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Hi Folks,

I've seen"flow" mentioned a couple of times in the forum recently. Not in the context of adequate filtration turnover, but in the context of water movement in a planted tank.

What little I've seen on the subject in the past stated that you don't want too much movement in a planted tank.

So I thought I'd just ask. I understand that you want adequate movement to distribute CO2 and eliminate dead spots, but what is the role of water movement, how much do you need, etc...

In fact, what are some of the experts ideal models for water flow and force in a planted tank...if there is such a thing.

AB
 

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Whoever is telling you you don't want too much water movement is probably a noob. You basically want as much as your plants can handle without getting uprooted or growing horizontally. Water circulation is the essential key to distributing EVERYTHING properly throughout your tank.

Fortunately this is an easy one to test. Go ahead and limit the flow in your tank and watch how certain plants closest to the outflow are thriving while other plants tend to host algae parties.

Here's a good trick I used to use, while learning about circulation and how best to position inflow and outflow, to test circulation in my newly setup tanks:

As soon as you think you have things positioned properly, pour a few capfuls of Kent blackwater extract into the outflow tube, and then turn your canister on. Watch the brown cloud come out and start tinting your water. You can actually see the current, and any dead pockets, when you do this. If your circulation is good, the entire tank will be a consistent shade of brown, and it will happen in a few seconds. If not, you will see areas that are noticeably a lighter shade than the rest of the tank.

This method is completely safe, and I promise you that the brown color will not stay this way, so you don't have to commit to having a blackwater tank, lol. You can make it go away VERY fast if you have charcoal in your canister. Then, if you need to adjust things, or add a powerhead or whatever, you can test it out again.

I always used to do this on new tanks, and I always added charcoal filters to new canisters (it's good for planted tanks that are just starting out!), so I can tell you that the color would go away in just a few hours, or less.
 
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