Water Parameters

Clown Fish in a Frogspawn

Clown Fish in a Frogspawn

Take the time to learn and understand the saltwater aquarium water parameters that are most often tested for your saltwater fish to thrive and survive!

Beneficial bacteria in the biological filter convert toxic ammonia into nitrite (also toxic).

Testing is essential and once you have detected its presence, you should take all the necessary steps to remove it.

High levels of nitrite in your saltwater aquarium can quickly lead to fish loss. Even small amount of nitrite traced in your saltwater causes stress to your fish.

See the suggested level of this parameter for your saltwater aquarium on the chart below.

    • Nitrate

Nitrate is what makes an aquarium’s biological filtration system function and stay in balance. Nitrite is converted into nitrate during the cycling process.Nitrates are not as toxic as ammonia or nitrites but they are harmful and will stress your fish at high enough levels.Constant water changes are ideal to remove nitrates in your water. See the suggested level of this parameter for your saltwater aquarium on the chart below.


Suggested Level:
Reef Aquarium
Suggested Level:
FOWLR Aquarium
Average Level:
Coral Reefs
Specific Gravity1.023 – 1.0251.020 – 1.0251.025
Temperature72 – 78°F72 – 78°F82°F
pH8.1 – 8.48.1 – 8.48.0 – 8.5
Alkalinity8 – 12 dKH8 – 12 dKH6 – 8 dKH
Ammonia (NH3)UndetectableUndetectableNear Zero
Nitrite (NO2)UndetectableUndetectableNear Zero
Nitrate –
Nitrogen (NO3)
< 1.0 ppm< 30 ppm< 0.25 ppm
Phosphate (PO4)< 0.2 ppm< 1.0 ppm< 0.13 ppm
Calcium350 – 450 ppm350 – 450 ppm380 – 420 ppm
Magnesium1250 – 1350 ppm1150 – 1350 ppm1300 ppm
Iodine0.06 – 0.10 ppm0.04 – 0.10 ppm0.06 ppm
Strontium8 – 14 ppm4 – 10 ppm8 – 10 ppm


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