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:
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
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
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: http://www.nanotank.com/viewtopic.php?t=95