I sent off a water sample from my salt water aquarium for professional testing. I really wanted to know what I was doing wrong. My soft corals were just looking sadder and sadder day by day. I got back the results and thought I would share them.
I sent the test to Triton labs in Germany. They have an inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrograph. I don't know how you'd get much better than that for precision.
They test for the following elements: Na
, Sr, B, Br, S,
Li, Be, Ba, Ti, V, Cr, Mn, Fe
, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, Al, Si, As, Sb, Sn, Cd, Se, Mo, Hg, P (PO4
), Pb, I
They then grade your sample by how closely it matches 'perfect' sea water. My results were:
(Legend: Element, my result, ideal result, deviation)
(Magnesium) 1278.00 mg
/l 1370.00 mg
(potassium) 250.20 mg
/l 400.00 mg
B (Boron) 2.97 mg
/l 4.50 mg
Li (Lithium) 380.80 µg/l 200.00 µg/l 180.80
I (Iodine) 16.76 µg/l 60.00 µg/l -43.24
P (Phosphorus) 0.00 µg/l 6.00 µg/l -6.00
(Phosphate) 0.000 mg
/l 0.018 mg
It looks like the Iodine and Phosphorus have been completely depleted from the tank. I'm guessing the Calupera that hitch hiked into my tank has something to do with the phosphorus being depleted. Several others are low. Lithium is high but some google searches indicate most salt mixes are too high in Lithium.
I was glad to see I have heavy metals issues and the Calcium level was good. I used Aragonite sand in my tank.
The Potassium and Boron were also both very low. I found the Red Sea brand "Coral Colors B" supplement contains both. I ordered it and treated the tank. The maximum permissible daily dose was 10ml according to their specs. My soft coral immediately closed up and turned brown. They note in the instructions this is a symptom of potassium 'burn' so I stopped and waited. After three days they all opened back up and began opening up their polyps daily. All the corals seem to be MUCH happier with this treatment. I changed the daily dosage down to 1ml instead of 10ml and that seems to not shock them.
I don't work for, or have any interest in, any of the companies mentioned here.