This month we have a new author, Jake Adams. He is a young marine biologist, and has begun a series of articles for us on a subject which he feels is the most critical for successful reef keeping – water motion. I agree! I spent some time recently diving and snorkeling in Hawaii, and it vividly reminded me about how strong current and sea surge really are. So strong in fact that duplicating it in a reef tank may be impossible, but we can try to get as close as practical to nature. Jake’s articles will fill you in with the biochemical need for water motion.


As many of you know I have set up a new reef tank, and water motion and gas exchange were a priority of mine in its design. The new tank holds 400-gallons of water and the sumps hold 300-gallons. Water circulation is accomplished by one Sequence Hammerhead pump, which I have plumbed to drive a OceansMotions 4 Way system, terminating in 4 OceansMotion’s Revolutions. Using these devices I’m able to circulate water to virtually every corner of the tank. From the Hammerhead into these devices I circulate approximately 5000-gallons/hour. From the photograph you can see the 4 Revolutions, each with 3 nozzles that rotate 15-degrees as water from the 4 Way comes and goes sequentially. The company offers a variety of sequences, and can modify most everything it makes to suit different needs. See photo, and for more information check out OceansMotion’s web site at


As you can also observe from the photos I also use two TOP aquarium series external water pumps. The virtue of these pumps is that their motors are out of the water, with the result that they don’t heat the water, and each circulates about 1000-gallons/hour. Another advantage is that should one or even two pumps fail my reef will have adequate circulation for quite awhile. If one is to stay ahead of Murphy, with machinery that is vital, like water circulation pumps, a back system is necessary. For those of you who may be interested in these external pumps they are available at this link I have noticed that they are now called Hi Tech pumps, but look essentially the same to me.


Although this setup circulates about 7000-gallons/hour I also further gas exchange by operating two skimmers simultaneously – my old ETS downdraft skimmer, driven by an Iwaki 70-RLT and my new ASM G6 skimmer. Between the two about 3000-gallons are processed hourly. Some of you may think that much skimming is over-doing things, but I like to have a lot of well fed fish in my reef tank and still maintain a nutrient desert, not a eutrophic lagoon.

Addendum: In a previous editorial I referred to the ingenious devices made by OceanMotions as coming Ocean Currents, when in fact the company is OceanMotions.

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