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FAQs about Circulation in Marine Systems 1

Related Articles: Circulation, Inexpensive Wavemaker Impressions, by Steven Pro, Plumbing Marine Systems, Holes & Drilling, Plumbing Return Manifolds, Aeration, Water Flow, How Much is Enough, Powerhead Impressions by Steven Pro, Marine System ComponentsRefugiums, Central FiltrationFlow-through Live-holding Systems, Refugiums, Business Set-Up

Related FAQs: Marine Circulation 2, Marine Circulation 3, Marine Circulation 4, Marine Circulation 5, Marine Circulation 6, Marine Circulation 7, Marine Circulation 8, Marine Circulation 9, & FAQs on: Rationale, Designs, Pumps, Plumbing, What's About the Right Amount, Troubleshooting/Repair, & AerationPumps, PlumbingMake Up Water Systems, Sumps RefugiumsGear Selection for Circulation, Pump ProblemsSurge Devices

Many fishes require high circulation

New article Bobster, Would you please proof and edit the attached article. We'll post on WWM and I'm gonna send it over to that UK mag, Today's Fishkeeping. They seem like nice folks.. really punctual, great layout to mag (finally saw a copy), easy to reach for comment, etc. Thanks bud, Antoine <Well done. Pls find my proposed chg.s, comments attached. Bob>

Water flow article Bobster, Attached please find the water flow article attached with changes accepted/integrated. <Okay... placed in page/place of Marine Circulation on marine/WWM: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/circmarart.htm and a bazillion links to it... Man, we need to go over the sites (continuously) and update, add these...> Thanks kindly, bub. Will you do me the honor and stick it... er, place it on WWM. <I wish we had a few more Antoine's to add content regularly... Bob> ha! OK... back to writing, Sam I Am...

Filtration Mr. Fenner Currently running on my 220 gal FO tank is a lifeguard 3 stage system powered by a Iwaki pump. There is a magnum 350 which has a UV hooked into it running seperately.4 power heads are creating circulation. The tank is drilled at the bottom for my return lines in 2 spots which is creating my problem. I would like to upgrade the filtering system but not have to take the tank down to do so which I have been told is the only thing to do by my LFS. would love to add a sump with skimmer but have no idea how to utilize the 2 drilled spots. <You could do a few things... I would likely make these overflow intakes to the sump... with sleeves over them... notched at the bottom to gather water from the lower part of the tank...> The holes both have 3/4 barb for lines to connect to. Any suggestions on how to set filtration system up with this would be greatly appreciated. I am scared that the sump would constantly over flow if the bottom ports were used to draw water out of the tank. Looking forward to your advice Thanks, Kevin O'Connor <Perhaps a look over the many materials stored on the Oz Reef site would help here as well...: http://www.ozreef.org/ If my suggestion of overflows doesn't appeal to you (hard as the size of the through-puts are small for this size system)... you might just seal them off (squares of acrylic and silicone on the inside) and go with overflow boxes to your new sump set-up... I would abandon the bunk technology which is Rainbow Lifegard... Bob Fenner>

"Hey bob" (Water movement) I have a quick question for you. I have a 40gallon reef tank, the inhabitants are 1, 4inch blue super crocea clam, 1-green-tipped frogspawn, and various xenia colonies. Here's the big question: I have a aqua-clear 402 powerhead on the left side of the tank giving current toward the opposite side of the tank, and I also have a little Rio powerhead 800,on the opposite side of the tank going towards the other powerhead current. My question: is this too much circulation for a 40, gallon reef tank? does it bother my corals? please help.  <What you list shouldn't be too much water movement... but the only way to tell is by observing your livestock. Does your Xeniid colonies and frogspawn coral open up? You're likely fine here. Bob Fenner>

Norman (perils of pump intakes) R.I.P. Norman the puffer fish we previously discussed who had undergone a battle with an AquaClear 802 powerhead. Norman was a trooper to the very end. I was bringing home a critter carrier with holes a friend had just drilled to allow him picking-free recovery.. but it was too late. Norman just couldn't make it. Thanks for the advice and help trying to nurse Norman back to life. I'll never leave a powerhead intake open again. It sure is trying to be new to something, you feel helpless when you lose a friend out of your own carelessness. Thanks again for all your help with my tank.. <Very sorry to hear of your loss... It is so that pump intakes account for many, too many such losses. I will post your message in the knowledge that it will prevent many more. Bob Fenner> Bill Hammond

Overflow box Bob, I am looking to set up a sump for my 125 gallon reef tank. I have been looking into which overflow to buy but can't make up my mind. The two models I have been looking at are the CPR that has no "U" tube and the Lifereef model which does have a "U" tube. The difference seems to be that the CPR one needs a power head to get the siphon started where the Lifereef one does not and claims to not lose siphon if the power goes out. Do you have any suggestions as far as which one of these is better than the other. The prices are about the same and both claim to have a flow rate of 700GPH. Thank you for any suggestions you may have. <A good question... in that it's tough to answer. For the most part I am very leery of "U tubes" in these applications as sometimes/too often just a simple "clogging mechanism" can spell disaster (sump pump/s overfilling tank, water on the floor, screaming spouse...). Am more in favor of the CPR design. Bob Fenner> Gianluca

Circulation and Jawfish Dear Mr. Fenner: Have been doing research for 125 gallon reef project in planning stages.  <Ah, good> Questions on circulation: In a tank setup like a peninsula with only one short side facing a wall and two long and other short free for viewing, what configuration, number, and type of powerheads anchored along the back short wall would be advisable?  <Maybe two, three... one at the top "back" corner, the other one or two at the bottom opposite or both corners... Intent is complete circulation, top, bottom and between.> Strength and positioning of outflow needed also helpful. <Look to the larger Hagen or Aquarium Systems units here. About best quality, highest flows available. Please read through the "Marine Circulation" FAQs posted on our site as well: http://wetwebmedia.com/circmarfaqs.htm> Worried about dead spots in this type of setup. Also, do you prefer wavemakers, oscillators, pulsers, or other type of water movers? <Mmm, a general "it depends" here... by and large in fish only set-ups, simple uni-directional units are fine, better> Am overwhelmed with choices; everyone has horror story about some brand of powerhead, pump, or other device. <The two brands, manufacturers mentioned are excellent... Do ask other actual users if you're concerned... perhaps through the bulletin boards, chatrooms. Ours: http://talk.wetwebfotos.com/ Very nice, knowledgeable, practiced folks there> Unrelated question: Have been in love with Jawfish since twelve years old and viewing at a public aquarium in Pittsburgh (I think--twelve a long time ago). WetWeb has only sad tales to tell of them in a home aquarium.  <Really? Will have to write some positive ones myself. Kept, and seen many gorgeous displays of Opistognathids over the years> Am I destined to failure along those routes? Any secrets to share (besides no brittle stars)? <Mixed substrates, complete covers, not too many over-competitive tankmates... Really, a generally aquarium-hardy family of fishes. Bob Fenner> Thank you for your time, Pam Shriver

Powerheads Hello Mr. Fenner, I have another quick question about an idea I thought of. I would like to place a powerhead, or two on wave cycles, but I don't like seeing them in the tank. The tank is a see through wall divider unit with no real back side to hide the powerheads along. Is there such a thing as an inexpensive powerhead that is not very big that I could hide in my overflow, and is able to have tubing attached to the intake, and return to for the water. That way it will be in the tank while being underwater, and I could just run the tubing to where I want it to exhaust, while being hidden from view The intake would not be from in the overflow itself,( I know this would disrupt the water-level for the overflow each time it would cycle on) but from in the tank, and just routed to inside the overflow. Is this a crazy idea, or do you think it might work? Greg N. <There are small "mini pumps" that might do... I'm more inclined to hide such devices within, behind decor in the main tank though... too much likelihood of blockage, other trouble placed elsewhere. Bob Fenner>

Water Flow Balancing Dear Mr. Fenner: Thank you for giving me the opportunity to ask you a question regarding my system. I, as well as everyone else that emails you, really enjoy the web site and the wealth of information it provides. I have your book (CMA) and have read through it and use it as a helpful reference. I am setting up a new tank and have placed the substrate (about 1" of aragonite) and filled the tank with water to test for flow and leaks as you recommend. I have no fish or live rock in the tank yet. <Okay> The set up that I have is a 165 gal (72"l x 24"w x 22"h) with two CPR C90 overflows flowing into a 10gal sump.  <Yikes... not a very large sump... have you tested for what might happen if the power goes off?> The raw water is pulled from this chamber by an Iwaki RLT 55 pump to an ETS Evolution 750 skimmer sitting in another 10gal sump. (These sumps are side by side with a connector bulkhead for additional capacity in case the power goes off). <Oh! Still wouldn't fill them up very high... and would test.> The skimmed water is pulled chamber number 2 by an Iwaki RLT 40 pump to a wet/dry filter. The water is then pulled from the wet/dry by another Iwaki RLT 55 pump to a Ocean Clear 325 cartridge filter and then to two pvc return spray bars back in the main tank. <Lots of gear> I let the substrate settle for about a week to reduce cloudiness and then fired the whole system up. There was still minor cloudiness in the water at initial start up but within 3-4 hours the water was so clear that at times it didn't look like there was any water in the tank. However, the problem is that the water levels in the chambers never seem to balance out. The level in one goes up while another may go down. The reason I have this set up is so that all the water will receive all phases of water treatment. <I understand... and would easily double the size of these sumps...> I have ball valves on the overflow lines as well as after every pump so that is how I can vary the water flow but it never seems to stabilize. <It won't my friend... this is part of "the universe"... best not to fight it (we won't win)... but to count of gravity (it always lets me down...> So many set ups show the skimmer in the same sump that receives the raw water and then mixed water is sent to the return line or the wet/dry. That seemed inefficient to me, i.e. not all the water was getting all the treatments. <Can be done... but not always the best/better strategy... in point of view of your present situation, definitely not a good idea> Bottom line question, have I made this set up too complicated or do you think by minute adjustments it could possibly balance out?  <If going with the two tied-together sumps would double the volume, plus... With large through hulls connecting the two... Not ever likely to "balance out"... do not count on this> I don't want to be constantly fiddling with the valves to balance the flow. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated, even if it means rethinking the filtration system. Thank you again for the site and the opportunity to approach you with my quandary. Steve Morvay <No worries my friend. A pleasure. Bob Fenner>

Re: Pump and refugium and circulation in general question Thanks, a few more quickie questions though, (still about refugiums). When I explained to you that my refugium set up will have more then 1 sump, you said the other one could be used for live rock, and sand bed. You also mentioned this to someone named Rick in the FAQs who is setting up a 807 gallon reef tank( I could only DREAM of something like that!!). Is this because you're assuming the refugium will be housing some type of fish, or such, because mine will only be for macroalgae, and I assumed the LR, sandbed, crabs, and snails etc...., and the second strictly for total volume, or is there a reason I should put the LR, and such in the other sump away from the macroalgae.  <The difference (in location, use of pumps) is almost certainly for limiting the flow rate through the refugium itself. Two, three or so actual volumes per hour is generally ideal for such sumps... and most folks "recirculation" is more than this... often much more> If so, then what exactly goes together in which sump, and why, because I did not see any mention of separating these from one another. The only thing I saw which could relate is the mention of plenums, or barriers, which I thought was just to break up the flow a bit? <Mmm, much to say here... the plenums serve several possible/real functions... the barriers as well... but not the same... Don't get me wrong, but you would do well to "read books"... not try to gain complete answers in these sorts of formats of learning...> Also will everything not eventually get mixed together by the current going through the bulkheads? <Hmm, yes, no... Bypass water from some parts of the same system will eventually be mixed... but not quickly if the "refugium" circulation is more limited... Bob Fenner> Greg N Montreal, Canada. P.S. Can I use crushed coral in the refugium, ( I have lots left over from my tank setup) or does it have to be sand, or is the layering of the two with screens between better in this case? <Crushed coral is fine.>

Sea Swirls and powerheads together? Good morning again, Mr. Fenner! I'm taking advantage here of your kindness but I am a bit troubled here. <Let's help to settle you then> I had decided to install 2 3/4 in. Sea Swirls in my future 90 AGA (48x18x24) tank, to be established in some months from now. <Nice units> However, I have always been worried about circulation in the deeper zones in the tank as Sea Swirls primarily circulate water in the top.  <You are correct> Although this would certainly help my SPS, I am worried than lack of circulation (if any) would create dead spots in deeper zones. The tank will have a DSB of 5 o 6 inches. Do you recommend adding a couple of powerheads to encourage water movement in these areas or the SS would be enough? <I think your idea is good... to add some other powerheads in the lower regions... if your substrate is fine in grade over the top of this region, perhaps pointed at oblique angles toward the mid to upper water. There are even small submersible pumps (my favorite ones by Aquarium Systems) that can be placed, aimed along the back to move water in/through the live rock areas. Bob Fenner> Thank you, Mary.

Re: Sea Swirls and powerheads together? Yeah.... Thanks! I know which pumps you are talking about, the Mini Jet Pumps... Ok, thanks a lot! Have a great day :-) <Will endeavor to do so. You as well. Bob Fenner> Mary

Wave2k ? Good morning Mr. Fenner! <Buenos dias!> Thank you very much for the great info you have provided me. <You are welcome my friend> I have another question. I recently came across this site www.wave2k.com, which promotes this interesting unit for water motion purposes in reef tanks. It comes in both center and corner units and who knows? perhaps it is something worth trying out. <Interesting concept... and seems reasonably priced for what's involved> However, I wanted to see if you had any previous knowledge about this product and if so, what were your impressions about it. <No, no personal experience. Don't know these folks... haven't seen them around at the various trade and hobbyist shows where folks display such wares... nor in the periodicals in the field. Just judging from the "hit counter" on their site I suspect they're very new> Thank you very much, as always. Mary. <Thank you for bringing this site, these products to my/our attention. Bob Fenner>

Tiny bubbles,... still ! Hi Bob Fenner ! I have worked out all the "kinks" of my tank and setup, but one problem still remains: tiny bubbles in the main tank ! I put batting material up against the overflow output pipe in the sump, just like you suggested. It DID help,... some. Most of the bubbles are actually coming from a small powerhead that sits in the first section of the sump, (which is not represented in the picture). This powerhead is used to constantly pull air out of the siphon part of the overflow box, so it is very necessary,....Oooh ! I could just set the powerhead in it's own, separate bucket of water or something, huh?  <Possibly> I just thought of this. Pictures for reference if needed: <<tank diagram.bmp>> <<overflow.bmp>> I am thinking of just putting more baffles in the sump, which will be a pain in the @#! since the whole system is already set up. Is this a good remedy for the bubbles, you think? <Yes... perhaps with a piece of open cell foam as a barrier...> Also, I wanted to tell you that the live rock is doing great. No ammonia increase at all, and things are already, after only 5 days of really low wattage lighting, growing like crazy on it. There is some algae on it that is the brightest green color. Just beautiful ! <Ahh> Thanks again, Bob Fenner, you're a really good person ! Jana <And you are a kind friend. Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Re: dazed & confused (from the new WWNews Chatforum.) Hi Lorenzo---sorry to bother you through your regular e-mail but want to ask a few ?'s and don't want to take over the chat forum plus you helped me when Bob was away over initial question of powerheads. I did a lot of reading about BGA late last night and this a.m. Based on all I read...decided that anything new that was red needed to go whether or not neighbors felt some areas were macro due to small bubbles forming (?) Anyways...neighbor let me borrow his Rio2100 in case we liked the idea of it being ready to go as opposed to mag7 husband bought last night that he wants to have 3-4 pipes off of it to circulate in different directions. I'm liking the Rio (yes,  I read on WWM about some having problems) as it's on the side of my center overflow ...hits the side and comes across to the front. Can see/feel current travels the full 6'...don't know where the best placement is for my 2 -270 Hagen's...but am thinking one on the opposite back end at a different height?  I know it's hard to visualize but due you have a feeling about the rio2100 vs. the mag7 (700gph)though I don't know how much power it will have left with several pipes off of it. I spent the day brushing...vacuuming and removed some dried sea whips I had for decor which may have caused a problem due to small particles of the tang's seaweed select rinsed out. Feel I have plenty of "competition" with a 1' square area of Caulerpa...lighting is definitely enough watts (280) running 11 hours a day. I see on FAQ's re: BGA that Bob recommends adding baking soda every day to help the problem. (2 tests show phosphates at 0) Any thoughts you can pass on would be great. (Saw in one of your FAQ's that you referred to being in "Detroit's rust belt"...born and raised here and haven't heard that one?) Thanks so much---know you're very busy with the forum---BarbaraT

Powerhead placement: Mag7: Macroalgae:... Hmm, I'll hit your 'mini-topics' one at a time, sorry if it seems terse(?)... :-) Powerhead placement: Laminar currents are generally considered bad (hence the proliferation of 'wavemaker' devices) so you can avoid them by arranging your pumps such that -opposing- streams are just offset/overlapping, to create as much randomized turbulence as possible, with perhaps a vaguely circular overall current, in either the horizontal or vertical plane (doesn't matter, especially if your tank has a square cross-section). Mag7: Considered a premium pump by many folks, but not exactly the 'Rolls-Royce' of pumps. Still this thing might pump water through a 25' hose and out of your basement. Don't worry about the piping your hubby is scheming of - it'll be fine, especially after it's disguised by the eventual layer of coralline it will attract. What does BGA look like: It's mushy to the fingernail, sticks tenaciously to rocks and especially gravel/sand, frequently coming up in ugly mats. Generates the 02 bubbles you're witnessing. Red/pink/purple Coralline, on the other hand, is hard like bathtub lime-deposit, and will barely scrape off glass with a finger nail. Usually appears in little, expanding/joining spots and dots on everything, heater, filters, powerheads, glass, rocks. Just scrape it off the glass/acrylic (at least the viewing panels) early, before it becomes too attached. Quality of RIO pumps: Never had a problem, 'cept the stupid suction cups wear out, and the pump falls into the tank and blows sand everywhere. We have at least 10 of them, in active service. Keep hearing about everyone else's problems though'. <Mucho... a great deal due to "user failure/neglect" assuredly> Macroalgae: Any algae that forms a distinctly 'plant-like' structure. BGA (bad), diatoms (bad), and coralline (good) do not qualify. Bubble/pearl (bad), Caulerpa (very good), and Halimeda (calcareous), and kelp a little big) are all examples of 'macros'. Rust-belt: (Michigan, Pennsylvania) I'm not from here at all, been here only 2.5 years now. Don't quite remember where I first heard the term, but note that when we lived in Kansas/Missouri for a year, very few locals referred to it as the 'Bible Belt'... but I sure did... :-) Note too that 280 watts over a 135g is pretty much minimal wattage for a marine tank these days. I know Bob recommends the 2-4 watts/gallon, but I find 2watts/gallon extremely dim. Our 60g has 220watts, and the 35 has 96watts - both are power compacts, which are startlingly bright at rated wattages, both tanks receive 12 hours/day. The only thing you lose with the lower wattage is the ability to do things like clams, anemones, stony corals, and some soft corals. Mushrooms and Xeniids prefer lower light, like yours. Regarding mailing me directly: I don't mind at all - but I do feel the forum misses out on the resultant discourse! Obviously I get a LOT less mail than Bob, so my responses can be a little more detailed. And as far as being 'busy with the forum' - you don't think that's my job, do you? :-) That's just for fun! Wish I could spend more time on it... <You will my friend> Where in Detroit/Michigan/Ohio are you? (saw you made the trip to Tropicorium) Best regards, Lorenzo p.s. Cc'd to Bob, in case he has a chance to cast his Zwie Pfennig into the pot... <I'll gladly do anything other than go through, scan and place Pond images... Agree with most all you've stated so eloquently... Are you ready for another stint as the FAQs mastah? Will post there. Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Circulation & locations Greetings Bob, First thank you very much on the information regarding pump and sump size. Next question as I work towards setting up my 5 gal <50?> reef tank concerns water movement, specifically placement of the return from the sump and location of my power heads. The return from the sump will be at 725 gph. Is that too much flow (your recommendation of 10:1)? <Not too much> And, at least in my feeble brain, location of the return line should be coordinated with the placement of the power heads. As for power heads, I have a rotating power head, a Power Sweep 228 and a 400 gph Penguin. With this plethora of information on water circulation, what would be your suggestion for placement of these three water movement devices. <At angles to each, crossing over corner to front, along the back... no real "dead space" afforded.> Again, I do sincerely appreciate your help and knowledge. David Hacker <Be chatting my friend. Bob Fenner>

Wavemakers in the moonlight... Hi Bob, Mike again I was wondering if you could give me any recommendations on a wavemaker setup for a 300 gallon tank? <Probably Turbelles and Gemini's... about 960 gph> I was thinking about 2 sets of 3 Zoomed powersweeps but I've heard a lot of negative comments on them. The same person who really disliked the Zoo med's (bad personal experience) recommended the Sea Swirl system. <They're okay... for returns> I was thinking of 2 1" units (one each end of the tank) with a dedicated pump hooked up to a wavemaker controller so I can vary the cycle, including evening style decrease in sweeps. <That's fine> I was thinking Iwaki pumps, one to the Ecosystem style refugium (I'm going to DIY the refugium, I've seen some great deals on used 125g tanks in the area I'm moving too, I figured is wouldn't hurt to have as big a one as possible, and 125 sounds workable) and one running the sweeps. 3000 gph for the refugium feeder and around 2000 gph for sweeps. 2nd topic: I would like to setup a moonlight cycle with the lighting. For primary lighting I was going with PCs and MH's. Any good controllers to recommend for the moonlight? <Yeah, Neptune...> My understanding was that 25w growth bulbs worked well for that application. Thoughts? Any good sites for advice on setting this up? <Neptune... or maybe Octopus... they're links on our website> I'm interested in eventually trying my hand at coral propagation and was thinking that if I could get them to succeed in sexual reproduction as well as asexual (I'm planning on acquiring multiple specimens of the same species) it would be a "good thing" as it would increase the genetic diversity in captive specimens. Thanks as always for your time! Mike, the comma and bracket impaired. <I understand. Bob Fenner>

Re: Wavemakers in the moonlight... <<Mike, hope this helps. Bob Fenner>> >recommendations on how good Gemini's are, but no listing for products. Am I >being blind and missing it on the WWM links page for saltwater? ><Likely not... will have to search: >Maurice, who makes Gemini... where can they be procured? Thank you.  >Bob Fenner> That Pet Place but they might be on back order !!!!!!!!!!!!! http://www.thatpetplace.com/ Hope that helps sorry about the late reply , have not been near the computer !!!!!!!! Maurice B. <Thanks Maurice. See you soon. Bob Fenner> Robert Fenner wrote: > Some snipping throughout for brevity's sake, lord knows I need it. :) <Me too> > Hi Bob, Mike again > I was wondering if you could give me any recommendations on a > wavemaker setup for a 300 gallon tank? > <Probably Turbelles and Gemini's... about 960 gph> I've searched using Google and can't find anything on Turbelles, <Yikes, likely a mis-keying on my part, try: "Turbelles"...> and only recommendations on how good Gemini's are, but no listing for products. Am I being blind and missing it on the WWM links page for saltwater? <Likely not... will have to search: please check back with me tomorrow or so> > The same person who really disliked the Zoo med's (bad personal experience) recommended the Sea Swirl system. > <They're okay... for returns> Re Sea Swirls for Wavemakers: Sea Swirl had this to say: NO, DO NOT hook the Sea Swirl up to a wave timer as the constant stopping and starting will shorten the lifespan of the motor considerably due to the "start-up" torque requirements. It is much better to let them run 24/7. From now on we are going to add this to our instructions as a few people have been doing this and it is not good for our product!! ..HTH ...Ed <Have heard this as well...> > Thanks as always for your time! > Mike, the comma and bracket impaired. <Mis-bracket with you soon. Bob Fenner>

Re: That Pet Place Should have checked that one myself, I used to shop there when I lived back east, my ex-fianc?lived about a 1/2 mile from there. Thanks again Bob, and thank Maurice for me too! <I will> When I eventually get this thing set up, I'll have to send you some pictures since I consider you the as yet unnamed system's godfather. Or, maybe I'll get off my duff and write a book about my journey towards reef keeping. <A high honor indeed!> Say, that sounds like a nice title, A Journey Towards Reef Keeping.  <Very nice> Recently found out the LR source I'm looking at (Tampa Bay Saltwater) tends to have a lot of Stomatopod stowaway's, I don't mind since I think they're interesting little beasts, just have to get them out of the system before I start stocking fish and other inverts. Now, to talk the wife into letting me have a Mantis ranch in addition to the reef setup, I know I'm on my own with that one! <Ah yes.> As always, thanks for all your advice! Mike <You're welcome. Bob Fenner>

Sump/Pump Size Greetings Bob I am setting up a 55 gal reef tank, following the Berlin Method of filtration. How large should my sump be - I am currently planning on a 10 gal aquarium. <As big as you can fit... really. A ten would be a minimum... as you can understand given the need for not filling it completely to accommodate transit volume (should power, the pump fail)... and the myriad of things you might want to "do there"... make it a twenty or more gallon if you can, believe me> Also, what should my pump size (gpm's) be? The sump will be directly beneath the tank, by about 24". <At least five times the tank by the rated volume per hour... better to be ten> Thanks Bob!! <You're welcome my friend. Bob Fenner> David Hacker

Small system circulation questions Greetings again Bob, <Hi there> This is probably a really dumb question and it shows just how inept I am in the whole aquarium area.  <Don't discount the validity of starting/stating at this point> I thought (and you affirmed my suspicions) that I should put a powerhead in my eclipse 12. (I have an airstone strip thingy along the back and the damsels seem to have adjusted quickly to the bubbles :) So powerheads... all the ones I've seen say that they are made to attach to undergravel filters. is it o.k. or is there a way to use the powerhead without an undergravel filter? <Yes. All models are able to be modified for this purpose... look to using a sponge on the intake if provided, at least a "Bioball" on the intake if not> and do I leave these things on all the time? <Yes> where would be the optimum place to place my powerhead, or does it depend on where I plan to put corals and such? <To some degree... in such a small system it is fine to just aim the discharge in such a fashion to increase/optimize overall circulation> Thanx again, Ben <You're welcome my friend. Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Extra water movement Hi Bob, just a quick question. This probably sounds like a stupid question. I have just bought a Juwel aquarium with the filter system. <Great tanks... have been a big fan for decades> Is this enough on its own to put enough oxygen in to the water , there are no bubbles being put in the water and I am worried that it is not working or am I just being stupid. Thanks in advance, Malkyb.... <No problem with adding a bit more aeration, circulation. I would add a powerhead or three, depending on the size of this tank. Bob Fenner>

Pump question Hi Bob (or Lorenzo),<Bob currently> Here I am almost ready to put my whole system together, then put live rock in and get it going. Here is the set up: 55gal tank ---> overflow box ---> 3ft. tall 4.5in diameter protein skimmer (in sump - 35gal total, but only about 20gals of water in the sump) ---> through baffles ----> refugium ----> more baffles ----> pump? ----> back into 55gal tank. My question is,....how do I know what size pump to get? Doesn't it have to equal (or close to equal) the amount of gallons per hour the overflow box is sucking out of the tank? If so, then how do I measure this amount? with a gallon jug and a stop watch? <A possibility. Please see the "Pumps, pumping" section on the Pond Index part of the www.WetWebMedia.com site here> Please help me help my tank not to spit up all over my floor. Thanks, Jana p.s. Good idea: I was thinking,.... since we aquarist are forbidden to use soap or soap like products on our equipment, wouldn't baking soda be a good thing to use to scrub out hard stains? <Yes, as long as you're careful not to scratch soft materials> My mom always taught me to use baking soda on hard to remove 'gunk' on dishes and pans, and Bob Fenner always taught me to add a few teaspoons of baking soda a week on my tank to keep pH levels above 8.0. So wouldn't using baking soda to clean your equipment be a good idea, considering most of the baking soda is washed off with warm water after scrubbing? <Yes> Just an idea, please pass it on to others if you like it would be alright to do this. Later, Jana <Be chatting my friend. Bob Fenner>

Re: pump question Bob, Do you mean my system needs to turn over 10 times my tanks volume per HOUR? <Yes... about this rate> Whew! That's' a lot! Also with a 55 gal main tank and a 35 gal sump with about 20 gals of water actually in it, this is a total of 75 gals?  <Actually, the calculated rate is ten times the system volume. That is, about 550 gph> (I do include my sump tank amount when figuring out total volume, Hu?) I read over the articles on the pond section. I feel like my brain is frying. <We ought to start a club> I thought I was almost finished. Wrong! I am off to search some more for more clarity. Jana <Ah, tis pleasurable. The water movement in most parts of the seas is much greater... by far. Bob Fenner>

Advice on skimmer and pump Hey Bob (or replacement :) <Same ole model back in town> I am making a small refugium, 27 gals (say 14 gals of water) I wanted an in-sump skimmer and was considering the AquaC EV 150 (supposed to be good until 180 gal, I have 108) The pump for it can be the Rio 2500 or Mag7. Which is the better pump? <The Mag> I will have about 5 feet of head max. Which pump should I get for the return from the refugium? <A small Eheim is my first choice> I like stuff to last and at the same time get the best value AND cover myself if I upgrade to a 180 gal one day :) <You won't be disappointed with the Eheim on all counts> Kind regards, Robert Jackson <Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Pump question Hi Bob (or Lorenzo), Here I am almost ready to put my whole system together, then put live rock in and get it going. Here is the set up: 55gal tank ---> overflow box ---> 3ft. tall 4.5in diameter protein skimmer (in sump - 35gal total, but only about 20gals of water) ---> through baffles ----> refugium ----> more baffles ----> pump? <Okay> ----> back into 55gal tank. My question is,....how do I know what size pump to get? <Good question... depends on a few factors... like head pressure and flow needs, induced drags, how much you want/need to move water through different devices, outflows to accommodate the type of life, effects you're shooting for... Best to slightly (twenty percent or so) over-size/flow your pumping...> Doesn't it have to equal (or close to equal) the amount of gallons per hour the overflow box is sucking out of the tank?  <Hmm, sort of... the overflow/s will hopefully take care of whatever transit volume you're providing... if there is some doubt, concern that they may not, I would add another (overflow), just in case the one fails...> If so, then how do I measure this amount? with a gallon jug and a stop watch? <This is one approach... though many manufacturers will provide flow/pressure versus head (height above water level) curves for their pumps/motors... If this is the only pump for the skimmer and all other functions, look to something that will move (actually) a good ten times the system's volume... as a rule of thumb...> Please help me help my tank not to spit up all over my floor. Thanks, Jana <Do read over the section on "Pond Pumps" and "Pond Plumbing" on the www.WetWebMedia.com site as well as the marine sections and FAQs on "circulation" till your mind is at ease. Bob Fenner>

Fishy Questions (Lighting, overflows) Lorenzo: Great job answering questions for Bob! <Thanks. I'm hardly a fair substitute, but I guess when a friend like Bob asks... I'm happy to give it my best shot...> I have a 100 gallon acrylic tank that has been sitting around for some time (new). I'm contemplating creating a reef/invertebrate/fish tank. I will be keeping mostly tank raised hardy corals. Now for the questions: 1) Truth or fiction: Will SPS corals thrive with VHO (including 03 lights)? I'm sure you know what the guys at GARF say but my research says GARF is "swimming against the tide." How do they really succeed? <Mmmm. I think you can do some SPS with a load of 7200/10k PCs, which I'd definitely go with over VHOs. Much more efficient, longer lasting bulbs, lots of advantages.> 2) If I go with the 4x VHO I will probably buy the 2x fixture first and then add the second 2x fixture a couple of months later. Total wattage 440. Good idea? The tank is in my living room. Any idea as to how distracting the noise of the tank AND brightness of the light will be in our living area? <You can greatly reduce the noise of a built-in (even a hang-on) overflow with some clever pipe/input designs. (I need to find the URLs again, for these things). The annoyance of brightness is totally subjective. I have a 60gallon with 220 watts of PC lighting, and you can comfortably read next it, as the sole room lighting. > 3) If I have 440 watts (220 of those watts are actinic), will the lighting be versatile enough for many of the "hardy" corals? Borneman seems to think the only lighting that will work is halide. Ditto for Tullock. <Halide will definitely improve your chances... you might use a combination, with slightly lesser/cheaper halides thrown in.> 4) A local fish store is willing to drill my tank and add an overflow. I considered a hang-on overflow but no one seems to like these things. Would you suggest a built in overflow and how loud and accident prone are they? <Bob seems to approve of the CPR overflows. I personally don't believe in ANY overflow that relies on ANYTHING besides gravity. I'd go built-in.> 5) Finally, I have been in the marine fish hobby for almost three years and it has been totally wonderful. I have never lost a fish. If I have the right equipment (calcium reactor, skimmer, Caulerpa sump, good lighting, 100 pounds of live rock, deep sand bed, Eheim canister for circulation and carbon, etc,) how sustainable are home reefs? I mean, will I be able to get corals to grow for years like the fish without constant attention? I am proud to say that I have no aquarium horror stories (knock on wood) and I want to keep it that way. <You're definitely moving toward the more challenging end of the hobby now... BUT only because the tragedies, when they happen, are much greater/more expensive. As for maintenance, longevity, I'm totally sold on reef systems (60+ gallons) as EASIER to maintain than freshwater systems. The balance eventually achieved with a bio-diverse mini-reef is really magical, and certainly the most beautiful, entrancing, fascinating environment you can add to your living space!> Thanks for all the great work. Drop me an email the next time you're in Las Vegas. I'll be glad to take you on a tour of Vegas aquariums. There are many beautiful aquariums including the shark reef at Mandalay Bay. <My uncle used to build/install those things... I'll have to visit someday. Cheers! Lorenzo> David Dowless Livin' and learnin' . . . <Ahh. Nice sig.>

Fine bubbles in return <Lorenzo replying for Bob-in-Asia> Bob, I have a 75 gal AGA reef ready tank with a mag-drive 7 return pump. I'm having prob.s with the return stream containing a large number of very fine (pinprick size) bubbles. The mag-drive has a sponge prefilter on its intake that I thought would have eliminated these bubbles. Any ideas on what I can do to eliminate the bubbles? <Check any -input- side tubing, any piping that leads from the main tank to the sump, for small leaks. This side of the system is under vacuum, and any small holes will suck in air. Depending on the design of your overflow, you also may end up rigging it with a different type of intake from the sponge filter. Try a search on google on 'Noisy built-in overflow' or similar.. -Lorenzo>

Circulation <Lorenzo Gonzalez 'playing-Bob' who's in another hemisphere right now> For a 72 gallon bow-front tank, what would be the proper circulation using two powerheads? I want to have sufficient circulation without tossing my inhabitants throughout the tank. Would two powerheads at 270 gph be too much? Thanks for the help. <270gph (total/combined) is not necessarily overkill for a 72g system. I like to place the powerheads facing each other, but slightly offset, on opposite ends of the tank - to create as much random turbulence as possible. -Lorenzo>

Reef tank Hi Robert <Hello> My question is concerns the drilling of the overflow hole. I'm having a 200 gallon glass tank made and do not know what size the overflow hole should be? The manufacturer suggested that the standard is an one inch hole but this wouldn't this be smaller due to the bulkhead being put in. <You are right to be concerned... I would make this hole no less than 1 1/2", probably two inches in diameter... to facilitate adequate flow. Outside of consideration for weakening the panel, the drain hole size should be larger rather than "just adequate".> I'm just afraid that the hole would not drain water fast enough. Please give me and suggestions on what size the manufacturer should drill in the overflow box and the corresponding size that is appropriate for a tank that size. The dimensions of the tank is going to be 5 feet long, 26 inches tall, and 30 inches deep. thanks again. <A two inch bulk-head/through-hull fitting of any reasonable schedule (40 or 80) will have a "throat diameter of an inch and a half or so... this is what I would go with... a two inch drilled hole in the tank. If not two of them... one at opposite ends of the other. Bob Fenner>

Toadstools healed Dear Bob, As always, your advice was right on. I asked you about new toadstools that failed to "bloom", developed yellow spots and cracks. I "let them be" enjoying good water, light and circulation and two weeks later they look great and seem to be growing. I am feeding a small squirt of your "blender mix" formula once a week to them and to the bubble and SPS corals. <Ah, delighted> As far as I can tell EHEIM offers only one quite small power head for in tank circulation. Perhaps their larger pumps can be adapted to this purpose but I can't find any info about mounting or accessories on the EHEIM website or any dealer sites. I guess I will have to set up a "preventive maintenance" with regular replacement of the armatures in the larger RIO pumps. They last about 3 to 6 months on the wave maker. <Thanks for this reminder... will send this note along to Eheim North America and corporate... would really like to have them join up as sponsors of our site, and elaborate on their gear applications. Great products. Bob Fenner> Howard

Water movement Bob, I need input again. Basically I have two questions. I am wanting to use Rio powerheads in a 40g tank to create water movement for live rock (60lbs ?) and probably inverts at a later time. I plan to place one in the back, right corner and the other in the back middle of a 4' tank. I am wondering if two Rio 800HP would do an adequate job. If not, what size would you recommend using? <These should be fine> Secondly, could a Bak-Pak 2R be mounted inside the base cabinet rather than hanging on the tank? <Either one will do...> Thanks for having a site where we neophytes can seek wisdom and advice. With respect, Thom Walters <Don't know that I have either to offer... only to relate what I do, would do in similar circumstances. Bob Fenner>

Circulation pumps/"pagoda coral" Dear Bob, You've been such a help to me on every aspect of my now 8 month old reef aquarium I wish to ask your advice on an equipment problem. I have 7 RIO pumps on a Wave Maker 2 are 650 GPH, 2 are 375 GPH and 3 are 200 GPH. I have already had to put in 4 replacements or replaced armatures. One pump failed after 2 weeks. I also have RIO pumps mixing my salt water, moving R/O water from its collection tank through the auto top off system and two others supplying circulation in the two quarantine tanks. Another powers the Turboflotor. A total of 12 RIO pumps. <That's a bunch of Rio's for sure> After traveling for 8 days, I got home to find that the fresh water top off pump had failed, cracked armature) and water was down about 10 gallons (5 days evaporation) and salinity was at 1.028. The chiller probe was out of the water and temperature had reached 84F.Only the large water supply (140 gallons with the refugium) saved my creatures. One of the Neons has some scaly parasite or something but the other fish. mushrooms, and corals are ok. I gradually corrected both the temp. and sp. gr. over 4 days. Needless to say, I have bought my last RIO. They have replaced pumps under warrantee but I am looking for reliability. <Good> I will plumb a small Iwaki to the fresh water supply 'cause I can't let this happen again - the two Iwakis on my system have been flawless - However, I need your advice on submersible pumps for the Wave Maker. I see inexpensive power heads advertised from AZOO, MAXI-JET, and HAGEN. EHEIM are much more expensive but are they much better?  <Yes> I can't use the TUNZE because there's no room under my hood. Is there another make of power head I should look at? Am I stuck with RIO on the Turboflotor? <No... an Eheim or other pump/powerhead can be fitted here> I would hate to have it fail while I am traveling because it takes out a half cup of gunk every day. I drilled it and put a drain in the cup as you suggested even though the manufacturer said it couldn't be done. <Hmph, we showed them> By the way, the convicts spent the first two weeks crowded together looking at their reflection but now have separated and are living in little caves they have dug under the rocks. They peek out like Jawfish and at times come out to eat some flake food but I think they are living on the creatures coming up from the refugium. The refugium filled up with red Hawaiian plants and green Caulerpa in no time and the copepod/amphipod life is already evident. I often find live tiny (2-3mm) shrimp-like creatures in the 100 micron pre-filter bag and I put them back in the refugium. Numerous very tiny exo-skeletons are evident in the water most every day. The clown, the Gramma, the damsel, and the Neons still eat flake hungrily while the sleeper goby and tank don't bother with it. I have my first stony coral - a big yellow "pagoda" - the dealer didn't know the scientific name or source. It is a 6 inch study in undulating curves with a hundred or more 2-3mm star like polyps and no ridges and valleys. Looks a bit like the green corals in the full page photo on page 360? Also it resembles the Lamarck's sheet coral (Fungiid Agariciidae) that we have seen much of around Aruba and Curacao. <Take a look at the family Dendrophylliidae coverage on our site: www.WetWebMedia.com here. Bob Fenner>

Eheim Pumps I was looking over the FAQs today (a daily event!) and noted that someone was having trouble finding Eheim pumps. I got mine from Premium Aquatics. www.premiumaquatics.com <http://www.premiumaquatics.com> I noted they are not linked into your site, however. I'd say they have the best price on the 'net for Eheims--I got the 1060 for $99. I also got it plumbed into the TF1000 this weekend, which was no easy task. At any rate, you might consider adding this etailer to your links page with a note that they carry the Eheims. <Will put the co. on the Links pages, and this under "Circulation". Thanks. Bob Fenner> Hope you had a nice weekend. P.S. The new tank will be delivered on Wednesday. Setup/final plumbing/electrical will be done Wed night/Thurs night. FW Testing Fri/Sat, salt and sand on Sat/Sun, and LR on Monday! (And then within a month or so, I'll be emailing you again, I'm certain, as I STILL haven't decided on the "show fish" for the system!) : ) James A. Deets

Question regarding Turboflotor and Eheim pumps Seems like the more I learn about this hobby, the more questions there are... hopefully my questions to you are becoming more "intelligent" as they go... :-) <and perhaps the responses> Before I get to my main question, the Aqua Medic lists the Turbo Floater 1000 as a unit with a bacterial filtration unit built on, and the one that I think everyone is talking about is now listed at the end of the product listings as the Turbo Floater 1000 CLASSIC. I assume, from reading some of your FAQs on bio-balls in a system with a lot of LR and LS, that you'd recommend the "CLASSIC"???  <Yes, in general> I wonder if they made any other improvements. If so, I could get the newer model and just remove the bio-ball type things. <Yes> Anyhow... so basically, I'm paranoid about RIO pumps now. Especially since I'm in the market for a Turboflotor. I read your website and FAQs thoroughly and read the one where you suggest hooking up a Eheim (with factory impeller, no needle wheel) to the TF1000. Great, but I can't find an Eheim dealer ANYWHERE on the web. Marine Depot and Custom Aquatic both carry the TF1000 but neither carry the Eheim pumps.  <Other people do> I checked two local LFSs and neither carried the Eheims. I will look into one more LFS but I prefer to buy online due to considerably lower prices. <Check through the etailers listed on the www.WetWebMedia.com Links Pages> What do you think about getting the TF1000 sans pump, and adding a Supreme Mag 12 (1200G) pump? Do you think the 1200 is too much movement/pressure? <Can be done... and throttled> Do you think the Mag 7 (700G) is better? Will the impeller or whatever thingy the Mag Drives comes with will do a good job of creating micro bubbles? <Good enough> I plan to relegate my RIO pumps to moving around water in my premix saltwater container and also for pumping water from the container to my sump for water changes. My small RIO 800s will be used in my quarantine tank when running. <Good idea> PS... the internet is a great thing... not only do I get great info from you and others, I found great prices online. A Mag Drive 1800 was selling for $189 at a LFS and is available for $109 at Custom Aquatic... WOW!!! <Yes, much less overhead, much greater volume> PSS... You recommend hard plumbing with PVC or using flexible clear tubing for the overflow to the sump? <Solid, with a valve and true-union disconnect. Bob Fenner> Thanks...

Eheim (and other) Pumps Bob, I've been reading over your FAQs and the WWM site on pumps, and I have a few questions. <Okay> You seem to really like these. I was going to get a Supreme Mag Drive 1800 to move water from my sump back to the main tank, but since you're so high on Eheim, I must consider these as well. I went to their website from your link off of WWM, and am confused. The largest pump they list is the 1060 Centrifugal Pump, that is only rated at 602GPH. The Supreme Mag Drive 1800, even at 4' head, is listed at 1375GPH. Is this like home stereo stuff where the stereo system's watts are totally misrepresented by some companies? Is the 1060 a beefy pump? <Hmm, good question and well put... the Mag is "beefier" pressure and volume rated and reality wise> What do you think of the Supreme Mag Drive pumps? <Good products.> I'm thinking maybe the Eheim website is incomplete. Please take a look at http://www.eheim.com/technik_pumpen.htm <This list is complete... to date... for the U.S. market> What is Eheim's largest pump for around $150? I want to push as much water as possible from my 40G sump back into the main 100G. I like brisk water movement... I think the fish do too! :-) <Yes... the 1060> I've also been scouring WWM trying to figure out what is wrong or bad about TAAM Rio Pumps? I see references here and there about "the problem" but no specific or detailed explanations of what could go wrong with them. I have three in my current 55G and have yet to experience any problems with them. Please clarify. Thanks. <"Attention is narrowed perception"... the last few years TAAM/Rio pumps have enjoyed huge popularity and market share by virtue of: low cost, large selection/applicability... but a spate of "burn outs" "ruptures of casings"... that seem prominent by reading listservs et al... 99% of these units are fine... but there have been some spectacular and deadly (to livestock) occasions of catastrophic to quiet failure. Eheims products are used in medical applications... more energy efficient, the least waste-heat producers, the zenith of reliability. Mags somewhere in-between. Bob Fenner>

Circulation  Hey Bob, I just started cycling my tank three days ago (60 gallon tank, 80lbs. live sand, 90 lbs. live rock - pre-cured). Two questions: 1.) My tank absolutely reeks! I think it must be the rise in ammonia, though the smell makes me think something else might be amiss. Do I need to do a big water change?  <Very likely yes... I would... do you have test kits... for pH, alkalinity, calcium levels? Do change the water in any case... and add some activated carbon in your filter flow path> Will this go away by itself anytime soon?  <Not soon enough...> 2.) I'm confused about how much aeration I need in the tank -- I have decent circulation (app. 550 gallons per hour circulated). Does the water surface need to be agitated? <Yes... a dissolved oxygen test... or Redox would aid you here> Should I have the powerheads release air bubbles as well? <Not necessarily... but the surface should be disrupted.> Aesthetically, I wouldn't prefer it. A necessity, though? <Well put... Please read through the "Circulation" section of the Marine Index on the www.WetWebMedia.com site for more here. Bob Fenner> Many thanks! Javier

Skimmer overflow Hi Bob, After I cleaned my Berlin skimmer, I plugged the pump back in. I was getting too much water flowing into my 1 gallon jug I use to collect the gunk. Rather than let it pour all over the floor, I unplugged it. I checked everything and it seems alright, but my problem continues, My skimmer has worked fine in the past, So I don't what the problem is. I f you could help it would be great. <Hmm, there is at least another valve to regulate the water level in you skimmers contact column... you need to find, open up this port to allow the rising water to overflow back into your sump or main system... Is this a Red Sea (tm) product? (the word Berlin is generic here...). If so, or otherwise, do find, read over the maker's website re these adjustments... Most manufacturer's links are posted on our www.WetWebMedia.com Links Pages... and do read over the "Skimmer FAQs" sections on the WWM site as well...> signed a confused new-bee, Tom <Please do re-contact me if any of this is unclear or you're unable to solve this problem... We can hopefully find a "reef guru" friend in your area to come look over your shoulder... Bob Fenner>

Overflow tower with "over-under" divider Hi Bob, I have read your articles about the tank setup. In FAQ, you says a better overflow tower had an "over-under" divider in their fronts to return water to the sump from the bottom layer of the tank water. <Yes... to bring at least some, if not most of the water from the system's bottom water layer... to the sump, outside the tank> I don't understand what such overflow should be. Could you guide me with a simple diagram. Since a corner overflow tower should have two plane face. I want to know that good design. <Wish I could draw such on these devices (soon hopefully)... Please see "Oz's Reef" (link on the WWM links pages)... as I'm very sure the "king" of DIY does indeed have a diagram of this arrangement (two parallel panes with an opening in the bottom of the outer one, overflow over the shorter one behind it... Bob Fenner> Thanks, Vicky

Powerheads Mr. Fenner, I would like to know could/should I use a power head if I don't have an under gravel filter?  <Good to have more circulation generally... and powerheads are good choices for same... need sufficient intake screening... maybe more than that which is supplied by manufacturers... and can be placed in various ways to achieve more complete water movement... Please see our site: www.WetWebMedia.com under the term/FAQs "Circulation" on the Marine Index> and what is the best protein skin for a 50 gal in your opinion? any help you could give me would be greatly appreciated. Thank you. <My opinions on "Skimmer Selection" posted on the WWM site as a FAQs section of the same title. Bob Fenner> Michael Camacho

The pump within I have just two questions that sound simple but they are the hardest for me to figure out. Isn't that always the way? <Seemingly so.> I have a Berlin hang-on skimmer, with a Rio 1700 pump inside my 75gal tank. As of right now it is being supported by my live rock. 1) can the heat the pump gives out (it does not feel like much at all) fry my rock? <Hmm, it is, can be appreciable... but not likely in such a size system... Unfortunately these pumps are not currently (pun intended) enjoying a good reputation for not "burning out" entirely...> 2) is there another way to hold the pump to the back glass of my tank. A brace, glue, suction-cups? <Hmm, yes... but a panduit/zip tie... on the flex connector should be enough... Do encourage you to investigate and replace this pump with an Eheim submersible though... a wise investment.> Any ideas are so welcome! Your web site and books have give me the courage to make the dream of a saltwater/soon to be reef tank reality. I wish I had the words to thank you. Mandy <You have done so my friend. Bob Fenner>

W/D Hey Bob, Once again I want to thank you for all of your help, but I have another question to ask you. Okay here goes, so are you saying that the Mag Drive 350 will be enough power for the 72 Gallon tank alone. Without the power heads. Or do you think the Mag drive 500 will be better for this tank. Some people think the Mag Drive 500 will be to powerful for the 72 gallon tank, then overflow the wet/dry and other say that the more power the better. Thank you so much for the Knowledge that you have provided for all of us because it is very much needed. Thanks again. <This one pump is fine for all the filtration and circulation, aeration purposes for your 72... a bit of planning, cutting and solventing plumbing-wise here... with ball valves in place for the alternate discharges for fine tuning... Likely no added powerheads, submersible pumps needed. Bob Fenner>

Powerhead problem Hello again, I really hope you may have a solution for me. I have 2 powerheads in my 55 gal and I have had 4 fish deaths and 1 snail death because they are getting sucked up in the powerheads. I just saw one of my Banggai Cardinals just a few minutes ago. I took the cone off of the intake part to spread the current out some over a week ago. Obviously it is not working. I know reversing the current a little would help but then that cuts down on the regular current. Any advice? Sincerely, Lianne T Carroll :)~ <Either a change to other water moving mechanisms, or to fashion larger, more diffuse intake screens on your existing powerheads (put the current ones back on for now)... Look into foam type filters... to place on the intakes... some folks use pin type bio-balls... place live rock up and about these areas... at any length the intakes must be screened. Bob Fenner>

Pumps Hi Robert, I have 2 tanks, one 90 gallon fish only tank and one 55 gallon reef tank. I keep a 50 gallon container of premixed filtered and heated salt water down the basement to do water changes.  <Good idea, size> It is time consuming and exhausting to carry many 5 gallon buckets up the stairs to do water changes. Is there a pump on the market you know of that can pump 30 gallons of water up from the container in the basement to the main tanks on the first floor? Around 16 feet or so? <Quite a few choices here... Having lugged literally oceans of water around myself, I am inclined to encourage you to rig up an all-non-metal volute and impeller direct drive pump to use periodically, and rig a through hull (gas jacket) fitting... maybe a remote switch to turn the thing on/off while you're upstairs... But a simpler magnetic drive pump, even a submersible can be had that will push sixteen feet of head. Please see the manufacturers links on our site: www.WetWebMedia.com or the etailers for their listings and in turn the makers' URLs for their power curves.> I don't need it to pump 200 gallons a minute or anything like that, just enough to do 30 gallons at a time once per week at that distance. If you could let me know maybe a brand name and where to find it would be great. <There are several... from Dolphin to Little Giant back to Jacuzzi...> Thank you so much, Mark <Bob Fenner>

Re: Filter Flow Rate Rules of Thumb... Bob, thank you for your opinion on the number of fish I already have in my tank. I have taken heed!!! Therefore, I shall resist any more until the proper time. <Ahh, this is best> You also advised me on the type of canister filter that was a good one. Actually, I had been looking at the Eheim filter Model 2026 (which can be seen at www.petwarehouse.com), and this filter claims to have a flow rate of 250 gph. My question: is there a rule of thumb which, based on the size of your aquarium, would dictate the minimum flow rate of a filter??  <Hmm, "the more the merrier"... a few times the tank volume per hour (3,4-10 depending on the types of livestock, arrangement of plumbing...> Do you think that this particular filter would be suitable for my reef tank?? <Yes, a very fine product> Also, I have been watching for your books at the bookstore. Has the newest one been released yet?? <The Fishwatcher's Guide... is available through a few places... including through our site: www.WetWebMedia.com... check under/over the links to "Books for Sale".> Thank you for your valued time & knowledge!!! Pat Marren <Glad to be help. Bob Fenner>

Temperature, etc. Thank you Bob for your reply. However, what do you mean by my return pump being restricted on the intake side? My return pump is a MAG 7 in-sump pump. <Ahh... this is a (perhaps "the") source of a great deal of waste heat in your system... try this experiment some time... have this pump operate in a given gallon of water for about an hour, just recirculating it, like in a pickle bucket... some caloric input now!> Also, what is the highest constant temperature I can maintain, if necessary? <In the low eighties F.... more important that it not fluctuate a great deal in a short time... more than a few degrees daily let's say.> Thanks again! <You're welcome. Bob Fenner>

Powerhead Recommendations Could you please give me some advice on the best powerheads for my reef surge unit. At the moment I have Fluval 302s but one of the impellors keeps breaking your advice would give me a lot of help thanks. <Certainly. The larger volume/flow models of Hagen and Aquarium Systems are superior. Look to their lines for dependable, quiet, long-lasting service. Bob Fenner>

Pumps Hi Bob, On to my next question. I've been reading some very negative posts regarding Rio powerheads/pumps. I am currently using a RIO 2500 as a sump return on my 75 gallon heavily stocked reef, and a RIO 2100 to drive my Top Fathom 110 protein skimmer. These pumps (both in sump) now have me worried. My LFS is willing to take my spare unused 3100 in trade toward a 500 Mag Drive. They don't have much else in the way of "real" pumps. Would you make specific "suggestions" for what I should use to replace the Rio's? Quiet would be good, and energy & heat efficient would also be good. <if you had the money, the same (real) equivalent flow, pressure models of Eheims.... I would at least have back-ups for the Rio/TAAM products... and would likely do the trade for the Mag...> Thanks as always for your time and patience, Marty <Chat with you soon my friend. Bob Fenner>

External pump  I recently upgraded my pump on my reef tank from 3RIO 2500's to 1 external Tiny Might pump. I'm getting great water flow but my concern is with heat. Not heat in the water but heat of the unit itself. Since I've never used an external before I'm not sure what to expect the Motor case is too hot to touch. Is this normal for a 1200gph pump  Thanks  Erik Martin  Fremont, CA  <Yikes, no... NOT normal and dangerous... either have someone who knows come by and check out your install (perhaps too much restriction on the intake side... or poor ventilation around the unit... or??? Or call the seller, manufacturer and ask them about operating temps. A clip on thermometer will tell you about how hot the pump is... but it should NOT feel HOT to the touch. Take a look over the pump, pumping, plumbing sections posted on the site: www.WetWebMedia.com and consider temporarily unplugging the new pump and sticking the old Rios back on... Bob Fenner, who would>

Lighting and water flow Hi Bob. I am setting up a 38 gallon tank that I received used. It will house marine fish and live rock. I am not too interested in invertebrates at the moment. The tank dimensions are 48"L x 10"W x 18"H. The tank has an integrated filter area in the back, which I will place mud and macroalgae, but the aforementioned dimensions correspond to the main compartment of the tank where the fish will live. <Okay> For lighting of the main part of the tank, I am considering a 2x55W PC set-up with the bulbs arranged end to end in a hood. After recently returning from a honeymoon in Tahiti, where my wife and I did a lot of great snorkeling, I am interested in reproducing the lighting conditions of a shallow reef environment. What Kelvin rating of bulbs would you use for such an effect? Also, while I said that I wouldn't be too interested in invertebrates, would this lighting set-up support one sea anemone in the tank (for a clownfish to play in)? <Have been there... and this set-up should do> For water flow, there is a return bulkhead located at the top right side of the back of the tank. A Rio pump cycles the tank at about 400 gallons per hour. How would you direct the flow of water from that bulkhead (e.g., would you split the return and if so, in which directions)? Also, would you add a power head at another location in the tank, like the bottom, for additional water flow/circulation? <Yes to having at least one more powerhead/mini pump... and crossing the flows... please read over the FAQs section of the www.wetwebmedia.com site under the marine index for my "aiming" input> Thank you in advance for any helpful comments. I've really appreciated all of your help in the past. Bruce G. <Glad to be here. Bob Fenner>

Filtration and wave maker question hello bob, my tank is 72" by 24" by 30 " and sump of 36" by 18" by 18" ( water level only 10") the main tank is reduce to 65" in length because of 7" goes to overflow. I used Iwaki 55R pressure pump don't know how much litre per hour flow rate. and I use a Tunze wave make 2400l/h ea 2 of them. Tunze skimmer 1000l/h , and 5000 pc.s of bioballs on main tank compartment and sump. and to complete the system I also add sander ozonizer 100, AquaMedic mv computer and a HW u/v for 2000litre. can you classified all this above a complete biological system . <Nice gear> presently I dare not on my wave maker because I was afraid of the 1.8 inch purple tang being too weak to overcome. imagine the current of the Iwaki and total of 4800l/h wave maker current and what do you think? and since I have that wave maker can a f/o tank equipped with that wave maker? <No worries... if this Zebrasoma is in any sort of decent condition it won't get sucked up against your intakes> lastly my dealer told me not to turn the sander 100 ozonizer full blast ( 100 03/l ) because of our climate in SINGAPORE. the max is only 40/l with caution. since then to play safe I set at 20mg/l thru protein skimmer and Redox reading is 240mv. for I week now I can' t reach to my setting of 350mv, why and what happen? <I disagree with the advice your dealer gave you... for your size, type system you should run your ozonizer full out... turn it up! Bob Fenner, who will be in Singapore in May for Aquarama! Hope to see you there.>

Micro-Jet powerheads by Aquarium Systems. Hi Bob, I'm thinking on installing some of this (2) to create more current in my 120 2'x2'x4' Reef tank. I'm thinking on this particular ones (http://www.aquariumsystems.com/pumps.htm) because they are very small in size, and I can hide them inside the LR... My question is if you have any experience with them? are they good? <Yes, I do know these products and they are excellent. Very sturdy, dependable... little waste heat production> , It looks to me that they might be to puny to help here. GPH is rated at 117 GPH and I will attach something (sponge?)<Possibly... or just situate them where animals that might get into trouble by getting too near the intakes can't be there> to the inlet to prevent them from sucking anything alive. I'm planning on using one to create currents for Acroporas that will be in a row of around 24" length... Please advice. If you don't think they are good, please advice on some product that you think could help me. Thanks a lot, Norberto. <Very good products for the application... would have some powerheads nearer the surface, with cross currents in addition. Bob Fenner>

Re: pumps/choices Bob: So you think the lower gallonage (600 G/H) of the Eheim 1060 is ok for the Turboflotor even though they recommend 700 G/H? Or does the Rio 2100 not really pump as much as it says? <Bingo... more than stated flow rate here to compare... pressure, stability...> And regarding energy consumption... wouldn't the Eheim (50 watts) use more energy than the Rio (25 watts)? Thanks again, Steve <How to put this? The Eheim pumps much more per kilowatt hour consumed... and lasts much longer to boot. Bob Fenner>

Reef Aquarium Question (ref.s and wavemakers) Hi Bob, I was wondering if you might answer a few quick questions regarding reef aquariums for me. <I'll try>I feel like I've cut my teeth on a FOWLR tank, and now I'd like to try out a reef. Can you recommend any books that will get me started? I'm looking for information such as coral compatibility, placement, care, etc. I have your book already, so any supplemental literature that you can recommend would be most welcome. <Thank you for asking... I do agree with your approach. Do definitely get/read through volumes 1 and 2 of The Modern Coral Reef Aquarium by Sven Fossa and Alf Nilsen (some other folks would refer you to the same sorts of re-works by Delbeek and Sprung here in the US), and if you'd like a nice complementary reference, as many of the Baensch Marine Atlases (starting with number one) as you can handle... These are offered by FFExpress.com and a few of the other mail-order/internet book and pet-fish suppliers> Secondly, what equipment is essential to running a successful reef? Here's what I have: 180 gal aquarium w/ 200# LR, 50 gal. Berlin sump, skimmer, calcium reactor, 6 X 96W power compact lights (2 actinic and 4 daylight). Can you let me know if I'm missing anything that is a must have? <Maybe some pumps for aeration, circulation, powering it all... many other possibilities exist depending on the type of system, your desires (culture for instance)... take a long read through the set-up parts and FAQs posted on the www.wetwebmedia.com site> Finally, I'd like to get your opinion regarding circulation. My return pump will be a Dolphin 3000 (3000 gph) split out to two Sea Swirls, which will be placed on either side of the center brace. For additional circulation, my initial plan was to have a 1200 gph pump at each end of the tank, set up for closed loop circulation, with the returns coming out a few inches above my substrate via plumbing through the Oceanic overflow boxes. These pumps would be run via a wavemaker. However, I came across a sinusoidal valve designed by Robert Michaelson which looks like it would be a more efficient way to achieve circulation which seems like it would be more natural. (pic's attached). This valve is run with one pump, and gives varying degrees of output at each end (e.g. when as output A approaches 100% open, output B approaches 0%, then back the other way, cycling once a minute), not the simple on/off function like a wavemaker. Do you have any experience with either type of circulation system? <Only the former... but this other design is intriguing> Sorry to ask so many questions, but the most important thing I learned from the fish only experience was to learn as much as possible, and do everything right from the beginning. Thanks in advance for your help. <Agreed, and you're certainly welcome. Bob Fenner> Best Regards, DanReef 

Aquarium Circulation/pump Question Bob, Thanks for your help. If it's not too much trouble, could you expound a bit more on your response to my question regarding circulation? You mention that you have experience with the closed loop circulation that I described. Was it a good experience or a disaster?  <Good> I've heard that return pumps have been known to fail when run via a wavemaker, and I'm trying to find out about other's experiences. <In my experience, more so than in other applications... the variable load, numerous times on/off really wear on the small units... A good idea to investigate brands and the opinions of real users ahead of actual purchase... for large-enough systems, fractional low head pumps for other applications are more desirable than many of the small, and excess heat-generating models/brands sold in the pet-fish interest...> Thanks Again, Dan <You're welcome. Bob Fenner>

Skimmer, and more Hi Bob, Attached is a picture of my 55 gallon reef that's been in operation for many years. This is what it looks like after a week with no cleaning of any kind (even glass). I've had no algae problems whatsoever for 3 years (literally not a strand of hair, or bubble of red). I have no sand in the bottom. I dose with Kalkwasser using a LiterMeter. The clam in the picture is my "lust" squamosa that I bought when it was 4". My lighting is by 2-175W 14K bulbs with electronic ballasts. My skimmer is a Turboflotor (in-sump, full-time use). The only thing I don't like about the Turboflotor is the loud buzzing of the Rio pump as it mixes water with air. I noticed your hang-on model uses an AquaBee. I'm guessing that these are much more quiet, as I can't imagine subjecting my tank critters to the harsh vibrations of the Rio. <Actually, we (WWM) don't distribute AB's products nor Mr. Taam's Rio pumps... But/and I encourage you to give the existing submersible the heave ho, and get on with an Eheim replacement... you'll really (not) hear and realize the advantages in the short/long haul> I've been wanting to get a hang-on skimmer (for part-time use), and put the largest tank I can fit, below the main, with a bit of oolitic sand, some live rock, macroalgae, and fluorescent light (for RDP). I would like to boost the natural critter food availability in the main tank and further improve my overall system. I'm hesitant to do this due to thoughts of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". I don't want to revisit the days of red slime and hair algae, etc. But, I don't want to miss out on the opportunity to increase the health of my corals (in particular SPS). <I hear you... I would phase in the HO gear while leaving the present setup as is for a month or two... and still use the Eheim pump with.... a hang-on Turboflotor 1000.... Otherwise, I do agree with your intent/plan for the refugium/sump> My questions are, given the above, do you think it might make a significant improvement (to add RDP with rock and sand, below the main tank), and if yes, what hang-on skimmer would you recommend? I've read all your other posts, hoping to find the answer there, but since each system is unique and runs at a different level, skimming recommendations vary. Or, given the success of my current system, maybe I should just leave everything as it is. Thanks. Darin Tidwell Huntington Beach, CA << reef1.jpg >> <I'd either upgrade to a larger system... if you can find the room... Or go ahead with your changeover plans... graded in as suggested... much more interesting, stable... and a world of new possibilities for you. Bob Fenner> Thanks Bob. You basically confirmed what I suspected. I can't afford a larger system the way I would like to have it presently (maybe next year). But, if I did substitute a hang-on skimmer for my in-sump Turboflotor, which one would you recommend? Thanks. Darin <Of all things... the hang-on version of the same product! That was easy! Bob Fenner>

Pumps for Skimmers/AB in Particular: > Darin > <Of all things... the hang-on version of the same product! That was easy! > Bob Fenner> Yes, you would think that's an easy question. However, the Rio that powers my in-sump Turboflotor vibrates terribly due to mixing and water together. The pump's not faulty, as I tried a brand new one and it did the same thing. If the same Rio 2100 pump is used for the HOT version, I wouldn't recommend it to anyone no matter how efficient the skimmer is, due to the severe vibrations that would result in the main tank. I would never subject my fish to that kind of torture. However, if a different pump is used for the HOT version, and it doesn't vibrate when mixing the air and water, that's another story... Darin Tidwell <Agreed... almost forgot that these units sold in the US (manufactured by AB in Germany) come with Rio/TAAM pumps... I'd replace it from the get go with an Eheim submersible. Bob Fenner>

Valve on the wrong side I installed a new Berlin protein skimmer using a Giant model 7 pump with a ball valve on the pump inlet to adjust the water flow. The results was a terrible slurp-slurp-slurp sound. Can you suggest how to eliminate the noise? Should the valve be on the pump outlet rather than the inlet? Or, is this normal for this type of skimmer? >> Yeeikes... yes to moving the restriction on the Little Giant pump to the discharge side... as with all centrifugal pumps... don't restrict the intake side... lest cavitation and more problems. Bob Fenner

Sump Bob: Thanks for the reassurance on the PC lighting and the sump! I'll be putting the system together over the next several weeks. I've now decided on most of the equipment. I'm doing a bit of wiring this weekend to accommodate the necessary juice for the 75 gal. "new addition".  TGreg.  PS: Oops! One more question and I'll leave you alone for a while, promise!! What are the best Power Heads to use for current generation, keeping in mind I'll have 'em hooked to a timer for at least one on-off cycle per day - brand recommendations and size for a 75gal. tank??  >> The best brands are made/distributed by Hagen and Aquarium Systems (Visi' series), bar none... Most gallonage/low energy consumption/heat production, longest lasting... least likely to make noise, go out from cycling... Bob Fenner

Circulation Is a 1200 gph external pump excessive for a 75 g tank with 50 lbs of live rock? I wanted to point two pvc outputs at each end of the tank towards each other to create ocean-like turbulence ( I am thinking of the last time I swam in the ocean myself. My setup now is with Rios 200 x 3 and this must be puny compared to a real reef). Also, I don't want the intrusion and heat from more powerful Rios. I have experienced a few coral deaths in the past from rapid infections (I assume they are bacteria because the previously healthy specimens disintegrate and dissolve within 24-36 hours). Any suggestions for a good pump. Thanks in advance. >> Rarely is circulation "too much"... and I agree with your philosophy... from direct experience. At 1200 gph you could have a good submersible (my fave choice is an Eheim), or a good external magnetic drive (am still a big fan of the Little Giant MD-SC series here... Iwakis produce too much heat...) Bob Fenner

Interesting issue Mr. Bob Fenner, I am in the process of setting up a new aquarium in which I had mixed salt using some Rio powerheads and had cleaned and put in about 2/3 of the total substrate but have not yet introduced any livestock or live rock. One of the Rio powerheads decided to fry and release a large plume of smoke.  Since this powerhead was submersed, the smoke came to the surface in a few large bubbles. However, another powerhead was nearby and some of the smoke was injected back into the water by it (a venturi powerhead used to remove air from an overflow box.) My question is, will this event poison future inhabitants? And if so, how should I clean the system out including the hardware (skimmer in the sump, return pumps, powerheads, etc.)? It's a 265 tank and I'd hate to lose all that salt and substrate. Thank you for any help you can offer. Tim Damon >> Wow, interesting... Well, if it were me, I would try using activated carbon for a week or so (five pounds or so in bags in the filter flow path) and a few "test organisms" (fishes and invertebrates) to ascertain if all is well... Bob Fenner

Surge Device I was tinkering with the idea of building a surge device/wavemaker. I remember talking to you before about the "toilet bowl" device. Do you have plans for it on your web site or are there plans on another DIY type web site? Thanks, Steven Pro >> Hmm, do think there are some plans on one of the old, but still available archives of Aquarium Frontiers Online... Bob Fenner

Powerhead Placement One more question.......I am ordering the compact lighting that you suggested, but what about the power head placement, as I have already set up the live rock , etc. how can I cause the wave motion to create a cleaning cycle toward the back bottom of the tank? Once again Connie >> Good question... my fave placement is two to three or more (depending on size of the system, volume/flow rate of the powerheads) two towards the lower front middle of the tank from the upper back corners... But, the more the merrier (you can quote me, gladly) in the way of water movers... and I would place another small pump scooting/shooting across the back of your live rock... Bob Fenner 

Re: 110 gallon ok, but how do you make it less obvious to the eye, how do you hide the power heads? I already have the live rock set up?????? Connie >> <Take a look at the small to tiny submersible pumps offered by Aquarium Systems (I think Petstore.com sells them) that are imported from Italy... they're really neat, and small enough to place behind your live rock with the greatest of ease... Bob "Mr. Solutions tonight" Fenner

Little Giant I am building a 200 gallon reef tank, I have my tank drilled on both ends with over flows, I am running a wet/dry and a protein skimmer, the protein skimmer is a SeaLife #250 and will be run of a Rio 2100, I am not sure what is a good pump to use to send m water back up to the tank, I was thinking about using a Little Giant MD4QX-SC, what is your opinion on this pump, Also would u add or change anything that I have listed. >> The Magnetic Drive Semi Corrosive series of pumps by Little Giant are fine products... However, if this were my tank... I would be looking for something larger, flow and pressure wise... Maybe a Sequence 500... that could run all circulation, the skimmer... Bob Fenner

Source for Sequence Pumps Hello: Thanks for the information on the pump, you recommended a sequence 500, I have been search the www for the pump with no luck, could you advise a site that sells them  >> Hmm, ask your local dealer to order one from Quality Marine in Los Angeles... a wholesaler... or from All Seas... Bob Fenner

Water pumps hello again, Thanks for the fast and informative answers. I have read that some reef systems now have a water turnover rate of 20+ times an hour. I have a 45g. with sump that totals 55-58g. and I am torn as to the proper sized pump. I have narrowed it down to the Iwaki wmd30rxlt or the 40rxlt. The 40 would give 21-22x turnover where the 30 comes in at 17.5-18X. Would this small of a difference be of concern? As far as flow the 40 is the hands down winner, but at the cost of increased wattage; other neg.s are small initial price increase for pump and replacement parts. I have heard that the 40 is noisier with its external cooling fan. It will be housed in the cabinet so I don't know if this is a concern, but the tank is in the living room for everyone to enjoy. My main concern is for the impending inhabitants and I don't want to find myself underpowered in the pump department. What's your take on this? Later the total gallons will increase as I intend to add a small refugium (10g). This addition will be sometime down the road. I laughed when I read that it would take a year to get all of the eggs in the basket. I'm not laughing to loud now! I'm still having fun though!!! Thanks, Greg >> I would go with the 30 and not worry about "lower flow rate" whatsoever... The larger pump is a "no thank you" for the noise, and waste heat it produces...  And outstanding, re your apparent attitude and interest in the hobby. Me too! Bob Fenner

Water movement I have a new oceanic 55 gal cube, I have about 6 different types of corals which are clams, pulsating xenias, polyps, mushrooms, carnations, and a sea whip, I have a trickle filter with a Rio 1700, and a 660 power head flowing to the front of the tank, should I add more power heads and how many and what kind of flow rate and where should I place them. thanks Keith  >> Hmm, if it were me, I'd wave my "magic wand" and get everyone to call just the stony corals (Order Scleractinia) "corals"... and (I know this is a simple faux pas...) not clams... And I would add another couple of powerheads.. about the size of the Hagen unit you have... one at a bottom corner, blowing across the bottom at a diagonal, the other two in the upper back corners, roughly directed at the lower front panel, with their paths crossing... Bob Fenner

HOT TANK Bob, I just got water in my 80 gal. tank, no lites on as yet, Iwaki 70xrlt pump, Rio 2500 in the sump running the Aqua C 150 skimmer...Problem...The temp is at 79-80 plus degrees. The Iwaki is very warm. So hot you cannot put your hand on it. Is that normal and can that be the reason for the hot water?  I live at 7000 feet elevation and the weather outside is below freezing every night and 30-40in the daytime. The house is heated to 70 degrees daytime, 60 nighttime. What do you think?...Thanks, Robert >> The Iwaki is contributing the heat... and it is way too hot itself... check out your plumbing situation... and air space around the unit... you don't want to restrict the intake side of this (or any) centrifugal pump (non-close-fit volute/impeller)<They're made to PUSH, not pull>... The plumbing on the intake (front) side, should not be down-sized, restricted (as with a particulate filter... or even a trap) AT ALL... Do solve this problem NOW... fire, et al. trouble possibly here....  Bob Fenner

Pumps Bob- Do you recommend installing a pump in the back/bottom of the tank to circulate the water behind the reef? Thank you, Rob >> Yes I do... as we will no doubt agree, there are very few, "well-circulated" systems... especially compared with any part of the "wild"... Many benefits to moving the water around there... no drawbacks. Bob Fenner

Rusting Pumps Bob....let me first, thank you for your time and effort. Your q&a is invaluable.. Now for my problem. Am I the only person having problems with water pumps which rust out? Just about the time I get everything in balance and my 125 fish/invert tank looks great and is thriving....a water pump or powerhead problem throws everything into trash. When my penguin powerheads kept having the impeller magnet rust....I went to the Rio ...which was worse. see attached letter to the manufacturer) I'm getting to the point that I want no mechanical water movement except for a new Supreme Mag 1200 which I bought and have yet to install. Please help me with your experience of which are safest. The hair algae which resulted is devastating...weeks of siphoning...Phosguard...water changes, with little improvements. HELP!!!! >> Regarding powerhead choices, mine (of commercially available brands) are made by Aquarium Systems (actually made for them), the Visi- series, and Hagen's. The hair algae problem you might enlist a Lawnmower Blenny (Salarias fasciatus) or Mithrax (Emerald Green) Crab to help you with. Bob Fenner

Powerhead Placement I've recently set up a new 40 gal. saltwater fish tank. I have two powerheads in there, but I'm not sure as to where they should be. Is there any specific place I should or shouldn't arrange them? Is two enough? >> Two should be fine... and for non-reciprocating types, I find about the best "aiming" configuration is toward the middle front, towards the bottom, from opposing corners in the back... Bob Fenner

Fixing a Diatom I have had a community tank off and on for 15-20 years. I have an 80 gal. tank with Eheim canister, protein skimmer and recently installed fluidized bed 100. I had a vortex but the pump failed and haven't been able to find a direct replacement. it looks like a modified Eheim 802. I guess I have been luck as new fish brought home I go through the normal process of temp. adjustment and replacing the bag water with tank water for a period of about an hour. I then take the bag and run through a net and put the fish into my community tank. this dip method that I have seen mentioned, how does one do it properly?  >> Hmm, for the map/list of dealers near you for the Vortex/Innerspace Product: http://www.diatomfilter.com/main.htm. Re acclimation procedures... there are a great many variations on a general theme... Most involve something in the way of temperature mediation (floating, dripping in system water)... all involve tossing "shipping and mixed waters". Between these items there are many stated possibilities. I'm a very big fan of dips/baths of pH adjusted freshwater, and quarantining most types of livestock for a good two weeks (to harden it, let it rest/recover... check for all sorts of diseases, let it die if it's going to... w/o polluting the main system...) with or without any further "treatment chemicals" in the quarantine set-up... A mass of further explanations of/about acclimation, dips/baths and quarantine can be found stored at my URL: www.wetwebmedia.com... Please scan these over, and let me know if there is anything more specific you still want my take on. Bob Fenner 

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