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~/root
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Temperature:
78-82 degrees Fahrenheit is best however opinions may differ.

Salinity/specific gravity:
A specific gravity of 1.025-1.026 right around correct. Most people will use a hydrometer or refractometer to measure their salt levels. I would not recommend the swing arm hydrometer just my opinion.

pH:
1.0 (acidic) to 14.0 (alkaline). pH is a contraction that stands for pondus Hydrogenii (weight of hydrogen). For a saltwater tank, we want to have a higher pH, with a level between 8.2-8.4.

Ammonia/Nitrite:
These should ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS BE ZERO!. When a tank is first set up, these levels should be monitored weekly or even a few times per week. After that I test mine maybe once a month.

Nitrate:
Ammonia is broken down by bacteria into nitrite and then into nitrate by a different bacteria. Nitrate can wreak havoc on inverts and promotes algae growth.

Phosphate:
Like nitrates, phosphates are another fuel for algae and can even inhibit the ability of corals to utilize Calcium from the water.

Calcium:
Corals, clams, coralline algae (and other calcareous algae like halemida), feather dusters and many other organisms rely on Calcium to build their skeletons or skeletal structures.



I got the information in this post from Comparing Reef Aquarium Test Kits by Keith MacNeil, a Marine Depot Staff Member

The article goes into depth about some of the stuff covered in this post.
 

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very good info, thanks for posting, this should be very helpful to new folks in the hobby,
 

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*blackback butterflyfish*
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thanks for that...i thought you a were saltwater genius till you said it was from an article...lol hey do you know what would be causing pieces of live rock to break off,only a couple small ones...but weird?
 

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pretty good
 
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