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Highly accurate water tests
for salt water aquariums

The GIESEMANN test program encompasses eleven different tests for all relevant water parameters. All test kits are especially easy to use and provide precise measurement results. High-quality colour cards and an unmistakable colour change of the reagents guarantee an unambiguous and reproducible water analysis (the latter refers to identical results for repeated measurements).

Advantages of the GIESEMANN test kits:

  • Highly precise measurements in laboratory-grade quality
  • Specifically designed for salt water application
  • Calibrated dropping bottles for a constant drop size
  • Well balanced measurement reagents
  • Simple, illustrated user manual
  • High-quality colour cards for determining the results
  • Unambiguous change of colour providing very high accuracy
  • Identical measurement results, even for repeating measurements
  • Strict quality control and batch testing
  • Shelf life of up to 4 years without any reduction in quality
  • Laboratory-grade quality at an extremely competitive price

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GIESEMANN professional acidity test (pH)

The pH value represents the acidity (alkalinity) of water. The pH value is a measure for the acid or alkaline character of an aqueous solution.

A pH measurement is one of the most important measurements in an aquarium. It is extremely important to compare the measured pH value to other measurements of previous days, always taken at the same time, since the pH value varies greatly during the course of the day (e.g. from illumination).

The pH value inside the aquarium should be kept as constant as possible. One option to do so, is to stabilize KH in the range of 7-10°dH. The alkalinity (KH) buffers the pH value and thereby avoids pronounced pH fluctuations.

A pH value between 8.2 and 8.4 is considered optimal for a salt water aquarium. The GIESEMANN pH test was specifically developed for this pH range in salt water aquariums.

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GIESEMANN professional CALCIUM test (Ca)

Calcium is a chemical element, with the element symbol Ca

Calcium is extremely important for most reef inhabiting species, foremost however for stone algae and coralline algae. Reef forming stone corals (SPS) need calcium in great amounts for skeleton formation. LPS stone corals, however, have a slightly reduced need for calcium.

In salt water aquariums, calcium is especially relevant in the form of the compound calcium carbonate. Calcium carbonate consists approx. of 40% calcium and of 60% carbonate. Calcium / calcium carbonate has to be added repeatedly to the aquarium since it is metabolised by algae.

The regular measurement of the Ca content is extremely important for a reef aquarium. Please note, that at the same time the KH value (alkalinity) should also be measured. A consumption of calcium, as a result of the calcination to calcium carbonate, inevitably also leads to a reduced alkalinity.

The magnesium content of the aquarium water also influences the measurement result. Therefore, this value should always be measured at the same time along with the Ca an KH measurement and if necessary, be adjusted.

By the way: a good proliferation of coralline algae or white growth tips on stone corals are a good indicator for a sufficient calcium content.

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GIESEMANN professional NITRITE test (NO2)

Nitrite (NO2) is a chemical nitrogen compound and contains nitrogen as major constituent. The majority of nitrite in the aquarium reacts to nitrate (NO3) as a result of nitrification. Nitrification refers to the bacterial oxidation of ammonium (NH4) and ammonia (NH3) to nitrite (NO2) and subsequently to nitrate (NO3).

Especially in freshly equipped salt water aquariums significant nitrite overconcentration can occur, especially if bacteria cultures aren’t sufficiently present.

Typically, established aquariums with a functioning nitrification do not show critical nitrite concentrations. If the concentration should rise nevertheless, ammonia (NH3) absolutely needs to be measured too. Reasons for this, could be a fish overpopulation, overfeeding but also the use of medication could have disturbed or even destroyed the bacteria cultures.

The GIESEMANN nitrite test is a specifically precise test focussing on the lower range ranging to 2.0 mg/l for the regular analysis of the water values.

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GIESEMANN professional AMMONIUM test (NH3)

Ammonium (NH4) and ammonia (NH3) are chemical compounds.

Ammonium (NH4) reacts to very toxic ammonia (NH3) in case of high pH values and elevated temperatures (typical for salt water aquariums). Ammonia is a chemical compound consisting of nitrogen and hydrogen and is created during the natural decomposition of dead plants and animals as well as animal excrements.

An overconcentration of ammonia can be reduced through an efficient nitrification (e.g. promoted by starter bacteria) and through a regular water exchange. Suddenly occurring elevated ammonia concentrations (e.g. resulting from dead animals) should immediately be removed by a generous water exchange.

Ammonia is very poisonous to all aquarium species and should therefore be measured regularly. The GIESEMANN NH3 test analyses the total ammonium, which is the sum of ammonium (NH4) and ammonia (NH3). This test is specifically developed for sea water aquariums, i.e. for salt water.

The total value of ammonium in the aquarium should be below 0.2 mg/l.

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GIESEMANN professional
IRON test (Fe)

Iron is a chemical element, with the element symbol Fe.

Iron is a trace element that is indispensable to life for almost all species, in animals especially for the formation of blood. Nevertheless, the iron content in salt water aquariums should be kept within certain limits. If for example an over proliferation of algae occurs, despite a low nutrient supply, the reason could be an overconcentration of iron.

Typically, iron-based phosphate adsorbers release iron into water. Over concentrated iron can be reduced by active carbon. Skimming greatly reduces the iron content of water.

The iron content in a salt water aquarium should ideally be 0.15 mg/l.

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GIESEMANN professional IODINE test (I2)

Iodine is a chemical element with the symbol I.

Iodine is extremely important for most reef species, especially invertebrates require it to sustain their cell functions. The iodine concentrations in the different oceans across the world varies from 0.025 – 0.064 mg/l.

Many colors of corals in salt water aquariums are strengthened by iodine – especially in combination with potassium. Supplementing iodine can visibly improve an iodine shortage in many corals in as little as two weeks. Especially Xeniae and bubble corals proliferate well with sufficient iodine supplies.

The iodine concentration in a salt water aquarium should mimic the natural values and range between 0.02 and 0.06 mg/l.

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GIESEMANN professional POTASSIUM test (K)

Potassium is a chemical element with the element symbol K

The name potassium originates from its discovery within potash. Potassium is one of the most prevalent elements and appears in numerous minerals worldwide.

Potassium should always be contained in sufficient concentrations in sea water aquariums.

A potassium shortage typically leads to a reduction or a complete stop of coral growth.

A potassium shortage in stone corals expresses itself in a fading of the coral colours. Over or under concentrations of potassium in salt water can be corrected by a partial water exchange.

The optimal potassium concentration in a salt water aquarium ranges between 360 and 410 mg/litre.

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GIESEMANN professional carbonate hardness test (KH)

The carbonate hardness value (KH) represents the alkalinity – in other words the water hardness (in °DH).  

The alkalinity depends on the amount of the ions in water with basic characteristics, mainly the carbonate content. Carbonates are important for the corals’ carbon supply. The carbon contained in the bicarbonates is important for the photosynthesis of the corals.

The higher the pH, the less CO2 is available to the corals. The correct alkalinity is very important for buffering, i.e. stabilisation of the pH value in the salt water aquarium. The regular measurement of KH content is therefore extremely important for a sea water aquarium, since a correctly adjusted KH value is necessary to stabilise the pH value as mentioned above.

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GIESEMANN professional PHOSPHATE test (PO4)

Phosphate (PO4) is a chemical compound and contains the element phosphor.

An overconcentration of phosphate in salt water aquariums leads to an over fertilisation of the corals that live in symbiosis with the zooxanthellae, which in turn leads to brown coloured corals. The occurrence of over concentrated phosphate in water can result from insufficient skimming, sporadic exchange of water or from feeding (especially in the case of frosted food). Filamentous algae are often a visible sign of phosphate overconcentration.

A regular measurement of the phosphate content is thus very important in order to prevent the overconcentration of phosphate, in order to trigger counteractive measures at the right time (e.g. by using phosphate adsorbents, water exchange, etc.). The optimal phosphate content in salt water for should range between 0.03 and 0.1 mg/l for stone corals (SPS) and between 0.1 and 0.2 mg/l for LPS corals. Other coral species, such as soft corals tolerate values between 0.1 and 0.4 mg/l.

We would like to add that an aquarium should in fact contain low concentrations of phosphate (below the above listed values), since the corals metabolize it as a nutrient and since it therefore plays a major role for a healthy reef aquarium.

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GIESEMANN professional MAGNESIUM test (Mg)

Magnesium is a chemical element with the element symbol Mg. Magnesium is extremely important for most reef-inhabiting species, foremost however for corals. Magnesium in conjunction with calcium is responsible for the alkalinity (KH), i.e. the hardness of water. In a salt water aquarium, magnesium is consumed in significantly lower amounts than for example calcium. Nevertheless it should be monitored regularly.

The magnesium content in the water is dependent on the salt concentration. The natural concentration of magnesium in salt water is 1,310 mg/l (which equals a salt content of 3.5%). The lower the salt concentration, the lower the magnesium content. In practice, a reef aquarium should have a 1:3 ratio of calcium to magnesium. In other words, a calcium value of 400 mg/l should equal a magnesium concentration of approx. 1200 mg/l.

The Giesemann magnesium test offers an uncomplicated, fast and precise measurement of the magnesium concentration in salt water aquariums.

By the way: many artificial reef ceramics also release magnesium into the water. Therefore, especially for newly equipped aquariums, it is essential to monitor the magnesium concentrations closely.

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Giesemann professional NITRATE test (NO3)

Nitrate (NO3) is a chemical nitrogen compound and contains as major constituent nitrogen, which is a key nutrient for corals. Nitrogen overconcentration however leads to over fertilisation and thus to increased algae growth.

Nitrogen is essential for all species, to promote growth. Therefore, the right concentration of nitrogen and thus nitrate is especially important for an aquarium. The optimal value for nitrate in salt water aquariums ranges from 1 mg/l to 10 mg/l. The GIESEMANN nitrate test with its very accurate lower measurement range is specifically suited for reef aquariums with stone coral populations. In natural salt water the nitrate concentrations only range from 0.01 – 0.5 mg/l. Stone corals with short polyps (SPS) in a salt water aquarium should ideally be kept at nitrate concentrations between 1.0 to 2.0 mg/l.

The GIESEMANN nitrate test due to its very precise measurement range up to 4 mg/l is primarily intended for owners of coral reef aquariums with stone corals and other nitrate sensitive corals.

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