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FAQs about Circulation in Marine Systems 8

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Small fishes can make big wastes...

Acrylic Aquariums    1/14/07... circ. I appreciate your response there. There are so many things and questions running through my head and I just thought hmm I think some outside influence might help here. <Absolutely, glad to be of service.> Anyhow, so back to the pumps. The closed loop system for me wouldn't be as optimal. I'm inclined to use power heads but I read all about them adding too much extra heat and this and that. <Likely of little concern here> As of right now my sump doesn't sit under the aquarium so much as next to it. (I wish I had thought about that before I purchased the stand) As for the head on the return I'd say there's probably 4 feet plus of tubing on the way from the sump pump to the aquarium, how much does that take off my GPH if it's at 748gph at 0 head? <Head loss is calculated with not only the length of the run, but more importantly the distance vertically from the pump to the return. See the calculator here for more help: http://www.reefs.org/pumps/> And since I'll most likely have to spring for the power heads in tank, can you recommend anything? Nothing too powerful but enough to create the proper flow within the tank. I forgot to mention the object is to create a reef setting. Thank you in advance. Jason <I think a couple of MaxiJet 900's or 1200's will likely serve your tank well, with a minimal of heat addition. The 1200's will provide a bit more flow, but at a higher electricity usage (and subsequently, likely more heat production). The 900's should be fine here. -JustinN>

Water flow in the Reef Tank - 10/24/05 I just wanted to say thank you, to everyone. <I'll say 'You're Welcome!' for everyone, Hello Aaron.> I purchased 2 Tunze stream pumps (6000's) and the multi-controller and I noticed a huge improvement in water quality.  <Yes water flow is important and the Tunze streams definitely are first class in delivering it.>  Now, I'm wondering if I should buy 2 more, or if they are strong enough for a 180 gallon tank?  <Depends on the livestock, for SPS you could definitely benefit from one or two more. Personally I'm a HUGE fan of lots of water flow in any kind of tank.>  I'm using a Little Giant with a manifold that splits the return, it's a LifeReef system, I believe the pump is rated at 1400 gph at 0 head, split and traveling from the sump, I probably see 300-400 on each side. If I added 2 more Tunze pumps (is it ton-ze or toonz?)...  <The latter I believe but don't quote me on it.>  would that be too much?  <I don't think so, though if you have a DSB it may be difficult to maintain with all this flow.>  I think the 6000's are 1850 gph at max flow, but the controller pulses them, which seems to be more beneficial, am I wrong here?  <No, turbulent water flow is better than linear water flow.>  If they run full blast all the time it makes swimming a bit problematic for the fishes.  <Yes but they will adjust. Even with all that water flow its nothing compared to the 'real' reef.>  I do keep some varieties of SPS corals, and they seem ok- I was just wondering if adding 2 more pumps would be too much? See, I figure if one pump is on at a time, and it pulses between 60 and 100% every 2 second, then after about 15 seconds the other pump comes on, I know it's not 1850x2 but it's really not just 1850 either is it, because a huge volume of water is moving towards the opposing pump as it switches on- ok,  <Having pumps face opposite each other is fine, it makes the water flow less "predictable' and more turbulent, a good thing.>  I'll stop, sorry, is 2 more too many?  <I don't think so.>  Thanks and have a good one! <You too!.> Thanks, <You're welcome.> Aaron <Adam J.> 

Reef Flow/Lighting - 10/04/05 Hi All, <<Howdy>> Wanted to say thanks for all the time and money I've saved by using your site, actually, I've saved more time than money, but hey, you can waste your time and you can waste your money- we can only get one back right? <<Mmm, true...easier for some than others...>> I recently purchased 2 Tunze Stream pumps for my 180 gallon reef, the 6000's and the 7095 multicontroller. <<Excellent!>> I thought it might do a better job at internal circulation than the 2 SEIO's (850's) and 2 Maxijet (400). <<duh! <G> >> My question is 1) are they difficult to mount, they are smaller than the 4 pumps, but with 1860 gph flow rate, are these little rails gonna hold them? <<If you are referring to the mounting system that comes with the Streams, yes, they will hold them.  I used them on mine, but later built "custom" hangers from acrylic to better suit my application.>> Seems like they will fly off and away, wreaking havoc through out my reef. <<If assembled correctly they will hold quite well.>> I was actually thinking of mounting the rails to the canopy with bolts. <<If the canopy is stationary (i.e. - not "suspended" above the tank) this is possible.>> Which leads to my second question 2) How deep should I mount them, the web pictures show them close to the surface- seems a waste if the flow area is so large, but what do I know. <<Up to you really. I have mine (six in all) near the surface to minimize disturbance of my DSB...works out quite well.  I do suggest you keep them a minimum of about two inches from the surface to prevent cavitations and creating a "bubble machine.">> Also, should I hook them up at each end of the aquarium facing each other, on the corner overflows directed diagonally at the front glass, or on  the overflow's towards each other?  The latter would require a change in aquascaping.  Again, the Tunze sight shows them on one side facing the other directly. <<My preference is to have them face each other.>> Ok, Last January I got on the band wagon and bought 2 400 watt 20k bulbs, I didn't get the mileage out of them I was expecting, seems they didn't last, cheesy internet sales. <<ok>> I bought 2 Hamilton 10k bulbs and decided to supplement that with 2 140 watt VHO actinics- where before I used 10k in the VHO fixture just to offset the utter "blueness".  I know that the 10k's are going to be more intense, and without stressing my corals, what kind of light schedule should I follow with the new bulbs?  Right now the Halides are on at 8am and off at 7pm, the VHO's are on at 9am and off at 6pm.  Should I start at say 8 hours and increase to 10 or 11 over a few weeks? I think my 20k's were utter Kim she, and I'm thinking Hamilton's are going to be quite a bit stronger- again, just my opinion, I could be wrong, am I? <<The 10K bulbs should be somewhat brighter as you surmise.  Rather than mess with your lighting schedule, I would like to recommend you get a piece of eggcrate to fit the top of the tank, along with a few sheets of plastic (fiberglass) window screen of the same dimension.  Throw a couple sheets of the screen on top of the eggcrate when you install the new bulbs...then remove a sheet every five days until all are gone.  The screen/eggcrate will shade/protect your corals from the new bulbs and allow you to acclimate all to the increased light intensity.>> I know I should have three on a six foot tank, but I have a low light area in the middle, and a few extra bucks in my pocket! <<Can place animals with lower light requirements here...>> Any info is, as always, very much appreciated.  Thanks and have a Happy Rosh Hashanah! Thanks, Aaron <<Regards, EricR>>

VOLUME TURN OVER VS. GPH  9/19/05 Ok, I've read a lot of posts on here and Reef Central and I think I now nearly know everything there is to know :). <No such thing> I have a 75 with a closed loop manifold (3/4 but the six outlets are reduced to 1/2 and two of them are running Hydor Flo's) fed by a MAG 12 from my sump.  I understand I want 10 to 20 times turnover of the tank volume.  I also read a post by Anthony C. himself that he would like to see (on a similar system) 1200 to 1500 gph going through the manifold.  I also read that for 1/2 inch outlets to be effective there should be about 250 gph through each outlet. I used the flow calculator and at the entrance to the manifold I am getting 834 gph. Now, that divided by my 75 gallons gives me a turnover of 11.1 times per hour which puts me in the 10 to 20 window. However, that 834 gph divided by the six outlets only gives me 139 gph. So, my question is this; what is more important? The overall tank volume turnover, or the gph per outlet? Now none of this takes into consideration  the elbows in the manifold itself. Are the elbows in the loop horizontal less restrictive than elbows installed vertical? The 834 is what I am getting at the 3/4 entrance to the 3/4 manifold (remember the outlets are reduce to 1/2). I have mushroom, candy, and star polyp corals and would like to stick with these types. <For the kinds of coral you are keeping, this will be sufficient, but I would still double it if possible.  For corals, 20x+ is a good target to aim for>  Thank you <Anytime - M. Maddox

Water Flow/Outlet Size And Closed Loops - 09/04/05 Hello Again, <<Howdy>> So happy you guys are there! <<And happy to be here!>> I just tested my system and am not happy with my return water flow. <<uh oh>> I have a Mag 36 in the sump returning water to the tank by 1" line thru back upper drilled hole in tank, this then goes to 3/4" loop around the top of tank and completes a loop. <<ok>> I have 7 'T' outlets on this loop.  Only the first outlet gets any good flow, the rest slowly get less as it goes around the loop.  I have about 10 ft. of head, even with that I should have 1800 gph.  Did I hook it up wrong.  I have 3 1.5" outputs going to sump with horizontal skimmer box, the flow seems to be there because the outflows are working good. <<I have no doubt the flow "volume" is there...the problem is in the application.  To have sufficient "force" to be effective, a 3/4" outlet on a closed-loop requires from 600-700 gph of flow...conversely, a 1/2" outlet requires only about 300 gph.  Assuming your flow calculation is correct, you only have enough flow for three 3/4" outlets...at best.  To keep from having to cap off the majority of your outlets, use reducer bushings to reduce the outlets to 1/2" and employ a maximum of 5 or 6 outlets.>> Thank you in advance, Dan P <<Regards, EricR>>

Pump prefilter  9/1/05 Bob, You were right about my knowledge on the venturi system. I bought a Kent Marine Venturi tube and hooked it up to the discharge of my pump. Like magic my Turboflotor is working great. <Ahh, glad you solved that mystery> I now have a question about something I am considering trying, and have found no mention of anyone else doing on this website or any other. My problem is that I still get some bubbles coming back from my sump to my main tank. <Not uncommon> I have the over/under/over baffles and that still allows some to enter the pump intake ending up in my tank. The only way I have found to stop them is to put the prefilter that came with the pump (MagDrive 9.5) on the intake. I've been cleaning it out really well once a week, but it still concerns me. I was wondering if you or anyone you know has ever tried to cut a filter pad to the shape of the plastic intake guard of a pump. I know that the filter pad would have a smaller pore size which will decrease the flow into the pump. <... and be real trouble if it gets "too" clogged, or sucked in!> I think that the smaller width of the filter pad will end up making the pressure drop through it just about the same as the prefilter the pump came with. <Likely more> On a side note I am also planning on putting a filter sock on the overflow coming from my tank into my sump. <A much better idea... these pumps are almost all made to "push, not pull"... are centrifugal... Not a good idea to restrict intake...> Thanks in advance for any suggestions or advice against doing so. Cory <Welcome. Bob Fenner> Saltwater Fish-Only Circulation 8/31/05 Hello! <Hi!> I have just started a 140G FO tank (36" x 30" x 30"). I am not planning to house any inverts like Anemones in the tank. The only water circulation is currently provided by an EHEIM 2217 Canister filter i.e. 1000l/Hr. Do I need more water circulation in the tank by adding more powerheads? If yes of what capacity? What would be the purpose of these powerheads in a FO tank. Regards <That particular Eheim model only produces roughly 250 gallons per hour. This unfortunately will not provide proper water circulation in a system of your size. You can utilize two to four large powerheads roughly 700 to 1200gph per pump. Look into Gemini, TOP, Tunze or Hagen which all manufacture larger powerhead/pumps. Even in a fish-only system, your goal should include good water circulation. I highly recommend you consider adding live rock to the system as well due to the fact that the Eheim 2217 unit will most likely not provide enough proper filtration (unless of course you keep your fish bioload down to just a few small-medium sized fish). Good luck! - Ali> Circulation In An 8-Foot Tank - 05/26/05 Hey Crew, Ben Here <<Hey Ben...EricR here.>> I'm an Aussie boy and trying to set up a large 8 foot show tank that will be setup in a show room. <<Well maybe I'll be able to help.  I have an 8 foot show tank in my showroom (my living room).>> I know, my dream come true. <<Mine too <G>.>> I was hoping I could get some advice on what the best way circulation would be on this considering that I can drill holes in the outer glass pieces.  I was going to use a 4 foot (1/4 trickle, 3/4 refuge) for my filtration with the overflow/s (should I have 1 centre or two in the centres) of the tank. Will that be enough filtration? <<Mmm, not sure what you mean here.  If you are talking overflows I would drill for two 2" drains and use one to feed the sump, the other to feed a closed loop.>> I have 5 powerheads if the flow isn't enough which would be good to mix up the flow but don't really look all that good.  Considering that this system will house many corals, I don't want to skimp out of good flow.  Your thoughts. <<Agreed...and regular powerheads will have a hard time providing good random-turbulent flow in a tank this size.  Do look in to a closed-loop flow system: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pbretfaqs.htm>> I hope to ask some more questions later to you guys. Cheers heaps Ben <<I/we look forward to your queries.  Regards, EricR>>

Flow And Filtration...Not Necessarily The Same - 08/25/05 Good day Crew!! <<Howdy!>> Thanks for the site, the bountiful archives, and the appreciation of proper grammar. <<You been talkin' to Bob? <G> >> I admire and appreciate what you are doing for me, and the rest of the (would be) marine aquarium keepers out here on the world wide web.  Good work, people! <<I/we enjoy/believe in what we do, but still...redeeming to hear...thank you.>> Having said that, my question to you is, how many times an hour should I turn over water through my sump vs. through a closed loop system? <<Two to three tank volumes per hour through the sump...ten or more (preferably!) tank volumes through a closed-loop.>> I know the recommended turnover is 10x - 20x an hour, but does it all need to run through the sump where the filtration will be? <<Nope, nor do I recommend/think this to be practical.>> Or can I just run my water, say, 5x - 10x times an hour through my sump (and all of its various components), and the other 10x - 15x in a closed loop? <<Could...though I still think that's more than you need going through the sump.  Less flow through the sump will be easier to plumb with less hassle/subsequent noise.>> Is there an ideal ratio? <<Every system/configuration is unique, but the basic flow rates I listed should work well for most.>> I can't seem to find the sentence that says, "An aquarium should be completely filtered XX times per hour."  (Assume I would like to keep delicate and demanding species, for which flow seems to be most important.)  Naturally, more filtration is better, but I have concerns about my setup, and if I am going to be limited by flow through filtration, I would like to know now, so I can stock to accommodate it (or modify the tank to suit my needs).   <<Flow and Filtration are two different things.  Besides, if we're talking a reef system with live rock, most of the "filtration" will be going on "in the tank" where, yes, your "flow" needs to be random, turbulent, and robust (e.g. - 10x-20x tank volume).  2x-3x tank volume through the sump to supply the skimmer and maybe some sort of chemical filtration will be just fine.>> I recently acquired a used 125 gallon setup.  What was included was the tank, stand, and a canopy equipped w/ 3 175w MH bulbs (and room for some 72" tubes).  The tank is predrilled, in the bottom, with a 1 3/4" hole in each back corner, and of course, with overflow boxes installed (glass).  If I am correct, these holes will accommodate 1" bulkheads, both of which I plan to have drain to a 55 gallon sump. <<yes>> (I think I am correct that the flow out of the display through these bulkheads can be regulated by the return pump, but I am afraid that due to the small diameter of the bulkheads, even at max, I will be limited.) <<yes again>> By the way, what kind of flow can I expect through each of these bulkheads?  I think I read 300 gallons for return bulkheads, and 800 gallons per hour for drains.  Is this right? <<I would plan for no more than 300-350 gph per drain to the sump.  This flow rate will ease any plumbing issues when it comes to eliminating noise, and provides some measure of safety margin in the event of a blockage.  In fact...I would recommend plumbing only one drain to the sump (approx. 300 gph submerged return pump), and use the other drain to plumb your closed loop (1500-2500 gph external pump).>> The return will go up and over the back of the tank, as I have seen recommended several times in the archives to people in similar situations. <<okay>> Since this whole thing is still in the planning stages, I am hoping this input (and a lot of input found in the archives), will save me heartache and expense, as I do plan to stock only with captive propagated (hence, more expensive) species. <<Always good to have your stocking plan before you build the system so as to tailor to the organisms needs.>> I don't advocate loss of life or destruction of reef under any circumstances, so I am going to thoroughly do my homework to accommodate any species I consider for captivity in my home, based on what my system can accommodate. <<Or...research/pick the species and build the system to suit...>> I absolutely will not house an animal that would otherwise have a home, and will only house one that will be happy in my home, i.e. there is probably not an anemone in my future. <<Very good to hear.>> I am the same way with dogs, getting them only from the pound. <<Admirable...but as you say...only if you have the means to provide...>> Also, I am quite determined to do this myself, much to the dismay of the LFS owner, who would just love to come set this up for me.  However, I am afraid that he would abuse my pocketbook, and betting on my ignorance, some innocent marine animals, and I can't do it.  Besides, I like the challenge. <<Quite within your abilities I'm sure...just be sure to stop and think, research, ask questions as you are now, and above all...take your time.>> Thanks for all of your help and expertise that I have already made use of, and will use in the future.  I am looking forward to being an informed/conscientious marine aquarist (great book, by the way). Sincerely concerned about adequate filtration, Jessica Groomer <<Please do write back in/make use of our extensive archives re tank setup/close-loops.  Regards, EricR>>

"Y" Must I Use a "T"? - 08/18/05 Crew, <<Tim>> I've been reading through the plumbing FAQs but I can't seem to find what I'm looking for. <<ok>> I have a Dolphin 2100 pump for my new (still not fully assembled) 135G reef.  I have the tank filled with freshwater for a plumbing test. <<good idea>> The 1 1/2 inch discharge from the pump goes vertically through a coupling, a shut off (ball) valve, to a 1 1/2 Tee. Each side of the tee goes horizontally to each side of the tank then through an elbow, a 1 1/2 to 1" reducer, a 1" bulkhead, and a manifold up in the tank. <<ok>> I didn't really want a Tee to split the flow.  It seems like I'll lose a lot of head that way. <<Some, yes.>> I wanted more like a Y, but I can't seem to find Y's.  The closest I have seen is a sanitary tee, or a three way Y that I could use if I plugged the center port. <<Yep...pretty much your choices.  There are some symmetrical polycarbonate "Y" fittings used in wood-shop central vacuum/filtration systems...but I've never explored to see if these would be suitable/safe for cementing to PVC.>> What is the best way to split the output of a pump two ways???  Is my Tee as good as it gets?  I cant seem to Google the right phrase to find suggestions. <<Your question is not uncommon, many hobbyists; myself included, have wrestled with this option.  Due to it's uneven/unequal design, the sanitary-T gives unequal flow...and I feel the 3-way lends itself to too much internal turbulence with a high-pressure pump, thus reducing flow.  In the end, I've found the best, simplest, and cleanest way is to go with a standard "T" fitting.>> Thanks (again), Tim
<<Regards, EricR>>

DSB And Pump Returns - 08/17/05 WWM (EricR), <<Hiya Todd!>> Thanks again for the great response and all of the previous suggestions are in the workings as we speak. <<Hope they prove helpful.>> I have a few more questions before I switch my LR and some tank mates over to the new tank. <<Alrighty>> First off is more of a should I do this question.  I am going to put a DSB instead of my old crushed coral base. <<Yea! (sugar-fine, right?)>> I want 4-5 inches but I am not sure what kind (I would love the cheap stuff from Home Depot, but its not Southdown and I don't trust the play sand at my Home Depot), so I was thinking of the Coral Sea (0.5-1.5mm).  The LFS store here suggested some crushed coral but I don't really trust them yet especially after that comment! <<A "small" amount mixed in wouldn't necessarily hurt anything, but also affords no benefit so...>> Do you think that should do fine and not too messy when I move the rocks around or add water? <<My preference for a DSB is sugar-fine aragonite sand.  Sand from other sources is workable, but doesn't provide the buffering capacity of the aragonite.  I'm not familiar with the Coral Sea product but will assume it is of a marine/calcareous origin and will likely serve you just fine.>> Also, should I put the same sand in my refugium? <<I would>> Last but not least is a question regarding my return lines out of the sump. <<ok>> For now I am going to be using a underwater pump (Rio 20, cause that is what I have for now).  I want outflows in all four corners coming from my sump, if you think this is a good idea? <<Looking at your diagram, yes.>> If so, then do I have one line up from the pump, place a 'T' at the top of the tank and put one 90 at each corner...If you look at the tank from the top, it would look like an upside down 'Y'.  There also would be a 'T' at both corners that would have an outlet then another 90 at both ends for an outlet.  I will send a quick schematic to make it easier for you to understand. <<it did>> The other option would be to have two pumps in the sump.   One for each side of the tank (two outlets per pump)?" <<This second option would be my choice...a bit more flexibility/gives some measure of redundancy in case one pump fails.>> Also, would a 1" PVC pipe do the job (from the pump to the outlet in the tank)? <<Considering the small size of the pump(s), I would use 3/4" pipe with 1/2" nozzles to increase water velocity (figure 300-350 gph per 1/2" nozzle).>> Thanks again and keep up the good work. Todd
<<Always welcome, EricR>>

Achieving Flow - 08/15/05 I really appreciate your suggestions.  This will get me on the right track. <<Happy to assist.>> I just want to clarify one thing. <<shoot>> When you say about 1000gph or more for flow, does this mean you should have at least 1000gph of flow through your filtration unit (sump, refugium, wet/dry, etc) or 1000gph of flow throughout your tank? <<Throughout the tank.  I like to put a minimum of flow through my sump to simplify plumbing issues, and utilize auxiliary methods (closed-loop, powerheads, etc.) to achieve overall flow rates.>> Whether it is 500gph through your filtration unit and 500 through powerheads/closed loop? <<Ah, yes...you got it!>> Thank you again and you cats get a two thumbs up on this end of the Rockies.  Keep up the great web page and if you ever need a neuro question answered, let me know I might be able to help. Todd <<Now "that's" a query we don't see every day <G>.  Cheers, EricR>> Total "turn" in reef tanks 8/13/05 Joe, I agree in the fact that turning 3000gph through a sump not designed to be effective at 3000 gph is not a good thing.  Example being, you buy a sump rated for a 180, then pump 3000gph through it, dramatically decreases it's biological capability due to a very short contact time.  James (Salty Dog).    However, while reading the various different messages, I've become aware that, for larger amount of turn, suggestions are to avoid turning through the sump. Can you pin that down a bit? For example, in an aquarium turning 10 times an hour, XX through the sump, XX through the manifold? ><Joe, the total turn should equal 10X the tank size.  This is a total of sump, powerheads, etc.  If the sump and pump were sized correctly.......say 500gph, then, in a hundred gallon tank, an additional 500gph of flow would be needed.  Hope this helps.  James (Salty Dog)> James, I recall reading that there may be a point at which, if turn is going through the sump, it's not a good thing. The observations were subjective. Any thoughts? A 300 gallon tank running 3000 GPH through its sump? Joe. Quick circulation question/advice request 8/11/05 Good morning: Scenario: a 75 gallon reef in progress (LR, some F, some inverts coral) serviced by: Remora Pro, Eheim 2213 and a couple of powerheads (Rio 400 + Maxijet 600) for additional circulation. No sump or refugium (yet! :) ). Occasional polish as needed via a Diatom filter. I'd like to eliminate the PHs and possibly the 2213. Can I replace either or both by installing a water return manifold? <Yes> If so am I better off with a submersible or an outside pump and for this size tank, <Outside> with the desire to increase my invert and corals, what volume? <As much as practical... twenty times capacity a good number...> With enough flow and keeping the skimmer can I get rid of the 2213? <Yes> Are Turbelle streams too powerful for this size tank? <Maybe...> Your advice always appreciated! Charles <Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

SW circulation  08/08/2005 Bob (or other WWM crew member), I had a follow up question to my fish introduction order one. In my 100 gallon I have a Tunze 6080 (2200 gal/hr I think) and a Mag-Drive 9.5 (about 600 gph) in my sump acting as a return pump. The Mag-Drive is split into three outlets each aimed at the base of my live rock to increase flow in that area. The Tunze is about 1/3 of the way down my tank blowing across the top of the rock. I don't see any accumulation around the rocks and there seems to be good flow. I have been told that because the Tunze spreads the flow out so much that I may want to consider a second one farther down in the tank actually pushing water through the live rock. I feel that my flow is adequate, <Me too> approximately 2600 gph, which turns of my tank 26x an hour. Do you think this setup is adequate or will I need more? Thanks again, Rick <I would not add more here. Bob Fenner> Total "turn" in reef tanks 8/4/05 Dear crew, I've seen various statements of recommend "turn" throughout WWM, and am familiar with the recommendations for reef tanks (6X plus, more being better). However, while reading the various different messages, I've become aware that, for larger amount of turn, suggestions are to avoid turning through the sump. Can you pin that down a bit? For example, in an aquarium turning 10 times an hour, XX through the sump, XX through the manifold?  <Joe, the total turn should equal 10X the tank size.  This is a total of sump, powerheads, etc.  If the sump and pump were sized correctly.......say 500gph, then, in a hundred gallon tank, an additional 500gph of flow would be needed.  Hope this helps.  James (Salty Dog)> Joe Kraska Alternative for Carlson surge devices, new product proposition 7/25/05 Guys, <Dave> I think I know how to build a surge device for MUCH smaller tanks.  I have seen Carlson surge devices and they said about 150 gallons is the smallest practical value.  I think I can make a surge device guaranteed to work for any size/flow rate you want. <Okay> I think... I don't know anything about aquarium work and what parameters would you need for a surge device. <Mmm, most all types of systems can/will benefit from the added volume, type of water movement...> I have made them very small and slow.  I have a few practical working models that deliver 2 liters of water per a surge.  I think I can size up the concept to anything but I need some data on target numbers. Obviously, you would use a header tank and gravity to build the surge.  This would be the kind of thing you screw into the bottom of  a large reservoir/header tank to hold the surge and then add enough discharge pipe to get the kind of surge needed.  The cycle rate is determined by pump flow rate and gallons per surge. A 10 GPM pump would surge twice per minute if you dropped 5 gallons per surge.  Various overflows could be added to ensure safe return of water in case of device failure (which will be rare.  It is pretty simple and reliable). Assume you want to make a reef in a 25 gallon tank for this example. 1)  How often do you surge? <... once, twice, maybe thrice a minute...> 2)  How many gallons are released for each surge? <... depends on how many you want... I would guess somewhere between ten and twenty percent of system volume> 3)  How high up would a header tank need to be over the tank to get the right surge rate? <Just above it> 4)  How much would you pay for such a device if you were a tank owner?  Is there a market for this kind of gizmo and how many do you think would sell in a year? <Te gazillion dollar question... currently, very few folks (less than a tenth of one percent) utilize such a device> 5)  What if the reef tank was 10 gallons instead of 25?  How would the above numbers change? <Am sure they will... most folks with smaller systems have less money...> Are smaller reef tanks more popular or would they be with a small surger? <Much less popular> I need to use these numbers to size the release mechanism.  Your help and experienced estimates or guesses to the above are appreciated.   -Dave <Best "advice" to you... build some models, ask local stores if they will allow you to demonstrate them on some of their systems... with tags, logo on the product identifying who you are, where they can buy them... save up and place an ad in the national pet-fish mag.s... see if folks respond... Bob Fenner> Tunze Stream 7/25/05 For in-tank flow, do you think one or two of the product below would be far too much turbulence for a 90 gallon?  It seems like a great product -- too bad they don't make the same thing with a little less flow'¦.  <Jon, the Tunze are very well built pumps but I think it's a little overkill for a 90.  As long as the output is controllable as I see it is, then it will be fine.  If you upgrade to a larger tank, the pump should handle a 180 gallon tank.  The other benefit is low wattage which helps keep your temp down.  James (Salty Dog)> Turbelle ® Stream 6000 : * Output: 7000 l/h; 1850 gal/h * Speed control: Yes * Electronically controllable by all TUNZE ® motor controls * Pump wattage: 15 W * Cable length: 5 m; 196" * Dimensions: ø 98 x 118 mm; ø 3.9 x 4.6 * Outlet diam.: ø 50 / 47 mm; ø 2" / 1.8" Flow rate 7/21/05 Hello great site my question is I have a 75gal I am going to have drilled. I was thinking two 2'' holes in the back of the tank 12 " apart near the top, with a inside horizontal flow box that would run into a 30 gal sump. 2- 1 1/2''holes in the two upper back corners for returns. what kind of flow rate will I be looking at. <Mmm... I would use smaller return lines, a larger sump if you can fit it... maybe two if you want to have a biological sump (refugium)...> Will this be too much, I read so much about bigger is better. One more question please. How would I construct a closed loop for this. <... please read here: oh, wait...> I have read all your info but I cant get in my thick skull. thanks again your site is the best info in the world. Oh I forgot I want A FOWLR with reef in the future.               Dan p <Dan, please have someone or your computer proof your correspondence... we don't want to look ignorant... Go back and read the pertinent parts on WWM re your questions... they are covered there. Bob Fenner>

Flow rate question 7/14/05 I am setting up a new 1000L fish only salt water tank. The filter will be a sump type around 200L.  As I wish to use a Eheim circulating pump, the biggest pump available at my Eheim retailer is a 1262 which is rated for 3400 LPH. Also included will be a Aqua- Medic PH2500 to power the protein skimmer. Do you think I will need extra flow for this set up? If extra flow is required, please advise how best to do. <I generally recommend an absolute minimum flow within the aquarium equal to five times it's volume, with ten times being even better.  This means that you should have between 5000 and 10000L/hr of flow.  The easiest way to accomplish this is to add a second Eheim pump used within the aquarium for water movement only.  Any similar submersible pump would also be suitable.  The pump for your skimmer does not contribute to this total.  Best Regards.  AdamC.>

Flow rate follow up 7/20/05 When you state to use an extra pump, would this mean 2 Eheim pumps side by side in the filter sump connected to a tee piece or to fit 2 power heads in the main display tank? I have 2 spare Aquatic 1500 power heads if needed, and also 2 rated at 3000. Eheim only have powerheads up to 650 LPH at my stockist. If there is a option I would opt for the power heads. Thanks for your time and information provided. Best Regards, Alan <I meant to use the second Eheim in the tank as a powerhead, but if you have other spare powerheads, they will work just fine.  Best Regards, AdamC.>

Water Flow 30 Jun 2005 Hi I love this site and have been looking through some of the question and answers and decide to ask you guys myself.  I am in the process of planning on setting up a 95 gallon 36x24x25 gallon SPS and clam tank.  I was wondering on flow and what I should use to get the most flow and random flow as well.  I want to do this right the first time and not waste money.  What I take from reading is I need to get at least 10x turnover. <Yes> Should I get a sequence external dart pump or are there others out there that are better?  I also want to get random even flow for the corals, I guess the most natural flow.  I have read some about the Tunze system but seems a little pricey.  Would the closed loop or the manifold that I found on this site actually be random enough to put out the water at different times around the tank?  Or would the pump just continuously put out the same flow at all outlets at the same time?  Or should I go the expensive way and buy two 3/4 sea swirls and put them in the corners and get random flow that way?  Or maybe one 1" in one corner of the tank.  I appreciate any feedback you have on this problem.  Thanks <Mason, I would recommend the Aquarium Systems Maxi-Jet Natural Wavemaker System.  The model 1200 includes the timer and three 295 gph powerheads for $99.99.  Not too pricey and I think it would be adequate for your 95 gallon system.  Drs. Foster & Smith sells these kits.  James (Salty Dog)> - Water Circulation - Hi Bob, Quick question regarding water circulation in a 150 gal, SPS only tank. How do you compare to the Tunze stream to the SeaSwirls, assuming they have the same outflow of 1200 gal/hour. Thank you. <Think it's six of one, half a dozen of the other. The Sea Swirl obviously is not a pump, so you need more hardware to implement these, but the folks I know that use them, love them. I personally have the Tunze stream pumps and think they're just as viable a solution. I'd say it depends on your setup and how much hardware you want to see in the tank. I think at the end of the day they'd both end up costing about the same to implement. Cheers, J -- >

- Water Circulation, Follow-up - Hi there, <Hi.> I will be having a closed loop for my 150 gal tank. Planning to use an outside pump of 1500 gal/h, running 2 SeaSwirls on each side of the tank. How high shall I place the pump??? <As close to the bottom of the tank as plumbing will allow.> Will it be ok if I place it on the floor or the water pressure will be too much for it??? <It' won't be "too" much, but you'll get better results from the pump if you try to keep the tubing lengths as short as possible.> I am planning to drill 1 hole in the glass to be the output and then running 2 PVC towards the SeaSwirls. Thanks. <Cheers, J -- >

SW circulation, seahorses... Hello, I have a 2 month old 65 gallon tank with skimmer, wet/dry, chiller, Coralife  lighting  HQI  metal halide lighting,  a lot of live rock inside my tank I use 1 Rio aqua pump/power head 2500 it does not seem to be enough movement for top layer of water and to move about corals towards the center I was thinking of adding a Seio super flow pump m620 my question is do you think this is too much current? <Not too much> I have 2 Brazilian seahorses to take in consideration? <Oh... perhaps too much for these... I would arrange all flow to course along the edges of the inside of the tank> Also my tank measures L36" H 19" 1/2 W 18" has rounded corners. thank you R.G. <Bob Fenner>

Tank Drain Size And Overflow vs. Closed Loop - 06/20/05 Hi Crew, thank you all so much for your website and personal advice! <<A pleasure to assist.>> I'm overwhelmed a bit, but trying to read all that I can.  My original plan was to use a somewhat beat up used tank, but now I've decided to buy a new 180g tank from www.glasscages.com.  I can have it drilled custom, so I have some important decisions to make in the next 2 days (have to order first of the week to have it on their truck coming to Orlando).   <<OK>> I'm doing a tank that is viewable from both sides and one end.  I think that the whole "back end" will be totally closed off by the overflow wall.   I want to be able to do 20X flow without powerheads.  On my 180g that amounts to 3600 gph through the sump if I don't do a closed loop. <<Mmm...I'm leaning towards the closed-loop with a separate return pump for the sump in the 700-900 gph range.>> Is it realistic to put that much flow through a 24" long built in overflow and then run it through a 36x18x17tall sump (I'm ordering that tank also)? <<Can it be done?...probably.  Would I want to do it?...nope.>> It seems a little scary to me! <<Me too <G>.>> Will it be too much flow for a refugium to be incorporated into the sump? <<Would likely "wash all away".>> If I don't pull it all through the sump, I'd need a closed loop, but I don't have any "back wall" space to drill for a closed loop.  Is it a bad idea to try to do a closed loop that pulls from the overflow area? <<Actually, my suggestion would be to pipe the intake for the closed-loop in through the bottom of the overflow box, split it in to multiple intakes (2 minimum, 3 or 4 better) all the same diameter as the pump intake pipe (in other words, don't "reduce" the size), and plumb these through the sides of the overflow box so only just the intake screens protrude in to the tank itself.  This will alleviate any concerns of the overflow handling the volume of the pump for the closed-loop...and the multiple intake ports will keep that 3600 gph pump from "straining" all your critters through the intake screens.>> If I don't pull from the overflow, my only other option is to pull from a standpipe somewhere out in the tank (there is NO "back" of the tank available for drilling).  If I'm pulling from a standpipe around the middle of the tank, I'm worried that critters and stuff will constantly be getting trapped against the intake. <<A possibility, but can be addressed with more/multiple intake ports to create a "more gentle" flow through any one port.>>   Next question - hole sizes.  According to the RC calculator, I can get 1400 gph from a 1.5" drain and 2400 gph from a 2" drain.  I was planning on doing two 2" drains and one 1.5" return all drilled inside of the overflow.  That is a lot of flow potential but I'm not sure if I can pull that much flow over the overflow without it sounding like Niagara Falls.  What is your opinion? <<Exactly...another reason to go with the closed-loop for the bulk of your flow.  I do like your hole sizes, bigger is always better...if only for that margin of safety (sooner or later something WILL restrict/clog a drain.).>> Also - I may go to two 1" returns so that I can have two pumps.  This seems like it opens more options as in one pump being a closed loop, and some redundancy in case I have a problem with a pump, etc.  What do you think of that idea? <<Two returns is fine, but I would use one for the closed-loop and the other for the sump return (as mentioned previously).  As far as diameter goes, use what is specified for the pumps you will be using.>> Thanks again for all of your hard work to promote this hobby.   <<Hope this all makes sense.  Try some key-word searches of our plumbing FAQs re "Closed-loop" and "drain size" for additional info.>> Sincerely, Randy <<Regards, Eric R.>>

Water flow for an 85 gal Adam, < Frank > I appreciate your input on the questions asked below.  Regarding the return pump and your suggestion to use as big as I can afford. I thought that if I utilized a pump where the flow rate was too great then you would possibly run into problems with draining the sump, < That is a potential problem.  Most people avoid that problem by "T"ing off the line so that the pump pushes water back to the tank, and also back into the sump. >(the Durso pipe drainage would be slower than the return).  Is this why you are suggesting possible modification of the overflow? < I do like modifications because I don't think you can ever be too safe in regards to the overflows.  All too often I see them get covered in algae and a disaster is just waiting to happen. > I was told from members of my club that I should not exceed 1000gph, (to avoid this potential problem).  I was thinking of purchasing a Gen X PCX-30 825gph. < That is probably a good move.  I'd probably go a little bigger just knowing that you'll lose significant pressure with that 4ft head height. > (I am looking for a quiet external pump--trying to stay away from heating the water w/submerged pumps). Also was considering the Blueline BL-800 875 gph, (I was told that this was the old GenX Mak 3) & Panworld 50PXX-MD30X 1110gph, (was afraid that the gph might be too high & cause problems w/drainage of the sump). On your other comments regarding the new Seio super flow powerheads: are you referring to the model 620 rated @ 620gph & model 820 rated @ 820gph, (they offer up to 1500gph)?  Would two 620's, (1 on each end of the tank), be sufficient or should I go with 2 820's?  < Well that is a tough call.  I'm using the 820's and I love them.  The great thing is that you really don't get too much direct flow out of them.  This allows for a lot of total flow without blowing your corals over.  So I'd say for an 85 gal I'd use two of the 820's and maybe even more. >   Frank <  Blundell >

Water Circulation !! 06/07/2005 Quick question, what do you think of 2 Hagen power heads, rated at 900 GPH each for a 150 Gal. reef tank??? Any feedback about these new power heads !!! <Those power heads are ok. They have an adjuster for flow on them that sometimes does not always work. At least in my case when I have used them.  I would think that at each end of the tank pointed toward the middle would be a good starting point.  Then depending on what corals you are going to keep that will tell you if you need more flow> I heard that Seio power heads are not that reliable on the long run ,is that true ?? < I have been running a Seio 800, 1100, and 1300 with no problems.  I like to use them for mixing salt but in a 75 they seemed like a strange flow.  It is a light rolling flow that is nice but it is really different than other power heads.  You will have to experiment> Thank you. <Anytime EricS>

Refugium Hey Folks:  <Hello, Ben> I am under the impression that turnover for the refugium should be slower than the sump system yet adequate enough to supply o2 and nutrients. IF my assumption is correct what is the range for the turnover rate?  <Ben, sounds to me like you are talking about a homemade reef. There really isn't a steadfast rule for flow. Most manufactured refs have built in baffles to keep the sand/mud, etc from getting stirred up. Any flow rate from five to ten times the volume of the ref should be sufficient. Measure LxWxH, divide by 231 to give you the volume size in gallons, and go from there. James (Salty Dog)> <<Mmm, actually... sounds to me like the question is about refugiums themselves... a few turnovers OF the refugium volume itself, per hour are about prime... 3 to 5 or so. BobF>

Tunze Wavebox Hello, <G'morning> I am about to upgrade to a larger tank; it will be 225G with ~150 lbs of live rock. I thought I might do this one a little differently and actually plan all facets of the system design in advance. Novel idea, eh? <Heeee!> Anyway, I am in a quandary; I have been doing research on water flow and came across a device called the Wavebox, made by Tunze. I haven't been able to find a lot of information out there from real people with real experiences. <Good products, but pricey... more popular in Europe... elsewhere where the economy/currency isn't so destroyed> Has anyone that you are aware of used this? <Yes... a few here. More overseas> If so, any opinions? <A good unit for producing reasonable, oscillating water movement in good sized systems... just the cost to purchase... about five hundred dollars... a bit steep> Regardless of any first or second hand experiences, do you see any reasons why I would not want to use this? <Mmm, no... the usual risk, caution re positioning, screening to prevent slow-moving life from being "sucked in"> Are there any types of corals, inverts, or fish that may not like this type of movement? <Mmm, no again> (if the list is long, you can be general) One thing I would like to add, however, is that my goal in doing this would be to avoid the use of powerheads altogether. (with the exception of the return pump) Do you think this is a reasonable objective? <Sure> Here are a couple of links to information on the device: http://www.tunze.com/Interzoo-Neuheiten-2004/Wavebox.html  - and page 4 of this document: http://www.tunze.com/Interzoo-Neuheiten-2004/Flyer%202004/Flyer_2004_E_USD.pdf  Thanks, Dave <Thank you for writing. Tunze's powerheads are a "gold mine" for folks who need/want large water movement... Am a bigger fan of external "manifolded" circulation systems myself... for functional and aesthetic reasons. These are gone over and referenced on WWM under "Circulation" in the root/marine web. Bob Fenner> 

- Tunze Wavebox - Hi Bob, <JasonC this time.> Thanks for the response.  I did some research on the external manifold method you recommended and have decided to go this route instead. However, I do have a question. Is this meant to replace the existing return pump/plumbing or supplement it? <Either or - some folks use the manifold for return from the sump, others in closed loops, and still others do both.> Thanks again, Dave <Cheers, J -- >

Poor water flow on new tank? 5/4/05 I checked the cycling and algae FAQs and couldn't find my problem specifically answered. I have recently cycled 30 lbs of Lalo live rock from DFS.  My setup is as follows 20 gal AGA Hagen Aquaclear 70 powerfilter - with a poly pad (recent addition), small amount of carbon and live rock rubble in the box 2 MaxiJet 400 powerheads CPR BakPak 2R 1 55W blue , 1 55W 10000K power compacts 10 hour photoperiod Plan a 15% water changes every 2 weeks. <Or more water... I do large weekly water changes in my small reef aquarium> I tanked the rock by itself and allowed it to fully cure - approximately 3 weeks to zero ammonia, nitrite.  I had an enormous ammonia spike that lasted so long (2 weeks) that nitrites were already on the decline when the ammonia hit zero. This even with periodic 25% water changes throughout the cycle.  I believe it may have killed anything that was alive on arrival - as I have seen little evidence of any worms or microfauna in the tank or substrate, plenty of worm tubes but no worms.  The coralline faded quite a bit but there is still significant coverage in red, pink, purple and light green that I hope will come back strong. At the end of the cycle I did a 50% water change and added approx 1.5 - 2 inches aragonite sand - half oolitic, half slightly larger.  Waited 1 week. I drip acclimated and added 8 red hermits and 10 snails (Turbo, Astraea, Trochus).  They are keeping the rock and glass clean - but dropping enormous amounts of excrement all over the sand and rock - do I need to be siphoning this off regularly? <Well.. sort of. Please do siphon it out when you see it. But then again... if you can see it accumulating, it is a sign that this tank has a serious deficiency in water flow. All such solids should be kept in suspension for use by filter feeders, export by skimmers, etc> Approx 2 days after adding the cleanup crew - I noticed a slimy substance covering nearly every plastic surface in the tank - in some places 1/8" thick.  A thinner layer on the back glass.  It is mat like and colorless and gelatinous - looks almost like mucous.  The PolyFilter pad was completely impregnated with it and my skimmer and powerfilter were coated internally on all surfaces.  No algae bloom yet, and water parameters (below) look pretty good (if not perfect) to me.  I cant figure out what this mucous substance is.  I believe that 1 snail may be MIA - I haven't been able to find all 10 at one time, or all 8 hermits for that matter.  Could this be a factor? <Its not likely... it really sounds like a lack of adequate water flow overall> I removed all the components from the tank except the rock and substrate, disassembled them and scrubbed them clean in freshwater - <Yikes! This did far more harm than good. The FW killed untold numbers of desirable microorganisms> practically to brand new, and performed a 25% water change.  The material had to be physically removed by brush or towel - simply spraying water on it did little. My water tests using Seachem test kits are as follows: SG 1.025 - Instant Ocean / Tap water filter 78-80 deg F Ph: 8.2 Alk: 4.0 meq/l Calcium: 425 Ammonia/Nitrite/Nitrate: Undetectable Phosphate: 0.05 mg/l (had been dropping slowly since the addition of the poly pad) Silicates 4 mg/l (probably a bit high) I use reef builder and reef advantage calcium/reef calcium to maintain alk/calc and small doses of reef plus for trace elements. Its been 2 days - no sign of a major return  - but I'm wondering what it was, if I need to worry about it and how to treat it if so.   <As with most all nuisance organisms growths... control nutrients. Aggressive skimming, improved water flow, bigger and more frequent water changes> Also- can you recommend a good sand sifter for a 20 gallon tank, I was considering either a conch, small starfish or cucumber. <a common serpent starfish might be best> Should I be dosing iodine to get the coralline algae going- or will the calcium additions and water changes suffice. <For corallines... do use SeaChem's "reef calcium"... it grows corallines like crazy!> I plan to add a shrimp or two and eventually keep mushrooms and soft corals, finally adding 1 - 3 small fish (6-7 inches total) (goby, wrasse, Basslet) over the course of the next 10 months.  Let me know if this sounds properly stocked. Thanks for a great resource. <Thank you my friend! Anthony>

Circulation Hi, <Hello Angel Gurl> Y'all have great info.  Been reading for quite a while. Brand new first time fishkeeper.  Setting up 50G Oceanic reef 30X21x18 mixed with softies and LPSs, .  Will 2 Seio 620 pumps be too much current.  (Almost 25X)  I also have a CPR refugium with a little circulation, and a remora (no idea what this does to the circulation equation. <Keep in mind the "620" is liters per hour which boils down to about 160gpm per pump, not too much circulation and the Remora skimmer really won't change the picture any.  James (Salty Dog)> Thank you <You're welcome>

Circulation Sorry to be contrary but the Seio 620 does pump 620 gph (at least according to the dealers and the forums).  So I still wonder if 1240 gph in a 50G is too much flow.  Particularly for a complete beginner. <Mike, I'm thinking these were powerheads.  Yes, I think that would be a bit much.  Ten to twelve times tank volume is usually sufficient.  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks again

Water Movement Options! I am planning a FOWLR 225 gal glass tank, but want to plan for eventually going reef with it. I plan to have a sump (mechanical filtration/refugium/skimmer) running 5-10x hrly turnover. As far as display circulation, if you were making this tank yourself, which of the following options would you go with? 1) Use 2 internal Tunze stream pump/powerheads opposite ends of tank(72" Length) pointed toward each other? Do these contribute any significant heat to the tank? <Minimal, really...> Any other internal powerheads that do the same thing as Tunze, but still reliable & less expensive? <Rio Seio, but the jury is still out on their long-term reliability. A fraction of the cost of Streams, though> 2) Attach an exterior pump (behind display tank back wall) connected to below water line bulkhead on upper back wall of tank w/output connected to PVC closed perimeter loop w/approx. 10- 3/4" outlets? <A very nice way to move water, but a large external pump will contribute more heat to the system and consume more electricity> 3) What other options or direction would you go with respect to circulation? <The manifold idea is great if you want the external pump. I am a bit partial towards Tunzes, although the cost is significant.> 4) Would inadequate aeration be a factor in any of the above scenarios, if so in what way? <Well, if you had no surface agitation and the tank was tightly sealed, possibly, but with good water movement and some surface agitation, I see no real problems. Good luck on your decision! Regards, Scott F.>

Right Pump for Circulation in a 75g RR Tank? Hi Crew, Thanks again everyone for this great site...a wealth of information. <Welcome> I'm purchasing a All-Glass 75g Reef Ready Tank with the built in MEGAFLOW overflow (Rated at 600 gph). I will have a 29g sump/refugium. Distance from pump to outlet into tank would be around 4 1/2 feet. Possible UV sterilizer in the mix down the road. Question: What model/brand/rating of pump would you suggest be best for nice reef circulation and avoid having to use any powerheads to do it? Or is this possible? <Yes, and this is posted on WWM> I'm having trouble estimating this. Thank you. <Keep reading. Bob Fenner>

R/O and circulation info needed Hi again folks at WWM. It is a pleasure to be in contact with you again. <Greetings> First. My tank: 175 gal. reef ( in set up stages still). I have a closed loop manifold running on the top perimeter of the tank. It has five port plus one for siphon break. The pump running it is a Dolphin 2100 with a 1 1/2" outlet. I ran a 1 1/2" flexible PVC to the top of the tank and I reduced it to a 1" because I wanted the closed loop to be smaller and not too bulky and taking too much space. I realized I was going to lose a bit of pressure a the port. Two of the six ports have an Ocean Current head.  My questions are: My dilemma is I am not getting enough pressure out of those port. My goal would be to increase the pressure or flow thru those ports. I Have an additional pump (Iwaki 40, 1200 gal/hr) I could hook up to the same closed loop. The big question is where in the plumbing would be best?  <Mmm, what you propose is not advisable... you can/could "tee" in the new pump along the existing plumbing... but the pumps would be "working against each other" and the new one have to pump through a turn pretty much immediately... better to get/use just one larger capacity (pressure, volume) pump... And a note re the siphon-break... not a good idea here, and a final note re the attachment of the diverter heads... won't likely work unless all discharges are similarly restricted. One possibility... to use the other pump with just another manifold, dual outlet with the two diverter heads> Also How small can the siphon break be to be effective? Mine is 3/8". Can it be smaller? <You can try this out... but... why are you using such? What will happen if power, pump goes out otherwise?> Thanks a bunch. Sincerely, Stephan <Bob Fenner>

New System- New Ideas... Dear Bob or Crew, <Scott F. here today.> I have since evolved my plans and settled on 90 Gallon to upgrade from my 55. All-Glass Mega Flow with Berlin style sump with AquaC EV 120. I only have to decide agitation and layout. I really like the Turbelle power head. <You will not regret Tunze products, particularly the Stream pumps and controllers. They are of the highest quality...yes- a bit pricey-but worth it, IMO.> I was thinking of a DIY recirc system however I think the Turbelle is very smart approach and my LFS uses them throughout. <Again- a great plan, as long as your budget permits.> 90 Gallon does seem like a small size for these monsters however I thinking of just one on top in the corner. <They do move a lot of water, so sand is sometimes problematic...will require some thought in terms of layout, etc.. Mt concern is my aquascape. I have attached a diagram of what I'm planning. My intention is a mixed coral fish tank. I have attached my layout in ppt and jpg. Your thoughts please. Thanks again. Dale <Unfortunately, I could not view your jpg, but If you could re-send, I'd be happy to comment. Best of luck to you! Regards, Scott F.>

Water Flow questions 4/6/05 Hello folks! I have been wanting to ask: How much flow is too much? Or maybe, How much of what type of flow is too much?  <Hmmm... difficult to say, but you obviously already understand that misapplication is a greater problem than too much quantity. Aiming a 300gph powerhead directly at a coral from 6" away will be harmful, but a Tunze stream that produces 1300gph is perfectly safe at several inches away.> I keep seeing the Tunze products showing large GPH rates, but after reading WetWebMedia materials, this product seems to produce a softer flow and to move more water. In other words, are they raising the GPH by moving more water as opposed to moving it faster?  <Exactly! The same concept applies to any kind of use of energy.... the same amount of energy can move a small amount of water (or air, or mass) very fast or a very large amount of water (or air, or mass) slowly. Tunze stream pumps move a very large amount of water through a very large opening at a much slower velocity than a traditional powerhead.> I have a 55 gal tank and have a Wavemaster to 4 Maxijet 1200 pumps. The pumps are OK, but they don't last too long. I am also concerned about jets of water hurting inhabitants. This is especially true because of the MJ's horrible bad suction cups, where the power head falls after a while and creates havoc in the tank.  <These are common problems. I am partial to skipping the wavemaker and running the pumps continuously. The pumps last longer and you get more total flow. Hanging the powerheads from the tank edge or center brace with brackets or zip ties is superior to the suction cups.> In comes the SEIO power head. Tunze is too expensive for me, and I think their weakest line may be too strong for my tank. SEIO has a 620 GPH wide and soft flow. I'm thinking two, one on each end of the tank, opposing of course. Controlled by the Wavemaster.  <I would run them continuously. The increased total flow is more beneficial than the randomness. The SEIO is a fine option, although RIO doesn't have the reputation for quality that Tunze does.> Is that too much flow? I have 4 clowns, a yellow tang, a rose anemone, a Sebae anemone, and 4 peppermint shrimp. More corals in the future sure. But I have been conditioning this tank for 18 months and I want to keep taking it slow. <Recommended flow for reef tanks is generally 10x the tank volume as a minimum and 20x as a good target. I have observed tanks with as much as 50x, and as long as care is taken in how it is applied, it is only beneficial.> Also I can attest to the water flow benefits as I turned off my Wavemaster for a couple of days only to find Cyano creeping up on me, gone after I restored heavy circulation. I appreciate all your valuable time, and thanks for any responses. Hugo S.  <Indeed! The first thing I recommend to folks with Cyano problems is increased flow and alkalinity! Best Regards. AdamC.>

Water Level Leveling..? Hi Crew, You undoubtedly have the finest website I have ever seen. Congratulations on it.  I have a glass Oceanic 55 g corner tank with corner overflow, connected to a 10 g sump below that has a Euro-Reef CS6-1 skimmer with a Dolphin 560 pump attached to it. The main return pump is a MagDrive Model 3 rated at 350 gph.  The hose to the sump from the overflow is 1-1/2" diameter, the corrugated kind that comes with the setup. My problem is that the water level in the tank stays at the top of the overflow box, rather than lower, where the "teeth" are in the overflow. If I remove water from the tank, the water level in the sump simply drops and the water level in the tank remains constant, which is a little higher than I want, since it just barely contacts the underside of the glass at the top. It seems to me that the MagDrive Model 3 is far from oversized for this tank, and the 1-1/2" hose from the overflow should be fine (it is not obstructed), so what's left to check or change? Hope you can help. <I would try to restrict the pumps output and see if that changes anything. Sounds like the pump is putting the water into the tank faster than it's coming out. James (Salty Dog)>

Water Flow, Not Aunt Flo! Dear Crew Hope you are well. Still find your pages a great read!  I am running a small, narrow tank (48 x 18" x 12") with 2 external Eheim Professional 2 filters - 1 mechanical, 1 wet and dry. When I installed the filters I had to cut down the return pipes back into the tank, almost doubling the pressure of water flow, I guess.  <I don't believe you would double it.> The question is, what is an adequate water flow, and what is excessive? When my fish were smaller, they seemed troubled by the flow, but now less so. I like the water movement and aeration caused by the filters, but can one overdo it?  <In a tank your size, I would like to see at least 450 gph. This wouldn't be overdoing it at all. The high flow rate helps to eliminate stagnant areas in the tank. James (Salty Dog)>

Water Flow - II Dear James/Salty Dog Thank you for your instant reply. <They are not always that quick due to the email load, but you're welcome.> I have checked the output of the 2026 filter at about 210 gallons per hour, and the wet and dry at about the same, giving a combined flow of about 420 gallons per hour. Just about what you recommended, though it seems a lot of water to shift for an old tropical tank person like myself. <Not compared to currents on a reef> Do you think I should cut an extra 2 or 3 holes in each of the returns? This would return the pressure to what is expected, and I guess I could send the water towards a slower spot or two in the tank. <Your preference, Peter> Thanks for taking the time and trouble. <You're welcome> Yours - from a dismally wet England. <And from an equally dismal Michigan>

Circulation Hi Bob, <James for Bob today>  Still learning, so here's the latest.  Specs: Our tank is 6 ft long, 30 inches high, 180 gal. It's a fish only tank. We have two 1 inch bulkheads, but apparent we are not getting their full output. We believe our bulkheads and pump power are adequate, so our issue is 'direction' needing correction. We have already mounted 1 inch hose over the one bulkhead to redirect the water along the front viewing pane. Before, it was just shooting straight into the pane. Wow, what a difference. You can see the tank getting a nice blast on the one side with lots of oxygen.  Now for the other bulkhead. It has a 'Mickey Mouse ear' fitting dividing the flow into 1/2 inch outlets. One head creates a nice water break, but the other shoots downward slamming water into the corner which adds zero contribution to the tank.  Q: Do we need the water break? If so, we can install a directional fitting that would re-route the one head for a mid range shot on our back viewing pane, leaving the water break as is. If we don't need a water break, then we were considering removing the divider and installing another 1 inch hose aiming it along the back viewing panel at mid range. Is one as good as the other, or opening the bulkhead for full power the way to go?  <Debi, I think you would be better off to make a spray bar out of PVC with 1/8 holes drilled at 1 inch spacing and connect it to the bulkhead outlets by way of PVC fittings. This way you can adjust the angle of the spray, and it insures total circulation of the system. James (Salty Dog)> 

Circulation - Results Follow-up Thanks James. <You're welcome. Glad everything worked out. James (Salty Dog)>  We found these cool adaptors that look like we can create the same result. They snap over the bulkhead (just like the mouse ears) and then one snaps to another to build any length tube which can be bent in any direction (and drill where needed). They come in different sizes, but unlike the hose, you can't clamp them, so if they fit, we are good to go. I don't know the duck head who designed our tank, but we can't follow your suggestion for the front side because we don't have the clearance between the bulkhead and viewing panel.  It was darn near impossible to get the hose installed. I'm sure you are familiar with how thick a hose is for a one inch bulk head. We soaked it in boiling water and still like trying to bend a broom handle. That with tight working conditions and it only took my husband about a thousand tries. He opted not to trust the viewing panel to hold it in place, so did clamp it.  The hose does kink due to the bend, but now our flow is running the full length of our tank. Our silk plants move like real kelp and we really see the unbelievable difference when we feed the fish. Thanks for letting us know that flow is the way to go.  P.S. So this is why they call it a hobby. You have to be able to think out of the box! Debi Stanley-Viloria

Circulation via Mickey Mouse - Follow-up To Salty Dog James. Update: Never mind the snapping adaptors. We don't have clearance. Now, we've special ordered a plumbing elbow. If it works, we will be able to exactly build your suggestion. You wrote: "make a spray bar out of PVC with 1/8 holes drilled at 1 inch spacing and connect it to the bulkhead outlets by way of PVC fittings." Q: For 6 ft of tank, any suggestion on how long the spray bar should be? Debi Stanley-Viloria  <Length will depend on the number of holes needed. For example the area of a one inch pipe is approximately .780 sq inches. The area of a 1/8" hole is .011 sq inches. So, if you divide .780 by .011 it equals 70 holes. Now, they don't have to be at one inch centers, they can be closer to minimize the length of the spray bar. To figure out the area of your return pipe, square the radius and multiply by pi (3.14). Hope this helps you. James (Salty Dog)>

Mazzei Injector size Hi, <Good Morning> I ordered a Mazzei injector 384 1/2" , is this suitable for my pump which is 300 GPH and the 1/2" output ?  Someone told me that this Mazzei model is only for a maximum flow rate of 200 GPH but the higher model is 3/4" and will not fit into my pump.  Can I use the Mazzei 200 GPH with my pump 300 GPH?  <I would suggest you contact Mazzei. www.uicorp.net/mazzei.htm. James (Salty Dog)> Thanks  <You're welcome> 

Flow In The Refugium.. How Much? Hello Crew. <Hi there! Scott F. here today!> I've been reading about DSB on your site. I have a 135g tank, 40g sump, 29g refugium. 4" sand in the tank and 6" of sand in the fuge. It is mentioned to keep water flow at 10-20X tank volume. At the moment I have an Ampmaster 3000 connected and running at about 1600gph(CPR 150 controlled). There are 4 outlets, if I place one of my hands in front of one of the outlets it doesn't feel like there is much pressure. Does pressure = current or is my turnover sufficient? <I think that your flow sounds just fine! I am not a big fan of huge flow rates within a refugium. I'd like to see the animals and plants in the refugium have maximum contact time with the water, with a minimum of disturbance.> Should I add another overflow and crank up the pump to its 2228gph max? I've read that the turnover rate for the 'fuge should only be 4-5X hour. Does this change for a DSB? <Not in my opinion. The DSB should essentially remain undisturbed, so the flow is fine as is! Hope this helps! Regards, Scott F.>

Flow Rate Good evening! I hope all of you are well. Quick question: I have a 90 gal. Acrylic predrilled with built-in prefilter box. Water drains from this to the Tidepool wet- dry (three trays) and gets pumped back to the aquarium through another hole drilled in that prefilter box. There are other things in that sump but on separate pumps. For example, the UV and skimmer. The current pump is a Magnetic drive/Pondmaster model #7 which is supposed to do 500 gallons per hour at a height of four feet. (That's the height I have from sump to top of aquarium.) I have been reading that I should have more flow than that if I want good circulation for corals. What do you recommend?  <You would want a total flow of at least 900gph>  And, currently in that prefilter box, as the water comes in to that it's only a couple of inches, the rest of that box is empty. Could my current set up handle more gallons per hour? <If the aquarium filter box was sized correctly for that tank you should be able to get the higher flow rate with no problems. If not, you would have to install larger bulkhead fittings.>  I have read the biggest issue is the overflow box. Mine (LFS guy called it a pre-filter box) seems to have plenty of room. I think I gave you all the information that you need to help you give me the answer I am looking for. Thanks for being so helpful and for the simple reason of caring about the creatures that are in our care!  <James (Salty Dog)> 

Sump Hi Bob. <James for Bob today.>  Thank you for your help. I think I will go with either 2 CPR CS50 or 2 CPR CS90 overflow boxes to the refugium, but what pumps are appropriate for return to the main tank? I can't find any that match the flow rates of those overflow boxes. Thank you again.  <Joe, all that needs to be done is add a ball valve to the output of the pump and control the flow. Some of the Hagen power heads have adjustable flow rates. James (Salty Dog> 

Circulation Problems in a Reef Tank, Needs to Visit Conjunction/Punctuation Junction, too I am having a problem balancing the water flow [going] from [the] main tank to sump, [then] from sump to refuge [that is] above main tank, and [then back] from sump to main.  I have a 58 gallon tank. <Oh oh...> I drilled the back glass. I have 2-1" bulkheads about 4" up from bottom of tank in the center for drains. <Where?...!> I also have 2 -1" bulkheads drilled on the ends of the back glass. 1-about 4" from top of tank and the other about 6" up from the bottom of tank on both sides. <?!> I have a 5 gallon refuge which sits right at the top of the tank. On the refuge I have a 3/4 bulkhead for water return from sump. Then [I have] a 1" bulkhead for drain into main tank. I have a Euro- fill 180 30 gallon sump that set[s] under main tank. Inside main tank I have an overflow box 19" tall by 8' across 6" from front to back covering the 2 1' bulkheads. I have two Durso stand pipes connected to the 1" drains, going with 1 "1/4 pipe for the stand pipes. In the sump I have an ASM G1-X skimmer. For return pumps I have 2 Rio Hyper Flow 14 HF power heads; these pumps are rated at 840 gal [gph] at 1', 660 [gph] at 4'.  I have a 3/4 PVC pipe running up to the two discharges into main tank. The other pump is hard plumbed to the 3/4 bulkhead in [the] refuge. I also have a standpipe in refuge to drain back into main with a baffle where the discharge comes from sump. I tried this, but the force from the pump was really strong, causing a lot of bubbles in refuge and main tank, a lot of micro bubbles in main tank. Over all circulation was good, levels stayed even in all tanks, just a lot of micro bubbles.  I tried to split the return from pump in sump to refuge and have 1 discharge go to refuge, 1 to main tank, but because discharge is higher on refuge than [the] 1 going directly to main tank that water would go to [the] lowest discharge and would not then go to refuge also. I then tried using valves to regulate water flow between the 2 discharges, but when I did this my overflow box began the flushing effect, [the] system would not balance out. Still had micro bubbles in main tank. Went back to 1 discharge to refuge, cut the flow back with valve, still had flushing with drains plus strain on pump. [I] did see a reduction in micro bubbles in main tank. I tried using 1 pump from sump, micro bubbles almost gone but barely have any overflow, not sure if this is enough circulation for corals hard and soft.  For the 2 bulkheads on each side of [the] drains I made a close[d] loop on each one these, have a Mag 9.5 hook[ed] to a SCWD - one for surface, one SCWD for lower jet bulkheads. I do not know how to get rid of the micro bubbles [and] keep the same flow with the 2 Rio pumps, or if I need to for circulation [and] supply the refuge [to] keep it balanced with out the flushing and micro bubbles. I added a another baffle in sump right after [the] drain, before [the] skimmer, with 2 baffles after skimmer.  I really did not want to use sponges or filter socks. Any Help would be greatly thankful. Thanks Jeff. <Well, you have two issues... the circulation can be fixed only by re-drilling larger through-puts... unless you want to greatly reduce water flow... I would NOT have holes drilled near the bottom of tanks... as the consequences of power outage or pump failure from below will prove disastrous... Therefore I would silicone covers over these... The bubbles can be addressed by a few means... likely the best for you here is the use of Dacron "socks" over the discharge lines (below)... and baffles to provide air-free water to your pumps. Bob Fenner> 

Closed Loop water circulation 3/16/05 I've been not able to see answer to a basic question about closed loop schedule. <do see the extensive list of links I have to this subject over in the "All Things Salty" forum at reefcentral.com. There is a sticky thread at the top of that forum... many posts with pics :)> My setup is a 180g reef + 75g sump. I setup a closed loop with two 1" intakes in the two overflow boxes to feed a Dolphin Ampmaster 3000. The return is made in 9 different locations in the tank. The tank has been running for 3 months and my soft corals and fish are doing fine so far. <ahh, good to hear> I run the closed loop continuously - no stop. Do you think it is a good idea or do I have to produce some kind of intermittence? thanks, Didier <random turbulence is very fine and arguably better. Leave it exactly as you have it. Wave timers are not needed. A waste of money IMO, although current switching devices (versus wave timers that shut off pumps intermittently) are novel. Anthony>

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