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Fish Tank Forum • View topic - ionic balance
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ionic balance

Discuss your corals or ask for advice on keeping them.

ionic balance

Postby stumpy316uk » Fri Jul 06, 2012 3:42 pm

ionic balance
Ca, Alk and Mg are inter related and optimum levels are essential for optimum coral growth. If not maintained at or near optimum levels organisms will not grow, become stressed and can even die. Ca, Alk and Mg are the primary ingredients in creating Calcium Carbonate (CaCO3) which is the skeleton of LPS and SPS corals.

Calcium Ca
Calcium is one of the major ions in seawater. Natural seawater has calcium levels around 420 ppm. Changes in salinity will cause calcium levels to fluctuate. A calcium ion carries two positive charges in seawater and is written as Ca++. Calcium is very important in a reef aquarium as many organisms, including corals and coralline algae, use it to create calcium carbonate skeletons. If it is not maintained at adequate levels, such organisms become stressed and can even die. Calcium levels between 360-450 ppm are necessary for coral growth. A good indication of proper calcium levels outside a Ca test kit is the rate of growth of coralline algae. Boosting the calcium concentration above natural levels does not enhance coral skeletal growth.

Alkalinity Alk
Alkalinity is a rather complex measurement of bicarbonate. Bicarbonate (HCO3-) is what corals take up and process into carbonate (CO3–) in order to build their calcium carbonate skeletons. Normal to high alkalinity implies adequate bicarbonate, while low alkalinity implies bicarbonate is in short supply. Without constant additions or water changes aquarium water can rapidly become depleted of bicarbonate. Alkalinity’s depletion from normal to unacceptable levels can take only a day or two in some reef aquariums. This of course can take longer in reefs with a lower demand for carbonate. A reef with only soft corals will require much less bicarbonate than a reef with clams, SPS or LPS corals. When the water’s bicarbonate is depleted, corals that deposit calcium carbonate can become stressed and even die. its recommended that reefers maintain an alkalinity of 2.5-4 meq/L (7-11 dKH, Natural seawater has a KH of 7-8.

Magnesium
Magnesium is the third most abundant ion in seawater. It is involved in a great many biological processes in every living organism. Reckless additions of Magnesium and other supplements without constant monitoring will often exasperate a chemical imbalance and more often than not do more harm than good. Natural Sea Water has Magnesium levels of 1280ppm. It is recommended that magnesium levels should be between 1250ppm-1350ppm. Magnesium in seawater is an ion that carries two positive charges, just as calcium does. Generally magnesium is a free ion, with only water molecules attached to it. Proper levels of Magnesium are important because it stabilizes carbonate and allows it to be present in far higher concentrations. This allows seawater to act as a buffer in the pH range of 8.0-8.5. This ion pairing also keeps seawater pH from getting too high and reduces diurnal pH (daily) swings. Magnesium is also extremely important in the process of calcification and many organisms (if not all) take up magnesium from seawater. To ensure you have a proper balance it is extremely important you do regular tests of you levels.
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Re: ionic balance

Postby Mick » Sat Jul 07, 2012 2:31 am

Yet another good read :thu:
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