Beginner Topic Acronyms and Abbreviations for the Reef Aquarist

Here's an updated list of acronyms and abbreviations for the beginner reef aquarist, who needs a little help starting out in the forums.
  1. Some years ago, Uninja, with the help of forum members Raggamuffin, Wy Renegade, Swannyson, Skinz78, Tabasco 1, Jordan 3548, fsu1dolfan, Stray40, and Rayzback, prepared a list of acronyms. We thought we’d kick it up a notch, update it, expand it, and post it as an article.

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    Looking to dip your toe into the world of marine aquariums? Our hobby, like many others has tons of acronyms that can be confusing for someone just starting out. Want to know your CC from your DC? Consult our handy list below and you’ll be able to jump into our forums and articles with confidence in no time.

    For the sake of convenience, we’ve placed them in alphabetical order.

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    Other:

    1. .02 – My two cents


    A

    1. A – Amp

    2. AA - Amino Acid

    3. ABT - Atlantic blue tang

    4. AC - Activated Carbon (a chemical filtration medium) or Alternating Current.

    5. Acan Lord – Acanthastrea

    6. Acro – Acropora coral

    7. AEFW – Acropora-eating Flatworms

    8. AGA – All-Glass Aquarium (a brand of aquariums).

    9. AIO – All-in-One, a prebuilt system that includes pump and filtration.

    10. Alk – Alkalinity, a measure of the buffering capacity of (salt)water.

    11. ATO – Auto Top-Off, a system that automatically adds water lost during evaporation.

    12. ATS – Algae Turf Scrubber, a method of removing undesirable nutrients.


    B

    1. BA – Bubble algae

    2. B2B – Business to business

    3. B2C – Business to consumer

    4. BB – Bare Bottom, a tank without sand or other substrate.

    5. BRB – Be right back

    6. Blasto – Blastomussa

    7. BOD – Biological Oxygen Demand. Amount of dissolved oxygen needed in the water for your system.

    8. BPS – Bubbles Per Second. A term often used for freshwater aquariums to describe CO2 entering a planted tank.

    9. BRS - Bulk Reef Supply (online store and one of our sponsors)

    10. BTA – Bubble-Tip Anemone

    11. BTU – British Thermal Unit

    12. BTW – By the way

    Hermit crab, a common part of a clean-up crew (CUC). This one recovered from a serious accident.
    r2rhermit.jpg
    Photo is from the Reef2Reef archives.


    C

    1. Ca – Calcium

    2. CBB – Copperband Butterflyfish

    3. CC – Counter Current (a type of protein skimmer) or Crushed Coral

    4. CF – Canister Filter

    5. CFL – Compact Fluorescent Lamp (or Light)

    6. CL – Closed Loop

    7. CO2 – Carbon dioxide

    8. Cu – Copper

    9. CUC – Clean-up Crew

    10. CW – Cold Water

    11. CWC – Continuous Water Change

    12. Cyano – Cyanobacteria


    D

    1. DC – Direct Current

    2. DD – Downdraft, a type of protein skimmer.

    3. DE – Double Ended

    4. DFS – Drs. Foster and Smith (an online store in the US)

    5. DI – Deionization, a type of water purification.

    6. DI water – Deionized Water

    7. DIY – Do It Yourself

    8. dKH – Degrees of Carbonate Hardness, a measurement of Alkalinity

    9. DO – Dissolved Oxygen

    10. DOC – Dissolved Organic Carbon or Compound

    11. DOM – Dissolved Organic Matter

    12. DSB – Deep Sand Bed

    13. DT – Display Tank (your main tank)


    E

    1. ETA - Estimated Time of Arrival


    F

    1. FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

    2. FO – Fish Only

    3. FOWLR – Fish Only With Live Rock

    4. Frag - Fragment (a small part of a coral colony removed in order to propagate it and grow another colony to share or sell or trade or place it elsewhere)

    5. FTS – Full Tank Shot

    6. FTW – For the win

    7. Fuge – Refugium (a separate tank or part of a tank or sump devoted to culturing marine algae or copepods)

    8. FW – Freshwater or Flatworm

    9. FWE – Flatworm eXit by Salifert

    10. FWIW – For what it’s worth


    G

    1. G – Gallon (example, 60g)

    2. GAC – Granular Activated Carbon

    3. GBTA – Green Bubble-Tip Anemone

    4. GFCI – Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter

    5. GFI – Ground Fault Interrupter

    6. GFO – Granular Ferric Oxide (a phosphate remover).

    7. GH – General Hardness

    8. GHA – Green Hair Algae

    9. GPD – Gallons per Day

    10. GPH – Gallons per Hour

    11. GSM – Gold Stripe Maroon Clownfish

    12. GSP – Green Star Polyps


    H

    1. HA – Hair Algae

    2. HAS – High Speed Aeration, a type of protein skimmer.

    3. HID – High Intensity Discharge (lighting).

    4. HO – High Output (fluorescent lighting).

    5. HOB – Hang-On-Back (usually refers to a filter or protein skimmer).

    6. HOT – Hang-On-Tank

    7. HT – Hospital Tank

    8. HTH – (I) hope that helps

    9. HQI – Hardest Question Is or Mercury (Hg) Quartz Iodide


    I

    1. IDK – I don’t know

    2. IME – In my experience

    3. IMHO – In my humble opinion

    4. IMO – In my opinion

    5. IO – Instant Ocean (a brand of aquarium salt)

    6. IR – Infrared

    7. IW – In Wall


    K

    1. K – Kelvin

    2. KALK – Kalkwasser, German for Calcium hydroxide solution or limewater, a common reef aquarium additive for calcium and reef building.

    3. KISS – Keep it simple, stupid.

    4. KMNO4 – Potassium permanganate, a chemical used for disinfection of equipment and for fish baths and swabs. Will kill snails, snail eggs and some parasites depending on strength of solution.

    5. kWh – Kilowatt Hour


    L

    1. L – Liter

    2. LED – Light Emitting Diodes

    3. LFS – Local Fish Store (or pet store selling fish and fish supplies)

    4. LHS – Local Hardware Store

    5. LMK – Let me know

    6. Lobo – Lobophyllia

    7. LOL – Laugh out loud

    8. LPD/H/M – Liters per Day/Hour/Minute

    9. LPS – Large Polyp Stony coral

    10. LR – Live Rock

    11. LS – Live Sand

    12. LTA – Long Tentacle Anemone

    13. LX or Lux – Amount of lighting (one lumen) per square meter


    M

    1. MACNA - Marine Aquaria Conference of North America

    2. MASNA - Marine Aquarium Societies of North America

    3. Mag – Magnesium

    4. mEq/L - Milliequivalents per Liter (a milliequivalent is 1/1000 of an equivalent), a measure of alkalinity.

    5. Mg – Milligram or Magnesium

    6. MG/L – Milligrams per Liter

    7. MH – Metal Halide (Light)

    8. Milli - Acropora Millipora

    9. MJ – Maxijet

    10. MM – Miracle Mud, a type of substrate usually for freshwater aquariums

    11. MTS – Multiple Tank Syndrome. When you can’t stop adding more tanks and more fish ad nauseum. Very serious affliction with high degree of contagion among reef aquarists.

    Anemone with clownfish
    anemone-fish-1496866_1920.jpg
    Photo is a royalty-free image from Pixabay


    N

    1. Nems- anemones

    2. NH3 – Ammonia

    3. NH4 – Ammonium

    4. nm – Nanometer, a measurement often used in lighting terminology

    5. NNR – Natural Nitrate Reduction

    6. NO – Normal Output (fluorescent light)

    7. NO2 – Nitrite

    8. NO3 – Nitrate

    9. NPS – Non Photosynthetic

    10. NRN – No reply necessary

    11. NSL – Natural Sunlight

    12. NSW – Natural Seawater

    13. NTS – New Tank Syndrome. May be caused by lack of beneficial bacteria and/or increasing bio-load too fast, and/or overzealous cleaning of equipment.


    O

    1. O2 – Oxygen

    2. ORA – Oceans, Reefs, and Aquariums

    3. ORP – Oxidative Redox Potential


    P

    1. PAR - Photosynthetically Active Radiation

    2. PAS – Photosynthetic Action Spectrum

    3. PO4 – Phosphate

    4. PAR - Photosynthetic Active Radiation

    5. PBT - Powder Blue Tang

    6. PC - Power Compact

    7. pH – Measure of Concentration of Hydrogen Ions. Seven (7) is neutral. Less than (<) 7 is acidic and greater than (>) 7 is basic.

    8. PH - Powerhead

    9. PM – Private message (through the forum)

    10. POTM - Picture of the month

    11. PP - per polyp or Potassium permanganate (see KMNO4)

    12. PPM - Parts Per Million

    13. PPT - Parts Per Thousand

    14. PS – Protein Skimmer

    15. PVC - Poly Vinyl Chloride

    Photo depicting pH
    photo_83045_20161113.jpg
    Photo is a royalty-free image from freerangestock.com


    Q

    1. QT - Quarantine Tank, used before introducing new livestock to display tank.


    R

    1. R2R – Reef2Reef.com

    2. RBTA - Rose Bubble-Tip Anemone

    3. RC - Reef Crystals

    4. RDSB - Remote Deep Sand Bed

    5. Rics – Ricordia

    6. RO – Reverse Osmosis, a type of water purification routinely used for saltwater aquariums.

    7. RO Water - Reverse Osmosis Water

    8. RODI or RO/DI- Reverse Osmosis and Deionization (unit or water that has passed through this unit.)

    9. ROTFLMBO - Roll on the floor laughing my butt off.

    10. RP – Return Pump

    11. RR - Reef Ready, aquaria with one or more overflows and predrilled holes for plumbing to a sump.

    12. RTN - Rapid Tissue Necrosis

    13. RUGF – Reverse Flow Undergravel Filter


    S

    1. SAL - Salinity

    2. SE – Single Ended

    3. SG – Specific Gravity. A ratio of density.

    4. SHO/T5 – Super High Output Fluorescent Light, equivalent to power compact fluorescents.

    5. Shrooms – Mushroom Coral

    6. SLR – Single Light Reflector

    7. SPS – Small Polyp Stony Coral

    8. SSB – Shallow Sand Bed

    9. STN – Slow Tissue Necrosis

    10. SW – Saltwater or Sea Water


    T

    1. T5 – a type of fluorescent lighting

    2. TDS – Total Dissolved Solids

    3. TFC – Thin Film Composite, a type of RO membrane.

    4. TIA – Thanks in Advance

    5. TL;DR – Too long didn’t read.

    6. TLTR – Too long to read

    7. TM - Temperature

    8. TMI – Too Much Information

    9. TOTM – Tank of the Month

    10. Trachy – Trachyphyllia


    U

    1. UGF – Under-Gravel Filter

    2. ULNS – Ultra-Low Nutrient System

    3. UV – Ultraviolet, a type of light that is shorter wavelength than visible light (but longer than X-rays), sometimes broken down into UVA, UVB, and UVC.


    V

    1. V – Volt

    2. VHO – Very High Output (fluorescent light)


    W

    1. W – Watts

    2. WC – Water Change

    3. WD – Wet-Dry, a type of filtration.

    4. Wellso – Wellsophyllia

    5. WYSIWYG – What you see is what you get


    Y

    1. YGPM – You’ve got a private message

    2. YOLO – You only live once.

    3. YWG – Yellow Watchman Goby


    Z

    1. Z&P – Zoanthids and Palythoa

    2. Zoa – Zoanthid


    Hopefully our handy list has provided you with the life preserver you need to start wading into the deep and exciting world of Reef Aquariums; there’s an ocean out there just waiting to be explored.


    References:

    · Source: https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/lingo-commonly-used-acronyms-0.57652/

    · Source: http://www.3reef.com/threads/common-acronyms-and-abbreviations.54351/

    · Source: https://aquarium-digest.com/tag/aquarium-abbreviations/

    · Source: https://www.thereeftank.com/forums/f362/acronyms-frequently-used-list-134531.html

    · Source: https://www.fishlore.com/aquariumfishforum/threads/saltwater-acronyms.15147/

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    We encourage all our readers to join the Reef2Reef forum. It’s easy to register, free, and reefkeeping is much easier and more fun in a community of fellow aquarists. We pride ourselves on a warm and family-friendly forum where everyone is welcome. You will also find lots of contests and giveaways with our sponsors.


    Author Profile: Peter Steckley

    Peter Steckley is a freelance writer based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. When he's not testing out new recipes on his family or studying reef aquariums, he's usually reading or enjoying the latest video game releases.

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