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Updated: 3 days ago

Person holding vitamins and minerals.
Vitamins and Minerals important for bodies and corals.

Do you believe that our bodies require, among many others, vitamins, and minerals to function properly? Are you aware of the help that vitamins and minerals give to your body to repair cellular damage, heal wounds, boost your immune system, etc.? If your answers are “yes”, keep reading; if your answers are “no”, also keep reading, you might have an “aha” moment.

Minerals in conjunction with vitamins are considered micronutrients; some are known as trace elements.  Do you see where we are going here? Yes! In the same way that imbalances of minerals like Sodium (Na), Potassium (K), Calcium (Ca), and Magnesium (Mg) in our bodies might cause problems, corals, yes, LPS and SPS, suffer when there are deficiencies or excesses of minerals. 

Nurse and patient getting ready for blood test.
Testing removes the guesswork.

How do you know the levels of micronutrients in your body? Testing, right?! It’s the same for corals, you need to test the water in your saltwater aquarium to know the levels of macro, minor, or trace elements.  ICP-OES is a trace analysis that measures the elemental composition of samples.  There’s a better chance to get your system balanced when you know the levels than when you guess the levels.


We’re not saying that the only way to practice reef-keeping is by running ICP-OES test regularly; of course, there were saltwater aquariums before the hobbyists had access to ICP water test, but now we have access to a tool that helps us to remove the guesswork from achieving our goals. We’re saying that knowing what elements your system consumes, and at what rate, is important to understand your system’s needs.  It is about being proactive and monitoring what’s going on in your aquarium to make informed decisions about the animals under your care.


Is everything looking great in your saltwater aquarium? Run an ICP water test and use the results as a benchmark to maintain. “The ICP Lab” recommends performing an ICP water test on a monthly basis, if not, at least once quarterly. Read the results, evaluate, and pay attention to the trends.  Be careful not to chase numbers.


Closeup at a healthy frogspawn coral.
Frogspawn coral.


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