We’ve been testing quite a few wave making machines in the last few months since we are now producing a large amount of corals inland, especially Torches, Branching Hammers and Frogspawn. We were looking for a correct way to balance these long dancing tentacles in and out, the way we see it in the ocean. We tried quite a few wave making option, but could never reach the perfect result we get using a classic Tunze Wave Box.
A gentle, slow, homogenous, vertical, swing in an out seemed impossible to achieve with current wave makers options until we came back to the basics, and got some new old school Tunze Wave Box. Coupled with our gyre system, the result is fantastic. The gyre assure a general flow, and the wave box add the swell touch so we get a large flow, and the pumping in it which is very natural.
The Tunze wave Box is an old and proven technology, that first came out in 2003, just a year after the first propeller pump ‘Stream’. The mechanical principle of a waterbox is simple: a closed box has a Stream pump in the lower part and a good support system. Immersed in the aquarium (it protrudes from the surface of 2cm), the internal level is the same as that of the aquarium.
When the pump is put into service, the box empties almost to the level of the pump. When this pump stops, the water rushes back into the box through the large opening of the pump. It is thus possible to cause an up and down movement in the box like a mechanical piston but here, the only rotating part is a small pump propeller. The system is brilliant by its simplicity.
This is only part of the system: in order to cause an efficient movement of water, these cycles of rising/falling out of the box must be done with a frequency very specific to each aquarium according to its length. It will therefore be necessary to find the right frequency of on/off of the pump to displace the largest possible body of water. This is made possible by a special Wave controller for this use: if the pump is in service for 0, 85 sec., It should be stopped for 0.85 sec., Like a metronome. This can take some trial and error to set up properly, until we reach the maximum water displacement. And every aquarium is specific, depending on length, height, width, shape, aquascape, return flow…
Once this critical frequency has been found, there is no longer a single drop of water in the aquarium which no longer moves, even behind the rock work. Which greatly improves the biological dynamics of the tank. Every inch of your live rock become active, all coral polyps are exposed to flow and there are no hiding places for sediments anymore.
The Wave Box can be used alone in an aquarium, together with the water return from the filtration or with pumps in alternating operation in one direction of circular circulation or the other. The oscillating flow of the Wave Box overlaps with the circular flow, which gives again a very natural and pleasant result, especially with long polyps LPS such as ‘Euphyllia’ or Flowerpots, but also with furry little SPS polyps.
The Wavebox is still until now, in my opinion the best water circulation system in existence for coral maintenance. You need a strongly reinforced tankand stand with enough height above the water level to use it optimally. But nowadays all new tanks are strong enough so they are no excuses any more for not using this great device, for the sake of your corals! especially with the new models mounted on magnetic silent blocks.