09-30-2008, 12:17 AM
| || |
Calcium is one of the major ions in natural seawater. Besides the four primary ions (Chloride, Sodium, Sulfate, and Magnesium) Calcium is the most prevalent of the major ions in seawater. Although there are a vast number of organisms that are reliant on, or use calcium, it's primary focus is in reefkeeping and on that of it's relationship with the bicarbonate ions. Most Corals in reef aquaria use up these two ions to deposit Calcium Carbonate Skeletons or Spicules (depending on the coral). As such, these ions are rapidly depleted in reef aquariums and must be monitored and supplemented. Calcium test kits are common and should be available in any LFS that carries SW test kits. Additionally, and especially if you are seeking to keep live corals, you will need to monitor your Alkalinity (Kh) levels. These levels are not only crucial to the health of your corals, but also to the development and proliferation of Coralline algae.
Calcium should be in the range of 380 - 450 ppm
Alkalinity should be maintained in the range of 8 - 11 dkh.
If you are keeping corals, you will inevitably begin pushing those levels to supersaturation, thus making Magnesium another necessary focal point. But thats a whole different topic.
As Cody indicated, Take it slow. Don't rush fish into your tank. I know it's frustrating to sit idly by, watching an empty tank, but both the fish, and your wallet will suffer greatly from impatience in this side of the hobby. Better to take your time and do it right. Get your tank properly established so that your fish (and inverts) can live a long, happy and healthy life.
Carbon helps to remove organic pollutants, stains, and toxic gases from the water. Some people use it consistently, some people use it sporadically, and some don't use it at all. The key to using carbon is to remember that it must be replaced frequently. Personally, I dont use it at all, but I have considered A one month dose implemented each quarter just to see if there is any noticeable difference.