The process by which a
filter media traps unwanted molecules.
The process of slowly
introducing a fish to new water conditions .
solution (i.e. water) with a
pH less than 7.0 .
Water with a pH of less than
A plastic material used to
construct fish tanks, filters and accessories.
A commonly used chemical
A highly porous filtering medium prepared by exposing organic materials such as bones to
high temperatures and steam; absorbs dissolved organic compounds and large ions such
iodide from water.
A small fin located behind
the dorsal fin and in front of the caudal fin.
A small fin composed of fatty tissue located between the dorsal and caudal fins of some
fish such as characins and some catfish .
A term used to describe an
organism that needs oxygen to survive.
1- tap water that has been
left to stand, and from which chlorine has been neutralized; 2- water from a healthy,
well-established aquarium that does not contain large amounts of nutrients.
A device for delivering air
under low pressure to tank equipment via tubing.
A device that attaches to
the air pump to create various bubble effects.
A porous diffuser used to release tiny bubbles; usually made of fused sand.
Any of a wide variety of
photosynthetic organisms lacking a vascular system; maybe be unicellular, filamentous, or
A fish or invertebrate which
feeds on algae. Example: Siamese Flying Fox, Otocinclus affinis.
The tube of the digestive
system through which food passes, where digestion takes place.
Water with a pH between 7
and 14. Also known as Basic.
A measure of the ability of a
solution to neutralize acid without a change in pH.
A dissolved gas that even in
low concentrations is toxic to fish. It is produced by the breakdown of organic waste
A colourless, toxic gas with a strong odour; NH3.
The ionized form of ammonia;
its properties are similar to those of alkali metals sodium and potassium; NH4.
A labyrinth fish; they have an
organ that permits them to breathe atmospheric oxygen.
Single fin mounted
vertically below the fish.
The unpaired fin in the mid line of the ventral surface of a fish, anterior to the tail
and usually just posterior to the anus.
A term used to describe an
organism that lives in an environment with little or no oxygen.
A condition lacking
Referring to the head end of
the body of a bilaterally symmetrical animal.
A medication that kills or
otherwise halts the reproduction of bacteria.
A chemical agent that prevents
food or other perishables from being degraded through exposure to atmospheric oxygen.
One who designs or maintains
The genus to which brine shrimp belongs.
A transformer which changes
the voltage from your house outlet to the voltage needed to power different types of
Whisker-like growths around
the mouth, used for finding food and communication; a sensory organ.
Compounds that make water
Alkaline. If water contains more acids than basses it's acidic. If it has more basses than
acids it's alkaline.
A filter media used for the
colonization of bacteria.
The demand placed
upon the life-support system as a result of the metabolism of all the organisms present in
A nutrient need for
fatty acid synthesis in plants and animals.
The Natural environment of a
A rotating pleated
structure over which a stream of water is directed as part of a biological filtration
system where nitrifying bacteria grow.
Water that has a dark
cola-like color caused by Humic acids, it has a very low pH and is very soft, often
associated with the Amazon River basin.
The aquatic larva of a
gnat, red in colour, sold as frozen fish food.
A device usually placed
inside a tank, using an airlift to draw water through polyester fiber and other media
A combination of
fresh and sea water, as occurs naturally in estuaries. Salinity: 15 - 20 ppt, pH 8.0
An aquarium set up for the
breeding of fish.
Artemia salina and its
close relatives, crustaceans often fed to fish.
A term used for a nest which
is constructed of tiny air bubbles, produced by the male fish. It is used to protect the
the eggs and fry. Members of the family Anabantidae are the most widely known users of
A substance added to the
water to help maintain the pH. value.
A solution of chemical compounds and water that resists a change in pH when either acid or
alkali is added.
Having calcium carbonate
incorporated into a body structure, such as skeletal elements or a shell.
A necessary element used by
salt water corals and other organisms for their calcium carbonate skeleton or shell.
CaCO3, a crystalline solid,
insoluble in water, incorporated into supported or protective structures in many animal
and plant species.
An aquarium filter with the
media enclosed in a plastic can outside the tank, with water leaving and entering the can
through hoses leading to and from the aquarium.
Salts of carbonic acid
(H2CO3). In these salts the two hydrogen atoms of carbonic acid are replaced by
atoms of a metal.
The part of the total
hardness that is formed by the ions of carbonates(Co3) and hydrogen carbonate(HCo3). It is
symbolized by dCH. It is important to know the dCH of your water, as it affects both the
ph. and Carbon Dioxide amounts in your water. It is also commonly called "buffering
capability". a dCH of 4 to 8 is fine for most fish.
Important plant nutrient.
The higher the dCH the lower the (Co2). For most aquarium plants a level of 4-6 dCH is
A colourless, odourless gas (CO2), formed along with water during food metabolism
by most living organisms; toxic to fish, it is absorbed by plants during photosynthesis
and eliminated by aeration and buffering.
That which feeds
principally on animals.
One of several yellow
coloured organic molecules important in pigment development and cellular metabolism, such
as vitamin A.
Species of several
families with elongated sensory barbells, a scaleless skin (sometimes with bony plates),
Single fin at the back of a
fish-the tail fin.
A fish's tail fin used for locomotion.
The fleshy posterior
portion of a fish's body to which the caudal fin is attached.
Any fish in the family
Characidae, some known as tetras.
Compounds released into
the water that stimulate another organism or cell to move toward the releasing organism or
cell; females may release an attractant for sperm cells of the same species.
The removal of
dissolved compounds from water by foam fractionation or absorption on various media.
A gaseous chemical
element used in bleaching, water purification, etc., usually added by water suppliers to
your water. Toxic levels to fish are 0.2 - 0.3 mg/litre.
A chemical by-product
caused when water suppliers combine chlorine with nitrogenous compounds, such as ammonia,
which is much more stable than chlorine.
A chemical compound used in
water clarifiers. It causes fine particles to stick together to be more easily removed by
Organisms whose body
temperature is the same as that of their surroundings.
Different species of fish
kept in the same aquarium.
A Calcareous substrate
material with pH buffering abilities, for marine aquaria.
Member of the phylum
Arthropoda, invertebrate animals with a tough external skin. These include crayfish,
shrimps and water fleas such as Daphnia and Cyclops. Copepods(ex. Anchor worm) and
brachiurans (ex. Fish louse) are 2 groups of crustaceans that cause fish diseases.
prokaryotes called "blue green algae".
population of beneficial nitrifying bacteria in an aquarium's biological filtration
A genus of copepod with
a single eye in the middle of the forehead (a tiny crab with claws); harmful to fry; avoid
feeding to guppies.
Common water flea,
often cultivated as food for fish.
Breakdown of nitrates by
anaerobic bacteria into other forms.
The process in which anaerobic bacteria convert nitrate ions into nitrogen gas.
A loss of colouration; bleaching.
The term used in judging referring to how the show guppy displays itself
and swims about.
Organic waste matter that
collects on the bottom of fish tanks.
Tiny fragments of decomposing plant/animal matter.
A device that clears
fine particulate matter from water, using diatomaceous earth as media.
A filter media made up of
skeletons of Diatoms, used in Diatom filters, able to filter particles down to microns in
Abbreviation for Degrees of
A limestone gravel with a
small pH buffering ability.
Single fin mounted on top of
the fish. Some species have two, one behind the other.
The appendage or fin on the mid back of all fish.
Wingless or stump-winged fruit
flies cultured as live fish food
Parasite attached to the out
body surface of the fish.
conductor of electricity in which the current is carried by the movement of ions; may
be salts, bases or acids.
A water resistant socket for
A parasite that lives
in the body.
Proteins that catalyze
chemical reactions in living cells.
Magnesium sulfate (MgSO4).
An antibiotic; toxic to
An ecosystem formed
where a river meets the ocean. It has fluctuations in salinity due to tidal movement. A
natural home of guppies.
Mercy killing to
prevent a prolonged and painful death.
Solid wastes; feces.
A term used in the
classification of organisms. A family is made up of related Genera.
A small animal that feeds
off tiny food suspended in the water.
Method of cleaning aquarium
water, there are 3 basic types. "Mechanical" removes particulate material.
Chemical" removal of dissolved substances by passing through a type of media, like
carbon. "Biological" which is the process of changing from a harmful substance
to a less harmful one, by bacteria.
Fish behaviour shown by
rapid, glancing contact with an object in an effort to displace an external parasite or
irritation. "Flashing" refers to the fact that the lighter underbelly is seen
A member of Phylum
Platyhelminthes. Includes non-parasitic Planaria, as well as parasitic forms.
formaldehyde gas in water, used as a preservative in taxidermy, and as therapy in
Fully formed baby fish.
Recently born or hatched fish.
eukaryotes that feed via extracellular digestion, sometimes pathogenic.
The total amount of
genetic diversity within a species.
General or Total hardness
he sum of carbonate hardness
and non-carbonate hardness. Usually expressed in degrees of dH.
Abbreviation for "general hardness: or the total amount of dissolved salts of
calcium and magnesium present water.
Physical structure that causes gas exchange across the walls of capillaries between
the bloodstream and the water. Other parts include the gill cover, gill filaments, gill
A hard bony plate covering
A darker but
transparent area under the base of the penduncle which female guppies
possess; visible in very young female fry.
Water with a high
concentration of dissolved salts.
Such water than contains dissolved salts of calcium and magnesium in a
concentration greater than 200 ppm.
Small live bearing fish
from the coastal southeaster U.S., including the least killifish, H. Formosa, the smallest
North American vertebrate.
Uniformity; in fishes
it refers to a lack of variation among a group, for instance the fry from a strain of
The offspring resulting
from crossbreeding between two different species; in guppies, the resulting fish from a
cross between two different strains.
A freshwater hydrozoan
resembling a tiny sea anemone, an aquarium pest that is sometimes a problem in
breeding because it preys on fry.
Sometimes added to tank
water to increase the oxygen content as it dissociates rapidly into water and free oxygen;
also used as a disinfectant for treating fish wounds.
A device used for measuring
specific gravity usually as a measure of the salinity of water.
A very common parasitic
disease characterized by white salt-like specks all over the fish.
An infestation of the skin of a freshwater fish by the protozoan parasite
The study of biological
science concerning morphology, physiology and taxonomy and ecology of fish.
An abbreviation for inside
diameter, used when measuring tubing dimensions.
often ciliated protests and rotifers cultured as a food for fish fry.
An animal with no
A chemical element
present in seawater and essential for certain marine organisms; also found in table salt
(note: it is not toxic).
negatively charged particles.
K or Kelvin
A temperature reading used
to rate the color of lite bulbs. 5500 degrees K is equal to sunlight.
"German hardness", a
scale to measue alkalinity or carbonate hardness.
crustacean (Euphausia superba) from the sea, sold frozen or freeze-dried as fish food.
A line of sensory scales
along the sides of fish that enables them to detect vibrations and electrical impulses
from other fish.
Lies usually along the middle of each side of a fish; senses changes in water pressure
so the fish can control its swimming.
Fish which bear live
young which have already hatched from egg form inside the fish.
Curvature of the spine
induced by malnutrition in fish.
A measurement of light
intensity. (1 lumen=10.76 lux).
Complex celled algae found
in marine aquaria i.e.: Calurpa.
Common name for rock
dwelling African Cichlids from lake Malawi.
whereby particulate matter passes over medium (floss, foam) to remove it from the tank.
The process of deriving
energy from food molecules by a living thing.
A very intense type of
lighting used in marine and freshwater plant aquaria.
A chemical dye used as
an aquarium medication or disinfectant (useless as the latter); toxic to nitrifying
Single celled algae often
growing in strands called hair algae.
A unit of electrical
conductance: how easily electricity flows through a material.
The exudates of a male
fish containing his sperm.
Fish wastes and other
solid matter accumulated in the tank, partially decomposed, which needs removal.
The first larval stage of the
A roundworm; some are
parasites an some are fed to fish.
Mildly toxic end product of
biological filtration. Can be used as a gauge to tell when a partial water change is
Middle element of the
The end product of ammonia
after being converted by bacteria.
Any bacteria capable of
A bacteria that was thought
responsible for changing nitrite to nitrate (research disproves this; other bacteria are
The formal name for the
biological cycle in which toxins are broken down into less harmful products by Aerobic
A bacteria that was thought
responsible for changing ammonia to nitritre (research disproves this; other bacteria are
An abbreviation for outside
diameter, used when measuring tubing dimensions.
An organism that eats
both plant and animal matter (ie. the guppy).
Known as velvet disease,
similar to ich but more deadly.
dinoflagellate parasite of freshwater fish, which causes "velvet".
Control of the water
and electrolyte balance in the body.
The movement of water
across a semipermeable membrane due to the difference between solute concentrations on
The escape of free
gasses (ie. Carbon dioxide or oxygen) from the surface of the water.
A gas used in aquarium
systems to break down organic waste, raising redox levels.
fertilized eggs are incubated within the parent's body and are released hatched (ie.
An organism living on or within a host, usually causing harm.
Produces bacterial disease.
Paired fins, one on each side
of the body located behind the gill covers.
The flesh area to which the the caudal fin is attached.
Measurement of the degree of
water acidity. It is determined by the amount of acids and bases in the water. If the
amounts are equal it is called neutral with a number rating of 7.0. If more acids it is
called acidic with number rating of less than 7.0, if more base it is called alkaline with
a number rating of more than 7.0.
An element introduced into the
aquarium through organic or inorganic means that promotes excessive algae growth. Can be
removed through water changes.
The characteristics shown in an individual of the genetic traits it inherited; also
that which is shown as a result of environment and genes.
An anthelmintic which is used to treat intestinal worms (Camallanus).
Free-swimming flat worms, aquarium pests which may prey on fry and compete for food
Microscopic organisms, both plant and animal which is an important food source.
The family to which the guppy and molly belong.
A water filter which is powered by an attached motor.
An electric pump that connects
to the under gravel filter tubes to greatly increase the water flow.
Parts per billion, equal to micrograms per litre.
Parts per million, equal to milligrams per litre.
Parts per thousand, equal to grams per litre.
Protects filters from damage by preventing the intake of objects, which are too
large and also intended to protect fish from being trapped in the filter.
A one-celled organism (protist) similar to an animal; example: ich.
Abbreviation for parts per
million, a measurement used in test kits.
A tank set up for newly
acquired or sick fish to isolate them from the main aquarium until they can be safely
temporarily apart from others for assessment.
ORP or Redox potential is a
measurement of water purity and of a systems ability to break down organic waste. The
measurement is expressed in millivolts by an ORP monitor.
Synthetic media used for
chemical filtration through a process known as ion-exchange.
A process of filtering tap
water for use in the aquarium. Water passes through a membrane which filters out all
elements leaving the water very pure. Trace elements you want will have to be adjusted as
well as the pH
Microscopic animals which are an important food source for fish.
The measurement of dissolved
salts in the aquarium water.
The measurement of
the amount of dissolved salts in seawater.
A disease caused by bacteria growing in the blood (see Ailments).
Physiological response to stress or injury.
Water with a low
concentration of dissolved salts.
Water with dissolved
solids which are less than 100 ppm.
To release eggs and sperm into water.
The measurement used in
marine systems to determine salinity.
Genetically distinct population(s) that interbreed but are reproductively isolated
from other such groups.
An aquarium where only one
type of fish is kept.
Used to describe the
wavelengths of light produced by a bulb.
A large foam rubber block connected to an air lift tube. Water is drawn through the
sponge, which acts as a mechanical filter and a bacteria colony. Especially useful in
breeding or fry tanks.
A filter for small
tanks made of plastic foam which traps tiny particulate matter, but mostly provides
surface area for the growth of helpful bacteria.
A line of fish developed
which differentiates from the original species with its own genetic pattern, colour and
other tendencies; ex. Purple Delta Guppies as upposed to Red Delta Guppies.
The material used to cover
the bottom of the fish tank.
Material (sand, gravel
etc.) placed on the bottom of an aquarium.
A device that raises the
water temperature, which can be completely covered by water safely.
The process whereby a female
stores sperm and can produce numerous broods without further impregnation.
Sulfuric salts in water.
They form what is known as non-carbonate hardness.
A thin-walled, gas-filled
sac found in bony fish that permits them to control their buoyancy and thus rise or sink
in the water.
A term used in judging
referring to the overall pleasing appearance of the show fish (for example) in the proper
proportions including colour, body, dorsal and caudal shapes.
Minute substances found in
water,that are needed for proper plant and fish growth. Usually replenished with partial
A wet dry filter using a
drip plate to disperse the water over bio-media.
A water purifier in
which water flows slowly, or trickles, over media not submerged but held in a tray or
chamber, meant to facilitate attachment and growth of nitrifying bacteria.
The number of times the
water in an aquarium is passed through the filtration system in one hour. The minimum
should be three or four times per hour
Ultraviolet light, generally
not wanted in the aquarium. Special filters or shields are required for its' use.
A unit designed to kill
parasites and disease causing bacteria with ultraviolet light.
A type of filter placed
under the substrate that utilizes an air pump or power head to pull water through the
gravel and thus oxygenates the bacteria to help in the nitrogen cycle. Not recommended for
live plant tanks.
A device for enhancing
bacterial nitrification in substrate, made of a slotted plate which is placed under the
The common outlet of excretion and reproduction systems in fish.
Paired fins on the lower
part of the fish, located below the gill covers. Not all fish have these. The pelvic
A valve which makes bubbles
by drawing air into fast flowing water. Especially useful in protein skimmers.
Very High Output: florescent
bulbs with a much higher output than NO bulbs, they require special ballast and end caps,
mostly used on freshwater plant tanks or marine reef tanks.
Any micro-nutrients needed
for continued good health of an organism. Many products are sold for specific animal.
Giving birth to live young.
Elements used to determine
water quality. Total hardness, carbonate hardness, pH, ammonia, nitrate and temperature
are the most used indicators.
An electronic device that
alternates power to different powerheads to simulate wave motion.
A type of filter which has a
portion of its media exposed to the air with water flowing over or through it, to greatly
increase the oxygen content to the bacteria.
A small worm used as food
available either live or freeze-dried.
A small container still
connected to the baby fish after hatching, consisting of the unabsorbed egg yolk.
Refers to the barred pattern or zebra-type pattern of 2 to 5 vertical dark
pigmented stripes on the peduncle area of the fancy guppy, expressed only in males which
is carried by a dominant gene.
A substance used in fresh
water aquaria for the removal of ammonia.
Tiny animals or larvae of
other animals living in water. usually used in reference to marine aquaria.