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Main Index > Glossary of Aquatic Terms
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M

Macro-Algae
Complex celled algae found in marine aquaria i.e.: Calurpa.

Mbunas
Common name for rock dwelling African Cichlids from lake Malawi.

Metal Halide
A very intense type of lighting used in marine and freshwater plant aquaria.

Micro-Algae
Single celled algae often growing in strands called hair algae.

Micro-Siemens/cm
A unit of electrical conductance: how easily electricity flows through a material.

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N

Nanometer.(nm)
A unit of measurement of the wavelengths in the light spectrum.

Nitrate
Mildly toxic end product of biological filtration. Can be used as a gauge to tell when a partial water change is needed.

Nitrite
Middle element of the biological cycle.

Nitrogen cycle
The formal name for the biological cycle in which toxins are broken down into less harmful products by Aerobic bacteria.

Node
The part of the stem from which one or more leaves arise.

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O

O.D.
An abbreviation for outside diameter, used when measuring tubing dimensions.

Oodinium
Known as velvet disease, similar to ich but more deadly.

Ozone
A gas used in aquarium systems to break down organic waste, raising redox levels.

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P

Pectoral fins
Paired fins, one on each side of the body located behind the gill covers.

Petiole
The stalk of a leaf.

pH
Measurement of the degree of water acidity. It is determined by the amount of acids and bases in the water. If the amounts are equal it is called neutral with a number rating of 7.0. If more acids it is called acidic with number rating of less than 7.0, if more base it is called alkaline with a number rating of more than 7.0.

Phosphate
An element introduced into the aquarium through organic or inorganic means that promotes excessive algae growth. Can be removed through water changes.

Physiological incompatibility
The existence of some chemical or physical factor in the reproductive organs of a plant which prevents fertilization.

Pinna
A part of a leaf of a fern, corresponding to a leaflet in some flowering plants.
Power head
An electric pump that connects to the under gravel filter tubes to greatly increase the water flow.

PPM
Abbreviation for parts per million, a measurement used in test kits.

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Q

Quarantine tank
A tank set up for newly acquired or sick fish to isolate them from the main aquarium until they can be safely introduced.

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R

Rachis
The continuation of the stripes in a fern that is divided.

Redox
ORP or Redox potential is a measurement of water purity and of a systems ability to break down organic waste. The measurement is expressed in millivolts by an ORP monitor.

Resins
Synthetic media used for chemical filtration through a process known as ion-exchange.

Reverse Osmosis
A process of filtering tap water for use in the aquarium. Water passes through a membrane which filters out all elements leaving the water very pure. Trace elements you want will have to be adjusted as well as the pH

Rhizome
A stem growing more or less horizontally near the surface of the soil or gravel and sometimes showing above it.

Rootstock
A very short, but often thick stem, growing vertically at or just above the surface of the gravel. Often referred to as the Crown.

Runner
A horizontal stem growing just above the surface of the gravel and rooting at its nodes.

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S

salinity
The measurement of dissolved salts in the aquarium water.

Sessile
A term used to describe a leaf which has no Petiole.

Soft water
Water with a low concentration of dissolved salts.

Specific Gravity
The measurement used in marine systems to determine salinity.

Species tank
An aquarium where only one type of fish is kept.

Spectrum
Used to describe the wavelengths of light produced by a bulb.

Sponge filter
a large foam rubber block connected to an air lift tube. Water is drawn through the sponge, which acts as a mechanical filter and a bacteria colony. Especially useful in breeding or fry tanks.

Stipes
The stalk of a fernleaf, corresponding to the petiole in flowering plants.

Stolon
A horizontal stem growing just below the gravel, as in many species of Cryptocoryne.

Stomata
Minute pores in the surface of leaves and Herbaceous stems through which exchanges of gases with the atmosphere occurs.

Substrate
The material used to cover the bottom of the fish tank.

Sulfates
Sulfuric salts in water. They form what is known as non-carbonate hardness.
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T

Thallus
The body of a plant which is not differentiated into stem, root and leaf.

Trace elements
Minute substances found in water,that are needed for proper plant and fish growth. Usually replenished with partial water changes.

Trickle filter
A wet dry filter using a drip plate to disperse the water over bio-media.

Tritrate test method
A specific method of water testing in which a reagent is dropped into a sample until a color change is noticed. More accurate than color comparison test methods.

Turion
A modified bud, the leaves of which contain abundant storage reserves, by which the plant survives Winter and renews its growth in Spring.

Turnover rate
The number of times the water in an aquarium is passed through the filtration system in one hour. The minimum should be three or four times per hour
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U

U.V.
Ultraviolet light, generally not wanted in the aquarium. Special filters or shields are required for its' use.

Ultraviolet sterilizer
A unit designed to kill parasites and disease causing bacteria with ultraviolet light.

Under-gravel filter
A type of filter placed under the substrate that utilizes an air pump or power head to pull water through the gravel and thus oxygenates the bacteria to help in the nitrogen cycle. Not recommended for live plant tanks.

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V

Venation
The arrangement of veins in a leaf.

Ventral fins
Paired fins on the lower part of the fish, located below the gill covers. Not all fish have these.

Venturi
A valve which makes bubbles by drawing air into fast flowing water. Especially useful in protein skimmers.

Vernation
The manner in which a leaf, or the parts of a leaf, are rolled up in the bud. The same is true for the fronds of ferns.

VHO lights
Very High Output: florescent bulbs with a much higher output than NO bulbs, they require special ballast and end caps, mostly used on freshwater plant tanks or marine reef tanks.

Vitamins
Any micro-nutrients needed for continued good health of an organism. Many products are sold for specific animals.

Viviparous
Bearing young plants on vegetative organs, such as leaves.
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W

Water properties
Elements used to determine water quality. Total hardness, carbonate hardness, pH, ammonia, nitrate and temperature are the most used indicators.

Wave maker
An electronic device that alternates power to different powerheads to simulate wave motion.

Wet-Dry filter
A type of filter which has a portion of its media exposed to the air with water flowing over or through it, to greatly increase the oxygen content to the bacteria.

Whiteworms
A small worm used as food available either live or freeze-dried.

Whorl
A group of more than two organs of the same kind, like leaves arising at the same level.
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X

Xenophobia
The fear of aliens.

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Y

Yeast method of fertilization
A do-it-yourself method of supplying Co2 to fresh water aquariums. It involves yeast, sugar and two liter bottles.

Yellow water
Name given to water with a slight yellow tinge. Can be caused by too much organic material in the water or to show that a water change is needed. Eliminated through carbon filtration and better water management.

Yolk sac
A small container still connected to the baby fish after hatching, consisting of the unabsorbed egg yolk.

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Z

Zeolites
A substance used in fresh water aquaria for the removal of ammonia.

Zooplankton
Tiny animals or larvae of other animals living in water. usually used in reference to marine aquaria.

Zooxanthellae
The symbiotic single celled brown or yellow algae living in some marine invertebrates. They supply important elements to their hosts.

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