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FAQs about Powerhead Rationale/Use with Marine Systems 

Related Articles: Powerhead Impressions by Steven Pro, Inexpensive Wavemaker Impressions, by Steven Pro Circulation, Aeration, Water Flow, How Much is Enough, Marine System ComponentsRefugiums, Central FiltrationFlow-through Live-holding Systems, Refugiums, Business Set-Up

Related FAQs: Powerheads 1, Powerheads 2, Rationale, Selection, Application, Modification, Problems/Repair, By Manufacturer, Makes/Models: Aquarium Systems (Maxi-Jets, Visi-Jets), Hagen (AquaClear), Tunze, Other Models/Manufacturers, Wavemakers, Marine Circulation 1, Marine Circulation 2, Marine Circulation 3, Marine Circulation 4, Marine Circulation 5, AerationPumps, PlumbingMake Up Water Systems, Sumps RefugiumsGear Selection for Circulation, Pump ProblemsSurge Devices

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Sump Flow Rates and Powerhead Opinions - 2/20/07 Hello.   <Hey Pam, JustinN with you today.> I've been combing your Q&A's looking for the answer, but haven't found it yet.   <Ok> I'm getting conflicting advice from my LFS who seems very knowledgeable, and also from one of the most highly regarded forums...also seemingly very knowledgeable reef-keepers. <Often is just a difference of methodology, not necessarily one whom is right or wrong.> I'm buying a my first tank and have been doing a ton of research (books, online forums, LFS) <Excellent, this is the starting point of a successful hobbyist for certain.> I'm buying a 54g corner tank, with a Oceanic Micro Sump (approximately 15g...only thing that will fit in the stand).    <Sounds good> My LFS recommends a Eheim 1260 return pump in the sump (flow is 635gph which is about 11 times my display size) plus 1 power-head in the display, and the reefers on the forum, recommend the smaller Eheim 1250 (317gph which is about 5.8 x my display size) with 2 power-heads in the display.  They're saying the 635gph through a 15g sump will be too much flow through the small sump, causing lots of noise and micro-bubbles. <I would agree with the fellow reefers here, my friend. You could likely come up with a baffling system to negate a deal of the micro bubbles, but chances are you will always be competing with them from that flow, to some extent. Also, there's the factor of having to match your overflow rate to the sump, with the return pump -- at higher flow rates, can be harder to do.> I know from reading lots of your Q&A's, that you are anti power-heads in the display, but do you think the 635gph will be too much going through a 15g sump?   If it's not too much, will that be adequate flow without any power-head in the display at all?  Your points regarding powerheads definitely make sense.   Thanks so much! Pam <I would not say that we are anti-powerheads here, on the opposite side of the coin, I think that we are for the right solution for each individual tank, to which there is no steadfast rule, or specifics. Powerheads are very effective for their purpose, and can be utilized without great issue here. If you wanted to eliminate the powerheads in your tank though, do consider having another overflow and return plumbed into the tank. You could create a 'closed loop' here, utilizing a pump such as the Eheim 1260 and bypassing any excess filtration methods, just draining water from the tank into the pump system, and returning its flow to the tank itself. Both methods will serve your purpose just fine, my friend. Keep up the research, and welcome to the hobby! -JustinN>

Additional Powerheads needed?   8/24/06 Hello, <Hi there> My office has a 90 gallon tank with overflow. The pump used in this system is a Mag Drive 9.5. We have a fish tank cleaner come in once a month to take care of the tank. He seems pretty knowledgeable about everything and said we need to get (2) power head pumps such as the Maxi jet 1200 or Penguin 1140 so that there is more water flow and oxygen at the bottom of the tank. <Wouldn't hurt> My question is do you know why they are making these built in internal systems when you end up needing additional pumps? <Mmm, because they sell? Because it's all "they" know how to make? To allow for "variations on themes?"...> Are these additional power heads really necessary??? <Mmm, would help... with circulation, aeration, lessen maintenance...> We wanted to avoid the look of pumps hanging off the back. <Likely won't notice in time> Also I heard something about using magnets instead of suction cups for mounting purposes. Thanks for your help! Thanks, Nancy <Have your service tech. bring in some samples to show you... Bob Fenner> Adding Powerheads, Tank Marketing 8/28/06 I have a question regarding our 90 gallon tank at work. Internal We were told that the tank needs more water flow and added oxygen at the bottom of the tank so we'd need to purchase 2 power heads. <ok> We currently have a mag drive 9.5 with a protein skimmer and overflow. I guess my question is why do they make and sell these entire set ups that hide all the pumps internally if you end up needing to put additional pumps in their anyways?  We just didn't want any pumps showing in the tank. <In a word marketing.  They either need to design the system with a bigger pump or sell you extra powerheads, both increase cost, limit buyers.  Plus, these system are often based on fresh water designs with an added protein skimmer, which needs less water movement than salt water.  If you are feeling handy try looking into a closed loop system, adds water movement without internal pumps.> Thanks for your help! Nancy <Anytime> <Chris>

Flow Patterns... Hi Scott <Hi there...> How r u? <Doin' great!> I mentioned to you the other day that I have two 1100l p/h powerheads in my 350l tank. <yep...!> I have them opposing each other causing a good flow. <A good technique!> I was thinking of adding another powerhead to the back of the tank just to blow across the floor so that unwanted debris do not get a chance to settle. <I like the idea!> Do you think this is necessary, I do perform my water changes weekly where I perform siphoning of the surface gravel as well? <Not "necessary", but  nice idea. And, flow is no substitute for water changes, IMO> Thanks, Ziad <You're quite welcome! Regards, Scott F>

Skimmers and powerheads - 2/24/04 Ahhh, one final letter before I call it a day, got to get up early tomorrow and do it all again! <Seems like a bad dream sometimes. Or even better....Groundhog Day the movie> First, thank you for the "A+" . It still feels good to be praised by my "teachers"!! <We are all looking for recognition of our efforts> Secondly, I DO still dislike the appearance of powerheads. <As do I, but sometimes a simple solution for interim purposes is the best way. Can always change it later> This is why I said I would have to do a bit of re-arranging. If I were to buy a wavemaker, I would like to hide the powerheads behind the rock. <That is what we do at the Aquarium> But this presents a problem with maintenance, no? <Make it so that you can get to them but you still have them hidden from view> Ahhhh, maybe I better check out the Carlson's surge device you talked about. <Sweet. We love 'em at the 'Quarium!>  I'll go to the link you kindly pasted for me, (thank you). <No problemo> I'll certainly let you know if Jason Kim gets back to me. <Please do>  Can't wait to hear what he says. Hey ya know, I was looking at my skimmer and realized it didn't have the large rubber ring that wraps around the waste receptacle what's that thing called?), <O-ring or gasket but more like an O-ring> maybe this is why it's not skimming? <Not likely but the O-ring does help with placement of the collection cup. I keep my collection cup at a point where the bottom of the cup opening is about a 1/4 inch under the top bubble layer> Hmmm, I'll have to make a note of that for Kim. <Yes. Important to note for troubleshooting purposes> Well, I'm yawning now, got to go off to slumber land. <A wonderful place to visit sometimes. Others times well.........not so nice> Good night Paul, <Good evening ~Pauly> Pam

How can I increase water flow? Hello, << Hi there. >>   I called Tunze and the only powerhead that goes on top is their classic and this is an older pump that they don't recommend any longer.  I currently have two sea swirls connected to the two pumps coming from my sump.  Do you have any other recommendations for additional flow? << Sure I like adding BioWheel filters for one option, or even just more powerheads. >> I've heard good things about the Tunze stream but they are too large for my 55 gallon aquarium.  My main concern is increasing the current in the tank without having a large volume of water circulating between the sump and the aquarium and having the powerheads in the tank increasing the temperature. << Well without powerheads in the tank, you are somewhat limited.  But as for the water in the sump concern, you could always add a surge tank above your tank. That would be way cool.  Or add a hang on the back type of refugia, but that still adds another powerhead.  Although extra powerheads give off more heat, I almost always think adding more of them is a good idea. >> Thanks in advance,

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