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What is Seawater? by Randy Holmes-Farley


Seawater is a complex solution containing a wide variety of organic and inorganic chemicals. While some of these are frequently discussed by reef aquarists, others are rarely mentioned. Without a working knowledge of what is present in natural seawater, it is often difficult to assess aquarium problems, as well as the claims of manufacturers and other aquarists about what additives and methodologies are desirable in maintaining reef aquaria.

This article is intended to help aquarists better understand the water in their aquaria. It strives to give a better understanding of what happens in seawater than does a simple table of elemental concentrations, although such tables are also provided.

The topics covered are:

In the references section are links to articles about many of the individual ions present in seawater that most interest reef aquarists. This article does not try to describe what commercial artificial seawater and reef aquarium water contain. The following linked articles are more useful for those purposes:

A Chemical Analysis of Select Trace Elements in Synthetic Sea Salts and Natural Seawater

It's (In) the Water

What We Put in the Water

It Is Still in the Water

The Composition Of Several Synthetic Seawater Mixes

Link to original article:

What is Saltwater? by Randy Holmes-Farley

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