How many times an hour should my filter turn the tank over? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-04-2019, 05:37 AM Thread Starter
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How many times an hour should my filter turn the tank over?

I keep hearing that I should get a pump that's oversized for the tank, not just because pumps don't really do as much as they say they do, but also because I should turn my tank over several times per hour. In aquaponics, I keep hearing at least twice an hour. In aquariums, I keep hearing at least 4 times an hour. One shop owner told me 7 times an hour, and that was for an angel fish tank, which I thought hated strong currents. I think Dr Kevin Novak was doing around 10 times an hour for his angel fish. What do you all say?
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-04-2019, 06:04 AM
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You can run a planted tank with no current. You may want to run a planted tank with fish that like a current.

I think there are three dimensions for planted tank folks:

Substrate: soil vs inert or in-between.

CO2: active injection vs passive injection vs no injection

Dosing and water-change: None vs some vs a lot.

Last edited by Streetwise; 09-04-2019 at 02:28 PM. Reason: Details
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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-04-2019, 06:16 AM
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Depends on dimensions of tank really. A long low short tank like a 20 long you can get by with about 5x, split into 2 outputs to cover long length evenly.

A bigger deeper type tank like a 65 (36x18x24) you’d need to shoot for around 8-10x and split that into 4-6 outputs spread around tank covering front and back areas along whole length evenly.
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-04-2019, 02:09 PM
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There really is no magic number when it comes to turnover in a planted tank. Turnover and flow/circ are different. You goal should be to have gentle flow to all areas of the tank. This will allow good biological filtration to take place within the tank. The filter does not have a monopoly on this as most of the filtration ins a mature tank will take place in the tank not the filter.

I've run pristine tanks with an effective turnover of 1. In a mature tank waste will be processed in the tank and the filter. There really isn't much of a difference. If it sets in your filter it's still part of the system until you clean the filter.
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-14-2019, 07:33 AM
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There is WAY too much worry expended on tank turn over rate. The water turn over rate will not make or break a tank, it is just one of many parameters that need to be balanced with the rest of the aquarium as a whole... and not one of the most signifigant parameters.

There are lot of very sucessful tanks with just sponge filters... what do you thing their turn over rate is?
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-14-2019, 04:19 PM
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With large cichlids like Angelfish, I would not consider anything under 7X turnover rate.
Alot of the responses here are not considering the fish-- only that it is a "planted tank".


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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-15-2019, 04:29 AM
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As @DaveKS suggested, go with more turnover but split the output or utilize a spray bar to keep the flow gentle. Good for the fish and plants.


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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-15-2019, 07:02 AM
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The general number is 10x of the tank volume in an hour, this seems to be what most references suggest.
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-15-2019, 05:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sudhirr View Post
The general number is 10x of the tank volume in an hour, this seems to be what most references suggest.
I feel like this needs to be elaborated on. People say to get filters that are rated to turn the volume over 10 times because they know that realistically, when the filter is filled with media and accounting for head height, you're going to get a real world turnover of 5-7x, depending on setup. For most fish and plants, that amount of flow seems to be the sweet spot. There are fast flowing river species that need more flow/current, but that's also where wavemakers come into play.

For instance, my canister on my 75 is rated at 793 gph, but after tightly fitting coarse > medium > fine foams in the bottom tray, and filling the other three trays with Matrix, I'm getting more like 500 gph. The output is a dual nozzle, so I'm likely going to fiddle around with that and try what Dave suggests, splitting it into multiple outputs to even tame that down a little bit. If I need more flow, there's a couple wavemakers on hand to install OR the factory output can always be reinstalled.


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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-17-2019, 02:40 AM
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If you need 10x turnover out of the box then you probably are over stocked and/or don't have a planted tank. You have a fish tank with a few plants in it. In a planted tank that is setup correctly there is no magic number, you simply need gentle flow over the tank and the bio-filter (both plants and BB) will do the job. Results don't lie. I've setup plenty of tanks that had 1x - 2x effective turnover with nice fish loads and they were pristine. I would never make this claim if I couldn't back it up. So in the context of planted tanks, which is what this forum is about the 10x turnover thing is simply untrue ans usually overkill
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post #11 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-17-2019, 03:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asteroid View Post
If you need 10x turnover out of the box then you probably are over stocked and/or don't have a planted tank. You have a fish tank with a few plants in it. In a planted tank that is setup correctly there is no magic number, you simply need gentle flow over the tank and the bio-filter (both plants and BB) will do the job. Results don't lie. I've setup plenty of tanks that had 1x - 2x effective turnover with nice fish loads and they were pristine. I would never make this claim if I couldn't back it up. So in the context of planted tanks, which is what this forum is about the 10x turnover thing is simply untrue ans usually overkill


I think whatever “magic number” is the one that gives us the best success with our tanks. So yeah, there’s no set number, but every tank is different.


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post #12 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-17-2019, 03:16 AM
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So that we can better help you, can you tell us: Is this a planted tank or a tank with fish with a few plants thrown in for background?
A little more information may help us decide if you need a turnover rate of 1 ( for a planted tank) or 5-10 ( for a fish tank with plants).


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post #13 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-17-2019, 04:08 AM
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I think turnover is generally a bad metric. As it has been already been said whatever you get you want gentle circulation throughout the tank, unless your fish need more current, and a mature tank can handle the biological filtration completely in the tank. IMO don't worry about turnover. Think about flow in the tank and mechanical filtration if you want it.
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post #14 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-18-2019, 05:31 AM
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When I first started the hobby, around whatever join date on this forum, 3x per hour was considered normal. Then it jumped up to 5x, then 10x wasn't the accepted answer but many felt it was better. For my experiences, I never saw better results with more flow, assuming I had at least 3x, it worked. My longest running tank was about 7 years. At first it had one HOB filter it came with. That worked fine and I added another, that worked just as well. Then I went canister, started at around 3x. Definitely and adjustment and had to tweak the CO2 but again, it worked fine. I doubled that when I found some Eheim's for $35 or something when Petco was liquidating them. Again, my tank did fine.

I am not saying that there wasn't any advantage with more flow, or more filtration, I am just saying if you have enough flow, your plants and fish should do just fine. If you have a reason for more, then go for it. I found I liked using two filters on tanks a variety of reasons which typically put me in the 5x per hour range or more, as I started with an appropriate sized filter and then added a second.

I would say in general, low tech tanks need less flow, far less in some cases, if we are talking plants alone. Similarly, I have found small tanks typically need less flow. Then wide tanks or oddly shaped tanks will typically benefit for more flow as they have dead spots. I have never had a tank suffer from more flow, except the obvious of where things are physically getting pushed around, the substrate is actually shifting, etc, way too much flow for the tank size or shape.


Turn over to me is like using watts per gallon for lighting, it will kind of get you into a ball park of what will likely work for your tank, but will be far from the best way of choosing the best setup. I am inclined to go bigger than I need on high tech tanks, and often have gone smaller than I thought would work on smaller tanks. Then, comparing HOB to a canister isn't really fair because a HOB will agitate the water more than a canister will at the same flow rate in most scenarios. I have never used internal pumps, sumps, or power heads on my tanks.

If I was buying a canister filter, I would probably aim for 5x minimum if I was just going off that number. That is advertised, not actual, as I know it will be more than enough, but rarely too much unless you have sensitive fish. But it's an "it depends" scenario at the end of the day.
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post #15 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-18-2019, 01:38 PM
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You don't need all your turnover in your filter. 1.5× in your filter + a nice powerhead will save you $ in electricity, be easier to clean, and be cheaper to set up. You can also always add or remove powerheads as you see fit with minimal fuss.
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