Hot Tips: Your Circulation System

A selection of useful tidbits of
information and tricks for the marine aquarist submitted by
Advanced Aquarist’s readership. Readers are encouraged to
post them to our Hot Tips sticky in the
Reefkeeping Discussion
forum or send their tips to
for possible publication. Next
month’s Hot Tip theme will be
Best Innovation of 2005“.

Common Mistakes Setting Up A New Tank:

Design the tank circulation seperate from your sump

For the tank, you want volume NOT force … and random
directions to avoid dead spots. Research wave systems and
products that duplicae them. Be concerend with life of the
product and price. They are related. Powerheads will get you by,
then streams, but closed loops get you the best performace for
your buck.


Sump – push the max that your overflows will handle and divert
the returns to cross each other or collide in the tank. Depends
on tank size. Mine meet in the center but my tank is 6 feet

Submitted by: LA-Lawman

Use enough solvent cement on your slip PVC joints.

Submitted by: Bryan Flanigan (aka ‘knucklehead’)

I really like the flow you get out of Tunze Streams. I have
two Tunze 6200’s in my 300G and they are controlled by a
Tunze 7095 multi-controller. The controller can do tides, waves,
chaotic chance flow, and they really kick out a lot. They’re
awesome. I might add two more 6200’s in the future and then
dial all four down a little bit to reduce the velocity.
That’s the great thing about the Steams. You can oversize
them then dial them back. That’s better than not having
enough IMHO.

Penductors/Eductors are a good way to create more flow from
your return lines. They supposedly increase the flow by a 3:1 to
5:1 ratio.

I am thinking about adding a CSD (Carlson Surge Device) too.
They are great if you have a fish room and have room for
equipment and don’t care too much if you have noise.

And as Nathan Paden always says “increase flow, decrease
velocity”. Them are words to live by in an SPS tank.


Submitted by: Louey

I recently cut the “tips” off my powerhead’s
output. More bang for your buck, pushes out a wider angel of
water. Less need for multiple powerheads.

Put in the extra money for any wave making system.

Get a big return pump and put a ball valve on it. This way if
you ever need more flow, just a turn on that ball valve gives you
what you want.

Think about putting two returns on your tank. Increasing the
flow in your tank , kills those dead spots. Those dead spots trap
junk in your tank. ie: fish waste, food, ditritus, dead
things….bad stuff.

DIY your wavemakers. Find a simple plan on the internet, turn
it into a reality.

Clean pumps… a clean pump runs BEST.

Submitted by: pwj1286


This set-up is cheap and can be created using two cheap
hardware timer and 2-6 powerheads.

For circulation in my 140 gallon tank I use four of the
largest sized maxi-jets (296 gph). I suction them sideways just
below the water. Two on the left and two on the right. Then I
shoot the water across the tank towards the surface. This creates
high flow, low velocity. I use a waver timer and alternative the
pumps that are on. Leftside for 30 minutes then right side for 30
minutes. Because all the pumps work in unison pushing the water
the same direction in a circular flow.

It really creates high flow. I am sure that I get more then
the 600 gph that the pumps are rated for, because of the circular
flow effect. I also make sure that when they are switching from
one side to the other all four pumps are on for five minutes to
create extreme turbulence. It is amazing to watch when the pumps
come on and they are working to try and reverse the circular flow
of the tank. It is a mad house in the tank.

I orginally had six in the same set-up but had to remove two.
This was because the flow was so high it wan’t allowing my
xenia to spread out and attach to the live rock rubble I had
around it (This is how I like to propagate xenia). If I had only
sps I would go back to six.

Submitted by: smit1260

My circulation consists of my return pump (Pan World 50PX-X)
feeding a Ocean Motions Super Squirt 4-way device. I also plan on
having two propellar-type pumps in the tank for the bulk of the
water movement. The return pump/Ocean Motions will effectively
vary the water flow. That’s all there is to my circulation
….. nice and simple.

Submitted by: Len

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