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
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.