How to Increase Water Circulation in Your Aquarium
Saltwater aquarium hobbyists often discuss water circulation to mimic waves. However, freshwater setups can have a lack of flow which can lead to water stagnation. Fish tanks (especially large ones) with lots of decorations or hardscape can develop dead zones where lots of debris collects and algae starts to grow. Increasing water circulation can help (a) stir up waste particles so they get collected by the filter, (b) evenly distribute nutrients for aquarium plants to consume, and (c) improve surface agitation so that fish have enough oxygen to breathe. Additionally, certain species such as hillstream loaches and rainbow shiners are used to living in rivers that flow quickly and may benefit from more current. This article will discuss how to increase water circulation in your aquarium.
Water Circulation for Gentle Flow
If your fish tank is smaller and/or you only require slow to moderate flow, a regular aquarium filter may be sufficient. Learn more about fish tank filters in our guide. We have information on the different types of filters, such as sponge, HOB (hang-on-back), and canister filters. These filters can filter water and create surface agitation. It is vital to move water towards the top of your aquarium. This prevents oily biofilms from forming on the surface. Also, it encourages gas exchange. Carbon dioxide is exhaled by fish and is released into the atmosphere.
Sponge filters are the best choice for baby fry and betta fish that have long flow fins. You can also choose HOB and canister filters, which use motors to move the water. These filters often have an adjustable flow control to adjust the flow rate. A simple air pump and air stone can be used to increase flow in stagnant corners of the tank. The bubbles of the airstone move water as it rises and create surface tension when they pop.
A sponge filter is a good option for baby fry or slow-moving fish. It will allow them to have enough water circulation, but not stress them.
Water Circulation to Increase Flow
A powerhead is a great choice for larger aquariums and fish tanks that require faster flow. It can be used in many different applications. A powerhead simply refers to a submersible water pump. It takes water from the input, and pumps out a strong stream of water from it. This device can speed up water changes, make your own DIY filter, and boost water circulation in your aquarium.
The Aquarium Co-Op powerhead circulates more than 200 gallons an hour and has a 11.8-foot extension cord that can reach nearly any outlet.
How large a powerhead do I need? Websites state that water should be circulated around a tank at a minimum of four times an hour. This means that a 100-gallon aquarium will require a filter/or powerhead capable of moving 400 gallons per hours (GPH). Our experience shows that aquariums have different flow rates depending on their species. Some species are unable to handle high currents and can become sick. Choose a filter or powerhead that is less powerful if you notice your fish and foliage being whipped about the tank. If the flow is too strong, you could try adding a spraybar or directing it into a wall to reduce the kinetic energie.
How much power does a powerhead need? The Aquarium Co-Op powerhead produces 211 GPH, or 800 liters per an hour (LPH).
A power head can be used to filter water. Many people use them to transfer water from their aquarium sump filter (which is a type of custom filtration) back into the fish tank. We designed the powerhead pump to perfectly fit with the Aquarium Co-Op’s sponge filters. An air pump is usually used to draw water through sponge filters. By attaching a power head to the sponge filter instead, water is pulled through the foam at higher speeds, resulting in greater mechanical filtration and clearer water. This can cause foam to clog faster, so you will need to clean it more often. However, Aquarium Co-Op sponge filters have coarse foam that doesn’t clog as easily.
Attach an electric head to the sponge filter’s uplift tube to remove water particles faster.
What is the distinction between a powerhead & awave maker? A fish-tank powerhead shoots a narrow stream of water in one direction while awave makers are meant to mimic the back-andforth motions of ocean waves.
My Powerheads, Where do I Put Them?
You can find dead spots in your aquarium’s water by looking at where the algae is growing or debris is accumulating the most. Using a power head can help disperse the decaying organics in those stagnant regions so that they get sucked up by the filter, thus making your water clearer overall.
If the “low flow” indicator on your heater is always on, it may be worth putting the powerhead close to it. This will ensure that heated water spreads throughout the tank and eliminates any hot or cold spots.
So that oil slicks are prevented and the water surface is agitated, we like to place our power heads near top of the aquarium. If the pump is too close to the ground, it could cause water cloudiness and stir up the substrate. A fish tank decoration or tall plant can be used to cover the power head. Also, a black background will blend better with the aquarium’s rear.
Place your power head where it targets stagnant areas, but keep it out of sight.
The aquarium filter or powerhead pumps may be producing less water than they used to. Simply follow the instructions in the manual to clean it out, and the performance should return to normal. Check out our Aquarium Co-Op powerhead for more information. It will keep your aquarium ecosystem in good condition with proper water circulation.