I went to the beach off the Jersey Shore this week and took a water sample to test.
I was curious to see how the water would stack up. With hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of sunscreen covered tourists running into and out of the ocean—doing who knows what in the ocean—I was curious to see just how nasty the water is by my snooty reef aquarium standards.
You’re not going to believe what I found.
Before I get into the specifics, I am curious to see what you think the water parameters were:
A few disclaimers about the results. I have never calibrated my test kits. I did not necessarily follow rigorous scientific protocols—I just performed the tests the same was I would at home. I also tested the water a few hours after collection (which arguably could have affected the water parameters). The results of this test are intended for the fun consumption of my fellow aquarium enthusiasts, not as an official testament to the purity of the ocean water at the Jersey Shore.
Before I ran the test, I had a pretty clear vision (hypothesis) for what I would find. I expected Ammonia and nitrates to be really high, with the salinity coming in exactly at the 1.025 mark. I was convinced that the sewer drains and human activity were going to create water parameters fit for aptasia and macroalgae.
Incidentally, there was lots of this macroalgae washing up on the beach:
The picture doesn’t really do it justice, the macro looked brown in the water (and in this picture), but up close it was a striking red/maroon color. Note the orange egg sacks on this portion of algae. I was half-tempted to take this pile home and try to hatch out the eggs…but I was a little afraid it might turn out to be…
If you are wondering, I did return the algae to the water.
Want to find out what the results of the water test were? You can get a copy of the results by subscribing to the Saltwater Aquarium Blog Newsletter. I’ll publish the results in a special version of the newsletter.
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