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Common Terms & Phrases

Acclimation - This is the process of slowly adjusting any livestock to new water conditions from what it is currently in.

Air Pump - An Air Pump is a mechanical device (usually small) that pumps or streams air into your aquarium via airline tubing. The air bubbles that are pumped in provide oxygen and water movement to your aquarium. Air Pumps are used to run air stones, your under gravel filters, decorations, etc.

Ammonia (NH3) - This is a toxic chemical product that is produced with the decay and breakdown of uneaten fish food, any other decaying waste, fish waste and excretions.

Biological Filtration - This is a filtration method where beneficial bacteria in your aquarium break down harmful ammonia (NH3) into nitrate and the into nitrate which is less toxic. Biological filtration occurs in your sand or gravel bed, or you can purchase a filtration system that has a biological feature. Filters with the biological filtration feature have media such as bio balls where beneficial bacteria is cultivate.

Brackish - Brackish is the term used to identify water that has a slight salt content with the specific gravity ranging from 1.006-1.015. Naturally, this occurs when river water meets ocean water. Brackish fish is the term to identify all fish living in these waters that can survive in both freshwater as well as water with a slight salinity. Examples are Scats and Platies.

Brine Shrimp - Super tiny crustacean that is often used as food for aquarium fish (freshwater & saltwater fish). Often times fed live to provide a higher content of nutrients, but is also available in freezed dried form or processed into flake and pellets.

Carbon (activated) - Small black pellets or granules that look like pebbles. Carbon is a form of chemical filtration. It is added into your filtration system to remove certain harmful chemical properties from your aquarium. Also helps remove odors, impurities, and discoloration to provide clear water.

Carnivore - This is the classification of an organism that feeds solely on animals and meat.

Ceramic Rings - Ceramic rings is a biological filtration media. Ceramic rings are added into filtration systems to cultivate beneficial bacteria on its porous and increased surface area. The beneficial bacteria that will grow and live on these rings will break down harmful ammonia into nitrite and then into nitrate.

Chemical Filtration - This is a filtration method in which dissolved particles in water is removed through chemical reactions. These chemical reactions occur with the use of chemical filtration media such as Carbon and other Resins.

Chiller - Machine used to help cool aquarium water often times during summer months. Also commonly used in marine aquariums where water temperature rises due to heat from lighting systems and filtration systems.

Chloramine - Chemical compound of chlorine and ammonia used to treat municipal water, often as an alternative to chlorine. Harmful to aquarium inhabitants.

Fry - Fry is a term used to identify recently hatched or baby fish.

Herbivore - This is the classification of an organism that has a diet consisting solely of plant matter

Hydrometer - An instrument that is used to measure the specific gravity and salinity of marine and brackish water aquariums.

Ich - A parasitic disease that is very commonly found in both freshwater and saltwater aquariums. The disease can be identified by small white salt-like specks all over the fish. Can be treated with medication such as Kordon's Rid Ich

Invertebrates - This is a classification for any organism that does not have a backbone. Examples are snails, shrimp, lobster, corals, etc.

Live-Bearer - A fish that does not lay eggs but but gives birth to live young. Common varieties of live-bearing fish are Platies, Mollies, Swordtails and Guppies.

Mechanical Filtration - This is a filtration method where debris such as fish waste, excess food, leaves, etc, are physically removed through a filtration media. As water runs through the mechanical filtration media, these particles of debris do not pass through and is collected. Very similar to how a strainer works. Only liquids will pass through, but any larger debris will stay behind.

Natto (Bacillus subtilis natto) - Natto is a traditional Japanese food made from soybeans fermented with Bacillus Subtilis. It is a rich source of protein and is a vital source of nutrition in Japan. Natto has been documented to reduce the likeliness of blood clotting as well as osteroporosis due to its large amounts of Vitamin K. Some people have claimed that Natto has helped them lower their cholesterol levels and control obesity. The addition of Natto in pet foods help improve the overall health of pets.

Nitrate - During the final stage of the Nitrogen cycle this chemical compound is produced from the breakdown of Nitrite by beneficial bacteria. It is the least toxic chemical compound in the nitrogen cycle compared to Ammonia and Nitrite, but can still be lethal to fish if there is large amounts. Nitrate is often used by live plants.

Nitrite- During the Nitrogen cycle Nitrite is formed formed when beneficial bacteria breakdown the ammonia. Ammonia and Nitrite are very lethal to your aquarium fish.

Nitrogen Cycle- This is the natural process where beneficial bacteria will turn Ammonia from fish waste and other decaying matter into Nitrite. Then finally turn the Nitrite to Nitrate which is less harmful to fish.

Omnivore - This is the classification of an organism that has a diet consisting of both animals/meat and plant matter.

pH - The pH number stands for the amount of acidity or alkalinity in the water. The pH scale ranges from 1 to 14, with 7 being "neutral" or the point in which the water is neither acidic or alkaline. As the scale drops below 7, the water becomes more acidic, as the scale goes above 7, it becomes more alkaline.

Protein Skimmer - Type of filter that removes dissolved organic waste and particles from water. These impurities are extracted out of the water via thousands and thousand of air bubble. How does that work? Well microscopic gunk and impurities ride onto of these many air bubbles and when the bubble reach to the top, they pop. When the bubbles pop, it deposits the gunk and impurities along the top or along the walls. These walls are usually the walls of a collection cup that you can easily remove so you discard the unwanted gunk.

RO Water - RO water stands for Reverse Osmosis Water. RO water is water that has been run through a reverse osmosis system to remove most of the chemicals found in normal tap water. The water that comes out is "pure water" that has 90-99% of most water impurities filtered out. This includes pesticides and arsenic/heavy metals.

Siphon - In aquarium use, a siphon refers to a tube or hose that is used during water changes. The siphon uses gravity to draw water out of you tank by having the end in your tank at a higher position than the output end.

Spirulina - This is a microscopic blue-green algae that lives in both freshwater and saltwater. It is commonly used in fish food to promote health, growth, and color richness.

Substrate - Sometimes called aquarium gravel. Placed on the bottom of an aquarium, substrate can be purely decorative or functional. Decorative substrate is inert, causing little or no chemical/biological reactions while functional substrate contains minerals that influence water parameters such as pH and alkalinity.

Water Parameters - Refers to the specific chemical properties of water. Usually identifying pH, alkalinity, ammonia, nitrate, nitrite levels. Water temperature is a non-chemical property that is noted in water parameters.

Zeolite - Zeolite is a form of chemical filtration. It is a micro porous aluminosilicate mineral that is added into filtration systems to help absorb and remove ammonia in freshwater aquariums.

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