Boron has a relatively low concentration in natural salt water but involves multiple aspects of the conduction of our reef tanks. Typical values in nature are 4-5 mg/l while in tank we can reach also 6 mg/l. Boron dosage increases red and pink colors, this characteristic is well represented on the tissues of Acropora Hyacinthus and Spathulata.
However boron produces effects nn a huge variety of corals, moreover it influences pH, stabilizing it in the range of 8/8,3.
Let’s see in detail on which aspects and mechanisms boron acts:
– improves red/pink color, most accredited theories assert that boron increases the expression of chromoproteins in the coral tissue, however it is not clear why this is maximized on red acros. Other theories indeed assert that red chromoproteins need to be complexed with boron, likewise iron and hemoglobin.
– stabilizes pH at values of 8/8,3.
– induces a general brightening on corals, especially on sps, this effect is due to the inhibition of zooxantellae proliferation, it seems that boron can inhibit some cellular components involved in photosynthesis.
– increasing of coral grow rate, lots of aquarists observed that higher boron values, also 10 mg/l can induce an augmented grow rate, personally I never checked this theory. Some recent studies noticed that boron can promote a higher calcium adsorption by corals.
Boron integration is performed with liquid or powder buffers, containing sodium tetraborate or boric acid, usually weekly dosage is sufficient to avoid excessive reduction in boron concentration. In advanced protocols like zeovit we use daily dosage to ensure a constant concentration and maximize the adsorption by corals.
In berlin method and basic managed tanks, where color is not a priority, the dosage of boron can be superfluous since the results won’t be appreciable on poorly colored and zooxantellae charged corals. In this condition the aquarist can easily supply the little consumption of boron making weekly water changes with a trace elements rich salt. Furthermore virtually all salts have some amounts of sodium tetraborate that helps stabilize pH of new water.