes with nitrate reduction as one of the primary goals. Fortunately, we now have a large array of ways to keep nitrate in check, and modern aquaria suffer far less from elevated nitrate than they have in the past.
" Trace element toxicity
- "The potentially toxic trace element concentrations in at least some aquarium systems must be shown to be much higher than are found in nature.
" Solutions to PH problems
- "The acceptable pH range for reef tanks is an opinion rather than a clearly delineated fact, and will certainly vary based on who is providing the opinion.
" Calcium and Alkalinity problems
- "This article will clarify the different types of calcium and alkalinity problems encountered in typical reef tanks, and will describe in detail how to solve each of them.
" Phosphate and the Reef Aquarium
- "Phosphorus is one of the basic building blocks of living matter. It is present in every living creature, and in the water of every reef tank. Unfortunately, it is present in excess in many reef tanks
" Lime water (calcium addition)
- "When Calcium Hydroxide solution (Kalkwasser) is slowly dripped into your aquarium, it captures free Carbon Dioxide present in the tank water and converts it to Bicarbonate ions
" Additional Lime water (Kalkwasser) Articles : What your Grandmother never told you about lime
- "This article describes everything you need to know about using limewater (aka kalkwasser
) to maintain calcium, alkalinity, and pH in reef aquaria." Metals in Limewater
- "Limewater also contains particulates that are critical for understanding how metals are removed from solution.
" Magnesium and Strontium in Limewater
- "In the past, there has been significant discussion of the depletion of magnesium by limewater.
" Iodine use
- "This first article will cover what is known about iodine in the oceans,including what forms it takes and how toxic these forms are, what organisms use it, how they obtain it, and what they use it for.
" Iron use
- "This article outlines what iron is used for biologically, and makes some suggestions as to how to use it in a reef tank environment.
" Magnesium use
- "Magnesium is an important ion in reef aquaria. Like calcium and alkalinity, it can be depleted by various means if appropriate measures are not taken to maintain it.
" The Use of Phosphate Binders
- "Maintaining appropriately low phosphate levels is one of the ongoing struggles that reef aquarists face. Elevated phosphate levels can cause a variety of undesirable effects.
" The use of activated Carbon
- "Carbon will not remove trace elements, while it is possible, carbon can only do so under extreme PH levels, of which our aquariums will never see such extremes.
The Main Salt Ions that make up 99.9 % of Sea Water
|chemical ion || |
|Chloride Cl || |
|Sodium Na || |
|Sulfate SO4 ||-2 ||2701 ||7.68 ||96.062 ||28.1 |
|Magnesium Mg ||+2 ||1295 ||3.68 ||24.305 ||53.3 |
|Calcium Ca ||+2 ||416 ||1.18 ||40.078 ||10.4 |
|Potassium K ||+1 ||390 ||1.11 ||39.098 ||9.97 |
|Bicarbonate HCO3 ||-1 ||145 ||0.41 ||61.016 ||2.34 |
|Bromide Br ||-1 ||66 ||0.19 ||79.904 ||0.83 |
|Borate BO3 ||-3 ||27 ||0.08 ||58.808 ||0.46 |
|Strontium Sr ||+2 ||13 ||0.04 ||87.620 ||0.091 |
|Fluoride F ||-1 ||1 ||0.003 ||18.998 ||0.068 |
THE COMPOSITION OF SEA WATER
| ||Element |
Argentum (silver) Ag
Stannum (tin) Sn
|Helium He |
Ferrum (Iron) Fe
| ||Tellurium Te |
|Copper Cu |
| ||Tantalum Ta |
Aurum (gold) Au
REEF AQUARIUM CHEMISTRY INDEXES
Used by permission. Many thanks to Charlies and Linda Raabe for their support. www.chucksaddiction.com