10 Most Important Parameters in a Reef Tank
The 9 most important Reef Tank Parameters are:
- Nitrate (NO3)
- Phosphate (PO4)
- and 10. Heavy metals
Let’s dive in further to discuss each of these:
The alkalinity or carbonate hardness is important to the pH levels of your water as well as to estimate the level of bicarbonate present in the water. The bicarbonate is a crucial element for corals to maintain a healthy habitat and to form their calcite skeletons.
So, you must keep a healthy level of alkalinity in your reef tank so that your corals can thrive.
The іdеаl аlkаlіnіtу level fоr a rееf tank іѕ bеtwееn 8-12 dKH or 142 tо 215 ppm.
If your alkaline levels don’t fall in this range, then your tank is not in a good condition to accommodate your corals. And, of course, your corals may struggle.
Okay, I’ll keep this short but insightful for you. In a Lay man’s world, pH is simply the amount of acidity or alkalinity in the water.
You should aim for a pH level between 8.0-8.3.
To make sure the pH remains stable or you’re unsure it is, perform a water change.
Another crucial water parameter to always keep moderate is temperature. Generally, reefs have temperatures around 73-84 degrees Fahrenheit and you should also keep yours in this range.
However, if you live in an area with a warm and tropical climate, you might need a heater to keep your tank healthy. Likewise, if you experience a very hot climate all year round, then you’re going to need an aquarium chiller.
Either way, the goal is to help balance the heat and keep your tank at a moderate temperature.
The amount of salt in a reef tank is referred to as salinity. No doubt, it’s also an important aquatic element.
Thrive to keep your salinity level around 32-33 ppt, at a gravity level of 1.024-1.025.
Calcium is a very important element for your coral to live a healthy lifestyle. Although coral has a fragile skeleton (have no bones), it still contains calcium compositions.
The ideal calcium levels for a natural reef tank is between 380-420 ppm. However, if you have around 400, that’s a good one too.
Note that the level of calcium in any reef tank reduces with time. So, test once per week to replenish it if need be.
Here are some methods to supplement calcium in your tank:
- Calcium chloride and buffer
- Kalkwasser (Calcium hydroxide)
- Liquid or dry supplements
- Calcium reactor
and 7. Nitrate (NO3) and Phosphate (PO4)
In the nutrition cycle, coral depends on the photosynthetical products of zooxanthella that live in their tissue. In the process, metabolites such as Nitrate (NO3) and Phosphate (PO4) are produced so coral can survive on them.
Naturally, Nitrate NO3 is the final product from the metabolic process that occurs within the aquatic habitat.
But if the nitrate levels are high, be ready to face problems with algae growth which can be toxic to your coral. What is safe? Much like ammonia, keep nitrate moderate.
However, if there’s no nitrate in your tank, there might be a shortage of supply of nitrogen. If this happens, your corals might suffer as they require nitrogen for growth, coloration, and polyp-extension.
On the other hand, you can supplement the composition of nitrogen by adding ammonium, planktonic food, or amino acids to your reef tank. But you should stop immediately you notice the growth of algae.
Iodine is crucial for cellular function and the nutrient of the aquatic habitat. Similarly, corals need iodine for the synthesis of pigments needed for adaptation under varying light conditions. Also, iodine helps to protect its tissue from UV radiation.
An ideal iodine level is between 0.055-0.7 ppm.
and 10. Heavy metal pollutants
In my opinion, Magnet holders for pumps are one of the best inventions for reef tanks so far. Do you agree?
If уоu have elevated lеvеlѕ of еіthеr оr mixture оf Tin, Nісkеl аnd Cobalt, thе ѕоurсе might bе а corroding mаgnеt оr ѕоmе metal in оr around thе ѕуѕtеm.