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April 28, 2010 at 6:25 am #1811tjdouglasMember
First, please let me express my thanks again for the good advice you always provide! I know many of us seahorse lovers would be totally in the dark without your wonderful site. Thank you so much!
I was wondering if there are particularly special concerns about using ozone to raise the ORP level in a seahorse aquarium? I do understand that, as per good aquarium practice, water treated through the ozone process needs to flow through carbon or chemipure before flowing back into the main tank, but are seahorses considered more sensitive than other fish when it comes to ozone? Also, is setting the ORP level at about 350 good practice for seahorses?
Thanks so much for your help!
TomApril 29, 2010 at 6:28 am #5114Pete GiwojnaGuest
No, sir, seahorses are no more sensitive to ozone than other marine fish. But, just as you say, sir, if ozone is used correctly in the aquarium there should be no residual ozone that reaches the main tank with the fish in any case.
If you can afford it, using a control unit to adjust the ORP via carefully administered doses of ozone in a seahorse tank should be beneficial, providing it is done properly. An ORP level of between 200-350 is perfectly acceptable for a FOWLR tank; you do not want the ORP level to rise above 500 for any length of time, as indicated below.
Redox Potential or Oxidation-Reduction Potential (ORP):
Normal Range = 200-500 mV (millivolts)
Optimum Level = 350 mV (millivolts)
The redox potential relates to the degree of water purity in the aquarium, and can be thought of as a measurement of the water’s ability to cleanse itself via oxidation. It is measured in millivolts of conductivity, a unit that provides information about the reduction and oxidation characteristics of the water. (“Redox” is merely a contraction of reduction-oxidation.) Oxidation-Reduction Potentials (ORP) are closely related to the stability of the marine aquarium and can therefore be used as a barometer of water quality. Highly efficient filtration, good aquarium maintenance and management, and the use of ozone in conjunction with a protein skimmer will help to boost redox values.
The best way to administer ozone for your purposes is to use a sump-mounted protein skimmer with an ozonizer controlled by any of the quality aquarium controllers that can monitor ORP, Tom. The outflow from the skimmer should then pass through a large, deep bed of quality activated carbon before it is returned to the sump and reaches the main tank.
Best wishes with all your fishes, Tom!
Pete GiwojnaApril 29, 2010 at 9:35 am #5115tjdouglasGuest
Thank you so much for the quick response! You are always so helpful and I appreciate it very much.
I am doing exactly as you suggest; connecting the ozone generator to a controller which measures the ORP level in the tank and making sure that the ozonized water flows through plenty of carbon before returning to the main tank. I think I may start at the lower end of the ORP level, setting the controller around 275 or so until I am sure that all looks well.
Is there anything I should watch out for specifically in terms of possible ozone poisoning? Is there any sort of symptoms a seahorse might exhibit if it was suffering ozone exposure? Thanks again for your help!
TomApril 30, 2010 at 6:13 am #5116Pete GiwojnaGuest
As we have been discussing, ozone must be used properly in order to avoid damaging the aquarium inhabitants (or the aquarist himself). To put it bluntly, high levels of ammonia exposure will kill the aquarium fish and invertebrates, as well as destroying the beneficial nitrifying bacteria that carry out biological filtration. Death from ammonia exposure is typically the result of asphyxiation, since the oxidative ability of the ozone damages red blood cells in several ways. Ozone exposure induces hemolysis of red blood cells, formation of methemoglobin (rendering the erythrocytes unable to transport oxygen), and red blood cell membrane lipid peroxidation.
Respiratory distress is therefore the early symptom of ozone exposure at low levels. Labored breathing, huffing, rapid respirations, and pallor are some early indications of ozone exposure. At higher levels, the gill tissue itself can be oxidized or "burned" by exposure to ozone, and critical damage to the gills hastens death.
This is what I usually advise home hobbyists with regard to ozone, Tom:
Ozone (O3) is the highly unstable triatomic form of oxygen. The instability of the ozone molecule makes it highly reactive, and it oxidizes or "burns up" organic compounds and microbes on contact. As a result, ozone is widely used for water purification and sterilization, particularly in Europe (Fenner, 2003a). When used in conjunction with a protein skimmer and properly administered, it provides many benefits to the aquarium and is a very useful option seahorse keepers should strongly consider employing.
Ozone chemically degrades large organic molecules, thereby helping to raise pH, increase dissolved oxygen levels and Redox potential, and improve water quality in general while greatly increasing the efficiency of your protein skimmer (Fenner, 2003a). Its ability to destroy microbes on contact also makes it a very useful disease control measure. Virtually all the large public aquaria employ ozone in their systems for these reasons.
For best results, an ozonizer or ozone generator is used to introduce ozone into the bubble column of a protein skimmer or a special reaction chamber. The outflow from the skimmer should then be discharged into a filter or sump for degassing and chemical filtration before being returned to the main aquarium (Fenner, 2003a). In the best systems, ozone is used in conjunction with an ORP controller in order to optimize and stabilize Redox (reduction-oxidation potential).
Ozone is not necessary for keeping seahorses successfully. Protein skimmers can certainly be operated effectively without it and captive-bred seahorses will thrive in a well-maintained system without the use of ozone. But in my opinion, the benefits ozone provides far outweigh the costs and it can be a very useful addition to a SHOWLR tank. Ozone is by no means a necessity, but it is a very worthwhile investment in the long-term health of your seahorses.
Best of luck with your ozonizer and ORP controller, Tom.
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