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Old 12-21-2015, 04:08 AM   #1
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Aquarium turn over rates

Hello everyone! My name is Ricardo and i have a question for you all. How quickly should your systems turn over rate be when you are using a sump on your aquarium? I am currently volunteering at The Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach California as an aquarist and i have noticed that almost all tanks have a very low turn over rate. I have heard the rule of 10x an hour but a tank i work on at the aquarium has a turn over rate of 3 times an hour! So my question to you is which is better, a higher rate or lower rate? Please let me know your opinions all input is greatly appreciated! I hope this thread starts a great convo!
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Old 12-21-2015, 04:13 AM   #2
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In my opinion, the higher the turnover rate the better. Especially in a planted tank where plants pull nutrients from the water. Higher flowrate insures that those nutrients are readily available. As for just fish, high turnover definitely wouldnt hurt but id assume theyre trying to run these large tanks at not quite the bare minimum but just enough to have "clean" water.


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Old 12-21-2015, 04:18 AM   #3
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Would it be the same for a slower rate, so that the plants have more time to draw the nutrients out and for longer exposure with bio media? That makes alot of sense it also saves energy by not having to use such large pumps on the systems

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Old 12-21-2015, 05:09 AM   #4
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Aquarium turn over rates

Interesting approach..

Im no scientist but..

Assuming they have their water parameters stabilized, then you could also assume that theres also a set rate of absorption with the biomedia (or could you?) And with a high turnover rate that body of water is being filtered, circulated, and replaced more times than a low turnover rate. Because imo the turnover rate only increases the mechanical filtration and not the chem/bio.


If you could relate being trapped in a room with someone hotboxing cigarette smoke (water contaminants) with no air circulation(low turn over) then all the sudden opening 6 windows, for whatever reason that that room had 6 windows, increasing the air circulation (the turnover rate) it would be a lot easier to breathe/get oxygen (plants receiving nutrients) with 6 windows open than with 1 window open

That or i really dnt know wtf im talking about lol


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Old 12-21-2015, 05:14 AM   #5
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Also im not in anyway standing by what im saying as fact. Im hoping someone with more knowledge can teach us both something as im just running off what ive been told. Cause ive always heard have 10x turnover as well


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Old 12-21-2015, 05:27 AM   #6
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Aquarium turn over rates

Come to think of it you might be right about water needing time to pass over biomedia. I think i read something in my canister filter's instruction manual saying that the water passes over the biomedia slowly then pumped out at 370gph. But when it comes to plants id assume higher turnover to be more beneficial

But at the same time its easy to believe that over the years the issues of required filtration and required circulation have been intertwined

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Old 12-21-2015, 05:40 AM   #7
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10x the aquarium flow rate is the most flow that is recommended in a standard tank. Note, this doesnt mean that the filter flows 10x per hour; but instead can include powerheads.

In nearly all circumstances, even a flow rate of 1x per hour over a filter will be enough to filter the water. The higher flow rate is desirable in order to keep the substrate detritus free.

As for the plants, the rate of nutrient absorption is surprisingly slow. As long as theres some flow around them it wont make a difference.
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Old 12-21-2015, 08:02 AM   #8
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Hi when I started fishkeeping many many years ago,three times an hour was the recognised turn over rate,its only the last few years that turn over rates have gone so high. But nowadays technology and knowledge has increased so much more, so would be inclined to think the higher turn over rate is better.
I tend to turn over my tanks about 5/6 times an hour and find that perfect for me and my fish.
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Old 12-21-2015, 11:48 AM   #9
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To the OP, just for clarification, this IS a freshwater tank we are talking about isn't it?
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Old 12-21-2015, 12:10 PM   #10
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Yes it is, im redesigning a 55 gallon goldfish tank i have and i want to throw in a bio tower with a freshwater "refugium" to help knock out nitrates a bit
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