Water Quality

Just thought I'd make a general reference section for anyone wanting to know what their levels should be at. Remember **Test before you dose

Ammonia - 0
Ammonia is highly toxic to anything in the reef. The only time there should be readable levels of ammonia is during the initial cycle. Causes of ammonia: over-feeding, overstocking and dead or dying organisms. Water changes, general maintenance, and testing all help to keep ammonia in check.

Nitrite - 0
Even though not as toxic as ammonia, nitrite will still cause fish to go under distress.

Nitrate - below 20 parts per million (ppm) total NO3, but preferably zero
Some fish may survive in conditions where nitrate is in excess of 25ppm, but most corals, inverts will not. A reasonably harmless substance where many fish are concerned but a good overall indicator of general water quality and one that should be kept extremely low if invertebrates are to thrive. Causes of high nitrate levels usually include an overstocked, and/or overfed aquarium. Nitrate must be checked regularly. If there is a higher than desired level, then a water change is necessary.

Phosphates - 0
Invertebrates do not prosper when levels of phosphate get too high. Algae also will become a problem with high phosphates. Phosphates get into the aquarium through tap water, poor quality carbon, marine salts, and food, but mostly through the waste products of fish. Water changeswill help reduce problematic phosphates.

Temperature - 72-80 Optimum level: 25C (77F)
A stable temperature is essential to keeping reef inhabitants stress free. Lighting may cause the temperature to rise, so a fan and/or cooler may be needed to keep the paramerters in the desired range.

Magnesium - 1350 mg/l(ppm)
The further the magnesium concentration drops from natural seawater levels (1350 ppm), the more difficult it becomes to maintain adequate levels of both calcium, alkalinity, and PH.

Iodine - about .06 part per million (ppm)
There is debate over whether or not to supplement iodine to the aquarium. Many people feel that if one must, then iodide should be added instead of the highly toxic iodine. Usually, high quality salt mixes contain all the necessary iodine needed for the aquarium.

Strontium - about 8 mg/L.
It is chemically very similar to calcium, and many organisms incorporate it in their skeletons along with calcium. Strontium is important for accelerating coral and calcareous algae growth. Small doses may be needed to keep Strontium properly elevated as livestock depletes it.

PH - 8.0-8.2
PH is a measure of how acidic or alkaline the water is. The level of PH is not as important as the stability of it. Invertebrates are sensitive to wide variations, although some natural changes are to be expected during the day. Dissolved oxygen assists in the increase of pH and as this builds up due to activity of photosynthesis by micro and macro algae; test meters or kits will detect it. Aquarium water could drop to as low as 7.9 at the end of the night, and peak at around 8.4 just before lights out. These natural pH cycles are gradual and usually dont stress out livestock too much. Most salt mixes contain PH buffers that will keep PH elevated so regular water changes are essential to keeping PH in check.

(K)arbonate (H)ardness - 8-14dKH (11 is recommended)
KH is a measurement of various carbonates and bicarbonates of calcium and magnesium, and borates within water. A stable KH will prevent rapid declines in alkalinity and subsequent drops in pH.

Salinity - between 1.023-1.025 Specific Gravity (Some people recommend 1.020 - 1.021)
Salinity measures the total amount of dissolved solids in seawater. It is usually recorded as specific gravity, but can also be referred to as part per thousand (ppt). Constant evaporation of freshwater from the aquarium causes the salts to become more concentrated and the salinity to rise. To maintain stability, automatic dosing systems can be used or regular top-off.

Calcium - 350-450 ppm
Calcium is extremely important in both reef and fish-only aquariums. A host of invertebrates draw it from the surrounding water in copious amounts and calcium reserves need to be replenished on a regular basis. Regular water changes may achieve this, but more often than not, supplement will be needed. Kalkwassar is a very popular method to dose calcium.

Copper - Optimum levels - 0
Copper is the standard treatment for marine parasites such as Ich. However, copper should never be added to the display aquarium as invertebrates cannot handle even traces of it. Fish only tanks can have small amounts, but it is still recommended to use a quarantine tank for any dosing.

Source: wizord25:


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