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Useful glossary of terms and acroynms

George Farmer

30 Jun 2007
The planted tank subject can be somewhat daunting for the newcomer and less 'scientific'. Here's a useful list of commonly used chemical names, acryonms and abbreviations etc.

Courtest of Tom Barr's - The Barr Report.

Those chemical names and acroynms! Add more if you see one I missed!!!

C = carbon
Ca = calcium
CaCO3 = calcium carbonate
Cl = chloride
CO2 = carbon dioxide
CO3 = carbonate
Cu = copper
CuSO4 = copper sulfate
Fe = iron
Fe+2 = ferrous iron
Fe+3 = ferric iron
H = hydrogen -- hydronium
H2CO3 = carbonic acid
H2O2 = hydrogen peroxide
H2S = hydrogen sulfide
H2SO4 = sulfuric acid
HCO3 = bicarbonate
HCl = hydrochloric/muriatic acid
HNO3 = nitric acid
K = potassium
K2SO4 = potassium sulfate -- Sulfate of Potash
K2HPO4 = dibasic potassium phosphate
KCl = potassium chloride -- Muriate of Potash
KH2PO4 = monobasic potassium phosphate
KNO3 = potassium nitrate -- Salt Peter
Mg = magnesium
MgSO4 = magnesium sulfate
MgSO4 * 7H2O = Epsom Salts
N = nitrogen
Na = sodium
NaCl = sodium chloride -- table/aquarium salt
NaHCO3 = sodium bicarbonate -- Baking Soda
NH3 = ammonia
NH4 = ammonium
NO2 = nitrite
NO3 = nitrate
O = oxygen -- superoxide -- oxygen free radical
O2 = oxygen (gas)
P = phosphorus
PO4 = phosphate
S = sulfur
SO4 = sulfate

DO = dissolved oxygen
ORP = oxidation-reduction potential
TDS = total dissolved solids

PC or CFL = (power) compact fluorescent
VHO = very high output fluorescent
NO = normal output fluorescent
MH = metal halide

aka= also known as
BGA= Blue green algae
BBA= Black Brush AlgaeDOC= Dissolved organic Carbon or Damned Onerous Cat :)
DIY= Do It Yourself
Gh= General Hardness
MH= Metal Halide
RO= Reverse osmosis
TMG= Tropica Master Grow
YMMV= Your mileage may vary

Robert Ricketts had a list:

AFAIK= As Far As I Know
APD= Aquatic Plants Digest
aka= "Also known as", also a.k.a.; if AKA, American Killifish Association or
American Kiteflyers Association
A-OK= good? "All okay"
B= Boron
BGA= Blue-Green Algae
BBA= Black brush Algae
bpm= bubble per minute
BTW= By the Way
C= Carbon
CA++= Calcium ion
CA= California?
Ca= Calcium
CaCO3= Calcium carbonate
CaCl2= Calcium chloride
CHCO3=??? Typo for CaCO3???
CLR= calcium, lime, rust
CO2= Carbon dioxide
dc= direct current
DI= Deionized
dKH= Degrees carbonate hardness
DOM= Dissolved organic matter
DOC= Dissolved organic carbon
DIN=Dissolved inorganic N?
DIY=Do It Yourself
EDTA= Ethylene diamine tetra acetic
FAQ= Frequently Asked Questions
FeEDDHA= Chelated iron
Fe= iron
FYI= for your info
FL= Florida
g= gallon
g= grams
GCFI= Ground fault Interrupter
Gh= ???typo for GH???
GH= General Hardness, but better as Ca/Mg Hardness
gph= gallons per hour
H2SO4= Sulfuric acid
H= Hydrogen
HCL= Hydrochloric acid
HMF= hydrated magnesium sulfate= Epsom salt
HVAC= Heating ventilation air conditioning
IEM=??? IME = In my experience
IMHO=In my humble opinion
IMO= In My Opinion
IS= instant start
IMHO= above, duplicated
KNO3= Potassium Nitrate
K+= Potassium ion
K= Potassium
KCl= Potassium chloride, an l, not a 1
KCL= " " , but the l should be lower case, Cl = chloride
KC1/K2SO4= for KCl, see above; K2SO4 = potassium sulfate
K2SO4/KC1= see above
KH2PO4= Potassium Phosphate
KH=Carbonate Hardness
Kh= ????typo for KH????
Kirb= thekrib.com
KS204=????typo for K2SO4
LED= light emitting diode
LFS= duplicated above
lph= liters per hour
mA= milliamps
Mn2= combining form of manganese
Mg= Magnesium
NaHCO3= Sodium bicarbonate, Bicarbonate of soda, baking soda
NH2/NH4= Ammonia? NH4 is the combining form of the ammonium ion, as in
NH4Cl, ammonium chloride
NH3= Ammonia
NaH2PO4= Monobasic Sodium Phosphate
NaH2PO4H2O= Monobasic Sodium Phosphate, Monohydrate
Na2HPO4= Dibasic Sodium Phosphate
Na2HPO4H2O= Dibasic Sodium Phosphate Monohydrate
Na= Sodium, yes Na=salt, no, salt is sodium chloride, NaCl
Na+= Sodium ion
NH4/UREA= NH4 = ammonium ion, urea hydrolyses to release ammonia
NKO4= ????typo???
NH4= combining form of ammonium ion
NH4+= ammonium ion
NO2= Nitrite
NO3= Nitrate
NPK=The macro fertilizers, Nitrogen/phosphorous/potassium - in USA, all
packages marked as ferts must specify
the content of these elements.
N2= Nitrogen gas
N/P= Nitrogen:phosphorous ratio
N= Nitrogen
O= elemental or combining form of oxygen, oxide
O2 =Oxygen gas
OM= Organic matter
oz= once, no, ounce
P= Phosphorous, elemental or combining form
PC= lighting?
pH = 7.0 neutral, lower than 7.0 is acidic, higher than 7.0 is alkaline
PCF= power compact fluorescent
PMDD= Poor Persons Dosing Drops thekrib.com
PO4= Phosphate
PVC= Plastic, specifically polyvinylchloride
RH= relative humidity?
RO= Reverse osmosis, a water purification technique
RS= rapid start
Se= Selenium
SFbaaps= San Francisco Bay Area Aquatic Plant Society, approximately
SEBAAPS= ???typo for above???
SO4= Sulfate combining form
S= Sulfur
Si-O= Si = silcon, O = oxide
SW= south west
tsp= teaspoons
TMG= Tropica Master Grow
UGF= UnderGravel Filter
V= Volts
W= watts?
X= times or multiply?
YMMV= Your milage may vary
ZNS04= typo for ZnSO4? Zinc sulfate

Edit: Link updated, original was not working.
Last edited by a moderator:
Useful, although it would be nice if there was one definitive list rather than lots of lists with mostly the same stuff.

BTW, I didn't see CEC in there....
hey these information tend to be more usefula nd informative. i think this can for sure enhance our knwoledge. thanks for sharing ....
Yeah very handy George, thanks for the link. I have on many occasions had to use Google to go find information on Chemical names etc and this list will save me a lot of time :)

There are a few more that are frequently used on here, which would be useful to get added. Took me a few posts to work out what everyone was talking about!

FTS - Full Tank Shot
FE - Fire Extinguisher
DSM - Dry Start Method
TNC - The Nutrient Company ( ;) see here!)

Plus others frequently seen that may not be understood by complete newbies..

HC - Hemianthus callitrichoides
HM - Hemianthus micranthemoides
The planted tank subject can be somewhat daunting for the newcomer and less 'scientific'. Here's a useful list of commonly used chemical names, acryonms and abbreviations etc.

Courtest of Tom Barr's - The Barr Report.

Those chemical names and acroynms! Add more if you see one I missed!!!

Edit: Link updated, original was not working.
Thank you for sharing the link, I'm a new memeber and learning about this all ahead of getting my own tank so this is very useful, thanks! 👍