water flow (how much?)

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Aquarium Advice Apprentice
Jul 9, 2003
Miami, FL
how much is too much or too little water flow? I have a 20 gal with a skilter 250 and a rio 400 power head. the skilter gives me about 250gph and the rio another 150gph. which is 400gph, I plan to make a FOWLR for now. But later on I might add some corals. What do I need or is what i have enough? 8O
You might consider another small powerhead, but what you have is probably enough. Just FYI, skilters are not considered to be very good for skimming, but I have heard of some getting better (though not good) results by adding a wooden airstone w/airpump to the skimmer chamber.
OK, perhaps adding another rio 400? now how do you recommend I place or face the powerheads? Facing a corner of the tank each, to form a circular motion? or which way is better?

I heard about that trick also from the LFS which told me it work well, however if got into some types of corals I would need a skimmer. But for now he told me not to worry about protein, since I'm just starting. :roll:

Thanks for the help... :D
If I may make a suggestion about the powerheads...stay away from the Rios. Use the one you have of course, but I would go with either a MaxiJet or a MiniJet in the future. These are made by Aquarium Systems...they are excellent PH's and will not let you down. Rios have a bad habit of not restarting once they get some wear on them. The MJ's are inexpensive, compact, and will last a long time.
Not to jump on in here or anything, but I was also wondering how you should face the powerheads to generate a nice flow. If there is a difference between how one should direct them with a wavemaker (one of the over-glorified off/on timer power-strip type deals), or without said wavemaker, how would you do it for each? While I'm on the subject, (and sorry I forgot to mention, I'm way new at this stuff) what do you smart people think about those wavemakers? =] Thanks!
Ideally I like to position my PH's so they give a good disturbance at the surface. You should have a good ripple going at the surface. This will help oxygenate the water as well as enhance evaporation some helping to control temperature.

Also i like to get a good circular current going in the tnk overall. Having two powerheads positioned at eachother will end up producing a very good water turbulance vs having direct jets of flow.
Placing your PH's sothey face each other give you turbulent waterflow vs. circular flow. Turbulent is preferred. One trick I've read is to place them near the back edge, facing the front middle of the tank. That's my current setup (with a couple of small PH's in the corners) and it works quite well.
In my current tank I have 2 powerheads, I have them positioned on the same side of the tank faceing the otherside towards the overflow one high in the tank, one about mid way. They are controlled by a wave maker. This offer very good flow, with areas of lowerflow, yet no dead areas.

As for the powerstrip timers, I don't like them as well as a wavemaker that gives random options for timing, but for the money I think they are great ;)
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