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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
newbie here. first time aquascaping, long time terrarium keeper. I think I got a lot of things covered, but one thing I'm still concerned with is circulation. I don't plan on having a lot of tall growing plants, mostly moss and ground cover. I will have a few large pieces of standing driftwood, with a small cave under one of the larger pieces. It's a 75g, I happen to have 2 aqueon circulation pumps 950. I have them running right now with the driftwood in the tank to help release any small particles still in the wood before I get ready to start planting. I have a hanging filter that I got with the tank a long time ago, that I cant seem to get working (the fan is spinning but it's not sucking up water). I don't plan on having any fish at least for 5-6 months until things get growing and settled. I ordered a co2 system from http://www.aquariumplants.com/Complete_CO2_system_ECONO_version_2_5_lb_cylinde_p/co2-eco.htm, itll be here sometime next week.

questions:
do I need to use the circulation pumps? 1 or both?

should I try to get the hanging filter working or just spend the money for a canister filter?

 

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Canister is the better option for that size tank. And for your pumps, you can use the two pumps especially you don't have any fish. Once you have your plants and Co2 installed, you can reduce your circulation if it's too much for the plants, plants should just be gently swaying, gentle surface ripple for oxygen exchange, so not to lose too much Co2. You may just need one pump along with the canister filter.
 

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I can never say on circulation until I get into seeing how the whole tank works. So many things to change the flow! With powerheads, you do have a big advantage of being able to direct them far better than filter outputs. My only thought is to try it and adjust as needed.
For the filter which spins but doesn't pump, I might ask if you are setting it up and filling it so that the pump has water and is pumping from a normal tank level. They won't move air so the pump has to be in water totally and they won't pull very strong so the level has to be close to normal. If those are right, the only other thought would be clogged tubing or something like that. Only one moving part and it has to move with the 60 cycle AC so there is not much else involved. If the impeller moves it should move water if the water is in the right places.
 

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Here is a way to check the circulation:
start with a stick that is long enough to reach the bottom of the tank.
Tie bits of thread to the stick every few inches.
Start your pumps and put the stick in the tank in many places. See how the thread moves.

If you get a consistent pattern with the thread that shows a good pattern of circulation you are on the right track.
If the threads are going every which way, or hanging, limp, then the pumps are creating turbulence or cancelling each other out. This is bad.

Another way to check this is to put something like fish food in the water and watch it sink. This is harder to figure out, though easier to do. You may have to add a lot of fish food before you start to see a pattern, and to see what the circulation is doing all over the tank.

Here is how I would start in on this problem:
1) Set up the filter as the main source of water movement. The water should sheet across the surface, hit the glass (usually at the front, but not always) then move to the bottom. As it moves across the bottom it should move the debris toward the filter intake.
2) Add power heads to increase the water movement in dead areas, to get the debris moving so it can be picked up by the filter.
 

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It is always good to try to look ahead and avoid trouble but in this case, I'm guessing it is too early to sort out the circulation question. I'm betting on the wood getting moved around a bunch and lots of thought before you get the wood to stay down. A fair amount of rocks may come into play also.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
thank you all for the advice. i'll be keeping everything in mind.

For the filter which spins but doesn't pump, I might ask if you are setting it up and filling it so that the pump has water and is pumping from a normal tank level. They won't move air so the pump has to be in water totally and they won't pull very strong so the level has to be close to normal. If those are right, the only other thought would be clogged tubing or something like that. Only one moving part and it has to move with the 60 cycle AC so there is not much else involved. If the impeller moves it should move water if the water is in the right places.
it's really weird. it's a marineland 400b http://www.petsolutions.com/C/Power-Filter-Parts/I/Emperor-Filter-Parts.aspx?CAWELAID=1630128013&CAGPSPN=pla&gclid=CPHF_Mr_pL4CFedj7AodQCoAOg. I seem to have all the parts, and nothing seems to be clogged. the water is spraying out of the top tubes, but the pump is not pulling any new water in. the filter only continues to spray water if I have it recycling back into the reservoir. I have it placed hanging on the side of the tank, so it's not pulling any extra distance. I've tried pushing down on the feeding tube and adjusting it to make sure it's tight, but nothing seems to work
 
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