Introduction to KH / Alkalinity

Calcium is not the only substance needed to form the skeletal material of corals and allow calcareous algae to grow. Carbonate and bicarbonate are also needed and these two substances can have a major effect on stabilizing or buffering pH levels in the aquarium in the correct range of 8.1 to 8.4.

The total carbonate and bicarbonate concentration is also called alkalinity or carbonate hardness and for a stable system the alkalinity should not fluctuate by more than 5% from the optimum level of approx. 2.8 meq/L i.e. a maximum fluctuation of 0.14 meq/L.

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