Reef Aquarium Parameters
Keeping proper reef aquarium parameters in check is vital to the success of a beautiful and healthy reef aquarium. We commonly say that the key to keeping a nice aquarium is keeping water parameters within the suggested range. A well-known and highly regarded reef chemist, Randy Holmes Farley, noted the parameters critical to reef keeping and we test these levels in our own tanks and our client’s tanks often.
These listed parameters are for a reef aquarium (a “fish only” system without corals/invertebrates can have slightly different parameters).
For more information on these parameters and what they mean, please visit the original article at http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2004-05/rhf/
Table 1. Parameters critical to control in reef aquaria.
|Parameter:||Reef Aquaria Recommendation:||Typical Surface Ocean Value:1|
|Calcium||380-450 ppm||420 ppm|
125-200 ppm CaCO3 equivalents
125 ppm CaCO3 equivalents
sg = 1.026
sg = 1.025-1.027
8.1-8.3 is better
|8.0-8.3 (can be lower or higher in lagoons)|
|Magnesium||1250-1350 ppm||1280 ppm|
|Phosphate||< 0.03 ppm||0.005 ppm|
|Ammonia||<0.1 ppm||Variable (typically <0.1 ppm)|
The following parameters in table 2 play an important part in an aquarium, but not all are required to be tracked, or need to be measured. With regular water changes, most “trace elements” will be replenished.
Table 2. Other parameters in reef aquaria.
|Parameter:||Reef Aquaria Recommendation:||Typical Ocean Value:1|
|Silica||< 2 ppm, much lower if diatoms are a problem||<0.06 – 2.7 ppm|
|Iodine||Control not recommended||0.06 ppm total of all forms|
|Nitrate||< 0.2 ppm||Variable (typically below 0.1 ppm)|
|Nitrite||< 0.2 ppm typically||Variable (typically below 0.0001 ppm)|
|Strontium||5-15 ppm||8 ppm|
|ORP||Control not recommended||Variable|
|Boron||< 10 ppm||4.4 ppm|
|Iron||Below Kit Detection Limits (additions OK)||0.000006 ppm|