Ozone for aquarium water treatment use was very limited in the 1960s and early 1970s. Consulting engineers remained skeptical about its use. Based on European success, the attitude changed and ozone began gaining popularity. The main stumbling block was in limited knowledge of ozone applications and equipment durability.
During the mid 1970s there were many advances made in air preparation equipment, system materials of construction as well as understanding ozone reactor kinetics to meets specific goals for aquarium water treatment. This was a break through for ozone manufacturers in that they could offer an ozone system rather than just an ozonator.
In the early 1980s ozone came to the forefront for aquarium “Life Support” maintaining healthy fish communities and vastly improving the quality of water included improved clarity. At that time, the limiting factor was ozone systems required large floor space and height requirements.
In the early 1990s, it became evident that a sharp decline of aquatic species in the environment promoted the zoological parks and aquariums to move ahead with facility expansion. The facilities had good funding base and the general public was willing to pay the bill by visiting the facilities. Ozone system improvements allowed ozone to be offered at a much lower cost while minimizing the required physical space. Ozone contacting was refined and a system could be installed that would give superior ozone mass transfer in a much smaller space.
In the late 1990s ozone contacting kinetics were fine tuned and capable of providing 90- 95% transfer of ozone into solution. The compactness and effectiveness of the ozone system was perfected and ozone became the only disinfectant of choice for aquarium facilities.
The role of ozone in aquarium waters is from the perspective of ensuring water quality parameters are within desired range. Water quality needs include not only providing crystal clear disinfected water for viewing, but also oxidation of organics, inactivating bacteria and virus populations, and minimizing or eliminating chloramine formation.
Marine life exhibits at aquariums and amusement parks present a challenge to water quality operators charged with their care. Because such large volumes of water flow within these systems, a flow-through system continually replaced with clean municipal water is not economical or practical. Additionally, the colorful fish that the public prefers to see live in a salt water environment which has a cost cost to support in non-costal areas.
Therefore, exhibit waters must be continually recycled through a life support system (LSS) to protect the animals in the exhibit, as well as maintain adequate water quality for aesthetic purposes.