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Bacteria: Small single celled organisms from the kingdom Monera. They are known as prokaryotes, which are classified together because they lack nuclear membranes. They are the most primitive living beings. They aid in the nitrogen cycle and also form the first layer of a biofilm.

Baleen Whalebone: Horny material growing down from the upper jaw of plankton-feeding whales; forms a strainer, or filtering organ, consisting of numerous plates with fringed edges.

Ballast: A transformer, which changes the voltage from your house outlet to the voltage needed to power different types of lighting. It often serves as the electrical supply for some lights, such as fluorescents and metal halide bulbs. These are available in several varieties, such as tar, transformer, and electronic. They must be properly matched to the type of bulb you are using.

Barbel: Whisker-like projections most often found around the mouth of certain fish like catfish and loaches. They are a sensory organ and are used for finding food and for communication.

Barium (Ba): The MCL is 2 mg/L. Barium can increase blood pressure.

Barrier Reef: A type of coral reef that lies parallel to a beach shoreline and protects a lagoon.

Basal: At the base of a structure or part, generally the region near attachment to the body.

Base: The lowest end of a gastropod.

Baseflow: That part of stream flow derived from groundwater flowing into a stream.

Basses: 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.

Bathypelagic Zone: The 2,000 to 4,000-m-depth zone seaward of the shelf-slope break.

Beach Ecosystem: The beach shoreline environment and all the living and non-living things that exist there and have relationships there.

Beach Shoreline: The place where the shore of land and the ocean meet.

Beak: The tip of bivalve shell above hinge. Also the protruding mouthpart structures of a sucking insect; proboscis.

Benthic: Benthos and benthic both refer to living on or under the substrate at the bottom of the ocean. Sessile means the organism is attached to the substrate. Pelagic refers to living in the water of the ocean above the bottom. Pelagic organisms usually have some ability to move around.

Benthic Macroinvertebrates: Bottom-dwelling organisms without backbones that are visible with the naked eye.

Benthic-Pelagic Coupling: The cycling of nutrients between the bottom sediments and overyling water column.

Benthos: Organisms living on or in the ocean bottom.

Berlin Method of Filtration: A biological method of filtration which involves only live rock and a protein skimmer.

Berm: A broad area of low relief in the upper part of a beach.

Beryllium (Be): The MCL is 0.004 mg/L and it can cause intestinal lesions.

Between-Habitat Comparison: A contrast of diversity in two localities of differing habitat type (e.g., sand versus mud bottoms).

Bio-Balls: A filter media used for the colonization of bacteria.

Bioconversion: Conversion of a plant standing crop storing the sun's energy to a fuel or energy source.

Biodiversity: The number of different species of organisms in a particular environment. See species richness.

Biofilm: A coating or covering on the surface of a living or nonliving substrate composed of organisms like bacteria, protozoa, algae, and invertebrate animals.

Biogenic Graded Bedding: A regular change of sediment median grain size with depth below the sediment-water interface caused by the activities of burrowing organisms.

Biogenically Reworked Zone: The depth zone, within a sediment, that is actively burrowed by benthic organisms.

Biological Filtration: A loose term that describes the process of removing harmful compounds with bacteria. Actually, it is not filtration at all. Instead, it is the mixing of aquarium water with beneficial bacteria that transform wastes in the water into substances which are less toxic to the inhabitants, in a process known as the nitrogen cycle. This process is accomplished by trickle filters (ammonia towers), UGF (undergravel filters) sponge filters, and various other specialty filters.

Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD): BOD is typically reported as 5 day BOD and ultimate BOD at 20 C and reported as milligrams of oxygen consumed per liter (mg O/L). BOD 5 is used by regulatory agencies for monitoring wastewater treatment facilities and monitoring surface water quality. BOD is the biochemical oxygen demand of the water and it is related to the concentration of the bacterial facilitated decomposable organic material in the water. A sample with a 5 day BOD between 1 and 2 mg O/L indicates a very clean water, 3.0 to 5.0 mg O/L indicates a moderately clean water and > 5 mg O/L indicates a nearby pollution source. BOD is a laboratory test that requires an oxygen sensing meter, incubator, nitrifying inhibitors, and a source of bacteria.

Bioluminescence: Production of light by living organisms as a result of a chemical reaction either within certain cells or organs or outside the cells in some form of excretion.

Biomass: Amount of living matter, expressed in weight units, per unit of water surface or volume. See Standing crop.

Biomonitoring: The use of organisms to assess or monitor environmental conditions.

Biotic: The living factors in an environment.

Biotope: Natural environment of an organism.

Bioturbation: Reworking of sediments by organisms that burrow and ingest them.

Black Water: Water that has a dark cola-like color caused by Humic acids, it has a very low pH and is very soft, common in the Amazon river basin.

Blade: Flat, photosynthetic, "leafy" portion of an alga or seaweed.

Blood Pigment: A molecule used by an organism to transport oxygen efficiently, usually in a circulatory system (e.g., hemoglobin).

Bloom: A population burst of phytoplankton, resulting in a high concentration of phytoplankton within a defined area, caused by increased reproduction; often produces discoloration of the water.

Bohr Effect: When blood pH decreases, the ability of hemoglobin to bind to oxygen decreases. An adaptation to release oxygen in the oxygen starved tissues in capillaries where respiratory carbon dioxide lowers blood pH

Boreal: Pertaining to the Northern Hemisphere, north temperate zone.

Boring: Capable of penetrating a solid substratum by scraping or chemical dissolution.

Boundary Layer: A layer of fluid near a surface, where flow is affected by viscous properties of the fluid. At the surface, fluid velocity must be zero, and the boundary layer is a thin film that depends on surface texture, fluid velocity in the "mainstream of flow," and fluid mass properties such as salinity.

Brackish: Having a salt content greater than freshwater.

Brackish Water: Water that is neither fresh nor saltwater, but is somewhere in between, although the salinity leans towards freshwater. In nature this occurs at the mouths of rivers and swamps near the sea. Some fish live in salt water but are spawned in brackish or fresh water and vice versa.

Breathing Tube: A structure used to contact the air-water interface so as to facilitate the acquisition of air while the body remains submerged.

Breeding Tank: An aquarium set up for the breeding of fish.

Brine Shrimp: Also known as Artemia and sea monkeys. Brine Shrimps are a very common food for fresh and marine water fish. They are very tiny crustaceans that are easy to breed and maintain for long periods of time. They are a great source of food for young fry. They grow to about 3/4 inches max. Brine Shrimp are easily hatched and their eggs may be stored dry for years.

Browsers: Organisms that feed by scraping thin layers of living organisms from the surface of the substratum (e.g., periwinkles feeding on rock-surface diatom films; urchins scraping a thin, filmy sponge colony from a rock).

Brood: The young of a fish that are hatched at one time and cared for by the same mother.

Bubble Filter: This type of filter involves a few long, plastic tubes, which remain upright in the aquarium and are attached to a plate on the bottom. In each tube is an air stone attached to an air pump. As the air bubbles rise, a current is generated which continuously brings water from the aquarium, through the substrate and to the top of the tubes (i.e., lift tube). These internal filters can also use the lift tube to draw water through a foam block, which then serves as a biological sponge filter.

Bubble Nest: A term used for a nest, which is constructed of tiny air bubbles, produced by the male fish. It is used to protect the eggs and fry. Members of the family Anabantidae are the most widely known users of such nests.

Budding: A process during asexual reproduction by which a new, duplicate plant or animal begins to form at the side of the parent and enlarges until an individual is created.

Buffer: A substance added to the water to help maintain the pH value.

Byssus Gland: The structure in clams that produces fibrous threads (byssus) that attach the clam to substrate. Sometimes permanent although more usually temporary attachment of tough organic threads secreted from a gland in the foot of the clam.
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