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## Reef Keeping

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### Reef Keeping Top ten most costly mistakes If you decide to make a salt water aquarium it can be a little intimidating review 96.5% water 3.5% salt by weight Even ions ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Reef Keeping

1
Reef Keeping
2
• Top ten most costly mistakes

3
• If you decide to make a salt water aquarium it
can be a little intimidating

4
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5
review
• 96.5 water
• 3.5 salt by weight
• Even ions at low concentration are important to
ocean organisms
• With the salts comes water changesdensity,
conductivity, and refractive index

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• The index of refraction (or refractive index) is
the ratio of the speed of light traveling through
a vacuum to the speed of light in the material
being tested. Most aquarists do not realize that
when using a refractometer, they are measuring
the speed of light through their aquarium's
water, so having such knowledge might be a good
way to impress friends with your technical
abilities!

8
• Light travels through most materials more slowly
than it does through a vacuum, so their
refractive index is higher than 1.00000. The
detailed mathematics and physics behind
refractive index are actually quite complicated,
because it is often a complex number with real
and imaginary parts, but a simple version is
adequate for all purposes that a reef aquarist
would encounter. Some materials slow light
traveling through them more than others, and
slower light travel leads to a higher refractive
index. Table 1 shows some typical refractive
index values for comparative purposes.

9
• Table 1. Index of Refraction of Various
Materials.
• Vacuum1.0000
• Air 1.0003
• Water (pure)1.3330
• Seawater (35 ppt)1.3394
• Ethyl alcohol 1.361
• Sugar solution (80 sugar)1.49
• Glass (soda lime)1.510

10
• In solutions of two compounds, such as ethyl
alcohol in water, sugar in water or salt in
water, the refractive index changes in step with
how much of each component is present.
• refractometers are used in brewing, sugar
refining, analyzing blood and urine protein and
many other industries where a quick measure of
refractive index can lead to a good assessment of
what is present.

11
• It cannot tell you what the molecule is but it
can give you an idea of how much

12
Price range refractometer100-200 dollars
• Aquarists can use the effects that added salts
have on the refractive index of a water solution
to determine the salinity of reef aquarium water.
As the salinity of seawater rises, the amount of
salt added rises, so the refractive index rises.

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15
Conductivity
• How well electrons move through the wateror how
well electricity moves through the water

NaCl density (W / V) Conductivity (mS / cm) NaCl density (W / V) Conductivity (mS / cm)
0.1 2.0 1.1 19.2
0.2 3.9 1.2 20.8
0.3 5.7 1.3 22.4
0.4 7.5 1.4 24.0
0.5 9.2 1.5 25.6
0.6 10.9 1.6 27.1
0.7 12.6 1.7 28.6
0.8 14.3 1.8 30.1
0.9 16.0 1.9 31.6
1.0 17.6 2.0 33.0
16
• Refractive index, conductivity, and density can
all be used by someone keeping a reef (aquarium)
to test for salinity.

17
90-600 dollars
18
4 Main Ions
• Chloride
• Sodium
• Sulfate
• magnesium

19
Natural Seawater for a reef
• Collect it yourself but important factors how
pure it was at collection and how pure it
remained until use.
• Collect the water offshore to avoid runoff
• Or collect from a rising tide
• Coastal waters have a lot of chemicals and
pathogens

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• If natural seawater is stored too long and it
stagnates ...the break down of organic molecules
can produce toxic substances.
• It is better to use immediately

22
Artificial Seawater
• It is probably ok just to use the cheapest you
can get in a salt mix for an aquarium
• Do not use sea salt for cooking it is usually to
low in magnesium
• It is hard to match the concentration of the less
common ions in a salt mix
• Everyone has their own opinion about which salt
mix is best

23
Prices range 25-115 dollars
• In order to add the most common ions to water
• It takes a lot of material. Unless they are in
pure (very expensive) form they will put a lot of
impurities in the water.

24
• To be honest, the evidence for using one salt mix
over another is marginal at best.  Certainly some
are better, and some may be bad, but no simple
ranking can be made.  Every artificial salt mix
varies from natural seawater's concentrations of
some ions.
• many that claim to try to match seawater
actually do a surprisingly poor job, and differ
alot.

25
• More expensive salt mixes can theoretically do a
better job by purchasing purer raw materials, but
that does not ensure that those companies do so.

26
• matching natural seawater, is the problem. None
really does, and it becomes very difficult to
decide what is best.
• For example, is it better to have too much
sulfate or too little fluoride?
• Too much strontium or too little potassium?  No
one knows.  Ask that question about nearly every
chemical constituent, and the true answer is, No
one knows

27
So which to use
• It is probably best to ask people that have made
successful tanks beforeIn a poll I have taken 9
people used instant ocean and 7 used Reef
Crystals and the rest were divided up into 1
person each with a different brand

28
Pure Water
• In addition to using a suitable salt mix, it is
important to use suitably pure freshwater, both
for making salt mixes and for topping-off for
evaporative losses.   .

29
• The majority of experienced and successful reef
aquarists in the U.S. appear to use RO/DI
(reverse osmosis/deionization) to purify tap
water.

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Prices range 100-300 dollars
• Reverse osmosis (RO) alone may be adequate in
some cases, but not always.

33
• The use of tap water itself entails a number of
concerns besides the presence of chlorine.
• First is Chloramines which does not dissipate
after sitting around, the way many aquarists have
done in the past for chlorine.  It is now being
added to many water supplies, and is much longer
lived than chlorine.
• It also requires special treatments, not just the
standard dechlorinating agents.  Other concerns
with tap water are copper (which often comes from
your home's plumbing), nutrients (nitrate and
phosphate) and alkalinity (which is not per se a
problem, but can boost levels too high in some
cases). .

34
• Chloramines can be removed by means of a granular
active carbon filter

35
• Chloramine (monochloramine) is a chemical
compound with the formula NH2Cl. It is usually
used as a dilute solution where it is used as a
disinfectant.
• Chlorine combines with ammonia

36
• In general, I recommend avoiding tap water.
Sure, some folks use it and have fine
aquaria. Just safer in the long run.

37
• Typical commercial distilled water is likely
acceptable, as long as it has not been exposed to
metals such as copper in condensers, pipes or
holding tanks.  Unfortunately, it is not easy to
know the production history of distilled water,
and testing with most copper test kits may be
inadequate because they may not accurately read
low enough to detect its presence.

38
• Many aquarists use water provided by machines at
grocery stores or from their local fish stores.
Many of these are apparently reverse osmosis (RO)
water.

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40
review
• natural ocean water has an average salinity of
about 35 ppt, corresponding to a specific gravity
of about 1.0264 and a conductivity of 53 mS/cm.
Salinity can vary substantially from place to
place.

41
• As far as I know, little real evidence suggests
that keeping a coral reef aquarium at anything
other than natural salinity levels is preferable.

42
• It appears to be common practice to keep marine
fish, and in many cases reef aquaria, at somewhat
lower than natural salinity levels. This practice
stems, at least in part, from the belief that
fish are less stressed at reduced salinity.

43
• Substantial misunderstandings also arise among
aquarists as to how specific gravity really
relates to salinity, especially considering
temperature effects.

44
Specific gravity versus slainity
• One question that every marine aquarist faces is
the amount of salt to add to the tank. Most
beginning texts choose to describe the salinity
in terms of specific gravity, and go on to relate
how one measures it with a hydrometer. While not
nearly as precise as measuring salinity with a
conductivity probe or a refractometer,
hydrometers are chosen by many because they are
inexpensive and easy to use.

45
Hydrometer measures density or specific gravity
• For many aquarium purposes, they are perfectly
adequate.

46
The wonderful world of spcific gravity
• One question that every marine aquarist faces is
the amount of salt to add to the tank. Most
beginning texts choose to describe the salinity
in terms of specific gravity, and go on to relate
how one measures it with a hydrometer.

47
• While not nearly as precise as measuring salinity
with a conductivity probe or a refractometer,
hydrometers are chosen by many because they are
inexpensive and easy to use. For many aquarium
purposes, they are perfectly adequate.

48
• Why is specific gravity useful to aquarists?
Primarily because it is a simple and quantitative
way to tell how much of something is in water. If
things less dense than water are dissolved in it,
then the specific gravity will drop. Ethanol, for
example, is less dense than water, and makes the
specific gravity drop. This fact is used by
brewers to gauge the amount of alcohol in their
brews.

49
• Likewise, if things denser than water are
dissolved in it, the specific gravity goes up.
Nearly all inorganic salts are denser than water,
so dissolving them in water makes the specific
gravity rise. This rise can be used by aquarists
to gauge how much salt is in their water. Of
course, it cannot tell you what is in the water,
but if you are using an appropriate salt mix, it
can tell you how much is there and whether it
approximates natural seawater or not.

50
• The salinity on natural reefs has been discussed
in previous articles. My recommendation is to
maintain salinity at a natural level. If the
organisms in the aquarium are from brackish
environments with lower salinity, or from the Red
Sea with higher salinity, selecting something
other than 35 ppt may make good sense. Otherwise,
I suggest targeting a salinity of 35 ppt
(specific gravity 1.0264 conductivity 53
mS/cm).

51
• Fortunately, coral reef aquaria seem rather
forgiving with respect to salinity.  The range of
salinities in what most would say are successful
reef aquaria is actually quite large.  Dont
agonize over small changes from natural
seawater.  You will not notice any benefit
changing from 36 or 34 ppt to 35 ppt (specific
gravity 1.0256 to 1.0271).  Many fine reef
aquaria appear to run at salinity levels as low
as 31 ppt (specific gravity 1.023), but bear in
mind that the values that aquarists report (as
well as your own measurements) are fairly likely
to be inaccurate, so pushing the low or high end
of the range may not be prudent.

52
• Bear in mind that if aquarists target salinity
values different than 35 ppt, the amounts of
calcium, magnesium, alkalinity, etc., will all
likely deviate from natural levels as well.  For
example, making artificial seawater to a low
salinity will normally result in low values for
these parameters and may require adjustments.

53
How to Mix Artificial Seawater
• First, add the freshwater to the mixing
container.  The container can be any size, but
larger containers will be less likely to have
off parameters caused by taking a small portion
of a container of salt mix that may not be
representative of the bucket or bag due to
settling.

54
• I make up 88 gallons at a time.  Assuming that it
is made from pure freshwater, mixed artificial
seawater can be stored for as long as needed
without continuous stirring or heating.  I keep
mine for a few weeks completely unstirred after
initial mixing.  It will not become anaerobic
(although used tank water or natural seawater may
become anaerobic due to the breakdown of organics
in it, and should not be stored unaerated).

55
• Do not add anything other than salt mix to the
freshwater unless you determine, after mixing in
the salt, that it is deficient in something
important.  Add the salt and stir. Adding the
salt before the water can be okay, but causes an
unusually high salinity for the period when you
are adding water, which can result in the
formation of certain precipitates that may be
hard to redissolve.

56
• Overnight stirring with a powerhead is a good way
to dissolve the salt, but shorter stirring can be
okay, if done vigorously.  If you are using the
saltwater for very small water changes (2 or
less at once), you need not heat it.  If you want
to add any calcium (I do), magnesium (I do),
alkalinity (I dont) or anything else (not
recommended), add it after the salt has
dissolved.  The overnight stirring will also help
with aeration, which can be useful for some mixes
that start with a high pH and need to pull in CO2
from the air to reach normal pH.

57
• After aeration, the pH is determined only by the
alkalinity and the ambient carbon dioxide level
in the air.  It is not an attribute of the salt
mix.  More details on pH will be covered in a
future article.  Aeration also pulls in oxygen,
if the starting freshwater was deficient in
oxygen.

58
• Measure the salinity, and then adjust it by
adding more salt mix or more water as necessary
to reach your desired salinity.

59
• he following guidelines provide a short synopsis
of the important conclusions from this article
• 1.  Dont focus on perfect salt mixes (none
exist), or any other chemical attribute of coral
reef aquaria.  Focus on attainable suitability.
• 2.  Natural seawater might be a fine choice for a
coral reef aquarium.  If using natural seawater,
be sure it is collected, treated and stored in a
suitable manner.

60
• 3.  Artificial seawater is another option.  Dont
get worked up by every salt mix comparison that
comes along.

61
• A variety of brands of salt mix have been used
successfully by a large number of aquarists,
including Reef Crystals, Instant Ocean and Tropic
Marin (Pro and regular).  If you select one of
these, it is unlikely that any failures you will
encounter will relate to a problem with the salt
mix.

62
• 4.  Use appropriately pure freshwater to make the
salt mix and top-off for evaporation.
• 5.  Use an appropriate device, appropriately
calibrated, to measure salinity.  I recommend
targeting natural ocean salinity (S35 PSU or 35
ppt, specific gravity 1.0264).  But salinity is
fairly forgiving, and a range around these values
is certainly acceptable.

63
conclusion
• Good water need not require an overly
complicated exploration of chemical and
biological testing.  Asking questions from
experienced people is the best bet.   Using that
type of information, this article provides the
basics necessary to obtain suitable aquarium
water to start with.
• Of course, that water quickly becomes depleted in
some chemicals, and polluted with others.
Subsequent articles in this series will provide
details on how to deal with those issues in ways
that are tried and true, and not overly
complicated.
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