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THE IMPORTANCE OF CIRCULATION IN THE AQUARIUM

Many times the importance of good circulation in your aquarium is over shadowed by so many other factors of successful reef keeping!  Most people spend a lot of money on lighting, filtration and even temperature control while little money is spent on one very important aspect, circulation!

While in the past powerheads were our only means to provide this we have also learned of their drawbacks. Placement is just one of these, you know what I am talking about (oh those suction cups) once they have been placed it is only a matter  of time before they lose their suction then your powerhead comes crashing down on  your precious babies! Concealing a powerhead can also become quite the construction project and although it can be done, you will still end up with this "unnatural thing" in your tank not to mention you now will have an additional   source of heat. Unidirectional flow is another issue. No where in nature is a species subjected to a constant barrage of current. Another drawback is the maintenance involved. Powerheads being submersed in the water will have a tendency to clog and unless regular cleaning is on your schedule this obstruction can significantly reduce your water motion.  

In nature, water currents carry life sustaining, "body building" nutrients essential to healthy growth, while at the same time, whisking away excess mucus and detritus.  Of course you will want to be aware that once you have created this "natural current", more emphasis should be placed on where you have selected to position some corals.  Water movement is not only important for reef aquaria but also for saltwater fish and freshwater fish aquariums. A good sweeping movement eliminates "dead spots" allowing debris and detritus to become suspended in the water column so your overflow or canister filter can remove them from your aquarium. In addition, good surface agitation aides in better gas exchange and due to a mirror effect of smooth water allows more light into your tank.

In conclusion, if you want your corals to look "perky" and your fish to be "peppy" try adding an increased source of circulation!!! 

REFERENCES AND MORE READING:

  • PALETTA, MIKE: CORAL AGGRESSION IN REEF AQUARIA - SEA SCOPE 1989 WINTER VOL. 7 PG. 4
  • ALBARADO, RONDEL: WATER CURRENT AND THE REEF AQUARIUM - FAMA 11/90 PG. 172
  • HANBY, DAVID: CIRCULATION IN MARINE REEF AQUARIA - FAMA 7/94 PG. 176
  • RIDDLE, DANA: WATER MOTION IN THE REEF AQUARIUM PART II - AQUARIUM FRONTIERS 1/97 PG. 12