The Ebb and Flow of Marine Aquarium Water Movement

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  1. Avatar Gmailer says:

    I would like some input on where I should place my powerheads and return pump in my 55gal (48″x13″x15″). I have a 2100gph return pump from my sump that I placed on the far top back left corner and a dual 1600gph powerhead on the far top back right corner. Both of these point to the front center of the display. I cycle the powerhead on and off with a wavemaker. Do I need more flow, should I not have the flows collide, should I move them to different locations like midway down the side (i want to keep the return pump close to the top to reduce backflow into the sump when turned off)? Any advice would be appreciated.

    1. Avatar Jeff Kurtz says:

      Sorry to take so long to respond, Gmailer, but my power and internet access were both out for most of yesterday. A falling tree took out the wires in my neighborhood. But now I’m back!

      It sounds to me and Chris as though you’ve got plenty of flow in the tank (though the amount of current needed in any system will vary according to the invertebrates kept, aquascaping, and other factors), and the colliding effluents combined with the wave action should create a good chaotic flow pattern, so no worries there. If you notice dead spots (visibly slack current, detritus buildup, etc.) in the lower reaches of the tank, you might consider moving the powerhead lower down (the sump return should provide adequate surface agitation), but I’d watch to see how your corals respond to the current flow pattern and adjust from there.

      Hope that helps!

      1. Avatar Gmailer says:

        Thanks for the response. Good to hear you are back online.

        There are some dead spots in the bottom corners so I will move one of the power heads lower.

        I appreciate you guys taking the time to provide the community with so many well written articles. nearly all of the articles are relevant to the beginner/intermediate hobbyist like me.

        1. Avatar Jeff Kurtz says:

          Thanks so much for your kind words! Keep us posted on your tank’s progress!

  2. Avatar Matt Bowers (Muttley000) says:

    An experiment that has gone well for me. I have a vortech mp10 on a 29 gallon. It is great for different velocities, but they are one directional. They are too expensive for me to justify me adding another. I have placed a maxi jet 400 opposing it. As the mp10 increases velocity it “wins” and pushes water, as the mp10 slows down the flow from the maxi jet is greater. It has made for great alternating current in my small tank. I have to imagine this would work well with larger vortechs in larger tanks as well.

    1. Avatar Jeff Kurtz says:

      Great tip, Matt. That’s an approach I’ve never considered. Thanks!


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