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Like calcium and strontium, magnesium is used in the calcification of skeletons of reef organisms. In many cases, magnesium is used in place of calcium for calcification. In addition to its role in calcification, magnesium is used by organisms ranging from bacteria, to coralline algae to fish.
How can you be sure if magnesium levels are deficient? There are a couple of indications; severely depleted levels of magnesium (below 800 mg/L) can cause depressed pH levels and an inability to maintain proper calcium levels (more on ionic imbalance).