[Coral-List] Aquarium reef maintenance

TDWYATT at aol.com TDWYATT at aol.com
Fri May 7 15:10:52 EDT 2004

In a message dated 05/07/2004 12:54:47 PM Eastern Daylight Time, 
r-hoestenbach at neo.tamu.edu writes:

> Would "calcium ions, hydrogencarbonate, and trace minerals", 
> when used as aquarium additives, be considered nutrientsfor either the coral 
> or their symbiotic algae? Are the minerals only extracted/precipitated for 
> use by the corals or is the a biochemical metabolic process involved that 
> could cause these additives to be considered nutrients?

I think it wilkl depend on how you're defining "nutrient".  If you're asking 
if these substances are food for the corals as in organic carbon for the 
animal part of the holobiont or nitrogen for the dinoflagellate, then no, I would 
not think that these substances are nutrients for corals.  However, the 
bicarbonate part of such additives and the calcium contained in these products ARE 
used for the asquisition of nutrition through the generation of protons during 
calcification.  If you consider that corals have evolved to occupy the niche in 
the ocean provided by oligotropic tropical waters in the presence of intense 
lighting for acquiusition of inorganic carbon for photosynthetic anabolism, 
then in a qualified manner, yes, the inorganic carbon and calcium in such waters 
are a depletable nutrition source.

See:  McConnaughey, T.A., and J.F. Whelan. 1996. Calification generates 
protons for nutrient and bicarbonate uptake. Earth Sci Rev 967: 1-23.

Hope this helps, but more than likely it's a matter of hair-splitting than 
anything else.  Might want to check some of the hobbyist literature if this is 
geared towards product regulation.

Cheers,  Tom Wyatt

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