When I first started using the Corrente Flowmeter by Perfect Reef Systems, I couldn’t have known how much I would really fall in love with this device. Having the Corrente installed on my main reef display’s primary return pump for the last couple years has given me a ton of insight and lots of benefits that I think will appeal to a lot of curious reef keepers.
Knowing what the flow rate is on the return pump delivering water into the main display is simply gratifying. We tend to discuss turnover rate through our aquarium displays and their respective filters in terms of total aquairum volume and, usually, the maximum flow volume that our return pumps are rated for, and very rarely do we actually know how much volume is really being delivered.
I can tell you with a reasonable degree of certainty that the water going into my display tank is coming through at a rate of 1100 liters per hour, about 290 gph which is just shy of 6X turnover per hour. While the Vectra M1 pumping this water is capable of pushing a lot more volume, this is actually the second great benefit of using a digital flowmeter.
Getting an ideal flow rate that is both maximal for a given overflow and balancing this out with the noise of the system has been incredible! In the past we used ball valves to restrict flow on AC return pumps, and more commonly we use controllable DC pumps with dials or external voltage control to set a desired speed. But with the Corrente digital flow meter I know exactly the flow rate that is a balance of what the drain can comfortably handle, and just before the plumbing begins making excessive noise.
While I doubt that any digital flow meter is incredible accurate, one thing they do have going for them is very high precision. When I dial in a known speed through the Vectra’s controller, if it doesn’t reach a known flow rate and corresponding RPM of the digital flowmeter, I know it’s time to perform some maintenance of the pump and plumbing system.
It could be some clogging of the pump’s impeller, biofouling in the pipes, or even small bits stuck in the return nozzle outlet. Surprisingly, the thin blades of the Corrente’s flow measuring sensor have remained extremely clean over time and has required very infrequent cleaning.
Along the same lines, if the flow indicated by the Corrent flowmeter is drastically low, it could indicate Blockage or Clogging which requires immediate attention. The smarter DC pumps can actually detect if there is some severe obstructions but for less complete clogging a digital flowmeter can alert reef owners to problems long before you notice the reduced water flow returning to your reef display.
Of all the sensors and monitors I’ve ever used in a reef aquarium environment, the digital readout from the Corrente Digital Flow Meter has become one of my favorites, and one of the first things I look at to quickly gage the status of my reef tank filtration. Return pumps are the literal heart of keeping a reef tank clean, clear and thriving so being able to see this vital statistic is a tool that I think will and should become more important and widespread in the future.