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FAQs about Powerheads in Marine Systems 1

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

Related FAQs: Powerheads 2, Rationale, Selection, Application, Modification, Problems/Repair, By Manufacturer, Makes/Models: Aquarium Systems (Maxi-Jets, Visi-Jets), Hagen (AquaClear), Tunze, Other Models/Manufacturers, Wavemakers, Marine Circulation 1, Marine Circulation 2, Marine Circulation 3, Marine Circulation 4, Marine Circulation 5, AerationPumps, PlumbingMake Up Water Systems, Sumps RefugiumsGear Selection for Circulation, Pump ProblemsSurge Devices

Your Klein's Butterflyfish would appreciate a little more circulation and its added benefits.

Powerhead Choices and Power Compact Lighting -- all of it legal  12/5/05 Hello WWM! <Hello.> My head is swimming in powerhead confusion. I have a 46G bowfront I'm converting into a reef. <Ooh sounds like fun.> I've been reading all about powerheads here on WWM and comparing my setup to other 46G owners who've written WWM. Basically, I have the 2X96 Current USA Orbit PCs and I'm slowly changing out the large CC substrate and adding a 1" bed of CaribSea Fiji Pink sand. <Sounds good.> I'm not exactly sure how many pounds of live rock I have in the tank because I ended up moving rock to my other system. I would guess at about 50 pounds, though. I'm leaning toward corals that need either a low or medium water flow. I don't think there are any on my list that require a high flow but don't want to limit myself either. <I understand. Though in my opinion, short of slamming your animals against the wall, I prefer to have LOTS of flow. Not only do the animals enjoy it but this also keeps detritus from accumulating. Remember as much water flow as you think you may have, it's nothing compared to the tides of the ocean.> I'm looking at the Maxi-Jets <Great pumps, reliable.> but, of course, the range is between 106 gph and 295. Thoughts on which ones would work best for my system and how many I should purchase are --greatly-- appreciated. <A trio of Maxijet 1200s (the ones with 295) gph, would be nice, positioned at different levels and aimed at each other to create some turbulent water movement is ideal. You could also put this trio on a wavemaker, I find them to be aesthetically pleasing in smaller tanks, though not necessary by any means.> Do you also think corals that require moderate lighting will be safe with these lights? <You won't be able to keep those that demand a shallow water biotope (high light situations) such as Acroporas, Montiporas and clams. However this does not mean you can't create a beautiful display. Though this lighting is sufficient for many other photosynthetic animals, such as zoanthids, mushrooms, and leathers (such as Sarcophyton and Sinularia). You can even keep some stonies such as those in the Euphyllia family with this lighting. In fact I prefer Leathers and softies in general to the popular SPS, though they (the softies) may lack somewhat in color in comparison to the SPS, I think the softies more than make up for it with their shapes and the way the move in the current. > The lights are new and they already look like we're growing something illegal <That's funny, when I got my Metal Halides delivered the UPS man asked what I was growing with a suspicious insinuation to his sentence.> because they're so bright so I would prefer not to return them to upgrade to the 4x96 system if possible. <As mentioned above these lights can work for many animals, replace them every 6 to 9 months for best results.> Thank you all so much! <You are welcome, Adam J.>

9-10 Foot Power Cord for Small Pump  11/17/05 I have a saltwater aquarium (cylinder shape) that is in the center of our spiral staircase and measures 8 feet tall and 4 feet in diameter.  <Wowzah!> I would like to purchase a small pump (maybe Rio?) to submerge in the tank, mounted near the bottom to circulate water slightly around the bottom of the tank. <Mmm, I would investigate a bit more, look for a better-regarded manufacturer/line> I have good circulation at the top of the tank, but I feel there is stagnant water at the bottom and am concerned about high nitrates at the bottom of the tank. <Need to circulate all... including top to bottom... you might "tilt" your pump/discharges accordingly> Unfortunately, I have not been able to obtain a small pump with a power cord longer than 6 feet. Ideally, I would prefer a pump with a 9-10 feet power cord, but I would settle for one that has a 8 ft cord. Any suggestions or direction to a source of supply would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!  Brett <Mmm, I would contact the manufacturers (by name) directly re... it isn't hard/impractical to splice an extension and make this water proof... but the companies actually making these units can/will make special orders (I'd get double the number you want and save the other set for back-up). Cheers, Bob Fenner> 

Re: 9-10 Foot Power Cord for Small Pump  11/17/05 Bob, <Brett> Thank you for your response to my question! I am impressed by your timeliness - I work at Toyota where providing the best Customer Support is ingrained in everything we do and I appreciate your quick response. <Ah, an excellent company all the way around... I grew up in Japan, visited "Toyoda" (not a mis-spelling for you browsers), and can remember how amazingly clean everything was... no buttons, watches on the employees (lest finishes be scratched)... all working together harmoniously... And have owned Toyotas (trucks mostly the 22R engines, wife has a Prius)... And what do they "run" the co. on? Capital! Not debt! How un-American... Forget "super-discounts"... Uhh, just make quality products, supply good svc.... am sure you would say about the same...> I will pursue the advice to contact the pump manufacturers directly for a custom length power cord. Do you have any contact info for pump manufacturers? <Mmm, yes... Can be found by the distributors names (Hagen in Canada, Aquarium Systems, TAAM-Rio...> Since you do not seem impressed with Rio, I would welcome any other names (phone numbers or websites) that I could pursue. Thank you again for your cooperation! Brett <Please make it known if you'd like help finding these. Out of time for now. Cheers, BobF> 

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.> 

Powerheads... Aqua Tech... ? 9/10/05 I have an AquaTech 3ph power head. How much water does this pump in what amount of time? <Leslie, I believe Aquatech produces commercial products.  I'd try their website, I have no info about this powerhead whatsoever.  James (Salty Dog)> <<I would test the flow rate yourself... with a "pickle bucket", container of known size, a watch with a second hand... RMF>>

Re: Powerheads... Aqua Tech... ?  9/11/05 I purchased it at Wal-mart and done test myself and it pumps about 145gph. thank you. <Ah, thank you for sharing this input. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

SCWD and pump combination part 2 9/8/05 The fitting on the pump is 1" so I used 1" pipe to the SCWD. Then from the SCWD to the tank its 3/4". The amount of elbows from the pump to SCWD is 3. Then from the SCWD to the tank through 3/4" is 4. Coming into the pump is 3 elbows as well. Would this restrict a lot of water? Should I redo it with tubing? Should I buy a bigger pump? Right now its 1000 gph. Thanks Joe  <It sounds like you are using big enough pipe/tubing, but you are using a lot of elbows!  All of those elbows are probably costing you at least 30% of your flow.  You could increase the flow by any of the methods you ask about.  You could find ways to eliminate elbows or increase the size of the pump.  In the long run, eliminating elbows will save you the cost of a larger pump, added electricity and added heat.  I would suggest running 1" flexible line from the pump to the SCWD, with the SCWD mounted at about the level of the top of the tank.  You can then run 3/4" flexible tubing along the rim of the tank right into the water wherever you want.  This will eliminate all of the elbows.  Hope this helps.  AdamC.> Noise in aquariums... from powerheads... harmful?  9/2/05 Hi, <Hello there> I can't find any research on the internet to answer my question.  Does a loud powerhead in a tank, stress fish through excessive or extreme vibrations (i.e.. like tapping loudly on the glass).  My 1000 litre reef tank has optimal water quality, temperature etc. but old really loud powerheads which do appear to be stressing my fish and they seem to relax more if I turn them off, <Bingo> but not decisively enough to take the plunge and spend $1000+ replacing them all.  They dart around, white spot has now broken out.  I've had these fish (namely blue/yellow/purple tangs) for almost 5 years now, so it's nothing to do with acclimatization or my ability to reef keep etc. Thank you! Regards, Andrew. <I would look into some Tunze, Hagen, Aquarium System powerhead products... You've answered your own question... Underwater it is rarely quiet... but your tank/system is way too noisy to be healthy. Bob Fenner>

Powerhead question 8/25/05 Hey Gang, was wondering if you can recommend a powerhead size for me.  I have a 75 gallon reef tank that has a Mag 9.5 for return connected to a SCWD with a return on each end of my tank.  I'm running 3 maxi jet 600, but it still does not seem like there is enough water flow in the tank. I tend to get most of my equipment from the DrsFoster website, and was looking at the Azoo powerheads.  My maxi jets are rated for 160gph, but that seems low to me.  Upon looking at the Azoo's I was looking at there  model 1800 (475 gph) or 2500 (660).  Do you think that's too much? <Depending on the livestock, placement, no> I have my power heads setup to cross my returns, but it still seem like a little from where they flow, junk is accumulating on the ground. I would be replacing all 3 of the maxi jets, and from what I have been reading in Bob's book water flow as well as quality is very important. <Yes> It seems like my one rock of mushrooms is not doing very good, <Or well> been wilted for the past 3 days and after 15 gallon water change 3 days ago and another yesterday, they still don't look good. <Mmm, you might want to read on WWM re periodically removing, replacing, augmenting live rock...>   My other single mushroom is just growing like crazy, as is my Finger leather and Green star polyp.  My smaller polyps are slightly wilted as well. <They may well be (mal)influencing one another> The ones wilted tend to be towards the bottom where there is not as much water flow which is what leads me to believe that is contributing to the problem. <Might> So again, thoughts on powerheads, am I going overboard with the 2500's?  Thanks again! <Not overboard> By the way Bob, your book saved me from purchasing a fish I thought would do well in my aquarium, and after looking at him a bit longer in the LFS I noticed his appetite for corals, great book! <Ahh...> Cheers! John Rohrbaugh <Bob Fenner>

Tunze Stream 7/25/05 For in-tank flow, do you think one or two of the product below would be far too much turbulence for a 90 gallon?  It seems like a great product - too bad they don't make the same thing with a little less flow….  <Jon, the Tunze are very well built pumps but I think it's a little overkill for a 90.  As long as the output is controllable as I see it is, then it will be fine.  If you upgrade to a larger tank, the pump should handle a 180 gallon tank.  The other benefit is low wattage which helps keep your temp down.  James (Salty Dog)> Turbelle ? Stream 6000 : * Output: 7000 l/h; 1850 gal/h * Speed control: Yes * Electronically controllable by all TUNZE ? motor controls * Pump wattage: 15 W * Cable length: 5 m; 196" * Dimensions: ?98 x 118 mm; ?3.9 x 4.6 * Outlet diam.: ?50 / 47 mm; ?2" / 1.8" Tunze Stream microbubbles and water circulation around Euphyllids. 7/22/05 Hi Anthony (or else...:), <Hi Dominique, Ali here (please don't kill me)> I bought two 6000 Streams and a 7095 controller for my system. <Great pumps, great choice, great investment> I have a 90 gal reef tank (48"x24"18") with sugar fine DSB. I have only Euphyllids (torch and hammer corals) and pulsing xenia. Will add some Montipora digitata at some point. I reduced the power to 30% on the streams. On the multicontroller I use the interval no 1 mode with around 30 seconds of interval and the flow is also pulsing from 30% to 100% on each of the two streams each 6 seconds. This means going from 167 gal (2X per hour) to 555 gal per hour (6X per hour) on each pump alternatively. The two streams are symmetrically positioned to have their flow hitting the middle of the back panel. I placed them quite near to the surface. Also there is a 3X per hour from the return pump from the fuge. -Now there is some particles in suspension: dust or air bubbles I do not know (?). There is good agitation at the surface so could be air bubbles. <Microbubbles are generally caused from your return pump or possibly your refugium output, turn them off and just run your stream pumps. If the microbubbles continue, then you'll know 100% that they are coming directly from the streams. Additionally, if you have the streams too close to the water surface, they will create a 'vortex' causing water and air to be sucked down, thus producing an occasional jet of bubbles. Here is a direct quote from Roger 'Tunze' Vitko himself regarding the microbubble issue: "Just my experience here- if your pump is making bubbles and it is not from vortexing you really should double check the hole in the magnet rotor for obstructions, your KH and your light intensity/duration. If the bubbles get worse as the day light hours progress it is definitely a gas saturation issue and removing excess algae, cutting back on lighting and lowering KH are the remedies. If the pump has any obstructions to the cooling system, the internal vacuum increases and more degassing occurs."> -Could this be too much current for the Euphyllids? Is it ok when the polyps are bending from time to time (not just curling but really bending at a 90 degrees angle...). The polyps are still well extended tough. <Don't sweat it. They're happy. Unless you see total tissue retraction and/or tissue literally being blown-off of the skeletons this is not something you should worry about> I am only a beginner and I worry about those corals now... < :D 90 degree bends, you don't have to worry about, it's those dreaded 45 degree angles that you should keep an eye out for,...only kidding of course.> -Same for my new anemone (green Heteractis crispa with purple tips): some tentacles are sometimes completely twisted because of the current (giving the tentacle an hour-glass shape...). Can this cause problems? <No> -Do you have any advice for the settings of the multicontroller and placement/direction of the streams that would be good for my set up? <For further advice on how to get the most out of your pumps/controller set-up feel free to browse Roger's Tunze forum, here's the link: http://reefcentral.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?s=&forumid=92 >   Thanks a lot! Dominique <No problem friend, enjoy your reef.>

Re: Sumpless Closed Loop Manifold, powerhead use 07/01/05 Bob, <Yes> Thanks for the reply. I've decided to go with an internal powerhead. After reading many FAQs and other forum threads, I've purchased a Tunze Stream. I went with the 6060, which cannot use a controller, to vary output. I'm amazed it can move more than 5 times the volume of water using less electricity than the Maxi Jet 1200's. <A very nice product> I've directed the pump to partially reflect off the front pane of my 75 aquarium. I'm hoping this will spread the flow in multiple directions. <Should> Should I run this pump 24/7 or power it off at night and run just a few maxi jets and the return pump at night? Thanks, Glenn <I'd leave all running continuously. Bob Fenner>

- Tunze Skimmers - Hello Anthony! <Anthony is actually in Tonga, no doubt having his skinny self wrestled to the ground by a large Tongan woman.> I bought a Tunze Comline automatic 3130/2 and I have difficulties to make it work correctly and SILENTLY so I have been reading the Tunze skimmer FAQs on the WWM. I don't have any experience, this is my first skimmer. Before reading the FAQs I already tried by myself to unscrew the white air regulating screw completely (screw felt out and was removed) noticing that this made it quite silent. Of course it then produces much more foam. The day after I decided to screw it on again because of the excessive amount of very clear yellowish skimmate. I then went on the WWM FAQs and seen that you did advice to open the screw completely but maybe to place the skimmer higher. I also wrote to Roger from Tunze USA and here is what he answers me so I don't know what to think and what to do now: "The screw should only be open 2.5-3 turns.  Opening it more will be just as bad as not opening it enough.  The bubbles will get bigger and not skim." <With hardware like this, there is no exact science - only trial and error. I'd experiment with something in between Anthony's and Roger's advice and see how that works for you.> Thanks in advance for your always helpful assistance! Dominique <Cheers, J -- >

Powerheads Hi all, <Hello, how are you?> I have a new 50 gallon tank, and just started adding fish. I added two small clowns. The problem is that they keep on getting "blown" all over the place by the currents that are generated by the powerheads. I have four Powerheads on the tank one 900 two 400 and one 500. Is it normal for them to keep getting caught up in the currents? please help I hate to see them get pushed around. <The amount of power heads for that tank seems to be too much. If you have sufficient filtration, two powerheads should be enough. Good Luck. MikeB.> 

Creating Chaos! (Oriented Sea Swirls For Optimum Water Motion) Dear Crew, <Scott F. your Crew Member tonight> Thanks for your help in advance, I find your website incredibly helpful. <Thanks for the kind words! We're proud to deliver WWM to you every day!> I did check the FAQ's but could not find my answer. I have 3-3/4" sea swirls on a 150 gallon tank. The outlet fittings have the ability to point up or down apprx. 30 degrees. Should they be placed up for the oxygen exchange or am I getting enough of that when the water travels through the trapezoid and into the sump, or downward for better circulation through out the reef. I would really appreciate your opinion....Thanks Steve  <Good question, Steve. I am a big fan of Sea Swirls myself, and really like them. My thinking is that the oxygen exchange will take place in the water's journey into the sump, as you surmise. I'd prefer to orient the outlets of the 'Swirls down into the water column, to create random currents. Observe the swirls for a while, to make sure that they don't kick up too much sand in the process. As long as you are getting good air/water interchange at the surface, the Sea Swirls will do the rest. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Powerheads 1/30/05 Thank you guys for your help! now for my question: How many powerheads and what brand of powerhead do you recommend to at least have a 600 gph turnover in my 29g tank? Currently have 2 clowns, 1 yellow watchman goby, 1 coral beauty, 1 cleaner shrimp, 3 snails, 5 hermit crabs, and 25lbs of live rock... plan on adding 2 more fish. can you give me various choices? <do take some time reading the wetwebmedia.com chat forum and others such as reefcentral.com for such consumer feedback. Don't be afraid to help yourself my friend. It will give you a better consensus from a wide range of people/users. Also, for your water flow, do consider a single water pump like a Supreme brand Mag Drive to power a closed loop manifold instead of using yucky powerheads <G>. Go to our index page (wetwebmedia.com) and type in "goodbye powerheads" and you will get hits that include a link to an article by that title describing this option. In fact... please do learn to use that Google search tool as a first means of information gathering. The Internet is a tremendous learning tool when you learn how to navigate it :) Anthony>

Re: filtration on saltwater and plant tanks Thanks for the quick reply!<You're welcome> In regards to the Zoo Med Powersweeps- if they stop rotating won't they still serve their purpose or will I be better off replacing them with a couple more Maxi-Jets or something different? <They will still pump water but in short time they won't rotate.> Also wondering if it is possible to replace the media in the Eheim wet dry filter as it is filled in the Eheim pro with the addition of the pads and have it work like the pro ( according to the manual you can only use Ehfisubstrat for the wet/dry to function). Probably a stupid question- sorry <No stupid questions, just stupid answers. I don't know that I quite follow you.  You want to replace the Ehfisubstrat with something else?  The Eheim wet/dry will not function as a power filter as such although any media (carbon, etc) will still be useful in that regard, its just that you won't get constant water flow through it as I understand the Eheim wet/dries pulsate up and back.  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks again, Karen

Tank Drilling Question, Tunze Adaptation Thank you for your reply. <Surely> The holes in the top of the tank will only be large enough for the mechanism the Tunze powerhead will hang from and the cord.  <Form follows function!> What type of hole saw do I use to make the hole and do I measure and just drill like I normally would, say for example like a doorknob? <I would call the retailer you purchased the tank from, and see what bit they've had success with.  They have likely had a bit of trial and error, if you know what I mean.  The important part is to go nice and slow.  I have used a Dremel for this in the past.> The tank currently has 1" of crushed see shells and about 50 lbs. of "Reef Bones".  Can I add the deep sand bed over the current substrate and use the "Reef Bones" as a base for the live rock? <You can mix the sands to provide a diversity, but I'd probably remove a good amount.  Larger particles tend to trap debris, which becomes a problem once it starts to be processed.> The tank has an acrylic canopy so I thought about using 2, 175w metal halides (55k) and 2, 96w actinic PC's.  My taste in corals tends to be of the soft variety but I do like the elegance coral and some other hard corals.  Will this lighting setup be ample? <Yes, a nice choice for the animals kept.> Also using the bulbs I've described will the lighting have a blue tint as that is what I prefer. <All about preference!> Thank You for all your help and Merry Christmas to you and all the Wet Web Media staff. <And a happy new year! Ryan> Moving Water With Tunze Streams Scott F: <Hi there! Happy holidays to you and your family> Happy holidays and thanks so much for the advice. <Glad to be of service> I am seriously considering a Turbelle Stream Kit TS24 (with two powerheads directed at each other from each end of the top of the 6' tank and a multicontroller), but I have fear that I may be setting up a whirlpool with all that water flow! <Well, I won't mislead you- these pumps can really move water. If they are directed right on to coral, they can literally strip the tissue right off! However, if you set them up according to Tunze's recommendations, you'll be very pleased with the results.> The LFS's don't carry this high end item so I can't go check it out....money isn't the object but I'd hate to plunk down $800 for something I can't use or won't be happy with....on the other hand I don't mind spending the money to significantly improve my tank inhabitant's quality of life.  Advice? Thanks, Margo Rose <Well, Margo- I certainly understand your thinking here! The one good thing about the 6100's and 6200's is the ability to use the Tunze Multicontroller to vary their output. This can create a very realistic flow/current pattern in your tank. Also, do go onto some of the larger message boards, such as Reef Central or Reef Frontiers, to get some feedback from fellow hobbyists. If you can afford them, and are willing to experiment with them a bit to get the flow patterns the way you like them, you'll fin that these pumps are really amazing. Good luck to you! Regards, Scott F.>

Powerhead repair Hi crew- I have always appreciated the information you provide, and I contribute my "findings" whenever I can so you can pass them on.  I was upgrading to a closed loop system to replace powerheads.  I tightened the inlet to the  pump a hair too much, and it cracked, causing the good old tiny bubbles.   It was far from a hairline crack.  I covered the entire inlet in plumbers  epoxy- it solved the problem 100%.  I don't know if this is new to you- just  thought Id share it. James P <Thank you for this input. Bob Fenner> Circulation Clarity Hi crew, <Scott F. your Crew member tonight!> Who might be looking at this question today? Awesome, I know everybody there is more than fully capable of easing my mind and I thank you. I am trying to understand something about powerhead placement and what one is trying to achieve. I have a 38 gallon tank with two Maxijet 1200 running. I have them positioned opposing each other, so I believe I have random turbulent flow. The surface of the water is nicely agitated. My question is about how to tell if I have them positioned right so I have no dead spots. how would I know for sure? <Well, one of my favorite ways is to throw in a pinch of frozen food and see "where it goes". A very easy way to observe your flow patterns.> Would I see slight movement of the sand in all areas? <That depends upon where the flow is directed. If you have powerheads bouncing flow off of the front glass, you will probably see some disruption of sand. Otherwise, a more reliable method is the one I described above> Or am I mainly concerned about moving the water and try to leave the sand still? <That is my goal!> To me-I feel more comfortable when I see the sand gently moving a little, but the sand eventually settles and finds a home to sit still so its hard to see if the flow is still there. <Well, if sand is moving and settling- you've definitely got some flow in there. It may simply be randomized, swirling around in different areas, broken up by rockwork, etc.> I really don't like to have to move the powerhead nozzles all the time to know for sure. I really don't want to get involved with a wavemaker for this small tank and I believe that I have enough circulation in there with 15+ turnover per hour with just the powerheads alone. I attached a little diagram showing the layout of the PH's. Have I got it more or less correct? <As long as you don't have laminar flow blasting the tissue off of corals, you're on the right track!> The main reason for asking this is that I have some Diatoms building up on the sand and glass, and with the Aqua-C remora skimmer going (which right now is only producing white-ish foam not the dark coffee colored stuff yet as the tank is quite young) <Give it time and some adjusting- it will pull dark colored skimmate even in a relatively "clean" tank...> and I want to make as extremely hard as I can to give the diatoms and blue-green algae a loosing battle. Hope you can help and thank you. Cheers Mike <The diatoms are generally caused by silicate in your source water. This can best be addressed by pre-treating your source water with an RO/DI unit with a high silicate rejection membrane. Circulation will definitely help with other forms of nuisance algae, but there is simply no substitute for high water quality, both with source water and in the system. You have a great approach here- get in the habit of performing good, routine maintenance procedures: Keep the skimmer well adjusted, clean, and productive, make regular water changes with quality source water, etc. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.> Ray poisoning from fried powerhead? - 9/8/04 Please help, I have a 150 gallon saltwater tank. I recently had a powerhead (pump) burn up very bad (submerged) and now my ray is very sick. <Crap! Sounds like copper poisoning. Have you checked copper levels? If you have a quarantine tank move the ray. Massive water changes need to be in effect here. I would change more water ASAP!!! Likely there is some copper used in the sealed portion of the powerhead. So if it cracked, there could have been some exposure.> I have tested all I can on water quality and can find no problems. I am changing my water 10 gallons at a time as we speak. <Excellent> I am in Florida, in the middle of a hurricane, so I can not contact my local aquarium shop. Please advise or let me know if you need more info. <Not sure what else it could be> Any suggestions to save my baby would be a great help. <Be sure to supplement your rays diet with vitamins as well. You could try vita-zu from Mazuri. (www.mazuri.com) Sorry for the delay, Wes. I hope your water changes have helped. ~Paul>                 Thanks, Wes

Anemone caught in powerhead. Well even after placing sponges on all intakes, my Rose BTA found a very small intake on a little pump I had. << It is just a matter of time until they find it.  Don't you just hate that?  I've had the same thing happen. >> I was able to get it out and it survived.  It is still inflated and still has it's foot and color is good.  The issue is I don't see it's mouth and think it may have been torn in the accident.  Will it regenerate? << I think so.  I find that anemones do recover from this. >> It has been almost a week and although it looks healthy, I am concerned that it has not eaten. << Well they like light as well.  So in some ways it may be eating.  Most people only feed their anemones weekly.  Actually that is the good hobbyists, most people never feed their anemones anything other than light. >> Any help you can give me would be very much appreciated!! << Give it time, keep the pump intakes covered. >> <<  Blundell  >>

Quick coralline Q Greetings Crew! A thought occurred to me when I was doing my weekly water change and pondering temperature maintenance in these warm summer months.  I have no idea what the answer is so I decided to ask the oracle of all aquarium knowledge (aka WWM crew).   In a marine aquarium that has coralline algae growing like wildfire over everything (like mine), does it affect the in-tank pumps and powerheads if they get coated with coralline algae?  I am thinking more along the lines of overheating rather than impeller performance (I clean mine monthly). Once again, I thank thee for thy divine wisdom regarding the upkeep of Neptune's creatures. -Ray <As you seem to surmise, not much trouble if the coralline is only coating the outside of these devices. Water is the standard for specific heat, conduction... Bob Fenner>

Which Tunze Turbelle Stream pump? 7/29/04 WWM Crew, I am planning to purchase 2 Tunze Turbelle Stream pumps.  I plan to place one pump the floor of the tank inside the 'rock cover' that Tunze sells, and the other I plan to place near the top of the tank in the diametrically opposite corner, held in place with the new Tunze 'magnetic holder'.  I also plan to add the new Tunze multi-controller model 7095 to control the pumps.  I am setting up a new tank that is 125 gallons.  I was planning to get the Turbelle Stream model 6000 (variable flow rate 660 to 1849 GPH), but the business that I am paying to do the installation has told me (although they are unfamiliar with the new 'STREAM' version of the Tunze Turbelle pumps) that they recommend that I get the 6100 model (variable flow rate 1056 to 3170 GPH) since I'll have the multi-controller and will be able to limit the max. flow rate (but will have a higher minimum flow rate).  I plan to have a mixture of SPS and soft corals.  What model do you recommend (I'm pretending that money is no object).  Thanks Rod  <Hmmm.... I used to pretend that money is no object.  Then I got married!  Ha!  Anyway, I would go with the larger pumps.  You will probably be quite surprised at how close to "wide open" you end up running them, especially if you cycle them on and off with the controller which cuts deeply into the total flow. Also, with such a large investment, you want the system to be able to grow with you if you get a larger tank.  Do also consider the wattage of each and the relative amounts of heat that they will produce.  Best Regards!  Adam>

Which Tunze Turbelle Stream pump? Part2 8/1/04 Thanks for your prompt reply Adam.  Unfortunately, I'm still confused since I also (somewhat unexpectedly!) received a reply from Tunze with the opposite recommendation.  Please do me a favor and review their recommendation and let me know if you still feel that I should go with the larger pump in this case: From: Tunze USA [mailto:tunze@sbcglobal.net] No way, the 6100 would turn your tank into a whirlpool. The lowest end of the 6100 is equal to the high flow capacity of the 6000, they don't overlap at all. For the older versions it would be fine but not for the Streams. You can adjust the flow with a potentiometer on the side of the computer to one constant speed until your controller arrives. You must however return it to full power when you connect a controller. Roger <I have seen a lot of Roger's advice to other aquarists, and would trust his judgment.  He has a lot of experience with the products and it is hard to question the manufacturer when they recommend the less expensive option!  Best Regards.  AdamC>

How can I increase water flow? Hello, << Hi there. >>   I called Tunze and the only powerhead that goes on top is their classic and this is an older pump that they don't recommend any longer.  I currently have two sea swirls connected to the two pumps coming from my sump.  Do you have any other recommendations for additional flow? << Sure I like adding BioWheel filters for one option, or even just more powerheads. >> I've heard good things about the Tunze stream but they are too large for my 55 gallon aquarium.  My main concern is increasing the current in the tank without having a large volume of water circulating between the sump and the aquarium and having the powerheads in the tank increasing the temperature. << Well without powerheads in the tank, you are somewhat limited.  But as for the water in the sump concern, you could always add a surge tank above your tank. That would be way cool.  Or add a hang on the back type of refugia, but that still adds another powerhead.  Although extra powerheads give off more heat, I almost always think adding more of them is a good idea. >> Thanks in advance, -Brent <<  Blundell  >>

He's Finished Having An (Aqua) Ball- Time For A Stream! Guys, <Scott F, your guy tonight!> I have a 72G with two Eheim Aquaballs (172gph), one Magnum H.O.T (250gph), One Eheim 2227 wet/dry (127gph) and a Remora skimmer (295gph). Assuming that they are all running at 75% capacity, that's 750 gph. I just purchased a Seio pump rated at 620 gph to replace one of the Aquaballs. I'm considering replacing the other with a Tunze 6020 Stream pump rated at 1600gph. Is that too much flow? <Well, it really depends upon the kinds of animals that you intend to keep. Chaotic-water flow-loving SPS corals need at the very least, 10 times tank capacity. Frankly, 20 times is a better goal, IMO. If this is what you're shooting for, bring on the Streams!> Should I stick with two Seio pumps? The Aquaballs don't have enough flow!! <Well, the Seios are interesting powerheads, IMO. I had a chance to test one when they first came out and they seem to work as advertised. However, in my humble opinion, the Tunze Stream is the best internal powerhead out there, in terms of raw power, low electrical consumption, and controllability. They are rather pricey, of course!> Sorry for asking a question when I kinda know the answer already. Narayan <Not a problem, Narayan. That's what your fellow hobbyists at WWM are here for. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Playing With Powerheads!  I read up on your info on powerheads and bought two AquaClear #402 powerheads that pump 270 GPH and put each in the back corners directing the water to the front center in my 55 gal. tank. When I turned them on, the fish all took cover under the live rock and it looked like a hurricane was in there!! What did I do wrong?  <Well, nothing, actually. You're simply seeing the results of lots of flow directed at a relatively confined area. Better than if they are directed right into a coral or sessile invert>  They aren't hooked up to an undergravel filter, 'cause I don't have one, is that why there was so much force?  <Well, there is no "head pressure">  I turned one off and the fish seem more comfortable...they came out all covered with sand. I notice that you can put a bio-ball in the intake...will that slow down the flow a little?  <I'd be concerned about doing that, because a little piece of bioball can get sucked into the impeller, and- well, you get the idea>  Thanks Susanne R  <My pleasure, Susanne. Just play around with the orientation of the powerheads, and your animals will enjoy the benefits of increased flow. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Skimmers and powerheads - 2/24/04 Ahhh, one final letter before I call it a day, got to get up early tomorrow and do it all again! <Seems like a bad dream sometimes. Or even better....Groundhog Day the movie> First, thank you for the "A+" . It still feels good to be praised by my "teachers"!! <We are all looking for recognition of our efforts> Secondly, I DO still dislike the appearance of powerheads. <As do I, but sometimes a simple solution for interim purposes is the best way. Can always change it later> This is why I said I would have to do a bit of re-arranging. If I were to buy a wavemaker, I would like to hide the powerheads behind the rock. <That is what we do at the Aquarium> But this presents a problem with maintenance, no? <Make it so that you can get to them but you still have them hidden from view> Ahhhh, maybe I better check out the Carlson's surge device you talked about. <Sweet. We love 'em at the 'Quarium!>  I'll go to the link you kindly pasted for me, (thank you). <No problemo> I'll certainly let you know if Jason Kim gets back to me. <Please do>  Can't wait to hear what he says. Hey ya know, I was looking at my skimmer and realized it didn't have the large rubber ring that wraps around the waste receptacle what's that thing called?), <O-ring or gasket but more like an O-ring> maybe this is why it's not skimming? <Not likely but the O-ring does help with placement of the collection cup. I keep my collection cup at a point where the bottom of the cup opening is about a 1/4 inch under the top bubble layer> Hmmm, I'll have to make a note of that for Kim. <Yes. Important to note for troubleshooting purposes> Well, I'm yawning now, got to go off to slumber land. <A wonderful place to visit sometimes. Others times well.........not so nice> Good night Paul, <Good evening ~Pauly> Pam

Air Bubbles Hello all! <Howdy!  Sorry for the delayed reply.>I feel bad asking such a simple question but you guys are my reference. Here goes, do small air bubbles everywhere in the display pose that much of a threat?  I use powerheads to power my UGF and use the venturi on the powerheads to add extra air but they add tiny bubbles everywhere no matter what position I place the nozzle and I hear that this can cause problems due to the bubbles attaching to the gills and lowering surface area. Should I really be concerned about this?<You should be fine if you just have fish.  If you have corals the bubbles can agitate them though.> thanks so much for any and all time spent on this question, your response will go a long way in manifesting my worries about the well-being of my fish.<Thank you for writing! Cody> thanks  Tristan

SCWD Leaking <hello> I'm running a quiet one 4400 (about 700 gph) to a SCWD.  Actually, I have 2 pumps and 2 SCWD.  My problem is they (both) keep leaking on the inlet side.  I have tried wrapping some Teflon tape around the "wannabe" barb fitting and using a hose clamp...but no matter how tight I make the clamp, I keep getting a little leaking.....any ideas, suggestions! <Sounds like the tubing you used is a little to big. There are 2 models 1/2 & 3/4". Make sure that the tubing you used says either 1/2 or 3/4 ID NOT OD. The tubing should be hard to get on, if it slips right on it's to big (heat a cup of water and place the tubing in for a minute or two .It will soften the tubing and go on easier. I am using one of these and have had no leaking problems. MikeH> Dave

Flow Patterns... Hi Scott <Hi there...> How r u? <Doin' great!> I mentioned to you the other day that I have two 1100l p/h powerheads in my 350l tank. <yep...!> I have them opposing each other causing a good flow. <A good technique!> I was thinking of adding another powerhead to the back of the tank just to blow across the floor so that unwanted debris do not get a chance to settle. <I like the idea!> Do you think this is necessary, I do perform my water changes weekly where I perform siphoning of the surface gravel as well? <Not "necessary", but  nice idea. And, flow is no substitute for water changes, IMO> Thanks, Ziad <You're quite welcome! Regards, Scott F>

Goin' With The Flow... Hi Scott <Hi there!> I have my two powerheads in my tank at the top of each  corner, each of them pumping 1100l per hour I have the facing each other causing a deflection, or are they fine this way or should I move them lower or maybe keep one on top and one at the bottom? <Try facing hem towards each other, so that a chaotic flow is established...> Thanks, Ziad <Any time. Regards, Scott F>

Waves And Weeds... (Water Movement/Caulerpa Control) Hi again,  a few other things to add, I've seen this advertised SCWD Wave machine. Tee shaped device that oscillates flow from left to right without electricity.. $39.99 Can you tell me more about it? <Well...It is a unique device that essentially "oscillates flow from left to right without electricity..!" Honestly, it's a great little device. I'd use it externally 'cause it's butt-ugly, and you don't want it in the tank, but the thing rocks!> I've seen the plans before about a device which was home made.  Using a clock motor to turn a bar with a hole drilled in it inside a housing.  As the bar turned water was directed to either one or the other outlet to provide a sinusoidal wave like out-put.  Does this device sold on the web have the same idea? <Not sure, to be honest. I've never personally used one or taken one apart (I'm a Sea Swirl man, myself) How good is it actually?  Can you tell me more?   <A really innovative idea. A number of my fish-geek friends use them, and really like the results> Also, I have some macro algae I believe to be green grape Caulerpa but no grazing fish.  As this sporulates and pieces die will this be a big problem by adding more phosphate to my system? <Well, I suppose that absorbed nutrients will be released, but it's usually the sexual products and cellular material that lead to degraded water quality following one of these events> Do you suggest I remove it?  I'd like to get a Tang to eat it, but I have some very very pretty red macro algae that grows on my rocks and I'm worried a Tang may eat all of my lovely algae while pruning the grape algae.  What do you think? <Well- you won't have much control over what the tang eats. Manual extraction may be the way to go...Not easy, but it may work> Another thing is about the lights.  I can't seem to find any glass shop here that knows about UV blocking glass.  If I home made a lamp how can I UV protect it.  I'm quite concerned and don't want to risk damaging my eyes.  Thanx again. Greg <Well, Greg- I'd consult the manufacturer of the light bulbs to see what to use here, if it is necessary at all...Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Choosing Powerheads... Powerheads.....what kind do you recommend?  The Rio's I have are pretty loud and annoying.  What make/model would you recommend?  I want to dump these ASAP. <Well, it all depends on the application you're using 'em for. If you're shooting for maximum flow and currents in a sophisticated scheme, then the Tunze Stream pumps are awesome. If you want an external powerhead, you could use Gemini pumps (which I love) or Tunze Turbelle pumps (the "BMW" of external powerheads). Both are wonderful, IMO> Thanks again. <My pleasure! Regards, Scott F.> Choosing Powerheads... Hello Crew, <Steve Allen here today> Thanks as always for taking the time to answer my queries... you're welcome> I know a lot of people on this site recommend MaxiJet powerheads, so I bought 3 1200s for my 75 G. I am having trouble with one of them staying on the tank. <Grrr...frustrating, isn't it. Most suction cups are wimpy and they don't seem to last all that long before stiffening up.> I constantly have to push the suction cups down as one or 2 will pop off everyday. <I hear ya.> The plastic clamp that comes with them to hang over the top of the tank is not very wide, and it would be stressed if I stretched it over the lip.  <Another pet peeve of mine. I have the same problem with Hagens. Have the people who design these clamps never seen plastic-frame glass aquarium?> Besides this would hang the powerheads at the top 4" of the tank.  I know some people silicone the holder to the tank.  However, I want to be able to move them around as I add livestock and change my aquascape.  Is there any other remedy to this problem? <A couple of options here. First, make sure the glass you are hooking the suction cups too is perfectly clean. This may help. You could silicone the cups to the glass, but this will really only work if you drain the tank down far enough to hook it to the glass. It wouldn't be hard to cut it loose with a razor blade later. Perhaps you can find stronger/better suction cups somewhere. Another option I used was to support the bottom of the powerhead with lengths of PVC pipe--ugly, but functional. Lastly, you might be able to use cable ties to hang the mount to some sort of clamp on the rim. The problem there would be keeping the powerhead lined up the way you want it to point. Good luck> Thanks in advance, Jeff

Too noisy? <hello Pam> What's your take on the noise level of powerheads? <Powerheads are fine to use.> Some say they're stressful to the inhabs to be subjected to the noise. <I don't know this to be a fact.> If this is the case, what is another method for good water movement that doesn't break the bank? <there are some do it yourself projects that you can do like: Borneman or Carlson surge device. This would be less noisier for the fish, but will be a lot noisier for you. I would stick with powerheads. MikeH> Thanks, Pam

It's a Noisy Ocean (12/10/03) Hmmmm, interesting. I wish I could remember where I read about the noise bothering the inhabs. I thought it was at your site, I guess not. I guess I should unpack all my powerheads now because my tank could use the movement. Thanks for your input, Pam <If you think about it, the ocean (at least near the coasts) is a pretty noisy place. I'd be more concerned about the effects of stray electric currents than the noise. Even this is unclear, though many have reported untoward effect on fish. Worth considering a titanium grounding probe. See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/elecmarfaqs.htm Steve Allen>

- Overflow Noise and More... - Hi All, Finally, found a great site that will help me develop a great saltwater aquarium.  Thanks for taking time to answer my questions.  First I have a 125 gallon tank with 2 overflows.  The main pump that I am using is a Quiet One 4000, at 4 feet of head the GPH is 750.  The sound of water, like a waterfall sound, is loud and very disturbing in my dining room.  Any suggestions of how to eliminate this waterfall sound. <Consider a standpipe... this will raise the water level in the overflow so that the water pouring in doesn't have to fall as far. Check out this link: http://www.rl180reef.com/pages/standpipe/standpipe_frame.htm > Last question. Recently I just purchased the Red Sea Wavemaker Pro.  I know how you feel about not needing to use wavemakers, but I would like to try this thing out.  The issue is that I purchased 2 CAP 1800's and 2 CAP 800 Powerheads.  They are quiet, but they are not designed for the on/off function of a wavemaker.  I am going to exchange those for powerheads more designed to work with a wavemaker.  I know that the MaxiJet1200 works well with wavemakers.  But with a GPH of 295, will 4 of these pumps be enough for a 125 gallon tank? <No.>  If not, can you suggest which kind and how many powerheads I should use with the wavemaker (I am looking for quiet and something that will work with a wavemaker)? <I would look into the Tunze Stream Pumps, although you'll have to can the Red Sea wave maker and use the Tunze model made specifically for their electronic pumps.> I have coral, a few tangs and 125 pounds of live rock. Thanks again for your help!!!! Regards, Roger <Cheers, J -- >

Shocking Tank (a tale of leaking potential from an appliance) Hi All, No question, just want to relate an experience that may help someone. <Please go ahead> I have a canister that trickles water into my main tank.  I have the habit of feeding my fish with a toothpick or fingers and I wash the feed residue in the canister flow or the main tank.  About a couple of months ago I noted that if I had a small cut on my finger tips or cuticles it burned like crazy when I washed my fingers in it.  Attributing this to salt water burning the cuts I ignored it.  Yesterday the skin over my cuticle peeled off.  When I fed the fish I washed only the print side of my finger tips but the cuticle burned like crazy.  I got suspicious and thought there may be an electrical leak in the water. So I took a tester and ran the tip into the water, and guess what it lit up!!  The tank was, well...alive.   The first thing I did switch off a powerhead one at a time to try and eliminate the faulty one this did give me any result as the tester lit up anyway.  Then checked the chiller, still no result. The last thing that I suspected was the lighting but sure enough that was it,  the plug point which connects the lights was faulty.  I am surrounded by wood except where the canister is so when ever I put my hand into the water I was not grounded.   I am no expert on electricity, but I would just like people to know that if they experience anything like what it did please check for leaks.  Run a test it may save your life. Faulty Power heads are not exactly rare in the hobby. Kind Regards, Jorell <Thank you for relating your experience. Bob Fenner>

Powerhead placement 10/13/03 Hey! I have read through the Marine Circulation pages, but am still leery bout my powerhead placement.   <ahhh... OK> I have a 55 gallon FOWLR tank with a 2-3" sandbed and about 70 lbs of live rock. I basically put the live rock in the center of the tank - some of the pieces were so large that there is approximately 1" of clearance with the tank walls. <the sand is not deep enough and the distance off the wall is not very generous either IMO> Basic livestock is ~20 turbo & Trochus snails, ~15 red/blue legged hermits, 2 Oc. Clowns, 3 damsels, one Court Jester Goby, 2 Cleaner Skunk Shrimp.  I have just added the beginner coral pak from Drs. F&S.  I have a Amiracle sump rated for 150 gallon tank.  Right now, I am using the CAP2200 that came with the sump and claims to be moving 495 gph. I also have a DolphinDP270 that moves about 100 gph. With losses, I figure I am moving about 475 gph.  Your advice is to move about 10x, so I am a little shy.  I have some Maxi 900 PH and a RedSea Wavemaster Pro that I would like to add.  What is your suggestion on PH placement? Thanks, Paul <experiment until you find yourself producing random turbulent flow that leaves few if any dead spots in the tank for detritus accumulation. We have no way of telling you where that is re: rockscape and other outlet placement dynamics... a truly hands-on determination by you. Anthony>

- Powerheads - Hey guys...a couple really quick questions.  First off, what brand of powerheads do you find to be the best? <I'm real fond of the Marineland MaxiJets, but there are others that are just as good, Hagen, etc. - if you have the really big bucks, Tunze is worth looking into.>  I have an AquaClear and the darn thing is blowing millions of micro bubbles around my tank, and it's about to drive me batty.  AHH!  Are there any brands that are a higher quality, IYO? <Is the bubble problem actually an issue of quality or just placement? Perhaps you should try moving it around before you pronounce it junk.> Also, do any of you know anything about Aquacon? <I know of them, but have no direct experience with them.> They seem to have a lot of livestock, and I was wondering if they are a reputable source. <Should ask this question on the bulletin boards where you'd run into more folks who may have used their services.> Thanks! <Cheers, J -- >

Powerheads Hi, <Hello! Ryan with you today!> I have a 50G marine tank and use 2 opposing power heads to create adequate circulation in addition to my filter and skimmer inflows.  I decided to experiment with 2 different brands, an Aquaclear 3000 and Eheim 1000 compact. Over the course of about 6 months since I "plugged" the power heads in I keep getting inverts and fish sucked up through each one. In total I have lost about 5 Turbos, 3 Nassarius Snail and finally my 1 inch Honeycomb Puffer last night. They are all sucked up alive, trapped then die. I have managed to pull a few away that I have noticed but I was really surprised about the puffer. Is this a common occurrence with power heads? do you have any tips to prevent this occurring? <Yes, it is a common occurrence if you don't cover the intake somehow.  My favorite method is to use a bio-ball to cover the opening for the intake.  Sponge covers are also available.  Best of luck! Ryan> Thanks in advance for helping

MICRO BUBBLES! Hi Guys, Thanks for the help in advance. I have a 55 with a Emperor Bio wheel and a Aqua C Remora Pro (Mag).  I have 3 fish in the tank for about 4 months now, The tank has been up for about 7 months. I have  A clown, Yellow Tang and a Cleaner Wrasse .  All seem to be doing fine.  I added a Pink Tipped anemone about a month ago and He wasn't doing so good so I did some upgrading. I upgraded my lights to Power compact 130 watts and then I wanted to add some water movement and I added an AquaClear 802 with the filter.  For some reason I always had those damn Micro bubbles in my tank and now that I added the AquaClear that seams to be spitting out even more.   What is the deal?  Most tanks I see don't have this.  <you could try putting a filter of some sort in front so that the bubbles cannot make it up in to your main system. also you might try adjusting the water level> With the Emperor if I adjust the flow I have to almost set it to nothing to get no bubble and with the remora pro I had to put a sponge on the water output to reduce to bubble out put.<yes this is what I used to do> My first try with a power head was a Power sweep 226 but that was not enough GPH and I was getting crazy amounts of bubbles.  (I also read were you said It was a waste of money!)<yeah it is>  I went out and bought the Aquaclear 802.  Seams to be giving me good water moment but its putting out those damn micro bubble.  Every once and a while it will spit out a glob of them.   Any suggestions?  <you could try the filter idea. That's pretty much all I can think of off the top of my head.> Also, I enclosed a picture of my tank.  What to you think of the placement?  Should I attach that hose to the top of the Pump with the water filter?  <I have seen many people do it the way you have been doing it with little problem or not problem> Thanks Again and I look forward to hearing from you.<good luck, IanB> Michael Ristagno

Powerhead issues - Superfine Bubbleation >Hi Bob, >>Marina today.  Bob's trading smooches with Ahnold this weekend. >Hope this email catches you well and in a good mood!  I have a 50 gal reef tank with about 6 - 8 inch coral sand bed,  I use an under-gravel filter with a powerhead that sucks water through a network of pipes under the gravel and discharges it into the tank. I also have an external filter and a skimmer.  A couple of months ago my powerhead got busted so I did not replace it as I kept using the external filter. Just a week ago I bought a powerhead that is more powerful that the one I had and installed it. >>A'ight. >After a couple of days, it started spurting gas in short bursts say every 4 - 5 hours intervals, then the intervals shortened till they were every few minutes then seconds and now it is a continuous flow of gas.  My guess is that it is nitrogen, am I right? >>Actually, it sounds more like cavitation to me, just like with boat propellers.  I've never encountered this with a powerhead that wasn't very close to the surface (always the kind with that venturi opening above the outlet).  Check the water level against the powerhead and it could very well be creating a bit of a whirlpool effect just above this opening.  When it does this it spits air.  The water level dropping would explain the increasing frequency.  Good way to stop this is to stuff a bit of airline with a knot tied in it into the opening (just use the tubing it came with). >If I am,  it is really quite amazing to watch it in action. (there are no leaks from where outside air can get into the powerhead)   >>If this is truly the case, then again, it seems like plain old cavitation to me. >Secondly because the bubbles are so fine (they can compete with the best of skimmers) and so many (the water was almost cloudy with bubbles), it was upsetting the coral and fish so much the fish all started swimming only to and in one corner of the tank where there was no champagne....the coral shut and refused to open. >>Not surprising.  If you can't sort out fixing this, I'd suggest trying a different powerhead. >Any way, I have now connected a pipe to the outlet and run it into a canister and drip that back into the tank, the life in there seems to be happy, however all those connections are making the tank look unsightly, wondering when it will stop and if, will it ever. (do the words how long is a piece of string come to mind?). >>I can't really say, as I've never experienced this problem.  You could also try feeding the output over a waterfall of some sort, allowing the bubbles to diffuse into the atmosphere. >Kind Regards, Jorell

Re: Nitrogen Cycle and Powerhead Weirdness, II >Hi there, >>Hi. >I hope you had a real good weekend. Thanks very much for your reply. >>You're welcome. >I have checked as you said, there is no whirlpool effect anywhere near the powerhead.  I had  also previously blocked the air inlet tubing and submerged the whole thing below the water so there is no chance of any air getting in from there.  One thing I forgot to mention is that if I turn the powerhead off there are streams of bubbles that get released from the gravel, there are so much of them that it looks like some one turned on an air pump , this lasts for a up to about half a minute and then it stops.   >>Wow.. now THAT is weird.  I've never seen that in a system that hasn't got anoxic regions.  And if *that* were your problem something tells me you WOULD smell it. >If I turn on the powerhead immediately then the whole cycle is repeated i.e. the gas spitting intervals, till I get a continuous flow.  Yesterday there was so much of gas trapped in the pipes that when I turned the powerhead on it would not pump because of that, there was not enough water in the pump passing through the impeller (even though it is completely submerged) for it to start pumping.  No water can get in from the outlet as I have sealed it via a pipe that discharges into a canister outside and above the tank water level that discharges the water by waterfall over a plastic sheet back into to tank to release the bubbles.  I had to finally use another pump in the canister to get it going. >>How frustrating! >I have been keeping fish for over 25 years and I have never seen anything like this, if there is any light you can throw on this it will help.  Incidentally when I first bought this tank about 7 years ago I had exactly the same pump installed in the same position, I had no problems, later on when that pump got busted I replaced it with pump that was slightly less powerful, and now I have switched back to the more powerful version.  Kind Regards, Jorell >>I'm at a loss myself, Jorell.  I can see NO way that this is being caused by the powerhead from your description, it makes no sense that a more powerful powerhead would or could get air or whatever it is trapped under the gravel.  Yet that is the only change to the system, yes?  My only last suggest would be to use a reverse flow, but personally I've never really liked them (O2 saturation issues).  I would HATE to have you significantly disturb the substrate in such a well-established system, but I would be very curious to see what in the world is going on down there.  I'm sorry I'm not of greater help, maybe another reader or crewmember will see this and may have some ideas.  Marina

Bubbly Bubbles and the Bubbly Powerhead, Pt. III >Hi Marina, >>Hello Jorell. >Thanks again for your reply. The flow of bubbles continue but it does not affect the tank as 98% of them get defused in and while flying out of the canister.   >>Alright. >The reason I suspected it is Nitrogen is because it odorless and I have a substrate of 10 inches (I just measured it) and as my powerhead had failed I was not using one for about 3 months.   >>Wow!  Now THAT's a deep bed!   >(The Bioload in my tank is significant with 3 small clowns about 2 inches each two Damsels about the same size a Dottyback and a maroon clown about 3 inches.) I believe that there must have been a lot of waste something that my external filter cannot handle, I then had an outbreak of hair algae.   >>Indeed, nutrient export issues abound here. >Also the way the spurts of bubbles started I figured it was because the population of bacteria slowly started to grow as O2 reached the lower levels of the substrate. >>Could be, and now I understand why you think nitrogen, yet, with the circulation happening so deeply (as I recollect), it doesn't make sense that you would still reap the benefits of anoxic regions.  Clearly, though, you must be.  Now understanding that this is a salt system, and being a bit more clear on the setup, it does indeed make sense that it would be nitrogen. >I have just one coral in my tank that is doing fine, I am not upgrading the system as I will soon be purchasing a new 400 gal tank so that's a major investment there. >>Absolutely, and I do hope you continue with the deep sand bed, but leave out the undergravel filtration bit.  I'll instead encourage you to research (if you haven't already) refugia methodologies.  Thanks for writing back.  Marina

Re: Nitrogen Cycle IV and the Funky Little Powerhead >Dear Marina, Thanks again for your reply. >>Very welcome, Jorell. >Your words are like song to my ears (er... flowers to my eyes:). Sorry I should have explained in more detail the first time. I am quite fond of the under gravel filtration process but you obviously know what you are talking about, so I will take your advice.   >>If it works, it works, right?  In other words, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.  But since you're considering an upgrade, do look into use of refugiums. >Can you tell me what are the reasons that an under gravel filter is undesirable, I have read a few articles saying why not but never been fully convinced.   >>I can't, because I'm not convinced either.  I actually find them to be a pretty decent, simple technology for achieving biological filtration.  This is also why I like refugia.  However, I've never used a 10" (!) gravel bed on EITHER.  :D >Where can I read up on "refugia methodologies" must admit I have never come across this term before.  Appreciate if you could point me in the correct direction. >>Indeed.  The EASIEST methods are to go to our "marine aquarium articles" section, and I believe it's under "set-up".  There we have information and FAQ's on refugia and plenums (a more complicated, but proven as well, method of natural nitrate reduction). >The reason I have a deep sand bed is because I am in the habit of siphoning the very top layer of sand (about one grain high) about once a week when I make a water change and I add fresh sand into the tank about every month, I put in slightly more than I take off. So the layer has gradually built up.  (There are a hell of a little critters in my sand bed but I am sure casualties are none or minimal). >>It seems to be working quite well for you, especially if you're getting what I read to be excellent "pod" growth. >The only reason I do this is so that the top of the bed looks white and clean. >>Yet you've accomplished SO much more!  Good on ya. >Kind Regards, Jorell

Bubbles or no bubbles? (8-4-03) Dear WetWeb Media <Howdy, Cody here today.>    I hate to ask such a basic question but can you tell me whether I should have venturi attached to my powerhead to add more air  to my reef tank. I thought I should but there are so many articles talking about the problems that bubbles can cause I don't know what to do.<I would leave the bubbles out and just make sure you have plenty of surface agitation.> Many thanks, Mark

Rio Aqua Pumps... in need of customer service I am hoping you can help me. I set up my first marine tank in April this year. On professional advice I purchased 2 Rio 400 power heads and one system 2000 controller with the thought of buying 2 more power heads at a later date, but after just 3weeks both power heads started to make a terrible noise while still working. I have tried to contact the suppliers which were Aquatics Unlimited but have received no reply. I feel they have taken my money and now don't want to know. Could you please give me any advice on this matter. I still have my original receipt .I have offered to return them in replacement for new ones as I feel they must be faulty but I get no replies to my emails Thank you Mick Blake. <Cheers, Mick... my advice would be to e-mail the manufacturer and cc the vendor in your message. One last request for service, so to speak. The Rio folks would/should be interested to hear and help. Best regards, Anthony>

SQWD wavemaker Hey Gang, Top of the day to ya!  Anthony, In response to the question about the SQWD wave maker question in the "New reef set up questions" letter, I've recently hooked a SQWD unit up to my 70 gallon & other than the loss of  flow rates (due to the 3/4" outputs), the wave maker works great, they're quiet as well! I think that by splitting the 1 1/2" ID return, (from the Mag 9.5 pump), into two 3/4"  lines, another SQWD unit  in line would get the flow rates to increase. As for the product, I would recommend the SQWD wave maker. I can't wait until they market the 1" model, that'll be sweet.   Best wishes to you & the crew!  Stormbringer <Thanks for sharing/update my friend. Kindly, Anthony

Tab A into Slot B I read in an answer from P.F. <Speak my name and I shall be summoned. ; ) > that the Maxijet-1200 was a great upgrade from the Rio 1400 for the Remora so I bought the Maxijet.  Now, can you please tell me how to go about doing the change out from the Rio 1400?  I know I am not the sharpest tack on the card but have been able to keep salt water fish for years successfully so I can't be hopeless. <We all have things we're good at, and some we're not. Cars require gas, oil changes, and air in the tires. After that... it's off to the garage for me.> Is there some kind of conversion kit I need in order to attach the Maxijet? <Nope, I just got some tubing from an LFS and cut a short length of it (like 2" short) to act as a coupler. I think it's 1/2" tubing, slip it over the short tube that come with the Maxijet. Wish I had a working camera, I'd just send you a picture. Now to sweet talk the wife into replacing the camera...> I have really not been as impressed as I had hoped with the Aqua C and thought maybe this would be the answer.  Thanks for this great resource. <Your welcome, hopefully that helps, if you have questions about your unit, you can contact AquaC directly (not that you can't contact us mind you) here: http://www.proteinskimmer.com/contact.htm  They're very nice and quick at responding. Have a good one, PF>

Powerhead and DSB Question  4/6/03 Hi there!<Hey, Phil with ya this morning!> Is two Maxi Jet 1200's in the back corners of a 29 gallon too much circulation for a tank that "will have" roughly 35-40 lbs of live rock, one Flame Angel, and miscellaneous crabs, shrimps, etc.?<I don't think so.  I'm really big into have a lot of flow in a tank.  If you read on WWM, you'll see that a high flow rate can help stop Cyano.  Which is a very good thing.>  or would two 900's be better.<The bigger the better, IMO>  Also, with this kind of circulation would I be better off with a DSB or stay with the 1" of CARIBSEA "Puka shells" I have now so as not to blow the sand around.<I like DSB's but I have CC in my 29g "reef" tank.  It does well, get's a little patch of Cyano every once and a while.  So I guess if you like the CC stick with it.  If not switch to sand.  As long as you don't have your powerheads pointing down you shouldn't have a big problem with sand blowing.>  I like the sugar-sized sand look but people I've talked to say that it's hard to place the powerheads "out of sight" and keep from blowing the sand all over the place!<The rule is to place the heater AND powerheads in the tank before the live rock.  This way the powerheads are hidden from sight.> Thx in advance, you guys are great!<Thanks for the kind words.  Let us know how the tank turns out!  Phil>

Intake sponge filter on powerhead as bio-filter I have decided to add a "quick filter" to one of my 802 powerheads in the tank, I will not clean this and it should provide the needed biological boost, would you agree?.... <Should add capacity, after a couple weeks to cycle....it will produce nitrates over time (the product of it's bio-capacity). Have fun!  Craig>

- Tunze Stream Pumps - Hello again, <And hello to you - JasonC here...> I wrote to y'all a few months ago about a 48" x 18" x 20" Tenecor Simplicity Plus tank (internal sump in the back). Regarding water movement, the conclusion was that powerheads are necessary for additional circulation. I recently found out about the Tunze Turbelle Stream line of submerged pumps. Does anyone at WWM have experience with them? <Yup, spotted these in May of last year at the InterZoo show in Nuremberg. Excellent power head.> The flow rates are incredible: the 6080 base model offers 2250 gph at 17 watts. The diagram on Tunze's Web site shows a "gentle current" that claims to be more beneficial than narrow streams produced by conventional powerheads. But with such high output, is there a danger that smaller fish, like a lawnmower blenny or green Chromis, would get sucked into or injured by the flow into the intakes? <Not really, the design is such that this device is not like a conventional power head, this is more like a boat propeller in a fan shroud. The intakes are quite large and spread out making it difficult to trap a small fish.> And the golden question is does it perform as claimed? <Yes.> The flow rates are so high it just boggles my mind. <You should see it in action.> I don't want to spend the money only to find out it works like a giant vacuum cleaner, or the flow is so high it knocks over everything in its path. <The flow is high enough to knock over everything it its path - best to place at the top of the aquarium.> But if it does work well it seems like a great product, maybe even a revolutionary one, for reef keepers that don't have the luxury of large-overflow/sump/external-pump setups. I just want to know more about this product from people with experience. <Worth the money.> Thanks, J.D. <Cheers, J -- >

Pumps and plumbing Hi guys do have quick question.  After doing some research I am thinking about buying a CSL velocity T4 pump.  Have you heard anything about or seen these pumps in action?  Good/Bad. <I have no personal experience with this pump but everything that I have ever heard was good. When I get my next tank, I plan to get a T4> Last few things.  I have decided that I will go with using some powerheads in my 75 gal, mostly soft coral display.  I want to plumb my return from sump to tank this way.  I want to run 1" return going to 3/4" pvc spray bar Acros the entire back of tank.  The flow or drilled holes will alternate flow going down towards the front middle and straight across the top.  Use the power heads on the sides flowing towards each other and another powerhead at the bottom behind the LR.  See any problems or anything that can be done better?   <Sounds great to me!> Do have one last thing.  What do you think of the Zoo Med power sweep rotating power heads are they good or bad.   <They are pure trash and a total waste of money. The sweeping action will stop in about 2 weeks. Yes I have personal experience with these. David Dowless> Thanks Bryan

Paint inside tank Quick question. Do you guys know if there is a paint I can use to cover my powerheads? I have these teal colored PH and if I could tape it up and make sure that after it dries it can still be taken apart I would like to paint or spray it black. I know people have painted or sprayed their PVC. Does anyone know what kind of paint that is? Thank you in advance. <You might try epoxy paints... but even they will wear given the heat generated by the powerheads. Better to "hide" them behind rock, decor. Bob Fenner> Josh

How many powerheads and change to live sand? Hi. I have 2 questions in which hopefully u can steer me into the right direction. 1st, in my FOWLR tank w/125 of l/r I currently use 2 powerheads for circulation at the opposite top ends.  Would adding 2 more rated at 250gph be beneficial or would this be overkill? <Could only help> It currently houses a clown wrasse, a tomato clown and the guy who seems to enjoy the movement the most, a palette tang. Second, in about 4 months I'm going to move the tank (60 ft) which currently has c/coral.  This would be the time to switch to live sand if better.  I always find myself after a w/change saving 1 or 2 creatures from the tub (usually brittle stars and worms) and tossing them back into the tank. If I see them I save them.  If I switch over to sand these little guys are destined for the big "flush".   <You got to flush 'em? Why? No...just add them to the new tank> Is this unusual behavior? <Flushing useful, living, beneficial critters down the toilet? I hope it's unusual. I wouldn't do it and I hope that you'll reconsider this practice! David Dowless>

Re: power heads placement Hi Craig, Man! you're pretty popular nowadays (letter from a David). I read the FAQ ( what's his problem? lol). <Hey Jun! Yes, that's me, ever popular!> Now here's my situation, I added 2 MaxiJet 1200 in my 90 gal tank (only using a Mag 7 for return pump prior). My question is where would be the best placement for these powerheads. I am adding this pumps to help me battle Cyano (increase water flow, and use of RO water). Right now, they (MaxiJet) are position on each side of the tank facing each other and the output (return flow) from my Mag 7 facing the front of the tank (hope this make sense). Do you have any suggestions on how to position these powerheads? I really do appreciate you and the whole WWM crew for all the help you have given us (aquarist/hobbyist). For sure, without you guy's help, my tank will be a lot worse than it is now ......LOL.   Jun

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