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krg
07-26-2010, 09:57 PM
What are the benefits to using a powerhead? Currently I'm only using a Rena cannister filter and I get decent water-flow from that. I'm thinking of adding a Koralia Powerhead but I'm curious..what are the benefits?? I guess I should mention that I only have a little bit of LR in my tank, as well as two small fish. A Scarlett Clownfish, and a Blue Damsel. And I keep them in a 77ga tank. Thanks for reading!! Take care everyone!!
Kennan

Funky_Fish14
07-26-2010, 10:03 PM
Waterflow is important in any aquarium for many reasons:

1. Helps keep poop/waste from settling on the bottom (Ie: under rocks where you cant see, etc...)
2. Helps distribute nutrients around the tank (not only do I mean growth nutrients to corals and stuff, but also pushes the ammonia/nitrite/nitrate around to the bacteria, which to them is nutrients, and helps keep your tank clean)
3. Provides oxygenation!

(4. discourages algae growth etc... etc...)

There are many other reasons but those first 3 are pretty big ones. Even if you have an XP4 on there, I know those dont put out a TON of flow, and its probably not picking up a lot of the gunk on the bottom.

Heck, even in a FW tank I personally would add something additional for waterflow, be it a big airstone, powerhead, or a HOB filter. All my FW tanks have at least 2 things providing waterflow/movement.

More flow = better!

Cheers,

Chris

bvlester
07-26-2010, 10:09 PM
I run up to 3200g/h flow in my 110g DT I say upto as I do not run all the power heads at one time but on ocation I will run them all for about half an hour then back to normal rotation.

Bill

krg
07-26-2010, 10:10 PM
Thank-you for the reply sir, I appreciate it very much!!! I will be sure to pick up a powerhead in the next week or so!! Thanks so much!! :D Take care,
Kennan

krg
07-26-2010, 10:14 PM
So..how many powerheads are you running at any given time? I'm wondering how many I should maybe be running in my 77ga tank?
Kennan

xtreme
07-26-2010, 10:16 PM
It depends on the type of corals you plan on keeping but I would aim for at least 20x/hour for the volume of your tank and go up from there if necessary. Some SPS tanks flow is up around 80-100x per hour.

ElGuappo
07-26-2010, 10:24 PM
So..how many powerheads are you running at any given time? I'm wondering how many I should maybe be running in my 77ga tank?
Kennan



in my 72 i have a vortec mp 10 (1550 gph) and a vortec mp 20 ( 2000 gph) plus what ever my return puts out at 5 feet of head... my tank is going to be mostley SPS and LPS

krg
07-26-2010, 10:26 PM
This tank is going to be a FOWLR, as I don't have room for a sump or a skimmer. I'm considering turning a 60ga into a tank with corals and 'community' fish. Planning on going to Calgary this week, and I want to check out a shop or two. Any recommendations? I heard Golds is a really good shop, so I plan on going there. If the prices are good there, maybe I'll buy my powerhead there!!
Anyway, I'm getting sidetracked. Thanks for replying guys, much appreciated!!
Kennan

globaldesigns
07-27-2010, 12:07 AM
I run:
- 2 Vortech MP40W's
- 2 #4 Koralia's with wavemaker controller
- Mag 18 return pump

All them together are equal to 11,000 Gallons per hour of momement, give or take. Of course there is a little loss from head room of the return pump... As others stated it depends on what coral you have, but I will put something out there... Remember the wild is not a gentle place, nor is it really calm, if you go scuba or snorkling do you see dietrus and crap on the rocks? I don't, so I believe the more movement of water the better.

Have fun!

krg
07-27-2010, 12:26 AM
I would think though that with more movement in the water, wouldn't all the poop and other stuff just be suspended in the water then?

intarsiabox
07-27-2010, 01:12 AM
It must remain in suspension for your filter to pull it out. If the debris is allowed to settle it will decompose and turn into nitrates. As soon as the excess debris gets sucked out after you intitially start your power heads the water will probably end up being clearer and your livestock will be happier.

krg
07-27-2010, 01:27 AM
DUH!! That was a dumb question of me to ask!! I never even thought of the filter. Boy do I feel dumb! Thanks for your reply :)
Kennan

nlreefguy
07-27-2010, 01:32 AM
DUH!! That was a dumb question of me to ask!! I never even thought of the filter. Boy do I feel dumb! Thanks for your reply :)
Kennan

There's no such thing as a dumb question, man. That's what forums are for! I hope we can all be as useful to you. Don't be afraid to ask questions - it will prevent you from making all the mistakes that we all have made as typical noobs!

intarsiabox
07-27-2010, 01:39 AM
It's all the dumb questions that you DON'T ask that usually causes problems and makes people leave the hobby. This is a very friendly forum and it's pretty rare that I've ever seen a question go unanswered no matter what it is about.

ElGuappo
07-27-2010, 01:39 AM
DUH!! That was a dumb question of me to ask!! I never even thought of the filter. Boy do I feel dumb! Thanks for your reply :)
Kennan

the only dumb question is the one you dont ask.... ... most ppl on this board are more than wiling to help..

i ran a reef tank without a sump and skimmer.... just fyi it can be done but the maintanece is insane...

Funky_Fish14
07-29-2010, 07:47 AM
Keeping up with your waterchanges (since you dont have a skimmer/sump, not that you shouldnt do them even with those) and regular maintenance, and NOT SKIMPING on stuff will really be your best 'tool' to fight dirtyness and bad experiences!

Remember, if you cut corners on one thing... that in turn cuts a corner somewhere else... That may mean the cleanlyness of your tank or the health of your tankmates. Those problems upset all us fishkeepers! So:

If you dont enjoy it, your not going to want to stick with it. Make sure you keep your tank clean and happy, and you'll love it, and in turn... GOOD maintenance also means less pain in the butt with maintenance (rather than leaving a tank till its too nasty!). You'll figure out the routines that work best for you as time goes on. Try not to fret too much and as everyone said, always ask any question you have!
Knowledge is power!

Cheers,

Chris

Funky_Fish14
07-29-2010, 07:51 AM
Another thing, just kind of to explain the powerhead thing...

Think of the suspended detritus this way: Having all that crud suspended and then caught into your filter makes it about a million times easier to take out. If all of it were to settle into the sand/gravel/through the rocks... you'd be gravel vaccuming all the time... big pain in the butt! But now.. its caught up in that filter... and when you clean it regularly (every week... two, or three, you'll find that out over time, when it needs to be done), then you can just get all the gunk right out of the filter pad.. and you rocks/sand are still clean, water is clear... and the filter pad/foam is ready to keep clearing the water! But also, the longer that gunk sits in there... the more it breaks down, so dont let it sit too long (frequent, quick cleanings are good), cause otherwise all those dissolved organics mean food for algae. Algae sucks, we all know it... 10 000 times more work to eliminate than keeping your filter and water clean. So as I mentioned... a healthy routine means a healthy tank and a good experience!

All the best,

Chris

whatcaneyedo
07-29-2010, 08:47 AM
Two other advantages to using powerheads in place of circulation pumps is that they are more efficent in terms of electricty drawn and add less heat to the water. Something like a submersible Danner Mag 7 pump will feel noticably warm to the touch and draws 65W. While a Hydor Koralia Evolution 750 will produce roughly the same amount of flow for only 4.5W

krg
07-29-2010, 02:34 PM
Hi guys,
Your replies have led me to ask another question..water changes..what exactly am I doing? I have some experience with freshwater tanks, and am used to vaccuuming the gravel when I do a water change. I was told with saltwater I don't want to siphon my substrate cause I have befeficial stuff there. So..am I just basically sucking up water and replacing it? Or am I just vaccuuming the parts of my Live Rock that I can vaccuum? I'm slightly confused on what to do to perform a 'proper' water change.
Thanks to anyone still reading and to anyone replying..I EXTREMELY appreciate it!!! Thanks to everyone who has replied. I look forward to learning some more!!! Take care,
Kennan

mike31154
07-29-2010, 04:21 PM
I vacuum the substrate a little on every water change. Doing a small area a little deeper and everything reachable lightly every time will help keep the crud level down without disturbing all the beneficial stuff too much.

While you're out shopping have a look at some of the hang on back (HOB) skimmers available. I've been running a 77 gal sumpless for close to 4 years and went from FOWLR at the start to where I now have anemones, soft and LPS corals. My skimmer came with the used system and is an old school DIY counter current, wooden air stone unit. With a few of my own mods, it works very well. If the skimmer prices are a little hard to take, search the net for DIY plans and if you're handy you should be able to get something built relatively easily for less money. Even with a FOWLR, once you see the stuff a skimmer can remove from the water over time, you'll be convinced it's a good thing for your livestock and to ease your maintenance burden.

Further on the subject of water changes, it's recommended to use RO/DI or distilled water to prepare your mix. Can depend on your source water too, but long term you'll have better results with pure water than with treated tap water when running a salt water system.

whatcaneyedo
07-29-2010, 05:21 PM
I dont vacume the substrate but I do use a turkey baster to blast some of the settled detritus off of my rock and coral when i do a water change. I also always give new saltwater at least overnight to completely dissolve with a powerhead in the bucket before I use it.

krg
07-29-2010, 11:06 PM
Mike,
So you think a 'hang-over-the-side' skimmer is a good way to go?? I'll check into it! I actually just got back from my excursion to Calgary. I planned on going to Gold's but..he was closed. I actually caught him bringing stuff in. The lights were off but he told me I could go in and take a quick look around. From what I can see..it looks like a pretty decent store. I then went to Big Al's. It's a pretty big store, fairly impressive tanks. All of the tanks looked good, no algea or anything like that. No casualties, all around a good store. The only thing I kind of question is..A lot of younger adults working there(I'd say 18-24ish, just a guess), and I wonder about their knowledge. How much do they know? Are they going to blow smoke up my butt? I guess I shouldn't judge them, I'm just curious if they can answer any questions I may have. I noticed their prices are pretty close to here in Brooks so..I'll just buy some things locally(Powerheads, for example).
A question about mixing a batch of saltwater and letting it sit overnight. Are you just using a regular powerhead? Are you suctioning it to the pail, or magnet? That brings another question..I believe those are two of the types..magnet and suction..is one any better than the other? I believe the one I'm looking at here at home is a magnet, and the one I was looking at in Calgary is a suction-type. Which is the better way to go?
Back to Mike,
So, are you saying that since you hooked up a protein skimmer you are running corrals now, instead of FOWLR? Will a skimmer really do THAT much for me? I'm not sure if I want to have corrals in this tank but if a skimmer gives me the ability too..I'll buy one for sure. If for nothing else than to make my water quality that much better!!
My 60ga tank is a homade jobbie(not by me), and is pretty decent. I was thinking because I have room underneath(whereas with my 77ga I don't), I could maybe put a sump underneath. Now..is it true that I'll need holes drilled in the base of the tank for the sump? Is it possible to have a sump without drilling into the tank? If it's not possible I'll probably just leave the tank as-is and keep it a freshwater tank, and eventually buy a bigger tank set up for a sump. At least, that's the thought in mind.
Anyway, thanks for letting me ramble on. I look forward to more replies. In the meantime..I think I'm going to go to my LFS and see what's going on around there. Thanks again, everyone..take care!!!
Kennan

whatcaneyedo
07-30-2010, 01:27 AM
There are far more in-sump skimmers to choose from than there are hang-ons... Many of the inexpensive hanging ones are crap so do some research before buying.

I just have a regular powerhead sitting on the bottom of a garbage can. That is all that is needed to mix up new saltwater. However some people go a step further and add an airstone and maybe a heater but those aren't needed in my opinion.

Magnet holding systems are better in my mind than suction cup hangers for holding powerheads. Calcifying organisms and algae will eventually cause suction cups to fail while magnetic mounts aren't effected by such things.

krg
07-30-2010, 01:41 AM
Awesome!! I think I know the powerhead I'm going to buy then..THANKS!!! I'll do some checking as far as the skimmers go. I find out what my local store carries, check out the web-site(s) and tell you guys as well. I'll get it figured out..I hope :) Thanks again! Take care,
Kennan

mike31154
07-30-2010, 07:00 AM
I use AquaClear powerheads with the 'hang on the side' bracket as well as a heater when mixing new water in a rectangular rubbermaid type plastic tub. Generally allow it to mix for a couple of days and put the heater in the day before the actual water change. I like to match the temp and salinity of the new water as close as possible for adding since I have to add to the display due to being sumpless at the moment.

The skimmer I'm using as mentioned is a DIY that came with the system and as soon as I figured out how to use it, I powered it up. Many folks run systems successfully without skimmers, but I think it involves more frequent water changes to keep the quality to a point where it's livable for the inhabitants. Personally, even if I was running FOWLR, I'd still be using the skimmer. Tanks with plenty of fish produce more 'crap' and protein for a skimmer to skim. Make sure you do plenty of research before jumping on to the skimmer bandwagon. There's a lot of stuff out there and all have their pros & cons. You can easily spend and extra grand for the latest and greatest which may only improve performance over an older model marginally. And yes, there are some very junnky ones out there too. There are times when good is good enough. If money is no object, knock yourself out, ha ha.

I used a Remora C HOB with a Mag 3 pump for a while since it came with another used system I purchased. Why am I back to the dated technology of a DIY wooden air stone skimmer? Frankly the Remora didn't work well for me at all. It was incredibly noisy and only ever produced a mild tea coloured skimmate. The only good thing about the Remora was that I could fit it in between the wall and the display.

Since modifying my old skimmer with a monster DIY wooden air stone and upgrading the air pump, it's working better than ever. I run it fairly dry so it takes a while to fill up the plastic bottle I use to collect the liquid skimmate, but the dry paste I scrape out of the collection cup every week is testament to the good job it does. And it does it silently and with very low power consumption, maybe 15 watts total with the air pump and small AquaClear powerhead. I'm pretty sure my next build with basement sump will include another DIY skimmer with wooden air stone, but I'll make it at least a six footer since there will be no limitation with respect to room. IMO there's no substitute for contact time with skimmers and the best way to get that is slow flow with a very long tube.

Here are several photos. I also built a dedicated side stand for it since I didn't actually like hooking it on the side of the tank. This necessitated further modifications in the form of a longer return line. The pics are a little dated showing the older air pump and using store bought air stones.
http://public.blu.livefilestore.com/y1pYry0_G91AHTszNF161NgAuPABwcKzrMD9kcKlGNumnopzMe VWLYYuAuHUZsRZgR7ZKfvISlyTrfHml7ihs64BA/P1010815d.jpg?psid=1

Here's the stuff that will need to be exported by other means without a skimmer. And this is old school, so take it from there. I'm getting much nastier stuff after my mods.

http://public.blu.livefilestore.com/y1pHCgaySWky-X-mwOnRJbJX607r_CLkQ44E1Cfq5lZ69ID7ZEyv7NmeUqQUZeA2C SxSGft85_3E6RUOnwpBEI1Ew/P1010867b.JPG?psid=1

Jfish
07-30-2010, 05:15 PM
I usually mix up my water in a rubbermaid bin three or four days before a water change. I just leave a powerhead (koralia2) and heater dangling in the tub for a couple days to get it mixed up good. Any powerhead will due but I like the magnet type. When it comes time for the water change, I shut off all the pumps, blow off all the rocks, and suck the visibly crappy looking stuff off the top of the sand without disturbing the bed as a whole too much. Occasionally I will stir a small portion of the sandbed during the process too. After that I just pour the mixed water into the sump and let it mix, temp adjust with that water for a while and turn the pumps back on. I usually wash the skimmer cup in the dirty aqaurium water, give the inside of the skimmer a good wipe with paper towl or rags and thats it.

When it comes to skimmers I would just suggest going big. Skimmers are usually overrated for the size of tank they can handle and not that many people have lightly loaded tanks. My aquaC is rated for 180 gallons and I have a 75 gallon with 25 gallon sump. I don't think overskimming is really an issue so i'd rather have too much than not enough. And when it comes time for a bigger tank I might not have to worry about a skimmer right away. I think the skimmer does keep that water quality very high and pulls nasty dark crud outta the tank. If you get a good quality skimmer and fair amount of good quality live rock it will save you a bit of grief down the road. Add some good lights and flow and your not far off a full blown reef.

I was a little overwhelmed when first decieded on a sump but im glad I took the time to figure it out and I would never go back. To run the sump you either need a hang on the back overflow or drill your tank. I've never ran a hang on the back overflow but they require some form of siphon tube and I think can be a little worrysome. Im sure with regular maintenance and basic understanding a hang on the back can work just as good as drilling your tank.

krg
07-30-2010, 09:49 PM
Well..I just took my latest readings, and I'm a little surprised. I'll be the first to say that, I'm lazy. I'd love to have an imaculate tank like many of you have. Without a sump, and without a skimmer..I just don't know how possible that is. I have some algae growing(red and green) that I haven't stayed on top of, and I have some things growing that I don't know what they are. They kinda look like a cross between plants, and weeds. I also think I may have bristleworms. I have little crawlie..somethings. They look like little larvea of something. Well..i'd say like a wee little centepede, not really a worm. My water changes are infrequent and as you read earlier..I'm not even sure what I'm vacuuming or doing when I do a water change. I haven't added any salt to my tank in months. I've only topped up my tank with RO water when it's evaporated. And with all of this my readings are good.
PH:8.2
Amonia:0
Nitrite:0
Nitrate:0
Phosphate: .5
Salinity:1.023
Temp: 80.4
I'm not doing much, and it seems to be working. As I said..I'd like to have a tank worth showing off, I just got to get off my lazy rear-end, and maybe buy a skimmer and powerheads, etc..etc..
As I read your posts, I realise how very little I know, and how much work I should be doing. Any thoughts??
Take care everyone,
Kennan

krg
07-30-2010, 09:51 PM
I'm going to check on a -hang-on-the-back sump and see if it can work for me. As well as a skimmer. I might be able to do this yet...:)

Jfish
07-30-2010, 10:33 PM
Well just because you have good readings doesn't mean your in the clear. The red and green algea you speak of and weed like things (hair algea maybe) grow off of excessive nutrients in your tank. They are consuming the nitrates/phosphates in your tank and will keep growing until you reduce the amount of nutrients. Cyanobacteria may also be growing, its a red/purple slime that grows on anything when nutrients are low and flow is low.

The tiny worm like things sound like copeods or amphipods which are tiny little inverts that live in the rocks and sand. These along with bristle worms are beneficial life thats starting to grow in your tank.

You should never have to add salt directly to the display tank. Salt will not evaporate out of your tank so you should only have to add RO to keep your salinity right. Only time you need salt is when mixing water for a change.

Im sure there are people with very successful tanks that go no sump no skimmer. Lots of good quality live rock can provide enough beneficial bacteria to sustain a system. Thats why live rock is one of the best investments you can make in your aquarium. But since your just starting out its probably best to do as much research as possible and have all the tools neccessary before you try it with the bare minimum.

krg
07-30-2010, 11:06 PM
Thanks for the advice!! :)
I just got back from my LFS and was checking out a skimmer. Is anybody familiar with an ESHOPPS PSK-100H? I'm going to do my research this weekend and maybe buy it next week(as well as a powerhead). Thanks again for the advice. I'll post more in the next day or so!! Take care,
Kennan