By Jeremy Richards on Monday, November 30th, 2015 in Custom Builds
Having poor water flow in your marine aquarium can cause slow growth of corals, detritus build-up in stagnant areas resulting in spiking nitrate and phosphate levels, and decreased oxygen levels in the water.
Adding water flow and movement to your tanks can have a wide range of benefits such as carrying food to less mobile inhabitants like invertebrates and corals, flushing waste away from them, increasing surface agitation allowing for gas exchange in the water, oxygenating polyps for increased growth, decreasing the risk of disease, as well as simply providing a more natural environment for your reef.
When planning out your tank, decide what type movement you want and need for your water. Be careful not to over-circulate your water as you don’t want to blow everything from your fish to your substrate around your Chandler tank, but providing a gentle rocking motion.
The old way of circulating water was to have all the water flowing in a single direction, but this can create “dead zones” in your aquarium that are excluded from the water flow. What has become a much more popular and effective method is, by randomizing currents, encouraging water to move chaotically or to alternate regularly so that the water moves in different patterns throughout the day. These options ensure that all of your tank’s nooks, crannies, and corners are swept out regularly with currents.
There are a number of different ways to randomize currents in your tank and a myriad of products available to help you get the perfect flow for your tank. Strategic placement of powerheads and propeller pumps such as Ecotech’s Vortech MP series can cause currents to crash into each other throughout the tank, creating chaotic movement and surface agitation. Variable speed DC powered return pumps allow you to ramp up or down in intensity allowing water to move differently through the day.
The ultimate in wavemakers is the Tunze Wavebox, but it is only useful in rectangular Chandler aquariums six foot long or greater, however it is as close as you will get to an actual wave.
Then there is the Mp40 which is one of many in Eco techs line of vortech pumps. The Mp40 is a DC pump that allows an insane number of options from reef crest to lagoon pre programmed modes to user controlled short and long pulse modes.
Gyre pumps are our least favorite because-even though they are effective- we feel they lack fine tuning in pulse modes and tend to disturb sand beds in many tanks.
Whichever method you choose to randomize the currents in your Chandler marine aquarium, be sure to check that no spots are allowed to settle and stagnate to decrease the chances of finding a trouble area.
If you don’t know which option is best for your budget, your stock, and your tank’s size and shape, call Jeremy Richards at The Happy Fish for advice on a custom Chandler saltwater tank design or overhauling your saltwater tank’s plumbing for attractive, healthy, and happy fish.