Glossary of Aquarium Terms

This glossary of aquarium terms contains definitions for some of the most common words used in the hobby.

A

Acclimate - The process in which one will allow for a inhabitant to move from one water source to another (such as moving from the pet store's tank to your own aquarium).

Acidic - Relates to the pH scale in where anything that is measured below a pH of 7.0 is considered an acid (or acidic).

Aeration - Refers to increasing the amount of air that is passed through the water in an aquarium (also known as creating surface agitation to do so).

Alkaline - Relates to the pH scale in where anything that is equal to or above a pH of 7.0 is considered a base (or basic/alkaline).

Ammonia - NH3 is a toxic chemical byproduct produced during the breakdown of proteins in uneaten fish food, decaying waste, or excreted by aquatic animals inside of the aquarium.

B

Brackish - Water that has a slight salt content with a specific gravity between 1.006-1.015. Found naturally where rivers meet the ocean.

C

D

E

F

G

GH - General Hardness is a measurement of total calcium and magnesium.

H

I

J

K

KH - dKH is a measurement of bicarbonates and carbonates and is also known as total alkalinity or acid-neutralizing capacity.

L

M

N

Nitrate - A toxic byproduct of the nitrogen cycle that is the least toxic nitrogen byproduct often used by live plants.

Nitrite - A toxic byproduct of the nitrogen cycle that is often broken down and used by plants in a planted aquarium or can be removed with water changes.

O

P

pH - Measurement of relative alkalinity or acidity within a specific type of liquid. A pH reading of 7.0 is considered neutral, higher than 7.0 being a base/alkaline and readings lower than 7.0 are acidic.

PPM - Abbreviation for Parts Per Million that is used as a a measurement of a particular element commonly used in test kits.

Q

R

RO - Reserve Osmosis is water that has been fully stripped of all minerals and elements, to only contain pure H2O. It is commonly used to replace evaporated water.

S

T

U

V

W

X

Y

Z