Help My Flow - 155g Bowfront - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-27-2015, 09:13 PM Thread Starter
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Help My Flow - 155g Bowfront

I have a six-foot long bowfront tank and I'm looking for the best option for flow - I have two Rena XP3 with vertical spraybars and two Koralia pumps. I run pressurized CO2 through reactors on both filter returns.

It appears the consensus for well-planted tanks is a horizontal spraybar on the back and pointing to the front glass - I've been reluctant to do that because I have a huge wedge of driftwood with large java fern that's reaching the surface, which would block some of the flow. Plus I'm not crazy about spending the time and money for custom spraybars. I also like some plants getting tall enough to lay on the surface, and don't want them blown all around.

So, I've experimented with a few setups:

1. Both filter intakes lower left; One return next to it pointing right; second return in middle pointing right with lower elbow pointing to front right corner; Koralia in top front right pushing water R-L across front. Second Koralia top left pushing water L-R in same direction as filter outputs. After trying methods #2 and #3 below I think this was the best.

2. Both filter intakes lower middle. Intent was two half-tank circulating currents. Filter returns at back left and back right - spray bar pointing toward intakes so CO2 hits the tall background plants; lower elbows pointing toward front middle to push CO2 to foreground plants. Koralias at front top right and left, pointing to middle. Seems like one side's flow is stronger than other and these currents "fight" each other and don't work as envisioned.

3. Both intakes lower middle. Same spraybar/elbow orientation. Koralias on back of tank, one top back right and one top middle, and they point toward front glass at slight diagonal to get a rolling effect as they push water to the front glass. Appears to have decent flow, but I'm seeing GDA and diatoms for first time in a while, so something tells me this is less than optimal.

The wedge of driftwood at center-right is a problem, I know, but it's a nice focal point and too dense to saw into two pieces. Any other recommendations for a flow pattern with two filter returns and two pumps?
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-27-2015, 09:15 PM
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If the tank still looks like that photo I think you should be telling all of us what the right choice was!
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-27-2015, 09:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lksdrinker View Post
If the tank still looks like that photo I think you should be telling all of us what the right choice was!
LOL!!!! You are right. That looks awesome.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-28-2015, 01:36 PM
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My general idea for flow is to match the direction. If you have two pump outputs, put them in one corner and point them towards the front/across to the other side. Use your power heads to push water the same direction. Then place the intakes on the other side. A single flow seems to be the best for increased flow. Having water move against itself slows it down.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-28-2015, 03:34 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Freemananana View Post
My general idea for flow is to match the direction. If you have two pump outputs, put them in one corner and point them towards the front/across to the other side. Use your power heads to push water the same direction. Then place the intakes on the other side. A single flow seems to be the best for increased flow. Having water move against itself slows it down.
Thanks - but lets say filters are moving 300 gph and Koralias move 200 gph - wouldn't there be an imbalance, with 500 gph moving one direction and the filters taking 300 gph and moving it in the other direction? That would create a void and water would move in the undesired direction to take its place. Perhaps using just the filters would be enough in this case. And, I believe the photo was at a time I was using only one Koralia. Almost all the flow would have been going in one direction.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-28-2015, 04:08 PM
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Lets start by saying I'm no scientist or expert.

I've seen a lot of things happen and the best thing to do is experiment since every setup is different. It takes a little bit for an adjustment to dial in and the flow to establish. I think bulkreefsupply has a youtube channel that has several powerhead flow pattern videos. Something like that could really give you a good starting point for setting up the best flow.

As for have 'too much flow' in one direction and it not evening out, I really don't know what to tell you. That's an interesting point. I do, however, think that the flow slows down drastically. It may pump out 300 gph but that doesn't mean it moves 300 gallons to the other side of the tank. It may move that 300 gallons half way across the tank before it just sort of stalls out.


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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-28-2015, 04:30 PM
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Agree, you are doing great as is.

Consider taking off the spraybars and using an open return. Place intakes and returns on one end of the tank with returns near the front an inch or two below water surface and intakes towards the back. Then you would have ripples in the open water at the front, plants wouldn't be disturbed and water has a straight shot to far end, goes down and spreads out nicely going back to the intakes. That could do it right there but if you need more then try the circulating pumps on the far end near the bottom or even between the returns at the top of the tank.


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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-29-2015, 02:29 AM
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Have both the intakes at one (same) rear corner bottom facing the front. Take the stronger of two return spray-bar and put it in a vertical position at the corner of the intakes but point it towards the opposite rear corner. Place the second return spray bar 2/3 length away on the rear wall (also in vertical position) pointing towards the same opposite corner ie both returns aligned in the same direction.

Opposing flows are likely to cause dead spots but if you align the flow as I suggested you will find the entire water of your tank is in motion in circular motion - numerous circles will form within the main outer circle as spaces between the plants allow.

If you have a choice, you have a problem, till you elect your choice. No choice, no problem, only consequences, learn to live with them.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-03-2015, 02:09 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the compliments on the tank - things were going pretty well at this time last year. Since then I trimmed and sold some L Glandulosa and the rest melted away, the vals aren't grow as high now, but the A Reineckii has some better growth. I had a T5NO dual strip up front at the time of the photo, and swapped it for T5 high output dual strip in March. I also increased KNO3 to EI levels, as many lower leaves were deteriorating and breaking off. I have been trying to ensure good CO2 flow to the lower leaves since I read that could also contribute to deteriorating lower leaves.

I have changed my flow to match Freemananana's suggestion above, since I don't have the fittings to do Kathyy's open return flow scheme. There is some back flow, which I think is due to water filling the voids created by the powerheads, but there is better movement among all plants and it looks like I have better CO2 distribution than before. We'll see how it goes. If I change again I'll probably try the single circular pattern suggested by essabee.
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