Do I need a Powerhead? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-10-2015, 02:41 AM Thread Starter
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Question Do I need a Powerhead?

I have a 55 gallon tank with my filter spray bar on the back of the tank pointing straight upward, i have a small airstone in the middle of the tank and i was wondering if it would be beneficial to get a powerhead,the intake is in the opposite corner of the tank at the bottom, i will plant my tank soon, once i get the $250 of equipment for my birthday. But i was wondering if the circulation is adequate or if i need a powerhead, i am a bit low on money, and i would prefer to not spend a ton more on equipment.
I plan to get some tetras and other small fish that arent big waste producers, i currently have 2 dwarf gouramis and 3 cory catfish.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-10-2015, 03:19 AM
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Here are a couple of ways to assess the water flow.

1) How many gallons per hour is your filter rated for? I aim for 10x the tank volume based on the manufacturer's rating. This is often wrong, but at least it is a starting place.
For a lightly stocked, calm water tank, about 5x is enough.

2) Get a stick or dowel that is a bit longer than the tank is deep. Tie several threads to the dowel, perhaps 6" apart. Let a few inches hang down at each location.
Put the dowel into the tank in several locations and see what the thread does. It should wave some (low flow) or a lot (high flow).

If you use more than one piece of equipment (filter, air bubbler, powerhead) to increase the flow, make sure they all work together to make the water flow the same way. Do not set them up to churn or blend the water, or work at cross purposes to each other. You can test this with the thread on the stick, too.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-10-2015, 04:33 AM Thread Starter
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I have a sun sun hw 302, it has 264 gph, and I plan to stock in a middle range, not light, but not heavy
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-10-2015, 04:39 AM
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In a 55 gallon, I think that gph is too low. The filter may not be able to keep the water in movement well enough to keep the debris suspended until it can be removed.
Increasing the flow with other equipment (air bubbler, power head or both) can help.

The standard 55 is a bit awkward to keep a good flow going, too. It is very narrow front to back, and quite tall.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-10-2015, 07:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diana View Post
In a 55 gallon, I think that gph is too low. The filter may not be able to keep the water in movement well enough to keep the debris suspended until it can be removed.
Increasing the flow with other equipment (air bubbler, power head or both) can help.

The standard 55 is a bit awkward to keep a good flow going, too. It is very narrow front to back, and quite tall.
Agreed, you may need a little more filtration than this. I ran a successful 55 for a long time with 2 Rena XP3's. Instead of getting a powerhead, I would spend another $50 on the same exact Sun Sun and double it up.

It will save you a lot of headache in the end and the SunSun Filters are cheap.

-Mikey G
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-10-2015, 07:53 PM
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a filter rated at least 5x the volume of the tank, but better close to 10x. Else, problems guaranteed ... algae, dying plants, etc. I wish i knew when i started my tanks

follow the Diana's instructions about the flow directions.

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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-10-2015, 08:40 PM Thread Starter
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if i plan to lightly stock, will i be fine for the time being? i dont have a lot of money saved up for an extra filter, i may get another in the future, but right now i completely lack the funds.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-10-2015, 08:45 PM
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you can try, but I would add for time being a powerhead. you can get one for $20 or so.

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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-10-2015, 08:52 PM Thread Starter
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you can try, but I would add for time being a powerhead. you can get one for $20 or so.
Would this be good ? http://www.amazon.com/VP-110-Aquarium-Circulation-Wavemaker-Powerhead/dp/B00CXDOQWA/ref=sr_1_3?s=pet-supplies&ie=UTF8&qid=1439239893&sr=1-3&keywords=powerhead+sun+sunthis is the 2-pack and it is a very good price
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-10-2015, 08:54 PM
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yep. looks like a good deal. Do not know the brand, but for the price hey ...

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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-10-2015, 08:57 PM Thread Starter
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I just did some calculations, and 264 gph on a 55 gallon is a 4.8x turnover, so do i really need a 9.6x turnover with 2 filters? Because i feel like i could just get by with some powerheads and the one filter. I will not spend over 50 dollars on filters, so i would love to stick with this one, and i use my filters for mainly biological filtration, i DO have floss and purigen, but i mainly concentrate on biological.
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-10-2015, 09:06 PM
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the canister filter should be enough as bio filter, given that you do not have tons of fish there. To growth healthy plants, you need good circulation, so powerheads will do the job. One of them actually should be enough, since you do not want to create an whirpool out of your tank. The main drawback of a powerhead, vs canister filter - it is a visible piece of equipment that takes space in your tank.

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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-11-2015, 03:33 AM
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The problem with using the manufacturer's rating is that these are often done with no media in the filter, and under optimum conditions (the filter is some exact height below the tank), the tubing is as straight and short a run as possible, and probably other variables. In real life I do not know if any filter really turns the water over as much as they claim.
That is why I start with the manufacturer's claim, and aim for 10x.
I know I am not getting 10x.
But I can hope for at least 5x.
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