Trace elements play a critical role in maximizing the water chemistry within a reef aquarium. That said, it is important to know which element levels are most crucial to maintain. This article will give you a better idea of which primary and trace elements are critical to the success of your reef aquarium.
1. Calcium, Alkalinity, Magnesium, Nitrate, Phosphate
Calcium: Calcium is the most critical element in the calcification process that allows corals to improve their health and continue to grow.
Alkalinity: Alkalinity plays a massive role in the pH level of a reef tank. A high pH ensures better calcification while creating an antiseptic environment to protect your fish from disease.
Magnesium: Magnesium aids in keeping both Calcium & Alkalinity at the proper levels within a reef tank. It, therefore, aids in the calcification process to keep corals healthy and growing.
Nitrate: The nitrogen cycle is the process of removing waste within an aquarium. The creation of Nitrate is the final stage of this process; excess amounts of Nitrate can negatively impact the health of your livestock.
Phosphate: Phosphate is another product of waste within a reef tank that, in excess amounts, can cause some significant problems in a reef environment. That said, trace amounts of phosphate can aid coral growth.
2. Iodine, Nickel, Iron, Zinc, Cobalt, Potassium, Strontium, Manganese, Molybdenum
Iodine: Iodine is an important element that can be found in heavy concentrations within coral tissue. Soft corals will benefit from frequent Iodine dosing.
Nickel: Nickel is another essential element to coral growth and coloration as it plays a vital role in allowing corals to form a strong base from which to grow.
Iron: Iron is an especially important element in coral coloration, and it is most well known for bringing out the green hues within a coral. Iron can also help grow macroalgae within a reactor or scrubber.
Zinc: Zinc is an essential element within enzymes that assist in the skeletal structure development of corals, and some corals also use it to protect themselves from excess amounts of light.
Cobalt: Cobalt is another critical element in maximizing coral coloration. Cobalt also aids in protecting corals from parasites.
Potassium: Potassium is yet another trace element crucial to coral health and growth. Most importantly, Potassium acts as a fertilizer for zooxanthellae.
Strontium: Strontium is especially important to dose for reefers with a large number of stony corals in their aquarium. Strontium enables these corals to better absorb and process Calcium to grow their skeletal structures.
Manganese: Manganese is similar to Iron in that it is crucial to coral growth and color. More specifically, Manganese can help accentuate the red hues within your corals.
Molybdenum: Molybdenum is a critical element in the nutrient cycle as it allows for a reduction in nitrates. Molybdenum is also vital to many enzymatic processes within coral health and growth.
3. Barium, Boron, Bromine, Chromium, Fluorine, Lithium, Vanadium
Barium: Barium is a crucial element that plays a role in the coral calcification process. In addition to being dosed as a trace element, Barium can be introduced to an aquarium using activated carbon.
Boron: Boron is important for pH stabilization within a reef tank. Boron is also crucial to the growth and stabilization of coral cell membranes.
Bromine: Stony corals use Bromine to help produce enzymes within their zooxanthellae that allow for the continuation of the photosynthesis process.
Chromium: Chromium is vital for allowing corals to form Enzymes that process fatty acids that aid in coral growth and health.
Fluorine: Fluorine has a presence of 25x the amount of Iodine within natural seawater, and it is important for coral coloration. You can dose Fluorine to help accentuate the blue hues within some corals.
Lithium: While little is known about its importance within the biological function of corals, it is in heavy concentrations within natural seawater.
Vanadium: Vanadium encourages the formation of color pigmentation within a coral’s zooxanthellae. Vanadium also plays a crucial role in a coral ability to fluoresce.
4. Everything Else
Have any additional questions about trace elements in your reef tank? Please reach out to our support team, who will be happy to assist you.