Elements of the Aquarium - Oxygen


CaCO3- - Bicarbonate (Calcium Bicarbonate)
(Ca(HCO3)2) - Calcium Bicarbonate (Calcium Hydrogen Carbonate)
CO2 - Carbon Dioxide
CO32- - Carbonate
H20 - Water
H2CO3 - Carbonic Acid
O - Dissolved Oxygen

Aquatic plants, animals, and bacteria all depend on oxygen for their survival.

Fish need oxygen in the form of a gas to live. They can't breathe the oxygen that is bonded to hydrogen to make water.  Fish breathe gaseous oxygen from the air at the water's surface and dissolved.  Mixing of the water through bubblers, filters, and even the live-stock themselves increases this dissolving effect.

Healthy plants give off oxygen during photosynthesis (after taking in carbon dioxide -- a gas resulting from the bonding of 2 atoms of oxygen to 1 atom of carbon) when enough light is available and when it is not plants consume oxygen as part of respiration.  Therefore, an aquarist shouldn't depend on plants as an oxygen source. Unhealthy plants increase the oxygen demand in an aquarium.

Snails and all other living organisms in the aquarium including the microorganisms that help to decompose detritus in the aquariums also use dissolved oxygen.

Competition in the aquarium for dissolved oxygen can be a serious matter.  When there isn't enough oxygen, your fish will likely be the first to lose out.

Also, at higher temperatures, less oxygen is dissolved in the water and more aeration is often necessary.

Even the simplest aeration/filtration system, such as a corner box filter, air stone, a filter that creates surface disturbance, or a wet dry sump, will aerate an aquarium.  Good aquarium maintenance and vacuuming will eliminate dead plants, fish wastes, uneaten food and other decaying organisms, reducing bacteria growth.

Electron Shell Diagram

Oxygen electron shell diagram.



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