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  • AC

    Aquaclear brand of hang on back filters, usually linked to model AC500, etc.

    Acclimation

    A change that occurs in an organism to allow it to tolerate a new environment. The process of preparing an organism to be introduced to a new aquarium safely.

    Acropora

    A genus of hard (stony) corals that contain the elkhorn and staghorn corals.

    Acrylic

    A form of plastic that has uses much like glass. Acrylic is stronger than glass, and can be bent at various angles. Acrylic pieces are chemically bonded together. The downside is that acrylic is easily scratched.

    Actinic Light

    A type of florescent light with a very blue spectrum. It is the primary color of light in the ocean below 30 feet and is required by corals and other reef creatures which contain photosynthetic algae.

    AFAIK

    As far as I know (forum lingo)

    AGA

    All-Glass Aquarium, an aquarium manufacturer.

    AIO

    All-In-One. Generally in reference to an aquarium with built in filtration and lighting systems.

    Aiptasia

    Small pest anemonies that will retract into crevices or holes in rockface when threatened. Not reef safe. Will spread quickely. Around 1-3 inches, from a white-pink-brown coloration.

    Air Pump

    A small electric pump that provides air for air tubes, protein skimmers, bubblers, etc.

    Algae

    Unicellular, multicellular, solitary, or colonial organisms that contain chlorophyll. They lack roots, stems, leaves, flowers, and seeds. Algae are in the Kingdom Protista.

    Many types of algae are common in reef aquariums, some are desirable while others are considered pests.

    Algal Bloom

    A sudden spurt of algal growth that can indicate potentially hazardous changes in aquarium water chemistry.

    ALK

    Alkalinity, Alkaline.

    Alkaline

    Having a pH of more than 7. Alkaline solutions are also said to be basic.

    Ammonia

    NH3, a toxic substance that builds up in the aquarium. It is released by fish through their gills and as a result of waste buildup. Ammonia is the first step in the nitrogen cycle, and is removed by bacterial action where it is transformed into nitrite.

    Anemone

    A cnidarian of the class Anthozoa that possesses a flexible cylindrical body and a central mouth surrounded by tentacles.

    Apoptosis

    Programmed cell death

    Aquaculture

    The growing of aquatic organisms in controlled environments for any commercial, recreational, or public purpose; sector of fisheries that includes the rearing or raising under controlled conditions of aquatic products such as fishes, mollusks, crustaceans, sea weeds and other aquatic resources. In the aquarium industry aquaculture is most commonly used to grow out coral fragments or breed ornamental fish.

    Aragonite

    A calcareous substrate or sand. It's commonly used as a sand bed in reef aquariums, and is available in various grain sizes.

    Arthropoda

    An animal phylum that contains lobsters, crabs, shrimp, mantis shrimp, barnacles and copepods, fairy shrimp (all crustaceans), insects, centipedes, millipedes, spiders, scorpions, horseshoe crabs, pycnogonids (sea spiders), ticks and mites. Approximately three quarters of a million species are described, many more than all the other animal phyla combined. The crustaceans are the arthropods associated with coral reefs.

    ATO

    Automatic Top Off. A system used with an aquarium that replenishes evaporated water. These systems usually include some kind of float switch, a pump, and a water reservoir.

    Ballast

    An electrical device for starting and regulating fluorescent and discharge lamps

    BB

    Bare Bottom, referring to keeping an aquarium with no substrate at the bottom.

    Berlin System

    A method of biological filtration that uses only live rock and a powerful protein skimmer.

    Biological Filtration

    A method of natural filtration that uses bacteria to break down waste substances by means of the nitrogen cycle. Examples such as live rock, trickle filters, bio-wheels, and sponge filters.

    Bleaching

    Loss of zooxanthellae in corals with resultant white coloration caused by a bacterial infection or environmental stress.

    Brackish

    Mixed fresh and salt water.

    BSJF

    Blue Spotted Jawfish

    BTA

    Bubble tip anemone

    BTW

    By the way (forum lingo)

    Ca

    Calcium

    Calcareous

    Composed of or containing a substance made of calcium carbonate.

    Canister Filter

    An external device that water is pumped through then returned back to the aquarium. Used for mechanical, chemical, and/or biological filtration.

    CC

    Crushed coral substrate or Counter Current (A type of protein skimmer).

    Chaeto

    Chaetomorpha or "Chaeto" algae is a green macro algae from the Division Chlorophyta and is one of the more common plants to keep in your marine aquarium to help maintain your water purity. The most common species is Chaetomorpha linum and is probably what is in your tank.

    Cheato

    A mispelling of Chaeto, short for Chaetomorpha algae, often used in refugiums.

    Chiller

    A piece of equipment used to cool down the water in an aquarium. Chillers are available in different types and sizes, including one that hooks up in-line with the water flow of the tank and one that drops into the sump. They all feature a thermostat for maintaining a constant temperature. Larger tanks require larger chiller units. These are generally used when the water temperature cannot be kept below 82°F by itself.

    Copper

    A metal used in the form of copper sulphate to cure diseases and parasite infestations on fish. Copper is highly toxic to marine invertebrates and should never be used in a nano reef.

    Coralline Algae

    Algae that form solid calcium carbonate accretions. Coralline is desirable in reef aquariums, and helps prevent undesirable algae from growing. Covers rocks, aquarium walls, and equipment. Usually pink or purple, turns white when it dies.

    Crustacea

    A subphylum of Arthropoda that includes shrimp, mantis shrimp, lobsters, crabs, water fleas, copepods, crayfish and wood lice. There are almost 40,000 described species of crustaceans. The Crustacea are mainly aquatic, but include some semi-terrestrial and terrestrial groups

    CUC

    Clean Up Crew

    Cyanide Fishing

    A destructive fishing technique in which sodium cyanide or some other cyanide compound is used to stun and capture coral reef fishes for the aquarium and live food trade. Often results in poisoning and eventual death of the fish.

    Cyano

    See Cyanobacteria

    Cyanobacteria

    A photosynthetic aquatic bacteria, often called blue-green algae, but have no relationship to algae. Not all "blue-green" bacteria are blue; some common forms are red or pink. In an aquarium environment cynobacteria can quickly cover and kill corals.

    DAA

    Dead after arrival, i.e. during or after acclimation.

    Deionization

    A water purification method, typically used in conjunction with reverse osmosis purification.

    Detritivores

    An organism that feeds on dead organic material, detritus.

    Detritus

    Waste or debris of any kind. Organic matter produced by the decomposition of organisms.

    DI

    See Deionization

    Diatom

    A microscopic single-celled alga that has a cell wall of silica. Usually one of the first forms of new life to appear in a new aquarium.

    DIY

    Do it yourself

    DOA

    Dead on arrival.

    DOC

    Dissolved organic compounds.

    DOS

    Dissolved organic solids

    Dosing Pump

    A controlled pump used to add water or trace elements to an aquarium at specified intervals. Good for automatically correcting evaporation or dosing kalk.

    DSB

    Deep sand bed. Generally 4 inches or deeper.

    Etiology

    Underlying cause

    Fish Only

    Saltwater aquariums that contain no corals or other invertebrates are considered to be "Fish Only."

    FO

    See Fish Only

    FOWLR

    Fish only with live rock. An aquarium with no significant corals.

    Frag

    A fragment of a parent coral, or small coral. See Fragmentation.

    Frag Plug

    A small disc or cylinder made of ceramic, aquarium substrate, rubble rock, etc. used to mount coral frags on. Often made to fit into holding racks for coral grow-out.

    Fragmentation

    A means of artificial reproduction by which sections or segments of a coral is divided, cut, or broken into pieces from which a new colony is grown.

    FS

    For Sale, found in the classified forums.

    FTS

    Full Tank Shot (forum lingo) 

    FTW

    "For The Win" (forum lingo)

    fuge

    short for refugium

    Fuge

    Short for Refugium.

    FW

    Freshwater

    FWIW

    For what it's worth (forum lingo)

    FYI

    For your information (forum lingo)

    Gal

    Gallon

    GCG

    Green Clown Goby

    GFI

    Ground fault interrupt

    GFO

    Granular Ferric Oxide

    GHA

    Green hair alage

    GPH

    Gallons per hour, for measuring pumps.

    GSP

    Green Star Polyps

    HA

    Hair Algae

    HD

    Home Depot, home improvement store

    Herbivore

    An animal that eats plants. Herbivores such as snails are an important part of a reef tank because they help keep algae under control.

    HOB

    Hang on back filter

    HTH

    Hope this helps (forum lingo)

    Hydrometer

    A device used to measure the specific gravity of seawater. The most common types consist of a clear chamber with a floating needle.

    hypoxia

    Lacking or defficient in oxygen

    Ichthyology

    The branch of zoology devoted to the study of fish.

    Ick

    Cryptocaryon Irritans Paracite (or ich)

    ID

    Identification

    IM

    Instant message (forum lingo)

    IMAC

    International Marine Aquarium Conference.

    IMHO

    In my honest opinion (forum lingo)

    IMO

    In my opinion (forum lingo)

    Invertebrate

    Animals with no backbones. This group includes mollusks, crustaceans, worms, corals, and composes a large number of reef inhabitants.

    IO

    Instant Ocean, a brand of salt mix

    Iodine

    A trace element found in seawater necessary in small quantities for some reef invertebrates, particularly corals and clams.

    IRC

    Internet Relay Chat, a chat room protocol used for the #NanoReef chat room.

    J/K

    Just kidding (forum lingo)

    JM2C

    Just my two cents (forum lingo)

    JMO

    Just my opinion

    Kalk

    See Kalkwasser

    Kalkwasser

    A solution of calcium hydroxide in water, which is alkaline. Also known as limewater. An additive that is slowly dripped into a reef aquarium to raise the alkalinity and calcium levels.

    LED

    Light Emitting Diode

    LFS

    Local Fish Store

    LHS

    Local hardware store

    Live Rock

    Rocks removed from the ocean that usually have a variety of sea life attached to them, including sponges, algae, coralline algae, worms, and starfishes. Live rock is commonly used in reef aquariums because it contains bacteria that can help filter the water through nitrification.

    LOL

    Laugh out loud (forum lingo)

    LPS

    Large Polyp Scleractinian; Large Polyp Stony (coral)

    LR

    See Live Rock

    LS

    Live sand

    MACNA

    The Marine Aquarium Conference of North America

    Macroalgae

    Large plant-like algae commonly found in red, green and brown varieties. One of the most common of these is Caulerpa, which produces large green spheres resembling grapes.

    MASNA

    Marine Aquarium Societies of North America.

    Medusa

    Adult stage of most organisms from phylum Cnidaria with the exception of class Anthozoa.

    Metal Halide

    Metal halide lights are a type of light bulb which burns very white and very bright. They require a special fixture and ballast. They are the closest thing we have to artificial sunlight, and are typically used on reefs and planted tanks. 

    MH

    See Metal Halide

    Mini nem

    Short form of "mini carpet anemone". Stichodactyla tapetum is the species name.

    Nano Reef

    A small reef aquarium, generally 20 gallons or less. Also known as nanoreef or nano-reef.

    Necrosis

    Cell death caused by non-planned cellular injury.

    Nematocysts

    Specialized stinging cells

    Newbie

    A beginner, someone new to the hobby.

    NH3

    See ammonia.

    Nitrate

    NO3 the final product in the nitrogen cycle. It is not toxic, but can be dangerous at high levels. Nitrate is created by the oxidation of nitrite by nitrobacter bacteria. In a nano reef, nitrate levels should be kept below 10 ppm.

    Nitrification

    The process by which ammonia is changed to nitrite, then nitrate, and finally nitrogen gas. See nitrogen cycle.

    Nitrite

    NO2 the second product in the nitrogen cycle. Nitrite is a highly toxic substance that is produced by the oxidation of of ammonia by nitrosomonas bacteria. It is easily removed with biological filtration.

    Nitrogen Cycle

    The nitrogen cycle describes how organic wastes break down in the aquarium. Fish wastes naturally decompose into ammonia, which is highly toxic. Nitrosomonas bacteria process the ammonia into nitrite, which is also toxic. Nitrobacter bacteria then break down the nitrite into nitrate, which is much less harmful. This is as far as the cycle goes in most tanks, though under the right conditions, the nitrate is further broken down to free nitrogen gas.

    NO

    Normal Output fluorescent lighting

    NO2

    See Nitrite

    NO3

    See Nitrate

    NP

    No problem (forum lingo)

    NSW

    Natural sea water

    Nudi

    See Nudibranch

    Nudibranch

    Marine gastropods (Nudibranchia) having no shell of various color and size

    OC

    Orange Crush

    ORP

    Oxidation Reduction Percentage (dissolved organic breakdown time)

    OSFF

    Orange-Spotted Filefish

    PAR

    Photosynthetically Active Radiation. Wavelengths of light that can be absorbed by chlorophyll or other light harvesting pigments.

    Parameter

    A particular physical, chemical, or biological property that is being measured.

    Parasite

    An organism that feeds on the tissues of another organism. Parasites are one of the major causes of disease in aquarium fishes.

    Pathogenesis

    Origin of a disease

    PC

    PowerCompact fluorescent lighting

    pH

    Provides a measure on a scale from 0 to 14 of the acidity or alkalinity of a solution where 7 is neutral and <7 is acidic and >7 is basic; concentration of hydrogen ions.

    PH

    See Powerhead

    Phosphate

    A nutrient that can case uncontrolled growth of algae in the aquarium. It can also toxic in high concentrations and must be kept to a minimum in reef aquariums. Phosphate can be easily removed by a number of commercially available filter medias.

    Photoperiod

    The length of time your aquarium lights are turned on.

    Pico Reef

    A small reef aquarium, generally 5 gallons or less. Also known as picoreef or pico-reef.

    Plankton

    The passively floating or weakly motile aquatic plants (phytoplankton) and animals (zooplankton).

    Plug

    See Frag Plug

    PM

    Private message (forum lingo)

    Polyp

    An individual of a solitary coral or one member of a coral colony.

    Powerhead

    A small submersible pump commonly used inside an aquarium to provide additional water movement. Several powerheads can be used in conjunction with a controller unit to simulate natural wave actions.

    PPM

    Parts Per Million

    Protein Skimmer

    This mechanical filter, also called a foam fractionator, sends many small bubbles through a column of water to separate dissolved organic compounds from the water. They come in many varieties such as venturi, counter-current, and co-current. They are only effective in salt water. They may be placed in the tank, hung on the side, or placed in a sump.

    PVC

    Poly vinyl chloride, a type of pipe used for plumbing aquariums

    QT

    Quarantine Tank

    Quarantine Tank

    A tank (other then your display) set-up specifically to monitor and prevent outbreaks of problems in your main display aquarium when you bring home new fish, inverts, etc. Usual time in a QT is 2-4 weeks. Most commercial Aquariums (Monterey Bay, Aquarium of the Pacific, etc.) always Quarantine for minimum of 4 weeks.

    Reflector

    Something having a polished surface for reflecting light. Reflectors are placed around aquarium lights to guide and direct their light downward.

    refugium

    An area separate from the display tank (often in a sump), that is meant to be a refuge for organisms like "pods". Macroalgae is often found in refugiums as both a habitate for the pods and a form of nutrient export (through trimming excess growth). Refugium organisms are either not widespread in the main tank (i.e. the lack of pod predators) or are not desired as display species; although some refugiums achieve a display quality as highlight organisms like sea grasses.

    Reverse Osmosis

    This is a purification method for tap-water. Prefiltered tap water is pushed through a reverse osmosis membrane. Water that makes it through is considered pure, while water that does not, is sent through a special tube and is rendered impure. As it relies on water which is able to pass through the membrane, it also generates a large quantity of "waste" water which cannot be used. This is one of the best, but slowest methods of tap water purification. Reverse Osmosis units produce purified water at extremely slow rates, sometimes as low as 10 or 15 gallons per day (depending on your water pressure and temperature).

    RO

    See Reverse Osmosis

    RO/DI

    Reverse osmosis with deionization. DI filtration alone is highly effective at purification, but the filter media exausts quickly. By adding it to the end of a reverse osmosis filter, near 100 percent purity can be acheived, while extending the life of the DI resin.

    ROFL

    Rolling on the floor laughing (forum lingo)

    RTN

    Rapid Tissue Necrosis

    Salinity

    A measure of the salt concentration of water.

    SG

    See Specific Gravity

    Shroom

    A mushroom coral

    Small Polyp Scleractinian

    Small Polyp Scleractinian; Small Polyp Stony (coral); See Acropora

    Soft Coral

    Common name for species of the anthozoan order Alcyonacea of the subclass Octocorallia. In contrast to the hard or stony corals, most soft corals do not possess a massive external skeleton.

    Softies

    See Soft Coral

    Specific Gravity

    The ratio of density of a given liquid to that of pure water. Specific gravity is used to measure the salinity of seawater as compared to distilled water. Distilled water has a specific gravity of 1.000 while natural seawater has a specific gravity of about 1.025. SG readings are also effected by temperature.

    SPS

    Small Polyped Scleractinian, Small Polyped Stony Coral

    Starphire

    PPG's high clarity glass which comes from minimal iron impurities

    STN

    Slow Tissue Necrosis

    Sump

    A container that houses items such as wet/dry filters, skimmers, heaters, and refugiums. Sumps are generally kept below the display aquarium. Water drains into the sump from the aquarium above, and is pumped back to the aquarium.

    SW

    Saltwater

    Sweeper Polyp

    A polyp that acts in an aggressive manner by stinging neighboring corals and sessile invertebrates.

    Sweeper Tentacle

    A coral polyp tentacle that has an increased number of nematocysts and elongates in order to 'sting' neighboring corals and sessile invertebrates. A tool in the competition for space and resources.

    T5HO

    T5 High Output Lighting

    TDS

    Total Dissolved Solids

    TIA

    Thanks in advance (forum lingo)

    TOTM

    Tank of the month (forum lingo)

    Trace Elements

    Elements that occur naturally in small quantities in seawater. These are required for survival by many reef organisms, and include calcium, iodine, strontium, molybdenum, lithium, and barium.

    TTYL

    Talk to you later (forum lingo)

    TY

    Thank you (forum lingo)

    UGF

    Under-gravel filter

    VHO Lighting

    Very High Output (VHO) lights are specially designed fluorescent lights that give off a much higher intensity light than regular fluorescent bulbs. This makes them much more effective as light sources for reef systems, since many corals require strong light. As with all fluorescent lights, VHOs require a ballast unit for operation.

    W

    Watts

    W/C

    See Water Change

    Water Change

    The process of removing a certain percentage of water from a reef aquarium and replacing it with newly mixed saltwater. This process helps remove disolved organics, nitrates, detritus, and replenishes trace elements. In a nano reef, 10 percent changes are recommened every week, or 20 percent every other week.

    Wet/Dry Filter

    A biological filtration system that is exposed to the air to aid nitrification. This system typically consists of a large box that is placed underneath the aquarium. Water passes down into the filter over a filtration medium where bacteria remove toxins. The water is then pumped back up into the tank. A sponge or other mechanical filtration medium may also be used in a wet/dry filter.

    WTB

    Want To Buy, found in the classified forums.

    WYSIWYG

    What You See Is What You Get, refers to a purchase where the picture posted by the seller is the specific item the buyer will receive, not a representation.

    YCG

    Yellow Clown Goby (Gobiodon okinawae)

    YGM

    You've got mail (forum lingo)

    YGPM

    You Got Personal Message (Forum Lingo)

    YWG

    Yellow Watchman Goby (Cryptocentrus cinctus)

    Zoanthid

    An anemone of the family Zoanthidae, usually found in intertidal areas and coral reefs. Commonly kept in reef aquariums for their wide range of colors and ease of care. In some species the polyps separate from each other almost completely after budding, while in other species, the polyps are all interconnected by a common mat of tissue

    Zoos

    See Zoanthid

    Zooxanthellae

    A group of dinoflagellates living endosymbiotically in association with one of a variety of invertebrate groups (e.g., corals). In corals, they provide carbohydrates through photosynthesis, which are used as one source of energy for the coral polyps. They also provide coloration for the corals.

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