Originally Posted by NatureFish
I'm hoping to start the reef hobby (I'm a freshwater person) and I was wondering what you test for. I usually test Ph, Nitrates and Ammonia just to make sure everything is in balance but when looking at coral species profiles they have units that I haven't heard of... I know you test Ph, ammonia and salinity but what else?
Well you start with the basics as you know from freshwater experience... pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate.
Then going to saltwater you add on top of that your salinity (get a refractometer - much more accurate, my hydrometer was showing 1.022 while it was really 1.026) and if you're going the reef route - your calcium, your magnesium, your alkalinity as well as your phosphates.
For your pH you will want it between 8-8.3, your ammonia and nitrite 0, and you want as low of nitrates as you can keep. Higher nitrates will affect corals if you plan on keeping them. (Mine right now are 10).
You want to keep your calcium around 420, your magnesium around 1400, your alkalinity around 10 and your phosphates should be below 0.08 but higher than 0. Somewhere in between. These are just general rule of thumb parameters, ultimately you will find what works best for you.