A new article by Michael Sandford, William Straka and Sanjay Joshi has just produced some of the first real trustworthy independent measurements of the flowrates of propeller water pumps. The comprehensive flow study was published in Advanced Aquarist featuring the equivalent of 25 pages of information on how this large experiment was carried out. The first six pages of the propeller pump article is dense scientific jargon about the measurement of water flow and how the authors set up the experiment and collected the data.
The lynchpin of the flow measurements was an Acoustic Doppler Velocimeter (ADP) which is a very accurate and expensive way of measuring flow rates without impacting the low pressure, high volume flowrates of aquarium propeller water pumps. Once you get to the results and conclusions of the water flow experiments, the analysis of the data set shows a very interesting comparison of which pumps are the most efficient at producing water flow and how propeller pump manufacturers’ output rating compares to this set of real world data.
Water flow is still one of the most overlooked aspects of keeping a healthy reef aquarium. Considering that propeller pumps have all but taken over the job of producing water flow in reef tanks, this new study is arguably one of the most important publications in the marine aquarium hobby in many, many years. We strongly urge all serious reef aquarists to give this flow article a thorough read to better understand the quantity and quality of flow that propeller pumps produce. We’ll be following up this post with some meta-analysis of the flow study but in the meantime, head over to Advanced Aquarist to give it a read yourself.