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Old 04-24-2015, 12:21 AM   #1
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Need advice on distributing flow in my planted tank

Edit: Have made an initial change already, see first reply.

I run a 90g established tank with a 29g sump underneath.

For the last year and a half I have used the same flow map, but... it's stupid, lol. It sucks. Plants along the back of my tank get completely pummeled, and everything eventually gets spindly or dies because it can't stay properly rooted. I'm not sure why I have not tried to fix this before now.

So here's my current tank (it looks awful, but that's kind of why I want to make this change, so I can start over a bit)
tank flow map by threnjen, on Flickr

You can see at the back left how sparse the plants are, it's because the flow back there is just too high and nothing can manage it. Since I run a sump I use an overflow box. So here is what is going on in that picture.

The back left is the return spray bar. It is vertical, and the flow points directly along the back of the tank. It is supplied by a Tunze Silence 1073.040 rated at 792gph, but keep in mind it is coming from a sump underneath the tank. Truthfully I think this pump is way too strong (especially because I send the water through a UV sterilizer) but for now it's what I have to work with.

The other bar at the back right of the tank is a pump inside the tank itself. It has an intake down below the overflow box, and then returns the water to the vertical spray bar pointing forward along the glass.
Sometimes the interior pump, the intake sponge gets clogged and I turn the pump off. If that happens I will get incredible algae buildup along the water's usual path, indicating to me that this pump is important for my circulation.

Still with me??
OK I want to redo the return bar from the sump to something entirely different that stops pummeling the plants. I can also redo the bar on the interior pump. I was thinking a horizontal spray bar instead of a vertical one. I could have it either spanning the short dimension of the tank, sending the flow left to right, or do a long one along the back of the tank, doing a flow that is forward to back or back to forward.
I can also convert the interior pump into a horizontal spray bar in a way to complement the flow.

Keep in mind I don't need the spray bar for surface agitation, as the waterfall in my sump should provide plenty of oxygenation. So i can point the bar down into the water at the glass if needed.

Ideas/suggestions to create a good current in this setup?
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Old 04-24-2015, 06:04 AM   #2
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I'm never one to just sit on my hands waiting for validation, so I started researching and have already implemented a change. We'll see if I keep it.

I saw the most promise from systems that use a spray bar mounted along the back of the tank pointing straight forward, so that's what I've done for now. The vertical bar at the back left of my picture is entirely gone, and that outflow instead feeds to a horizontal spray bar that spans the entire back of the tank to the overflow and points straight out.

For now I have kept the internal pump at the back right, because I'm worried about dead spots over there since the spray bar is truncated at the overflow box. Not sure about the currents I am creating with the vertical bar at the back right, but we shall see.

I'm definitely seeing plenty of circulation with the new setup. I hope it's enough to feed the back plants without displacing them. I would really, really like to get a healthy back row going in this tank for once.
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Old 04-24-2015, 08:04 AM   #3
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I was going to say move it to the back and drill a series of spiraling smaller holes to get a little flow to the rear portion of the tank.

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Old 04-24-2015, 05:52 PM   #4
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I have a long spray bar at one end of my aquarium with the intake at the other end. It does great for distributing the flow.
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Old 04-24-2015, 06:07 PM   #5
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Just watching the circulation I'm already more satisfied, although only time will tell if it's an improvement. The back spray bar was easy to make, too!

The sponge on the interior pump got clogged again and it got noisy, so for now I turned it off as an experiment to see if there is enough interior circulation without that pump running. If there isn't I will see some algae buildup on that wall pretty quickly.
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Old 04-24-2015, 06:25 PM   #6
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Interesting that you had them vertical to begin with, I have never seen that.

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Name:	ImageUploadedByAquarium Advice1429910530.865078.jpg
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ID:	270836 I have one that shoots straight forward towards the front glass and down, I can push a leaf into the flow and watch it follow the path, spiraling between the front and back panes of glass. Then I have the output of another filter shooting from the corner of the tank to give some lateral movement.


Glad it seems like the circulation is better already in yours. Your boesemani look picture perfect by the way, where did you get them from?


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Old 04-24-2015, 06:45 PM   #7
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Interesting that you had them vertical to begin with, I have never seen that.

I have one that shoots straight forward towards the front glass and down, I can push a leaf into the flow and watch it follow the path, spiraling between the front and back panes of glass. Then I have the output of another filter shooting from the corner of the tank to give some lateral movement.

Glad it seems like the circulation is better already in yours. Your boesemani look picture perfect by the way, where did you get them from?

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Heh, it seemed like a good idea at the time! And I've always had very good circulation with the vertical setup - just not very friendly to my poor back wall plants. The spray bar I just made looks just like what you have. Somehow I always thought that a surface spray bar would not result in good underwater circulation. Shows you what I know about physics...

Thanks so much re: my Boesemani! They are just from my LFS. I absolutely love them. My only sad with them is I had 4 males and a female when they were adolescents and I went back to get another female and I was *sure* the one she was getting out was a male but she made me doubt myself. I should have stuck to my guns because now I have 5 males and 1 female.
I also have a baby, miracle boesemani. He is in the picture - he is the smallish blurry fish at the upper middle-left. He just moved into the main tank from his dedicated 10g and is about the size of a grown cardinal. I keep saying "he" but I certainly hope it's a female. I'm not sure how he/she lived but he is one hardy fellow. Found him swimming in my sump one day, already at least several weeks old. I don't know how he ever made it down there through the tons of layers of filter material (including several solid felt micron sheets and 2 inches of packed filter floss)

I see your little Boesemanis in your pic too (unless that is just a super huge tank)! They grow up to be so big and bold and beautiful, you're going to love them. They are definitely some of my favorite fish. They spawn so easily when they are happy, too.
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Old 04-25-2015, 01:19 AM   #8
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Hmm ok, well, even though there is circulation, nothing is getting to the overflow and particulates are infinitely suspended in the water column. Is this working as intended??

Hubby and I are watching the same leaf going forward, down, up then hitting the spray bar and repeating, ad infinitum. There doesn't seem to be any movement of anything to the actual overflow.
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Old 04-25-2015, 01:22 AM   #9
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Where is the return when compared to the overflow?
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Old 04-25-2015, 01:29 AM   #10
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The return now spans the back of the tank, until the pipe hits the overflow box, pointing straight forward toward the viewer. Just like NigelK's pic.

The overflow is at the back right, same spot as before, like in my pic in my first post
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Old 04-25-2015, 01:30 AM   #11
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I'll try turning back on the internal pump to see if some lateral movement will change things up...
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Old 04-25-2015, 01:35 AM   #12
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I have two spray bars with the holes pointing slightly up (and in different directions) towards the front of the tank.

Also have an internal filter that points from left to right and slightly towards the front of the tank.

So the two filter flows kind of cross each other but overall stuff sweeps from front of tank to back.

But the top section of tank is never supper clear and I've been toying with the idea of adding a second higher inlet to one canister filter.
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Old 04-25-2015, 01:39 AM   #13
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You could try turning the spray bar 90 degrees so it pushes the water lengthwise down the tank. This would prevent the circular flow thats keeping stuff suspended.
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Old 04-25-2015, 01:45 AM   #14
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Yeah, I guess if this doesn't work out, I will switch it up and change the orientation. I guess I'll see how this goes for a few days first. I did stir up a whole lot of stuff moving my plants around.
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Old 04-25-2015, 02:24 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Delapool View Post
I have two spray bars with the holes pointing slightly up (and in different directions) towards the front of the tank.

Also have an internal filter that points from left to right and slightly towards the front of the tank.

So the two filter flows kind of cross each other but overall stuff sweeps from front of tank to back.

But the top section of tank is never supper clear and I've been toying with the idea of adding a second higher inlet to one canister filter.

I use an Eheim surface skimmer 350 http://www.drsfostersmith.com/produc...m?pcatid=27119 and it does an amazing job at keeping the surface extremely clear. It says it's rated for like 50 gallons but I only use one on my 150 gallon and it keeps it perfectly clear.


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Old 04-25-2015, 06:44 AM   #16
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I use an Eheim surface skimmer 350 http://www.drsfostersmith.com/produc...m?pcatid=27119 and it does an amazing job at keeping the surface extremely clear. It says it's rated for like 50 gallons but I only use one on my 150 gallon and it keeps it perfectly clear.


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That looks nice. How often does it need cleaning?
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Old 04-25-2015, 07:45 AM   #17
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That looks nice. How often does it need cleaning?

On average the little sponge needs rinsed once every month or so. I took out the sponge it came with and used Aquaclear filter sponges cut to size and it works great.


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Old 04-25-2015, 12:21 PM   #18
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On average the little sponge needs rinsed once every month or so. I took out the sponge it came with and used Aquaclear filter sponges cut to size and it works great.


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Very nice, thanks for the info. I'll put that on the list.
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Old 04-26-2015, 10:37 PM   #19
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Went plant shopping yesterday and reorganized the plants in the tank. Hopefully with the new current that doesn't blast the back wall, it will grow in appropriately.

2015-04-26 by threnjen, on Flickr
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Old 04-27-2015, 01:33 AM   #20
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Looks nice!
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