Flow and surface agitation - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 01-24-2020, 03:11 AM Thread Starter
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So my canister filter is putting out a relatively strong flow threw the output nozzle and was blasting my plants at the opposite side of the tank in the back left corner(output is back right). So to slow it down some, I put one of those filter inlet sock things on it to reduce flow and added a small piece of driftwood in front of the outlet to reduce flow. This is now creating more surface agitation. I know surface agitation isn’t great for wanted to keep the Co2 I’m injecting to stay in the water and not escape from the gas exchange. So how much surface agitation is too much?? Also my filter did come with a spray bar which would definitely reduce the flow, the only problem I found with it, is that when installed the spray bar is positioned much closer to the front glass and the water comes out from the middle to middle front (along the right side , not the middle of the front glass)of the tank and sprays across the tank to the left which messes my flow pattern for the tank and co2 spread. I would like to have my flow start from back right corner across to the back left corner hit side glass move to front left corner (where my co2 infuser and small power head are) then back across the front glass to front right corner and so on. So is that flow pattern a good one? OR will the flow pattern of using the spray bar be okay? Which is more like having the water goes across the tank from right to left and then it hits glass and kind of goes back across to the right on both the back and front glass. A more side to side flow VS a circular flow. I feel like I’m just rambling now...hahaha. Basically I need less flow for my plants, but don’t want to screw up my flow pattern..and also how much agitation should I have at the surface?! Right now it’s just enough to cause the water to bulge a little bit and shimmer the light but doesn’t technically break the surface and form any bubbles. Sorry for the all over the place rambling..please help!
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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 01-24-2020, 05:29 AM
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What size tank and what canister filter do you have?

But no, a little rippling action on surface won’t hurt anything CO2 wise and will just increase oxygen levels in tank.
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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 01-24-2020, 11:47 AM Thread Starter
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It’s a 40 breeder and the filter is a sun sun that’s rated at 370gph. I think it’s the 304 model??
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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 01-24-2020, 02:08 PM Thread Starter
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Would using the spray bars along the back flowing toward the front glass and the power head blowing across the front from left to right be a good flow pattern? Or having the spray bar going from the front right side going across to the left front and the power head below it going the same direction? Or keep it the way I have it set up now?
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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 01-24-2020, 02:45 PM
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Would using the spray bars along the back flowing toward the front glass and the power head blowing across the front from left to right be a good flow pattern? Or having the spray bar going from the front right side going across to the left front and the power head below it going the same direction? Or keep it the way I have it set up now?
I think your worrying too much about flow patterns, etc. In all the hi-tech tanks I've done that are pretty much normal rectangles with normal size canister filters I have the spray bar/Lily pipe on the left or right wall right below the surface (slight rippling) and that's it. No powerheads, nothing else. Your fllter is obviously plenty large. Co2 and dissolved ferts are easily moved about the tank with minimal flow.

Remember most filtration will be in the tank via bio-filtration.


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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 01-24-2020, 09:49 PM Thread Starter
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Would using the spray bars along the back flowing toward the front glass and the power head blowing across the front from left to right be a good flow pattern? Or having the spray bar going from the front right side going across to the left front and the power head below it going the same direction? Or keep it the way I have it set up now?
I think your worrying too much about flow patterns, etc. In all the hi-tech tanks I've done that are pretty much normal rectangles with normal size canister filters I have the spray bar/Lily pipe on the left or right wall right below the surface (slight rippling) and that's it. No powerheads, nothing else. Your fllter is obviously plenty large. Co2 and dissolved ferts are easily moved about the tank with minimal flow.

Remember most filtration will be in the tank via bio-filtration.

Okay cool, good to hear! I definitely over think everything with my tanks ha. Thank you for putting my mind at ease.
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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 01-24-2020, 10:23 PM
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Okay cool, good to hear! I definitely over think everything with my tanks ha. Thank you for putting my mind at ease.
Sure, just saying I've used much smaller filters than that without any add'l powerheads without issue. You'll get different opinions, but with Hi-Tech planted most important is consistent water change, co2, ferts and good light short duration in the beginning.
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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 01-25-2020, 01:07 AM
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I think more flow is better than less to evenly distribute co2 and fert.
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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 01-25-2020, 01:45 AM
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It is actually possible to have tool little flow or even too much flow. But this whole idea that you need powerheads and other flow devices to move co2/ferts around 2-4 feet of water when you have a canister filter throwing off 5-10 turnover is just overkill to me. I can easily poor some Seachem Flourish (since it's dark) in front of my return and watch it go all over the tank. It's not going to just stop in water. Any little movement will move it around the tank. Same with co2.
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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 01-25-2020, 07:25 AM
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It’s not just turn over rate, but how the flow is distributed matters too. You can have high flow in one direction, but not having cross flow to evenly distribute the flow, you can generate dead spots. Power head can help eliminate dead spots. I use HOBs that provide front to back flow, and by attaching a circulation powerhead at the long end, I can create longitudinal cross flow.
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post #11 of 25 (permalink) Old 01-25-2020, 10:30 AM
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I've never really understood how much flow is necessary for the average planted aquarium... should tall plants be swaying gently throughout the tank, for example? Does it matter? I have no idea.
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post #12 of 25 (permalink) Old 01-25-2020, 01:30 PM
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I've never really understood how much flow is necessary for the average planted aquarium... should tall plants be swaying gently throughout the tank, for example? Does it matter? I have no idea.
Flow is a tricky thing and IMO often misunderstood. I've read many times that you have to good flow and more flow will fix many problems. So you have people put in over sized circulation pumps and plants are waving around barely able to stay in the substrate.

Heck, I did it myself at one time. If flow is good, then more must be better.....right?

After many years of trying different schemes I have found the best flow to be a wide gentle laminar flow. It should have purpose, but it does not need to be forceful. Too much flow can be just as bad as too little, and getting flow right takes time and adjustment just like every other aspect of a planted tank.

We had a discussion about this back some ago in my journal that I thought was interesting.

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/1...l#post11125277
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post #13 of 25 (permalink) Old 01-25-2020, 02:32 PM
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Dennis Wong has a sophisticated explanation on how to balance CO2 injection rate with air exchange rate (circulation). He uses skimmer in every one of his tank to achieve deep circulation.

https://www.advancedplantedtank.com/gas_exchange.html

I agree that a good circulation should be gentle laminar flow, not turbulent flow like a river tank that can strip off CO2 excessively. A gentle swaying plants back and forth is the right amount of flow, aesthetically pleasing and more natural looking than rigid standing plants.
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post #14 of 25 (permalink) Old 01-25-2020, 02:57 PM
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All due respect to Dennis, but just because he uses something doesn't mean it's necessary. I've never used a skimmer nor did I ever see the need for one.

Here's a tank form the the ADA Gallery in Japan. ADA doesn't sell powerheads and to my knowledge they only use in-tank diffusers even on their large tanks. Look where the diffuser is. You could clearly see bubbles going to the top of the tank. The diffuser isn't even near the bottom. How does this large tank get adequate co2?





All these tanks, in-tank diffusers half way down, no powerheads
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post #15 of 25 (permalink) Old 01-25-2020, 05:30 PM
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In the ADA gallery, they bring the lilly pipes up to the water surface when the lights are off, and put them down when the lights turn on. So they can have surface aggitation and gas exchange.
I think that they use both in line diffusers with in tank diffusers, or external reactors with in tank diffusers.
They also measure all of the parameters every day and dose every day differently based on the test results.
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