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Thread: A Simple Saltwater Glossary

  1. #1
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    A Simple Saltwater Glossary

    I thought it would be nice to put together a simple saltwater glossary for those new to the hobby giving you basic definitions to terms etc that are used in the hobby quite a bit. Keep in mind that these of course are basically my personal definitions on things so in some cases, "other's" definitions of the same things may vary, but the main idea is to give you a general idea of what certain things are. Hope it helps.

    Actinic Lighting - Lighting that is predominently blue in color. It is important as it promotes zooxanthellae algae to grow which photosynthetic corals and invertebrates use for their growth. Actinics are usually mixed with "whiter" bulbs to give a more appealing look.

    Activated carbon - This is a type of carbon derived from charcoal which is used to absorb different chemicals, medicines, dis-colorations and even odor from your water.

    Aerobic bacteria- A type of bacteria that requires oxygen in order to function/grow which plays a vital role in the nitrogen cycle in our tanks. These are the type of bacteria responsible for converting ammonia into nitrite as well as nitrite into nitrate.

    Alkalinity - A measurement of how well your water can buffer against ph drop. NSW measures an alkalinity of about 2.5 meq/L or 7dKH

    Ammonia- (NH3) This is the first toxin produced in the nitrogen cycle which comes from the breakdown of un-eaten fish food, poop etc. This is the most toxic to our tank inhabitants.

    Anaerobic bacteria - A type of bacteria that requires an atmosphere void of oxygen in order for it to function/grow. This is the type of bacteria responsible for converting nitrate into harmless nitrogen gas.[/QUOTE]

    Artemia - Another name for brine shrimp.

    Aquaculture - This is the farming or cultivating of marine organisms like fish, corals etc.

    Ball Valve - Type of shut off valve used to control water flow.

    Bioload - A term that is used to describe how much waste is produced in our aquariums.

    Biological Filtration - A form of filtration where bacteria (aerobic and anaerobic) is used to break down waste via the nitrogen cycle.

    Calcium - Important trace element found in natural sea water needed by certain tank inhabitants like corals etc for their growth. Calcium in NSW is usually within the range of 380-450 ppm

    Check Valve - A valve that allows water to pass through it in one direction only preventing any back flow that are un-desired in some cases.

    Chemical Filtration - Filtration method that commonly uses activated carbon as well as other resins to "filter water".

    Chiller - A piece of equipment used to cool aquarium water and control temperature.

    Chloramine - Basically a type of compound found in tap water used to kill certain bacteria for our benefit as humans. Unfortunately it can be poisonous to tank inhabitants so it should be removed prior to adding water to your tank.

    Circulation - Water movement throughout the tank provided by powerheads/water pumps.

    Community tank - Tank full of different species of fish that all live peacefully together or are compatible with one another.

    Coraline Algae - An encrusting type of algae that will grow on basically any surface in your tank and rocks granted all of it's needs are met. Typically seen purple or pink in color although they do come in other shades. This is the one type of algae that some reefers actually like as it adds color to their aquarium.

    Cycle (Cycling) - A process that a tank goes through which involves the completion of the nitrogen cycle.

    Deep Sand Bed (DSB) - A sand bed that is a deep enough making it possible to have a lower region void of oxygen where denitrification can take place.

    Denitrification - The chemical breakdown of nitrate by anaerobic bacteria into nitrogen gas

    Diatoms - Brown colored nuicance algae usually associated with newly setup tanks that thrive off of silicates and excess nutrients in the water.

    FOWLR - "Fish Only With Live Rock." Basic aquarium setup with just liverock and fish in it (no corals).

    Fragging - Method of cutting off a small piece of a healthy coral to create a new coral. Also known as "coral propagation".

    Fuge - Abbreviation for "Refugium". See refugium

    GPH - "Gallons per hour" is a measurement of the amount/rate of water flow that passes through a pump or piece of equipment every hour.

    Gas exchange - A point usually at the water's surface, where gases are exchanged - Oxygen goes from the air into the water and carbon dioxide is released from the water into the air.

    Heater - A device used to heat aquarium water usually controlled by an internal thermostat.

    Hitchhiker - An organism whether it be a sponge, snail, algae, crab...whatever that makes it into your aquarium un-purposely through the introduction of something like liverock. They can be both beneficial in nature or a nuicance.

    Herbivore - Organism that feeds on vegetation only.

    Hydrometer - An instrument used to measure specific gravity in our aquariums.

    Iodine - Trace element found in natural sea water needed for various things like invertebrates use it to molt, helps corals to calcify and even helps with coloration.

    Kelvin - A measurement of the color temperature of a bulb. 6700K would be a yellowish colored spectrum, 10,000K would be a white spectrum and a 20,000K would be a blue spectrum.

    LFS - Abbreviation for Local Fish Store

    LPS - Abbreviation for Large Polyp Stony Corals.

    Liverock - Liverock is rock made up of dead coral skeletons teaming with many beneficial liveforms including sponges, beneficial bacteria etc that is used in aquariums for biological filtration purposes as well as to create a natural habitat for our marine life. More reading material can be found here http://www.reeffrontiers.com/forums/...83/#post608566

    Macroalgae - Large photosynthetic plant found in aquariums. These are typically used in refugiums to aid in nutrient export.

    Magnesium - Important trace element found in natural sea water usually in the 1200-1300 ppm range.

    Mechanical Filtration - The removal or trapping of particles from the water column usually done by straining the water through filter media like filter floss, sponges, filter socks etc. Protein skimming can also be viewed as a form of mechanical filtration.

    NSW - Abbreviation for Natural Sea Water.
    Last edited by Krish; 02-10-2011 at 01:33 PM.
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  2. #2
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    Nano - "Nano" basically means small so it is a name given to aquariums usually about 25 gals or less.

    Nitrate - NO3 - This is the third toxin produced from the breakdown of nitrite in the nitrogen cycle. This is the least toxic to fish. Also, they are considered one of the primary food source for un-wanted algae to use for it's growth so you want to keep these levels as minimal as possible.

    Nitrification - The chemical breakdown of ammonia into nitrite and nitrate into nitrate by aerobic bacteria's (nitrosomonos and nitrobacter).

    Nitrite - NO2- This the second toxin produced from the breakdown of ammonia in the nitrogen cycle. Less toxic than ammonia, but more toxic than nitrate.

    Nitrogen Cycle - (As it relates to the hobby) - This is the natural chemical process carried out by aerobic and anaerobic bacteria that occurs from the onset of ammonia being produced from decomposing organic waste all the way till it is removed from the system as nitrogen gas.

    Omnivore - Organisms that eat both plants and "meat".

    Overstocking - Adding more marine life to your aquarium than it can physically support.

    PH - The level of hardness or softness of water. Water that is considered neutral (not acidic or alkaline) has a ph of 7. Anything lower would be considered acidic and anything above would be concerdered alkaline. NSW has a ph of about 8.0-8.3

    PPM - Abbreviation for "Part's Per Million" which is a unit of measuring certain trace elements in water.

    Phosphates - A chemical compound found in water which can come from a number of things including tap water, fish foods etc. Can be both beneficial or a nuicance depending on it's levels. More reading material on phosphates can be found here http://www.reeffrontiers.com/forums/...02/#post611275

    Phytoplankton - A lphotosynthetic micro-organism that some marine life use as a food source.

    Powerfilter - Basically a filter (can be bioligical, chemical or mechanical in nature) that requires electricity to operate.

    Powerhead - A sumbersible pump used to create circulation/water flow in an aquarium.

    Prefilter - Any type of mechanical filter media (sponge, filter sock, filter pad, floss etc) that water passes through first before it reaches other equipment. Alot of the time overflow boxes are referred to as pre-filters as they prefilter water trapping some of the debris before the water enters the sump.

    Need a break LOL! More to come.
    Last edited by Krish; 02-11-2011 at 07:32 PM.
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    Protein Skimmer - Also known as a "foam fractionator" is a piece of equipment that removes DOC's (dissolved organic compounds), proteins etc from the water. This is accomplished by generating tons of air injected bubbles inside of the skimmer body where these organic wastes attach to and then are taken up the skimmer neck into a collection cup where it is then removed from the system.

    Quarentine tank - A seperate tank apart from your main display where you would either house new fish for a few weeks before adding them into your main tank to ensure you aren't trasnferring any diseases or parasites over as well as a place to treat sick fish isolating them from the other healthy fish.

    RO/DI Water- "Reverse Osmosis/Deionized" water is simply water that has a undergone a process of filtering out impurities from regular tap water making it more suitable for aquarium use.

    Refractometer - Device used to measure the salinity of water. These are typically more accurate than hydrometers.

    Refugium - A seperate container/tank/compartment etc from your main display that is plumbed into your main system which is used for a number of different things including a place to grow live food for your fish in a somewhat controlled environment, a place to raise fry till they are big enough to enter the main display tank, to aid in biological filtration through the use of additonal liverock, deep sand bed etc as well as even a place for macroalgaes like chaeto to grow to help aid in nutrient export (just to name a few).

    SPS - Abbreviation for "Soft Polyp Sony Corals".

    Salinity - A measure of the amount of dissolved salt in aqarium water.

    Silicates - A nutrient found in some water or even substrates that can promote certain algae's to grow.

    Submersible pump - A pump that must be fully submerged to work properly.

    Substrate - Simply referred to as the material you use on the bottom of your tank. Most common types of substrates used in the marine hobby is either sand or crushed corals.

    Sump - A sump is a seperate tank, container or reservoir usually hidden out of sight that is plumbed into your main display making it possible for the two to work as one complete system as water is continuously circulated between the two via an overflow of some sort and a return pump. Most common uses are to increase water volume, a place to hide un-sightly equipment like heaters, skimmers, reactors etc, as well as a place to house a refugium (just to name a few).

    UV Sterilizer - A piece of equipment that water pass through exposing it ultraviolet light that kills some water bourne parasites, micro organisms as well as some algae's.

    Wet/Dry Filter - Also known as a "trickle filter" is a form of biological filtration where highly oxygenated water is "trickled" or sprayed over some sort of media (bio-balls, ceramic tubes, bio-wheels) that creates an ideal atmosphere for nytrifying bacteria to perform it's function of converting ammonia into nitrite and nitrite into nitrate quite effectively.
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    I know I covered quite a bit, but if there are any you guys want to add or come up with, just post them up and I can add them into the list to keep everything in alphabetical order. I will also add to the list as well as more come to me.
    Last edited by Krish; 02-10-2011 at 01:59 PM.
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    Amphipod

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    Excellent post Krish, well done New most of them but a few were good to see explained. Thanx

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    copod
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    Great start to a complete Reefkeepers Glossary Krish, should be very helpful to many. I'll see if I can come up with any you may have missed ???

    Cheers, Todd

  7. #7
    Hermit Crab

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    this is awesome

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    Thanks guys and sounds good Todd! I actually forgot about this thread . Just edit as you feel.


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    Copepod

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    Thanks! You posted some helpful info here.

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    Copepod
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    Thanks, this is good info.

  11. #11
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    great list.. i have a couple...
    GFO granular ferric oxide
    GAC granular activated ccarbon
    Prop pump - see powerhead
    HOB hang on back
    bta bubble tip anemoe
    RR, reef ready - built in overflow
    trates - short for nitrates
    trites -short for nitites
    ppb parts per
    ppt parts per
    gha green hair algae
    dino -dinofalages (sp)
    cyano , red slime - cyanobacteria

    i apologize for the spelling/formatting. my phone doesn't edit/post well
    -Stacey
    30 gallon nem tank /60 gallon softie tank/75 mixed reef /5 gallon pico (work tank)
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  12. #12
    Copepod

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    More abbreviations and definition. Please correct me since I'm a newbie.

    pods - short for copepods and amphipods (Zooplankton)
    Zooplankton - plankton consisting of animals, as copepods or rotifers
    QT - See quarantene tank in above definitions
    HT - hospital tank

    Just saw the abbreviation thread so this is already available.

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