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FAQs about Circulation Pumps for Marine Systems

Related Articles: Pump Specification Chart (by maker/URL, power use, flow, head, fitting size), by James Gasta, Wavemaker Pump Specification Chart (by maker/URL, power use, flow), by James Gasta, 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 1, 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 Circulation: Rationale, Designs, Installation/Arrangement, Plumbing, What's About the Right Amount, Troubleshooting/Repair, & AerationPumps, PlumbingMake Up Water Systems, Sumps RefugiumsGear Selection for Circulation, Pump ProblemsSurge Devices

Some Proffered Tips: For small systems, Say "No" to Wavemakers, just "OK to Powerheads, nay to Rio Pumps (for poor service factors), no thanks to  Power Sweeps (for lack of sweeping...)

Flow- internal pump choices      5/23/15
Hello, I had a question about flow in my tank. The tank is 72 in long x 36in wide x 28in tall and has a center trapezoid shaped overflow.
I was wondering what your thoughts are on the new Maxspect gyre pumps vs. the new QD Vortechs?
<I like, prefer the Vortechs... for value, flow... and I suspect that time will show that they have a much better "service factor"; that is, they last longer>
I am going to make this a mixed reef and not sure which would option would be the best?
<A gyre... perhaps reversing every... few hours... round and round horizontally likely if it were me... versus vertically>
If it make any difference I also have Radion lights and use an apex controller. Thanks for your time.
<Cheers; Bob Fenner>

Sicce Voyager Powerheads?/Pump Selection 3/29/12
Hello, crew!
<Hello Kevin>
 I tried not to have to ask you guys, but I just can not seem to find reliable reviews on these Italian-made Sicce Voyager powerheads.  Do any of you have experience with these?
<Not with the Voyager, but another line of Sicce pumps.>
They were mentioned favorably in my local reef forum but from someone who hadn't had them long.  I searched here at WWM and only found them mentioned as side notes in a couple of posts. There seem to be only a handful of reviews online, but none from reefers that have had them for any length of time.
Yes, I have to admit I am trying to save a little money.  I have finished gathering all the gear I need for my 180g setup (6x2x2), except for my powerheads, and am feeling it in the wallet.  When I can afford it, I would like to upgrade to Vortech or Tunze, but that won't be for awhile.
I am considering 3-4 or the Sicce Voyagers (rated at 1600 gph max), or some combo of Sicce powerheads to achieve the circulation I need.
 Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.
<I do have two Sicce powerheads I have been using for eight months with no problems and Red Sea uses Sicce pumps in their turn-key aquariums.  Sicce also offers a three to five year guarantee (depending on model) on their pumps. 
Not too many pump manufacturers offer a guarantee like this including Vortech.  I would  post this question on a few forums and see how actual users feel about these pumps.>
Last question.  I have heard these run well with the Reef Keeper Lite Wavemaker.  With experimentation, I would like to achieve appropriate flow without the use of a Wavemaker.  Do you consider a Wavemaker fairly important gear for a reef tank, or can you have just as healthy a tank with creative, non-controlled powerhead placement?
<I favor the use of Wavemakers in reef systems.  The Voyager series do have rotating
heads that will help create the Wavemaker effect but not quite as good as a Wavemaker timer would.>
Thank you guys so much.
<You're welcome.>
With your site and online reef forums I am at least not completely dumbfounded anymore.  In a few years, I may actually have a decent idea to what I am doing!  Regards,
<Ditto.  James (Salty Dog)>

which pump should I get, SW, supplemental circ.  -- 10/07/11
Hi Crew, I've got a 240g long SPS tank, dimensions are 96 x 24 x 24. I have 1 Tunze 6105 in each rear corner pointing to the opposite front corner.
<These should be located near the surface... to generate the most flow, gyre-fashion>
The rock is arranged in a bommie fashion down the length of the tank. I also have a Tunze Wave box on one end and a Reeflo Snapper Gold for the sump filtration. I feel I need a bit more water movement spread out over a wider area.
Other than a closed loop, what internal pumps would you recommend and where should I place them?
<You're likely fine here. But do read:
and the linked files at bottom>
I was first thinking about the Taam Seio Polaris
<Nah... I'd avoid the Taam/Rio products period>
placed low on the middle of the rear panel to provide some movement. Then I was thinking the new Tunze 6095 would be good at that spot instead. I really don't have the space for another external pump closed loop system at this time.
<Am not a fan of these in almost all, any case/s either>
Please give me your recommendations. Thanks.
<Unless you perceive a real need... I'd leave off w/ further water movement. Bob Fenner>
Re: which pump should I get
Mr. Fenner, thanks for the prompt reply. I think I will hold off on another pump for now.
<As stated, I would too>
Should I alternate the two Tunze 6105s every 15 seconds or just leave them both on continuously for the best flow for SPS in your opinion?
<On continuously>
<Welcome. BobF>

Needle wheel vs. paddle impeller   8/9/11
Hi, I had a question about needle wheel impeller vs. paddlewheel impellers.
I have a used Rio 2100 and it came with a needle wheel impeller. The Rio 2100 is rated at 700gph. I hooked it up in my sump tank for my 55gallon corner saltwater aquarium. From the sump to the top of the tank is about 5 feet and I am hardly getting any flow from the returning water pipes into the tank. Does the needle wheel drop the GPH of the pump by a lot?
<Oh yes indeed... the needle wheel is intended for mixed air and water venturi use... NOT for water movement. Won't move nearly as much volume, nor pressure.>
Should I buy a new paddlewheel impeller, Or do I need a stronger pump?
<The former>
Orange County Cali
<Welcome. Bob Fenner, San Diego currently>

Question About Circulation On 540 gallon tank - 11/03/10
Attn Crew:
How many times in an hour must 540 gallons of water totally recirculate every drop? What is the equation to figure that one out?
<A good rule of thumb is 10X the tank volume per hour.>
I have a built in overflow box and two huge wet dry systems so what size pump would work good as my return pumps for this size of tank? Would a total of 2500 gallons an hour be sufficient?
<The 2500gph figure would be close providing one of these pumps were used on each wet/dry system. You also have to figure in head loss of the pumps to determine actual flow rate to the system. I suggest reading here and related articles found in the header. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/circmarart.htm>
I have approximately eight fish.
<James (Salty Dog)>
Re Question About Circulation On 540 gallon tank 11/3/10
Salty Dog,
I saw the article,
The water needs to shoot up about 6 ft from sumps to get into the tank. It is a straight up shot to get in. If I used a Mag 950 in one Sump with a Head Pressure of 14 ft and Mag 18 with Head Pressure of 21 ft in other sump for a grand total of 2800 gallons an hr that should be good right?
<If you can furnish me with the outlet pipe size you are going to use on each pump and indicate if any ball valves and unions will be used, I can tell you what your actual flow rate into the tank will be. Do include any elbows if they are to be used, they will have a factor in total gph. James (Salty Dog)>

Setting up a quite 30 gallon saltwater tank
What size sump pump will I need?

<We will see.>
I am getting an oceanic stretch hex 30 gallon aquarium with custom stand that I want to setup as a saltwater fish only tank. The depth of the aquarium is 12 inches, and 3 feet long. I have a ProClear pro 75 wet/dry system that will fit under the stand : cid:image001.png@01CB0F06.DF4B3720
<I would ditch the biofilter media if you are going to have live rock in the system. The bioballs tend to collect detritus and cause excessive nitrate in the system.>
I am planning on using an overflow box because the aquarium is not drilled (it can drain 600 gph; with two u-tubes it can drain 800 gph): cid:image002.png@01CB0F07.376C4020
<I caution you on the flow claims on this box. The flow is going to be restricted by the line size coming off the box unless they are very large. The Utubes working off a siphon will be able to flow a good bit to the back of the box, but then you need to get it out! Check the line output size and then see http://wetwebmedia.com/SystemPIX/PlumbingPix/Oneinchart.htm>
How much flow should I have from my return pump at say 4 feet of head (aquarium is 17 inches high and I think the stand is 3 feet high)?
<This depends on what you intend to keep and if you are going to have supplemental flow such as a powerhead. In general a few hundred gph will do it.>
I would like to keep things as quiet as possible, since this will be setup in my bedroom.
I am considering an Eheim 1250 pump rated at 28 watts and a flow of 165 gph at 4 feet. Will this be enough?
<This would be a fine choice for your application with an additional powerhead in the tank. These pumps are quiet!>
Would the Eheim 1260 pump be too much? (flow of 475 gph at 4 feet and takes 65 watts).
<May be too much for the overflow box, not the tank.>
What are your feelings about the EcoPlus 633 or the MaxiJet 1100, or the Mag 7 pumps?
<The MJ will likely be fine, the other two can be loud.>
I don't mind waiting (and saving) and spending more for the right configuration. Also, I am planning on using a Rio 800 pump for the protein skimmer (need to buy this). I haven't bought the aquarium yet, is 30 gallons too small for a saltwater tank?
<I personally would not go any smaller, though many do. It is doable so long as you keep things stable and don't overstock.>
I have an oceanic 58 gallon with an overflow chamber and hole drilled and a wet/dry with and external Iwaki pump. But it's a little big and loud for the bedroom.
<Welcome, keep reading and learning my friend. Scott V.>

Flow Rate Question 5/30/10
Dear team,
<Hello Lang>
I once again seek your expertise, thank you for all you have done.
<You're welcome.>
I read through WWM almost daily, tons of great info!
I have looked into the SeaSwirl units I have seen recommended a couple of different times by your team, and I have to say, looks good, I'm going to be getting 2 for my upcoming 90. My question is on overall flow of the aquarium. I currently have a Mag 9.5 for a return pump in my 75g, and I have a Koralie <Koralia> 3, and a 4 providing additional circulation in the DT. I want the 2 SeaSwirl units to replace the power heads in my DT, but am concerned about the amount of flow I will be getting. I calculated the new plumbing using the Mag 9.5, and I will be getting approximately 568 gph at 7.8 ft of head, so split in 2 that comes to 284 gph for each SeaSwirl. I've seen comments related, that state 10X-20X for a reef tank is ideal. I was thinking of a couple options, was hoping for an opinion of the best course.
1. Upgrade to a Mag 18, which will give me 950gph.
2. Add a 2nd Mag 9.5 as just a return to the DT.
3. Scratch the 'no powerhead' idea and use the SeaSwirl in addition to the current powerheads I have.
4. Mix and match of these options, maybe option 1, with a second Mag 9.5 providing straight return to the DT.
<Lang, before I can input, I would like to know the size of your drain(s).>
Thanks for any help,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Re Flow Rate Question 5/30/10 - 6/1/10
Sorry, I didn't think to include the drain size.
<Not a problem.>
The aquarium I am looking at comes with a 2 1/2" drain, but I have not ordered the tank yet, so I have options to have more drain holes, bigger drain holes, etc. I was contemplating going with 2 corner drains, either capable of all flow in case of a blockage, any input on this subject would be welcome as well.
<A very good idea having two drains for just the reason you mention. I would suggest two corner overflows with 1 1/2" drains. Each drain would be capable of about 975gph not including restrictions such as elbows, strainers, etc. I'll now go down below to your original query to answer your concerns.>
Flow Rate Question 5/30/10
Dear team,
<Hello Lang>
I once again seek your expertise, thank you for all you have done.
<You're welcome.>
I read through WWM almost daily, tons of great info!
<Thank you.>
I have looked into the SeaSwirl units I have seen recommended a couple of different times by your team, and I have to say, looks good, I'm going to be getting 2 for my upcoming 90.
<They are a good dependable device.>
My question is on overall flow of the aquarium. I currently have a Mag 9.5 for a return pump in my 75g, and I have a Koralie <Koralia> 3, and a 4 providing additional circulation in the DT. I want the 2 SeaSwirl units to replace the power heads in my DT, but  am concerned about the amount of flow I will be getting. I calculated the new plumbing using the Mag 9.5, and I will be getting approximately 568 gph at 7.8 ft of head, so split in 2 that comes to 284 gph for each SeaSwirl.
<The Sea Swirls will also create some head loss so do allow for that.>
I've seen comments related, that state 10X-20X for a reef tank is ideal.
I was thinking of a couple options, was hoping for an opinion of the best course.
1. Upgrade to a Mag 18, which will give me 950gph.
<This won't do it with the head loss from the tee, two ball valves, and associated plumbing. It will be
difficult to provide equal flow to the Sea Swirls without using a ball valve to regulate/balance flow.>
2. Add a 2nd Mag 9.5 as just a return to the DT.
<My choice would be adding another Mag 9.5 and power the Sea Swirls with individual pumps and
eliminate the tee which adds additional head loss. This set up allows you to shut down a pump for maintenance
and still keep the system running. Should you go this route, do order the 3/4" model Sea Swirls which are rated for
850gph. Do incorporate true union ball valves on both sides of the pumps to facilitate maintenance. See here if
you are not familiar with this device.
uct_Code=BV05T-TU&Category_Code=Valves >
3. Scratch the 'no powerhead' idea and use the SeaSwirl in addition to the current powerheads I have.
<Two Mag 9.5's driving two Sea Swirls should provide you with a very good flow rate for your 90 gallon tank without the use of any powerheads.>
4. Mix and match of these options, maybe option 1, with a second Mag 9.5 providing straight return to the DT.
<Lang, before I can input, I would like to know the size of your drain(s).>
Thanks for any help,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Re Flow Rate Question 5/30/10 - 6/1/10 - 6/3/10
Great! I'll do just that (2 Mag 9.5's). One quick follow up, should I be concerned with dead spots behind the rock work? I intend to mount the 2 units on the 2 front corners.
<I do not believe that will be a problem as the Sea Swirl outputs oscillate 90 degrees. I would initially set it up so that the Sea Swirl outputs are completely opposite of each other.
James (Salty Dog)>

Reeflo pumps barracuda, incomp. ap.   11/22/09
Hello, I have a barracuda pump that I would like to install in my church tank. This tank is 48"x49"x48" with tower in the middle. The tank is all glass and inside of the tower we have 2 x 1.5" pipes and 2 x 1" pipes. One 1" is used for power and RO machine which is under the tank, the second 1" pipes is used for existing pump return and we are using the other two 1.5" as drains to the sump. I need more water flow in the tank that has a lot of fish and some coral.
<Mmm... well... if not too unsightly, I'd look into some internal pumps.
See the Net re EcoTech's Vortech line>
My question, can I use the barracuda as our pump?
<Mmm, no... the discharge and intake line sizes (on the volute) are 1.5"... you have one inch available... would need both 1.5" returns to accommodate volume>
If so, I can use one 1.5" as drain, the second 1.5" as the return,
<No... Not sufficient number or diameter to allow flow>
and one 1" as a drain that will go straight to the protein skimmer. Will this work and if so, can I create multiple outlets through out the tank?
<Again, I would use internal pumps for internal circulation, and a smaller pump for the rest of the under tank circulation. Please read here:
and the linked files above till you understand (though not necessarily agree with) my point of view here.
Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Pump Recommendation, circ.  3/20/09
Scott V - please:
<Here with you.>
I have a 1500 gph overflow on a 125 of mine...would like to use 2 return pumps delivering a net flow of 1300 gph to the tank.
I will use 3/4 ID flex hose connected to a couple 45 deg and 90 elbow over the top of the tank and then into a 3/4 " pacific coast eductor on each return...what would you suggest in the way of submersible pump able to handle the task?
In order of importance - quiet, high head, price....
<Well, per the above criteria, the two pumps that come to mind are the Eheim 1262 and OceanRunner 3500. Either will put you in you flow range once the plumbing and eductors are accounted for. The Eheim would be my first choice, but the OR is a fine pump at a cheaper price.>
Rio Hyperflow has been suggested to me with the caveat of noise being a possibility-any feedback on these?
<Plenty from me 'I have used these many times. I find them to be generally quiet, efficient pumps, much unlike the traditional Rios. But I quit using the pumps due to some (I would estimate about 1 in 10) being ridiculously noisy. I just could not count on any one pump to be quiet.>
Thanks in advance...for any help

Re: Pump Recommendation 3/21/09
So I would need 2 Eheim 1262 ? One for each return line.???
<For the flow you are shooting for yes...the eductors do restrict the actual pump output quite a bit,
though the do give you a greater net flow in a way.>
btw: thanks for the info so far...
<Welcome, Scott V.>

Re: 125 Gallon Project. Circ. pump sel.  2/25/09 Hi Scott, <Hello Matthew.> I am thinking of just using a single Iwaki Pump 1500 gph @ 4ft head for the entire 125 gallon tank. It will be returning to the tank on opposing sides of the tank via SCWD. Will this single pump be adequate flow for a densely populated soft coral tank...not planning on adding any powerheads. With this flow i will get an ideal turnover between 10-15 times per hour. <Not likely by the time it runs through the plumbing and the SCWD.> If its not enough, I may consider two of these Iwaki pumps and have one run on a closed loop. <Sure, do also consider a smaller pump for your sump return, while running something like a Reeflo Snapper on the closed loop. Just more energy efficient, less impact on your power bill.> Thanks for your advice, Matthew
<Welcome, Scott V.>

Pump Selection 12/23/08 <Hello Joe> Question on brand of pump. Going submersible what do you think, Mag Drive 12, Quiet One or MaxiJet? Need it to be quiet, reliable, little servicing, and wattage to be low. For a 120 gal with 2 drains at 3/4inch. <Are you sure on the ¾�? Most drains are 1�.> How much flow is necessary, and can I divert some pressure into sump? <I would shoot for a total flow of at least 1200gph. Your return pump and powerhead GPM can be added together for this total. You didn't state whether powerheads will be incorporated into the system, so I will assume not. For your needs, not using powerheads, I would consider the Ocean Runner Model 6500. Is one of the lowest as far as wattage to flow rate ratio goes using 90 watts of energy and giving you 1700gpm. This won't be the actual output, as length of return pipe, elbows, reducers, etc. will lower the flow rate, but you still should get over 1200 GPM. James (Salty Dog) <<Two one inch diameter returns won't accommodate 1,200 GPM flow. RMF>>

Re: Pump Selection 12/24/08 Thanks, <You're welcome.> you are right my drains are 1 inch each (2) and I will have a run of 4 and a half feet. Regarding that pump, I have never heard of it. <Look here. http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?pcatid=14677&cmpid=03csegb&ref=3312&subref=AA&ci_src=14110944&ci_sku=0025877000000> Unfortunately our choice of products here in Canada is very limited. You guys in the states are lucky regarding choice and price. <Why not order from a stateside etailer. Try www.premiumaquatics.com, is where I do business and located in Indianapolis.> Another pump that was recommended is the Sedra Ksp 12000. Jl aquatics recommended that one it has a flow of 1200gph at 0 head. They say it is quiet and reliable. <I've not heard anything negative about Sedra yet.> Know some guys who swear by Mag drives. <I've used Mag Drives before, a decent pump.> I am very undecided!! I guess I should be shooting for around 1000gph? I may incorporate power heads if my flow is not sufficient. <Most folks do incorporate powerheads into their systems to minimize dead spots. Happy Holidays to you. James (Salty Dog)>

Re: Pump Selection 12/29/08 Very little info online about the Eheim compact 5000 pump. How much does it pump at 5ft head? Can it be used as circulation pump? Is it better than the 1262 pump? Looking for around 1000gph at 5 ft. Will this be a good fit? <Joe, this is info you should be able to easily find on-line. All I know about the Eheim is that is has an adjustable flow rate between 660 and 1321gph and runs about $150.00. I see no other info on the Eheim site. I suggest you contact Eheim re head pressure loss on this model. We have discussed your plumbing system here at WWW and feel that two 1" drain lines are not going to handle a 1000gph pump. Look for something in the 600-800gph range and supplement circulation with power heads. You will be a little safer this way. James (Salty Dog)>

Re: Pump Selection...On And On 12/29/08 Someone has suggested the Hagen max-flo 1500 for my return. Is it worthy of using in a saltwater tank? <Joe, this question needs to be put on a forum where you can get input from folks that have used them. I personally prefer the Maxi-Jet heads. James (Salty Dog)><<Well-stated James. RMF>>

Re: Pump Selection...On And On 12/29/08 I could throttle this one back, <Which one is this one?> but I have also looked at the Sedra 12000. Also, will two Koralia #4 be sufficient? People have told me to drill more holes in my tank, Yikes! <Joe, pump selection is going to be your decision. I think we have provided you enough information to do this. As I mentioned earlier, supplement your return pump with power heads to achieve a 1200 to 1400gph flow rate in the system. Base your selection(s) on this factor. And yes, you will need to increase your drain size if you want to use a return pump that exceeds 800gph. It's not absolutely necessary to provide the entire flow rate with just the return pump. Is better to supplement with power heads as they will help avoid dead spots in the aquarium. James (Salty Dog)>

Pump Question, LFS System 12/14/08 Hello Bob, <Hello Alex, Scott V. with you today. Nice looking site/store!> My store has been running for a little over a year now. I really feel somewhere in my plumbing job we feel my friend and me plumbed it improperly. I have a dolphin 5600 pump feeding into about 10 tanks of various sizes. The flow to me doesn't feel that strong. <With this head height plus friction loss this pump will only yield a couple hundred gph per tank.> I was just wondering if I can have a pump feed the water (from basement) up and have another pump on the 1st floor to increase the flow? <This is possible, but does require some careful sizing/balancing to avoid problems. You are far better off adding a second pump to increase your flow from the sump level. The pumps can easily be run in series (inline with one another) on the same level, but there are advantages to be gained running them independently. This will give you redundancy should one pump fail, which will happen in all likelihood eventually and allow you to service one without shutting down the other.> I don't know if I purchased the wrong size pump or maybe I did the plumbing improperly? <I can't comment on the plumbing without more info, but it does seem the pump is undersized. But, as mentioned above, it is usually better to run multiple smaller pumps rather than one large pump on systems like this.> Hope to hear from you soon! -Alex <Let us know how it goes!>

Re: Pump Question, LFS System... circ.  12/28/08 Hello Scott! <Hey Alex!> When you mean in line, one is feeding the other? <Yeah, this can be done. But really you would be better off running these independently. This will give you one running should the other fail.> If so, what is the difference with having both in the basement or having on downstairs and one on the first floor? <Well, if they are run directly inline with a flooded feed side (not a suction feed) they will be able to work together. If one is down below whilst the other is up higher the lower pump doing the lifting will have a lower flow rate, leaving the upper pump in the suction feed situation, something these pumps are not designed to do.> How would you run multiple small returns? One pump feeding 3-4 tanks at once? <Hmmm, I would plumb each pump into your existing return manifold, with each pump line entering the loop as far away from the other as you can. Put a ball valve on the return line just above the pump and you can close the valve should that pump need service while the other continues to provide some flow to the tanks. Using a union ball valve for this (and one on the pump intake side) will allow you to just turn the pump off, close the valves and pull it out. It sounds like a lot of trouble, but it is a five minute job that can save your whole system down the road. Scott V.>

Return Pumps 11/29/08 I am in the process of upgrading my tank to a 180-gallon acrylic. So far I have done everything you guys recommend in your faq and from your response to my previous email. As a refresher my 72x24x24 acrylic (live in CA) has two overflows for redundancy with 1.5" drains and 3/4" returns pipes. What size return pump do you recommend for this setup? I was thinking somewhere in the range of 1700gph but one of my LFS said I would be fine with just an Eheim 1262 with 900gph. What do you say, closer to 1700gph or 900gph? Thank you very much. <The Eheim is a very nice pump; quiet and dependable. The flow is plenty through your sump and will be just about 1/2 of what two 1.5" bulkheads can handle (with a bit of head pressure on the pump), putting you right at the 100% redundancy. Welcome, Scott V.>

Re: Size of Water Pump... SW, circ.  12/2/08 Still sitting on my empty tank. I am now considering a submersible pump. Either a Mag drive 1200 or a Hy-drive 1600. Which is best for my needs?? Sump will be a foot by 18 high and wide. Thanks again guys. <Either will work fine, throttled back due to the overflows as previously mentioned....Welcome Scott V.>

Re: Size of Water Pump/Lighting 12/2/08 Doesn't it damage the pump to throttle it back? <Not within a reasonable extent, do not cut the thing totally off and do throttle back on the output side!> Does it not create back pressure, thus damaging the pump. <I was schooled many years back by my now current business partner Mike Kirkman. He was a pump engineer for a enormous international irrigation company many years back. The pump will actually be doing less work, pumping less water. This in turn puts out less flow and uses less energy how much less depends on the overall pump design. So long as it is not completely choking the pump off it will work.> Also a question regarding lighting. My tank is 24 inches deep. Planning on keeping soft corals and some fish. How much lighting do I really need. Metal halides consume a lot of power and expensive to replace. Is t5 the way to go! <I think so too, also for other reasons too extensive to get into here.> Lighting overall is very expensive. How many bulbs is sufficient. People tell me all sorts of stuff, don't know who to believe anymore!! <Any of the 6-8 bulb fixtures in the length of your tank will serve you well. Scott V.>

Re: Return Pumps 12/9/08 Do you think that the Eheim 1262 (900gph) will be enough gph if I use it for both of my returns on my new 180g? <Yes.> I plan on having 2-returns, one coming from each overflow box. I apologize, I wasn't very clear about this the first time. What would be the best way to plumb this? I was thinking a straight 3/4" vinyl tube from the pump then T it off with a pvc fitting and then use flexible pvc the rest of the way up into the two overflows. <This will work.> As always, I appreciate the help. <Welcome, Scott V.>

Which Tang? -- 06/13/08 Hi Crew, <<Hey Kirk!>> A few questions if you don't mind. <<Fire away>> I have a 240 (8x2x2) FOWLR, 200 lbs of LR (25 of that in fuge), as such I have a fair amount of swimming space. <<Good 'is important>> Current stock list of Sargassum and Redtooth Trigs, Sunset Wrasse and Harlequin Tusk, and Coral Beauty and newest addition a Maculosus Angel. <<A few 'biggies' for sure (Sunset, Redtooth, Maculosus)'¦and will 'fill up' even this large tank 'at maturity>> Sunset is the biggest fish at 5 inch. <<For now>> I would like to do an Acanthurus Tang, I am in between the Sohal (am worried about aggression) or the Dussumieri (do they get too large even for my 8 footer?). Which (if either) do you suggest? I'm torn. <<I don't think aggression is 'too much' of a concern considering the existing stock list. But I do think either tang will eventually be too much/get too big for the tank and existing tankmates, period. Perhaps a smaller Acanthurus species 'maybe A. japonicus or A. pyroferus'¦ or even A. leucosternon>> Do you think a "school" of 3 or 5 Green Chromis would work with my aggressors to round out my stock list? <<Likely so, yes>> I have a Mag 18 as my sole return pump. <<This is all the 'flow' you have? Should have more>> With the head loss, I figure it is moving about 1300 gallons per hour total through the 2 returns. Do I need more movement? <<In my opinion 'yes. Water movement is appreciated, even required, by the fishes too>> Possibly an upgrade to a Mag 24 or a powerhead? <<Up to you 'but I think a Tunze Stream or two would be a nice addition>> Thank you, Kirk <<A pleasure to assist. EricR>>

Re: Which Tang? - 06/14/08 Thank you Eric, <<Quite welcome, Kirk>> And a follow up question if I could. <<Certainly>> Do you think I would be okay doing two Tunze 6060's in my 240? <<I do 'I have seven Tunze Streams in my 375g'¦4-6060s, 1-6080, and 2-6100s on a controller 'all this in addition to 'two' 900gph return pumps. So as you can see 'I prescribe to LOTS of water flow>> I had a few people trying to convince me to do the 6101's with the controller (very spendy), however they are reef tank keepers and my tank will never become a reef. <<More would be okay too 'but a pair of 6060s in addition to your return pump will be a great improvement>> Thanks again, Kirk <<A pleasure to assist. Eric Russell>>

Circulation/Pump Selection 10/10/07 Hi guys, <Hello Mike> I have a 54 gallon corner reef aquarium (39 x 27 1/2 x 23) and have a question regarding pump selection and placement. I would like to create a moderate current in the tank (plan on keeping some mushrooms and leathers) and have no idea regarding how many gph I should be looking for. I've read the circulation articles and would like to have 2 pumps in each of the upper front corners of the tank, mounted at approx. 45 degrees. What would you suggest regarding gph, and do you have any preferred manufacturers? Price isn't a major consideration, but I don't want to be in the Tunze price range. <Mike, I prefer Aquarium Systems Maxi-Jet Powerheads. These pumps have given me the least amount of trouble over all I have tried, and I've tried them all. A couple of Maxi-Jet 900's should work well in your system. Usually etail for about 16 bucks.> Thanks, <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Mike

Circulation  9/20/07 Greets Crew! Tank specs - 55g, Rena xp3 canister filter w/ mechanical/BioStars/activated carbon, 2 t8 48'' 32w bulbs (actinic and full spectrum) two MaxiJet 1200 powerheads, approx 30 lbs cured live rock, 1.5'' live sand bed, 1 maroon clown, 2 domino damsels. Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate recently tested all 0.0. My question as the title so aptly suggests is directed towards circulation. I originally had 1 Rena 300 powerhead circulating from the top rear corner as was suggested by one of the LFS I frequent. After some two returns regarding noise issues with the Renas I decided to check WWM for Rena reviews and found a plethora of woes and discontent regarding the line (which was mirroring my own concerns), thus I decided to go with a pair of MaxiJet 1200s. <Ah, a fine choice. These pumps are powerful for their size and virtually indestructible.> Currently they are offset at the top ventral and top dorsal (from a vertical perspective) ends of the tank with the deflectors pointed down at a slight angle towards the sand bed. (See first attachment) First, it seemed ideal to have the deflectors pointed down and that setup was suggested in one of WWM's circulation write ups - however, the instructions on the MaxiJet advise against this and suggest the deflectors always be pointed upwards towards the surface. Should I re-direct or is this a matter of preference? <Hmm... likely a matter of preference. If you point the deflectors up, that's good for aeration. If you point them down, you'll likely have fewer dead spots and better luck keeping debris from gathering at the bottom. If you're torn over it, why not point one up and one down?> Most of the surface has a slow but constant move to it, partly because I chose to stay away from the "spray bar" and stuck with a concentrated flow design for the return line from the filter which provides what surface agitation I do have in the tank. Second - I am curious if it would be advisable to add another powerhead in the upper or lower rear to help circulate behind the live rock and perhaps to point it upwards towards the surface for additional agitation. I tried to search for some sort of formula to determine proper flow per gallon but cannot identify it at the moment. Would 3 1200s be on the harsh side? <As I like to say, short of pointing a fire-hose in your tank, you're unlikely to ever get too much flow (assuming it's even possible). So, yes, another maxi-jet in that position sounds like a fine idea.> Lastly in the second attached picture is a portion of live rock that seems to have sprung some algae. From browsing your algae FAQs it looks to be some type of turtle weed. I will keep an eye on it to make sure it does not begin a hostile takeover - could it's appearance be related to the previous insufficient circulation provided by the single Rena? <I doubt it.> Would it be advisable to let be if my final addition to the tank was a bi-colored angel? i.e. would the angel "munch" on this growth? <It might nip at it, but it won't get rid of it or control it. See here for more info: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/centropyge2.htm> Your assistance is greatly appreciated, as is the literal wealth of information WWM has made available for the aquarium hobbyist! <Thank you and de nada.> Jay <Sara M.>

Preventing Sandstorms!   6/21/07 Hello Crew - greetings from Manila! <Hey there! Scott F. with you today!> I have a 75 gallon display, with about an inch sandbed of sugar fine sand. I've got two Vortech pumps, and even though they are placed high, the flow is quite wide and it disturbs the sand bed enough such that there is always sand always circulating in the water .. and it always ends up on corals live rock. <I can relate...I've had similar issues with Tunze Streams over the years!> Besides taking out the sand all together, what are some other options for preventing this? Jason <Well, Jason, unfortunately, the Vortech pumps don't give you the ability to orient them in different attitudes like the Tunzes. The best thought that I have is that you can place your rockwork in such as way so that it breaks up the water flow somewhat. The other thought would be to utilize a substrate with a larger grain size. Perhaps, you could create what I like to call a "rubble bottom". Essentially, you'd be using small pieces of live rock rubble of various sizes (anywhere from the size of a pea to the size of a ping pong ball), which will create a network of nooks and crannies, ideal for many fishes (Wrasses and Dwarf Angelfishes come to mind) to forage among. With attention to careful husbandry (i.e.; not overfeeding and allowing large quantities of detritus to accumulate) and good water movement (not problem for the Vortechs!), you can create an interesting biotope for your fishes. I've done this before, and it's a really neat way to overcome the "sandstorm" problems you've experienced. Hope this helps! Regards, Scott F.> Large Tank Circulation...Which Model Tunze Stream Pump To Buy? - 05/19/07 Hello, <<Howdy>> I need to add some Tunze Streams to my tank and can't make up my mind which ones to go for. <<These are GREAT pumps/devices for creating flow in your system...I use them myself>> So last stop is you guys. <<Okay, let's see what you have...>> My tank is 800 gallons, 10.5 feet long, 4.2 feet wide and water height is around 2.6 feet. <<Ahh, very nice...makes my 8-feet 375g display seem diminutive by comparison>> I have live rock, fish and a few corals.  I already have 3x Tunze Wave boxes and 3x 660-gallon an hour powerheads.  Tunze Streams come in 3 sizes, 6300 (7925 gallon/hour), 6200 (5283 gall/hour), and 6100 (2641 gall/hour).  Cheapest option would be 2x 6200 if it would be enough flow.  Options are: 2x 6300 one at each end, 2x 6200 one at each end, and 4x 6100 two at each end. Many thanks, James <<Well James, I too think the 2x 6200 is the best option.  The 6300 is designed/intended for very large public displays and may well overwhelm even your exceptionally large system.  The 6100 (this is the largest of the several models I own), though still a good performer and good second choice, may not give you the results you desire as it will have trouble reaching/producing adequate flow the full length of your tank.  And if I may offer a tip...to ensure good water movement at the far reaches of this long tank, set the "pulse" timer on the controller to its maximum duration to give the pump time enough to "get the bulk water column moving."  Regards, Eric Russell>>

Air Pump Driven Water Circulation: Air Stone vs. Airlift Tube - 04/05/07 I just wanted to start off by saying how impressed I am with the caliber of help and wealth of information provided here. <<Many thanks for these kind words...is redeeming to read>> Also, Reef Invertebrates is possibly one of my favorite books of ever- not only is it a great source of info but it helped convert my girlfriend into a reef-o-holic as well. <<Hee!  Bob and Anthony will be pleased...>> But I digress 'I have an AZoo battery-backed up air pump (similar to the Hurricane 5 air pumps sold by several mail order companies) used to provide supplementary and emergency circulation within my 24 gallon Aquapod aquarium with a 4 gallon hang on refugium. <<Ok>> (I wish my refugium could be 5x larger but I'm an apartment-dweller.) <<Ah yes...still, better than nothing>> Ideally, I would prefer to use additional powerheads and battery back-up my entire system but those plans are limited by funding and aquarium size constraints. <<I see>> I'm wondering if the circulation and aeration could be enhanced further if the air pump was used to drive a modified airlift tube of the type used on undergravel filters. <<As opposed/compared to...?>> I know that it would make more sense to use the air pump to power a counter-current protein skimmer, but I have been very successful so far (knock on wood) with 20% weekly water changes and protein skimming doesn't jive with the high nutrient, lagoon biotope I've created. <<A valid argument>> I've looked for a quantitative comparison of airstone vs. airlift mediated water circulation but I was only able to find one Advanced Aquarist article that came close (a series of experiments that showed the rate of oxygen depletion under various conditions).  The only articles that came up when I searched here were product reviews or explanations of how under gravel filters work. <<Hmmm...try searching for information on coral propagation.  Some of these operations use a large "air-blower" piped to the cultivation tanks to provide the water movement as a more economical solution to using a multitude of energy-hungry water pumps and powerheads>> It seems that an airlift tube might work better for circulation since it might act as a 'chimney', forcing oxygen poor water to the surface rather than the more diffusion based displacement caused by airstones. <<I agree with your observation...will provide more "channeled" flow>> I apologize if this has already been covered or if my logic is faulty. <<No worries mate...and your logic is fine, in my opinion>> I'm open alternative suggestions and I'm not above accepting large sums of money to finance my battery back-up. <<Mmm yes, well...better stick to the "chimney" theory [grin]>> Thank you for your time and help! SI <<Happy to share.  EricR>>  

Water Movement 3/23/07 I want to get a 300 gallon tank. Will a Tunze Turbelle Stream Kit TS21 with two heads be enough? Is it better to go with the TS24 model or go with the TS42 kit with the same size pump as the TS21 but with 4 heads? <I'm not aware of a TS42, is this a typo and you meant TS48.  If so, the TS48 would be overkill, the TS24 would  be fine.  Although pricey, these systems are bullet proof well made pumps that should give you years of trouble free service.> If I go with 4 heads can I cut two holes in each overflow tank and stick them in there? They will probably be a few inches apart pointing out at slightly different angles? I want to kept them hidden as much as possible. <Would not go with the four head system, an unneeded expense ($1550.00) for your 300 gallon tank.  The TS24 kit will be more than enough for your needs. Keep in mind the Turbelle Stream creates a much wider flow path than conventional power heads.> This is my latest proposal. 1. 300 gallon acrylic tank - 96" x 24" x 30" tall 2. Oak stand - 96" x 24" x 30" tall 3. Oak Canopy - 96" x 24" x 7" tall 4. 1 AquaC EV-240 Protein Skimmer - 6.75" x 10.75" x 26" tall - Comes with Iwaki MD40RLT pump 5. Refugium/Sump - 55g tank with custom baffles - 48" x 13" x 21" tall 6. Lighting - Two retrofit 4' 2 - 250W 10K MH with 2 - 110W VHO. <I'd skip the VHO and go with three 250's if hard corals and clams are in the works.> 7. Iwaki pump - WP-IKMD100RLT. Flow Rate @ 4' head: 2000GPH 8. Tunze Turbelle wave maker. Turbelle Stream TS21 6000. Come with two heads. <Confused here, the TS24 above, is a wavemaker kit, and I'm not aware of a TS21 product. The Tunze TS kit series include the TS07, TS12, TS24, TS48 and TSF16.> 9. 4 Stage Captive Purity RO/Di CP1341 10. JBJ A.T.O. JB5111 11. Aqua Medic SP3000 Dosing pump
<James (Salty Dog)>  

Re:  Water Movement 3/25/07 Thank you for your help. Actually it wasn't a typo. If found these on a website. TS07 - One Stream 6000 - Output 1850gph TS12 - One Stream 6100 - Output 3175gph TS21 - Two Stream 6000 - Output 1850gph each TS24 - Two Stream 6100 - Output 3175gph each TS42 - Four Stream 6000 - Output 1850gph each TS48 - Four Stream 6100 - Output 3175gph each <Mmm, not listed in the Tunze catalog.  Have sent an email to Roger at Tunze, USA.  Will get back with you soon.> Would four 400W 10k or 15k MH be better than three 250W 10k MH for my 30" tall tank with hard corals? <It would definitely allow you to keep any coral/clam at any level in the tank. If money is no object, go for it, especially with a 8 foot tank.> I want to consolidate my order from mostly one website and these are all they offer. <James (Salty Dog)> Re: Turbelle Stream/Re:  Water Movement Bob, Can you place with the re:  Water Movement query.  I will send a copy of the email to the querier. Thanks, James <Will do. B> On Mar 25, 2007, at 3:30 PM, James Gasta wrote:

Hi Roger,
Roger, I am involved in a query regarding selection of the Tunze TS models.  The querier is listing TS systems that I do not find in your catalog.
My findings are:    TS07, 12, 24, and 48.  See below and let me know of the models the querier list are new Tunze systems.
Thank you for your help. Actually it wasn't a typo. If found these on a website. TS07 - One Stream 6000 - Output 1850gph TS12 - One Stream 6100 - Output 3175gph TS21 - Two Stream 6000 - Output 1850gph each TS24 - Two Stream 6100 - Output 3175gph each TS42 - Four Stream 6000 - Output 1850gph each TS48 - Four Stream 6100 - Output 3175gph each Would four 400W 10k or 15k MH be better than three 250W 10k MH for my 30" tall tank with hard corals? I want to consolidate my order from mostly one website and these are all they offer. Thanks Roger,
James (Salty Dog)
Wet Web Media.com

TS07, TS12, TS24, TS48 are all listed in our catalog, TS21 and TS 42 are things Marine Depot made up.  These kits are really only to illustrate the possible combinations and the price is just the cumulative total of the items which are all packaged separate.  TS21 and TS42 don't make any sense as our numbers are the liters per hour of the kit so technically if MD labeled them correctly they should be TS14 and TS 28 respectively, 12000 and 28000 l/hr.


One pump or two?   5/15/06 Hi Crew < Hello Adlai! > I am trying to plumb my new 120 gallon and wanted some advice before going down this path.  Taking your advice I swore that my next tank would be reef ready - no more dinking saltwater for me via J tubes. < I cant say I blame you a bit! > The tank has 2 overflows rated at 600 gph each so I expect 1200 gph approx into my sump. In ADDITION to sending water through the 2 returns which come with tank setup I also plan to draw water from the sump via a SCWD using a ViaAqua 2600 rated at 740 gph. This means I will have 4 returns (2 with the overflows and 2 with the SCWD) using the sump water. So I figured I needed approx a 1200 gph submersible to make allowances for head loss pressure etc. Since the drains are only rated at 1200 gph that is the maximum amount of water that will be coming in to the sump which is 12X24X14. The 2 returns can be powered by either 1 pump (any recommendations) or 2 separate pumps ( I have an Eheim 1260 and a ViaAqua 2600). In addition, another ViaAqua 2600 which is also in my sump, will be shooting water through a SCWD and 2 separate returns. In regards to the SCWD return, my thinking is that since the ViaAqua is rated at 740 gph, I expect about 50% of water flow because of the SCWD and the returns i.e. approx 370-400 gph of flow. < You are correct, the SCWD reduce the gph significantly. You may want to employ a larger pump to enjoy the benefits of the SCWD. 400-500 gph will be almost unnoticeable. Think about running the SCWD on a closed loop, with a pump rated for 1000-1200 gph. This can be done without drilling any more holes in the tank. When plumbing the SCWD, consider installing true union ball valves. This will allow you to shut off the water completely, and service the SCWD without losing too much water. Some people will have a secondary SCWD to switch out, while cleaning the first. > In regards to the regular returns , the Eheim I currently have is rated at 635 gph will give me about  50% water flow at a 5 foot head approx 320-400 gph. The other ViaAqua 2600 will give me about 350 gph at 5 ft head So when I add all 3 pumps in the sump I will be getting approx the 1200 gph which the returns are rated at.  Are there any flaws to this logic? < Three pumps in the sump may generate too much heat! > Am I not considering any potential challenges. Should I just use 1 submersible pump to send water back the 2 tank returns so that I will only have 2 pumps in the sump. < Think about running one pump for the return, rated at or near 800- 1000 gph. With the build-up of detritus and biological waste over time, the maximum water handling of the overflows will be reduced. It is better to be slightly underpowered in that regard. Also, if contact time is crucial in the effectiveness of the filtration methods employed in the sump, slower is better. Think of it this way... Let's say your job is to steal hubcaps. Would you be more successful on the freeway, or in a parking lot? > I hope this makes sense. < Makes sense to me! It is good to see planning and consideration! > Thanks in advance < You are very welcome. RichardB > Set-Up 2/Pumps/Circulation  - 05/05/2006 Hey everyone, <Hello Marc> I am looking to get an Iwaki pump to power a closed loop circulation system for my reef tank. I am looking at either the MD70 or MD40 pump for the job. The tank is 120 gallons and I have set the system up to return to the pump in the cabinet and back up to a manifold with four outlets ¾ inch each (I could plumb more in) approx 5 feet above the pump. My question is that there are two types of pumps that seem to be sold, a pressure pump and a circulation pump. What is the difference and is it as simple as picking the circulation model for this task or should I consider the pressure model for other benefits? <The circulation pump will be just fine.  The pressure models are used for protein skimmers and pressure filters where the water has to have some pressure behind it to operate these systems properly.> I am considering dropping some outlets down at the back and forcing water through various low flow areas to get the most complete flow. In doing this I assume it would generate more friction (increased pipe work) therefore more head and a higher pressure requirement? <Not enough where you would need a pressure pump.> Thanks for your time <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Marc

Pump selections  9/6/06 Dear Mr. Fenner: <T Ruby> I am moving up in the reefing world and got a 75RR tank and will be using my old 20g long as a sump. I am a little confused on what pumps to use. I am hoping you can shed some light for me. I bought the MRC MR1 skimmer and the GenX PCX40 for the skimmer pump. I do not know what type of pump to consider for using as my return pump. My overflow is rated at 600gph and has 1" inlet and 1" drain <An important consideration... won't be able to handle this actual flow rate... Might consider re-drilling or having another through-put drilled... of larger diameter> and both are plumbed using 1" spa flex hose to the bulk heads in the bottom of the tank. You have any good suggestions on a return pump? <Yes... Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pumpselmar.htm and the linked files above> I was told to consider the Pan World pumps. Along with this, I would be in need of a 3rd external pump, I am planning on plumbing a closed loop for this system, I really hate the ugliness of powerheads in the tank. I will be using 1.25" PVC going up to a "T" then 1.25" going left and right off the "T" to 90 degree elbows. Then right at the elbows reduced down to 3/4" PVC running up to the top of the tank to a 90, then another 90 going down into the tank. This will be the same for the left side and right sides of the tank.. What type of pump would be able to push about 800-900gph at that head pressure?? <See the above...> If I do not do the closed loop, what do you think about the wave2k? <A worthwhile unit> would this replace a closed loop system? <Mmm, could> I am unsure if the wave2k will put flow through out the whole tank? <Would help...> Thanks for you help! <Do read "around" the linked files... on circulation... Bob Fenner>

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 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.> 

Can I pump water up from a basement sump to my tank? 7/29/04 Hi Crew, << Blundell here. >> I will be moving to my new house this Friday and I was looking forward to being able to setup a more accessible filtration system for my 180g reef tank.  My plan was to remove the cramped sump and refugium setup from my aquarium stand and to run the overflow and return lines through the floor to the basement, where I would keep a larger refugium.  After further consideration, I realize my return pump will have very little flow as a result of pumping to a 10'-12' head.  Do you have any recommendations for overcoming this obstacle -- aside from simply buying a larger (and much more expensive) pump? <<  Well I've seen people try to make a two stage set up for getting back up.  Basically one pump pumps up half way, then a second pump in that tank pumps up the rest.  I don't like this idea at all.  I would just buy a very nice external pump.  It is worth it, considering all the benefits you get from the sump in your basement. >> I am currently using a MAG 18 pump so, to keep approximately the same flow to the display tank, I have only found a MAG 36 or some very large pool-style pumps that would still provide at least 1,800 gph flow at 12' of head pressure.  Even at that, nearly 50% of the pump's potential flow will be lost as heat and I assume this will also provide additional shear damage to 'pods from my refugium.  << An external pump is the way to go, and I don't believe they will damage your pods.  They get sucked and blown through so fast that there really isn't time for damage. >> Do you have any suggestions for a good (not overly expensive) pump that would provide adequate flow at this height? << I don't, I would just check your LFS and look around. >> I have also considered using a pump similar to what I have to simply pump the refugium/sump water up one story to a sump in the tank stand.  The existing MAG 18 would then continue to provide return flow from this sump to the tank.  Although this would result in the same flow as I have today, the filtration flow (from the basement refugium & wet/dry) would be much less and I do not know if this would provide adequate filtration or oxygenation (since the skimmer would also be in the basement).  Managing two overflow systems could also increase the potential for leaks or floods. << Definitely, floods will happen. >> What do you suggest as the best approach to 2-story plumbing? << A good friend of mine has done the same thing.  His two options where to use two pumps at the bottom and pump all the way up, or buy one big pump.  He is very pleased with his decision to buy one big pump. >> Thank you for the help! --Greg <<  Blundell  >>

Goin' For The Flow! (Water Flow) Hello all, <Hi there! Scott F. with you tonight!> Your website is a great reference. <Glad you like it! We have a blast bringing it to you!> I am setting up a 75 All-Glass Aquarium with a built in overflow system.  The manufacturer wrote back to me advising that the overflow  system is rated for 600 gph.  Given it is traveling  approximately 3 feet up from the sump and I want to return the water through a PVC return manifold.  What GPH of a return pump should I buy 600, 800, 1000?  I am assuming the pump looses some pressure traveling up and  through a manifold system.  I was thinking of using a Iwaki pump, I hear these pumps are reliable and quiet. <I use Iwakis myself, and love 'em. They are not the absolute quietest pumps around, IMO- but they are insanely reliable, and move water very well. You might want to look into an Iwaki MD 40 or an MD55. You can always bleed off some of the flow if it's to much> Is the external pump a better idea than the submersed pump for the sump return?  Given the flow rate will be 600 gph, this is not enough for a reef.  What do you recommend to increase circulation  power heads, a submersed pump in the display or drill the back for a closed loop circulation system. <Ahh- a better idea still. Yes- you can use external powerheads, such as Geminis or Tunze Turbelles, or internal pumps, such as the new Tunze Stream pumps ($$$- but they ROCK!). Or- you could construct a closed loop or manifold, as you contemplate. Still another thought would be to use a Sea Swirl plumbed to your closed loop to oscillate the return to the tank...A million possibilities, only limited by your imagination, your budget, and your electric bill!> Last I am looking at the AquaC EV180 or the ETSS Reef devil protein skimmers.  Which one would you recommend for a 75G reef (40G long sump)? <Both are excellent, but I'd give the edge to the Aqua C for ease of use and maintenance> Thanks in advance for your help. <A pleasure! Regards, Scott F>

Powerheads Hi I would like to know how many powerheads I need to put in my 90g. that I am turning in a reef tank? Is the Power Sweep 228 a good product to use? Or do you have a better powerhead that I can use.                                    Thank You <Please see here re Powerhead number, placement and suggested models: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/powerhdfaqs.htm and the linked FAQs file above (in blue) on circulation. Bob Fenner>

Re: 75g Set-Up Steve, at the risk of driving you crazy, I had just a few quick (being the choice word) follow-up questions regarding the 75 AGA pumping which you have been helping me with. I've figured out the PVC around the top and outlets, but more regarding the pump selection. Using the Durso standpipe design for the normal AGA overflow (out), I will also use another standpipe for the 'in' in the AGA overflow, BUT also going 'out' of the tank to the sump. This should increase the standard AGA overflow from 750 gph to 1500 gph, correct? <I kind of lost you, but I think you should use both bulkhead fittings in the overflow box as drains. This should increase the amount of water your box is able to drain.> Both standpipes will lead to my 20 gallon sump with a Plexiglas partition in the middle (dirty side). My Mag-Drive 5 (or Dolphin DP-560. Is this a better pump?) <I don't have any experience with the Dolphins.> will pump water from the 'dirty side' of the sump into the Aqua-C EV 120 and discharge the protein skimmed water into the 'clean side' of the sump. Okay so far? <I would discharge back into the "dirty side" and use the partition to drive off excess bubbles.> I will fix a 1 1/2" bulkhead into the wall of the 'clean side' of the sump where 1 1/2" PVC pipe will lead to: A Mag 12 (you suggested) at 1200 gph. (I'm thinking that this will not be enough now.) OR A Dolphin AmpMaster 2100 (with 1 1/2" inlets and outlets - so it will fit the 1 1/2" PVC of the return pipe). <That is a pretty serious pump, about 2700 gph at zero head.> I was thinking that 20-30 times the 75 gallon tank per hour would be better for SPS/clams. At 20 times, that would be 1500 gph which would match my AGA overflow with the before mentioned changes of 2 Durso standpipes. If 2100 pump is too much I could even dial it back (which I understand can be done with the Dolphin AmpMaster pumps. <It would be better to T the return line and have a bleeder valve setup to recycle water back into the sump.> Otherwise I could place a turn valve on the exit or out of the pump - probably a good idea anyway if the pump ever fails. <At the risk of even more questions, let me suggest using two smaller pumps. I like to use two separate pumps so that in the event one pump breaks, the second one will get you by.> Thanks again (deja vu?), Andrew. <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Bula from Fiji Bob! <Bula my friend> Tim McLeod of Walt Smith Int. suggested I email you with a question.... <Hello to Tim and Flower> We have an 800 gal display tank with a 1000 gal reservoir tank, so we circulate 1,800 gallons of salt water through the display. We are building a 400 gal tank in to the system in which we will grow mangrove and bonsai them (see http://www.fukubonsai.com/5a9.html It can be done!!!). <Yes> In this mangrove tank we plan to create an ecosystem and feed the nutrients & organisms in to the display tank to feed the corals. <Okay> This will require us pumping from the mangrove tank to the display tank. We are concerned that using impeller pumps will "mash" the live organisms we created and make the whole exercise pointless, however, we are having trouble finding diaphragm pumps that are a) electric b) salt proof c) continuous duty and d) rated at 400 to 600 gallons per hour. Do you think an impeller pump is out and where could we find the right diaphragm pump if impellers can't be used? <Actually not much of a problem. Some studies have been done which show less than 1% of crustaceans, worms die as a consequence of passing through paddle-wheel like impellers. Those critters are tough!> Appreciate any advice Bob and please come see us when you visit Fiji!! <Will do so Phil. Bob Fenner> Vinaka Phil Felstead Kula Eco Park P.O. Box 823 Sigatoka Fiji Islands Tel: (679) 650 0505 Fax: (679) 652 0202 Email: mitman@connect.com.fj Web Site: www.fijiwild.com

Re: pH decline, Demerits of Powerheads Friend Anthony <cheers, Bob> Thanks for the suggestions. I think that I will try first with the larger return pumps;  <excellent> I am a bit concerned about powerheads in the tank as I have read the many horror stories on the web site regarding animals sucked into the suction strainers. <yes... so many disadvantages to powerheads. Heat transfer, longevity, shock hazard, etc> Thank you for your patient advice. While very little in the way of compensation, please do accept that you provide a real service to the many out there like myself who labor mostly blindly.  <it is our pleasure and purpose but thank you for saying so, my friend> A little story: I started the marine aquarium as an ex-freshwater guy who liked the pretty saltwater fishes. After failing pretty miserably several years ago with a fish only tank, gave up completely. Read some more recent books, including Bob Fenner's, and noted with great interest the improvements in lighting, natural filtration and so on. Made the investment "one last try and then I quit!". Have now run the reef for about a year, having survived numerous close brushes with ignorance induced failure, but have dodged the bullet with the help of yourself and others dedicated to the trade and hobby. My greatest reward (and this should be for you as well, as a participant) is that now when the neighborhood children come over to our house, which is often as we have two boys 10 and 12, they all immediately go to the reef tank. These children, who can rarely stay still for more than 30 seconds, are immediately captivated in the mystery of the reef and I have seen them sit for over an hour in front of the display.  <outstanding.. indeed a huge goal for us all: education of people to higher awareness, admiration and respect for the environment> I have directed several to your site. The rewards of the keeping of aquariums are many, but this is the one that I find the most satisfying. My point in the story is that you provide the support that makes this possible, so I hope that you share the joy as well. Best Regards Bob <thanks kindly... best to you. Anthony>

Re: this is my problem and I don't know what to do. (Circulation) Anthony that's cool. One thing on the detritus though. I have 4 powerheads in the tank now. everything is on, I have 2 Rio 1400 and 2 Rio 800's each in its own corner of the tank, 3 inches from the water level.  <do reconsider the powerheads... they cause too much heat. If you have a sump, it is usually less expensive and more efficient to run one large recirculating pump than a small one with powerheads in the display. See diagram here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/plumbingmarart.htm> thing is, if I let the heads hit the bottom, the sand will float to the water column... what do you think I should do?  <the best with powerheads is usually to aim them opposite of each other to create random turbulent flow. Indeed... flow in one direction will stir up sand badly> the skimmer is in the sump and that I don't think the detritus "overflows" to the sump. <yes... a common problem. Do experiment with adjustments to the flow with the powerheads... aim them in different positions to reduce the chance of detritus accumulating> Francis. PS: ill check your website re your book ok.  <thanks kindly!> have you ever been in manila? <I have not yet had the pleasure but will look forward to it one day :) Best regards, Anthony>

Kalkwasser & Wavemaker Hi Anthony, I hope your doing well.  <with hopes that you are the same, my friend> I'm on a weeks vacation, so as usual I am fiddling with my tanks. I have two questions. (1) I still can't seem to get your Kalk slurry correct. (read your book instructions twice) On my 125 with 35G sump, If I use B-Ionic, I can keep my calcium in the 340-360 range at a DKH of 10 or 11.  <actually... that just about perfect if you choose to have the higher dKH (12 dKH max). Else, let your dKH fall towards 8-9 and let Ca climb to 400-425 ppm. It makes little difference either way. All is good if both are consistent and stable> However If I want to use Kalk and Seachem buffer, I can't seem to change the Calcium at all, it just keeps dropping until I go back to B-Ionic.  <have you checked to see that your magnesium isn't too low? It needs to be at least 1000ppm. Better perhaps around 1200ppm or a whisker higher. If you have low Magnesium... your not going to get high Ca. Mag should be about 3X Ca levels> Every day, in the AM I stir maybe 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon in 1 or 2 cups cold R/O water for about 20 seconds and add it to the sump. My PH goes up a little usually about 0.1, but the calcium doesn't seem to make it into solution, I don't see any precipitation) and if I measure a few hours later there seems to be no effect. Any ideas what I'm doing wrong. <hmmm... the AM is dangerous in the big picture for dosing unless your lights don't come on for 7-10 later. Kalk is always to be dosed at night right after lights go out> (2) I want to add current to my tanks starting with the 125. I looked at a wavemaker from Red Sea, but am leaning towards the Ocean currents Oscillator. My feeling is that I could put two oscillator into the tank attached to power heads. What do you think? <I think that all wavemakers are a complete waste of money. They wear pumps down and starve thanks to flow when pumps are staggered. Its best to run all pumps full time in convergence to produce random turbulent flow> Thanks Larry P.S. someone who owns a store close by and I believe to be very knowledgeable says he prefers to drip Kalk. He thinks the sudden increase in PH, or more accurately the sudden localized PH increase has a detrimental effect on the fish.  <dosed in a strong stream of water it is no worse many other aspects of husbandry. Serves the greater good for many> He thinks the Slurry you refer to is mainly for reef only systems or corals farmers.  <I think he must be a man that has never tried it before with a simple pH meter... OR... he has the patience of a saint for dripping and a tank with modest calcium needs (fish only). I also suspect that has never had a system that needs more calcium than a saturated drip can provide> I don't agree, and dripping is a big pain in the a%&. <yep :) Best regards, Anthony>

Circulation Pumps Hi guys I am so glad I found your site it's great. Please keep up the good work. I am setting up a 55 gal. salt fish/invert tank. Can you give me some help on circulation pumps (size number and brand recommended) I am currently looking at using two Rio 1100 or the Dolphin D270 what do you think, is on more reliable than the other? <Of those two, I would get the Dolphins.> Is their another brand that you would recommend. <I like and use mostly Hagen and Aquarium Systems.> I also have a Eheim mod. 2222 that I can run empty or with carbon etc. when needed. Their will also be a AquaC Remora pro skimmer with the Mag 3 pump. Any help you can give me will be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Dennis Vigliotte <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Re: Upgrading to Reef Hey, I've been giving your idea of building a sump some serious thought and had a few questions. First, does the pump for the skimmer need to be rated the same as the regular pump (if I bought a water pump rated at 375 GPH, doesn't the skimmer need the same so water is leaving and entering the main tank at the same rate)?  <nope...they are entirely unrelated. The skimmer sitting inside of a skimmer box that sits in the sump (or anywhere else for that matter) operates on a closed loop with its own dedicated pump. Two pumps never could or should be made to balance each other... even same brand/models have variations or one can clog. That application would be a recipe for disaster> Secondly, does it matter if the pump is outside the sump or is one that is submersible inside the sump as good?  <external pumps are generally better made pumps and contribute less heat to the water. Internals are necessarily Mag drives, impart heat, do not work against head as well, but usually are a little less expensive to run> I was thinking about picking up a Rio pump rated at about 460 GPH--is the reef formula the same as a regular tank--water being turned over 5 times the volume of the tank? <reef systems need much more flow. Aim for 10X turnover and understand that even that may not be enough to satisfy some invertebrates (depends on what you choose). Remember too that a drilled overflow for a large pump will require 4 or more 1" holes. Most tanks are flawed with one or two 1" overflow holes. Never use siphon overflows please)> I'm sure I'll think of more later! Thanks for all your help! Mike <best regards, Anthony>

Re: Upgrading to Reef Hi, OK, as far as the pumps go, I'm thinking more along the lines of a Mag Drive rated at 700 GPH--sound good? <by common rule of measure it sounds like it is in the ballpark but once you rockscape the tank and start picking coral you may find that it is not enough. I have a 50 gallon aquarium run by a Mag 1100 and supplemented by 2 additional powerheads!> Next, what would be a good skimmer pump than to go with that? 100 GPH? Not sure what I should aim for here.  <I really don't understand your question about a "skimmer pump" my friend. A commercial skimmer comes with its own pump or recommendation for one, an extra is not needed. You are simply sitting a sump skimmer in an overflow box that sits inside of the sump (or has a sealed dam doing the same thing). The skimmer box catches all gravity overflow water which overflows in turn into the sump proper to be carried back up to the main display by a single return pump. In cases like this, the location of a good local aquarium society is so helpful to find local members for fellowship to show you the ropes in person with their own tanks. What city are you from? Perhaps we can recommend a helpful regional club> As far as the overflow, you are suggesting not to use an siphon overflow box?  <Correct... they are never foolproof and inevitably fail... if not in the 1-year picture, at least the 3 year picture... few people escape without a disaster> That would mean I'd have to drill holes into my 75 gallon main tank, right? Four of them at one-inch apiece all with bulkheads?  <correct... this is the most reliable way> I'd probably have someone with more "mechanical" expertise (and the right tools!) do this.  <exactly... local aquarium society, LFS or aq service personnel> How far about should the four holes be?  <let the driller decide after seeing your tank, bud> And all the tubing leading from them would be controlled by one pump, or does the water just flow down by use of gravity  <correct> (and does all this water first enter an overflow box, or go straight into the sump)?  <straight into the sump is preferred... into the skimmer box specifically or into the skimmer if the model allows (like the Turboflotor)> Sorry for all the questions, but I'm learning a lot! Thanks, Mike <best regards, Anthony>

Powerheads vs. Water pumps Hi, thanks for your comments on my 75 gallon eel, trigger, and lion tank with nitrite spikes. (remember Tetratec and Prizm filters) <Vaguely> I'm going to follow your first recommendation and get more water movement via powerheads. Just one question, is there any advantages/disadvantages to using two Rio 1400 pumps vs. two Aquaclear 802 powerheads? <I am partial to the Hagen powerheads.> I can get the Rio pumps about $5 cheaper each, and both the Rio and Aquaclear are rated at 400 gph. Thank you as always, Jack <Good luck! -Steven Pro>

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

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>

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>

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>

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 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

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>

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>

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 PowerSweep 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-fiancĂ©© 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

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>

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>

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