Flow for lps and sps, is it the velocity thats required or just overall turnover? PLEASE HELP!

BRS

Sharp

Community Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Oct 5, 2021
Messages
81
Reaction score
34
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Sydney
Hi everyone. I made a thread the other day which looked at hopefully getting my tank to start growing some corals. One of the suggestions was to look at increasing the flow of my tank.

I have a 180 gallon, 6 foot mixed reef aquarium. Filled with acros, euphillia, heliofungia plating coral, fleshly lps (brains, lobopylia, acans) and leather corals, (zoas, mushrooms, glass cushion corals). I have had the tank setup for the past 2 years, and the coral in there for the majority of that time. They look good, but have not really grown. I am trying to adjust different factors (light, flow, nutrients) to see what the issue may be. I am currently looking at testing the flow.

I have 4 Nero 5 Wavemakers that can put a maximum of 3000 gallon per hour per pump. I am currently running them at around 1500 gallons per hour. They are placed near the surface of the aquarium on each corner, facing the middle of the aquarium. They are not a couple centimetres away from any coral, but when I increased the flow to max or even by a little to say 1800 or 2000 gph, the heliofungia and frogspawn corals noticeably retracted and even had their tissue peel away. The flow when this occurred was set at random, ranging from 900 gph to 3000 every 5 minutes or so. I am looking at getting more acros once I solve the issue with my lack of growth, I know they will need alot of flow. I cannot angle the neros directly at the water surface but I'm not sure what is considered direct flow, if I drew a horizontal line from the neros to the other side of the wall they are not hitting anything, but above and below that line they are, is this considered direct flow?

After increasing the flow per pump, I am guessing the velocity was just too high for the lps corals. My question is: would purchasing more powerheads or even gyros, that have a wider angle than the Neros which seem to be quite targeted, be useful, it would increase the total turnover, but without blasting the lps. Is a high flow required for that increase in velocity, or overall water movement, which could be achieved by say adding 2-3 more pumps at a lower rate, rather than cranking up my pumps, which would result in a higher velocity.


Appreciate any suggestions. Thanks!
 
Lazy's Coral House

mdb_talon

2500 Club Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Dec 6, 2010
Messages
2,944
Reaction score
4,251
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Illinois
Flow is so hard in my opinion to help with until you just kind of experience what the right flow looks like and seen the positive results

Other may disagree but here is always my approach. I dont want to blast any coral with direct hard flow. I do however want water movement everywhere in the tank. Not only for the corals direct needs but also to do things like keep detritus suspended(to go to overflow) and things like that. I also would recommend doing whatever you can to make the currents within the tank change. The flow always going the same direction is not ideal.

Generally speaking LPS is more likely to want low to moderate flow and sps higher flow. There are many exceptions though. I try to get my tanks setup where there are areas with a whole lots of flow and other areas with minimal flow. Then i try to place my corals accordingly.

I have zero experience with meros it is hard for me to comment on the specific pumps. I do like gyre style pumps set in wave modes and pointed upwards from middle of the tank. Seems to create some nice random flow throughout the tank.

Just for the fun of it i am including a pic of what SPS can look like when flow is too directional and not random enough. This is in a frag tank i got where i just cant get a good random flow in this spot and you can see how it influences the growth of the SPS a lot....all going to the left

IMG_20211012_172953.jpg
 

90's reefer

Fight the Good Fight
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Sep 10, 2018
Messages
5,369
Reaction score
9,346
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
NorCal
Not familiar with those pumps.
That said I removed 95% of my lps to my frag system.
I run 5 powerheads in my 120 now.
2 6095's on the back wall on random on off at 100%.
2 Jebao OW-40's running wave mode at 100% on each side.They are changed a couple time a week to else mode.
1 6105 on pulse mode at 100% on 1 side.
The 6095's on the back wall never move from position.
I will move the side pumps up and down every couple months and angle them differently.
All my pumps can be rotated up/down and side to side.

This has worked very well for me as my system is 95% acros.

For your mixed system being able to direct flow will help keep the lps happy.
20210927_142744.jpg
20210927_142736.jpg
 
OP
S

Sharp

Community Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Oct 5, 2021
Messages
81
Reaction score
34
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Sydney
Flow is so hard in my opinion to help with until you just kind of experience what the right flow looks like and seen the positive results

Other may disagree but here is always my approach. I dont want to blast any coral with direct hard flow. I do however want water movement everywhere in the tank. Not only for the corals direct needs but also to do things like keep detritus suspended(to go to overflow) and things like that. I also would recommend doing whatever you can to make the currents within the tank change. The flow always going the same direction is not ideal.

Generally speaking LPS is more likely to want low to moderate flow and sps higher flow. There are many exceptions though. I try to get my tanks setup where there are areas with a whole lots of flow and other areas with minimal flow. Then i try to place my corals accordingly.

I have zero experience with meros it is hard for me to comment on the specific pumps. I do like gyre style pumps set in wave modes and pointed upwards from middle of the tank. Seems to create some nice random flow throughout the tank.

Just for the fun of it i am including a pic of what SPS can look like when flow is too directional and not random enough. This is in a frag tank i got where i just cant get a good random flow in this spot and you can see how it influences the growth of the SPS a lot....all going to the left

IMG_20211012_172953.jpg
Hi, thanks for your help. This is where I get a little confused. Is low to moderate flow a measurement of the intensity of flow the coral receives. Also if a coral is receiving flow from multiple sources is that better than just one? For example the total turnover can be 75 times, which is considered high, but a particular location may have a lot less, and that would be where to put the low flow corals? Btw your coral looks amazing, it cool to me that although its experiencing "too much" flow, it just learned to adapt to it.

Thats a point I also wanted to ask about. Say currently in my tank the heliofungia coral cannot deal with the a high flow, if I were to slowly acclimate it, increasing the flow slowly over a couple of months would it eventually learn to thrive under that increased intensity, or is that not how it works?
 
OP
S

Sharp

Community Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Oct 5, 2021
Messages
81
Reaction score
34
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Sydney
Not familiar with those pumps.
That said I removed 95% of my lps to my frag system.
I run 5 powerheads in my 120 now.
2 6095's on the back wall on random on off at 100%.
2 Jebao OW-40's running wave mode at 100% on each side.They are changed a couple time a week to else mode.
1 6105 on pulse mode at 100% on 1 side.
The 6095's on the back wall never move from position.
I will move the side pumps up and down every couple months and angle them differently.
All my pumps can be rotated up/down and side to side.

This has worked very well for me as my system is 95% acros.

For your mixed system being able to direct flow will help keep the lps happy.
20210927_142744.jpg
20210927_142736.jpg
Thanks for the pictures. it makes it easier to process. So my pumps are places similarly to yours. Except not on the back wall. But corals that are very far from the pumps are getting battered. Is this because I cannot angle the pump towards the surface. When angling your pumps are you directing them into the glass / rocks / surface / or just in the general water column. I have no experience with this, as my pumps cannot be angled - something I hope to change with any new future pumps.
 
Maxout

mdb_talon

2500 Club Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Dec 6, 2010
Messages
2,944
Reaction score
4,251
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Illinois
Hi, thanks for your help. This is where I get a little confused. Is low to moderate flow a measurement of the intensity of flow the coral receives. Also if a coral is receiving flow from multiple sources is that better than just one? For example the total turnover can be 75 times, which is considered high, but a particular location may have a lot less, and that would be where to put the low flow corals? Btw your coral looks amazing, it cool to me that although its experiencing "too much" flow, it just learned to adapt to it.

Thats a point I also wanted to ask about. Say currently in my tank the heliofungia coral cannot deal with the a high flow, if I were to slowly acclimate it, increasing the flow slowly over a couple of months would it eventually learn to thrive under that increased intensity, or is that not how it works?

I am horrible with things like turnover rates to be honest i have never tried to calculate what my turnover rate is but would bet it is very high. Even for that milli in my picture it is not really too much flow just that it is flow almost all in one direction in that particular spot. When it comes to acros/milli/etc i find the more flow the better(again i am sure there are exceptions). If it dont make me think the polyps are going to blow right off i try to get it more flow.

With acans/chalices/plates/hammers/frogspawn though my goal is always a very gentle flow where the tentacles kind of sway a bit back and forth. Enough to bring food to it(and export waste it spits up), but not enough to cause it to shrink up. Torches on the other hand i have better success with in a higher flow area. Stuff like zoas in my experience seem to do well in a wide variety of flow from gentle to fairly strong.

I am sure to some extent the coral can adapt within reason, but in the case of something like a fungia if it is trying to blow away it may be trying to find a happier spot and i would look for a lower flow area for it. It can certainly be done to have a mixed reef with close to ideal flow for all, but in my experience at least it takes a lot of trial and error especially at first to get them all situated.

Wish i could give better info on things like turnover rates, but just not something i ever look at and would just be making it up so trying to describe as best i can how i try to arrange the flow for my coral. In my opinion most people new to the hobby underestimate how much flow coral can thrive in(especially some of the sticks)
 

90's reefer

Fight the Good Fight
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Sep 10, 2018
Messages
5,369
Reaction score
9,346
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
NorCal
Here is a better pic.
Back pumps hit the surface and bounce off the fromt glass.
6105 on side with 2 pulses the surface.
OW40 on one side points up but since pic it is pointing slightly down.
Single on far side pointing in the middle.
It is now lower near the bottom and points up.
Moving them around every couple weeks keeps the flow from being static.
All the pumps are wide flow.
20210809_140017.jpg
 
OP
S

Sharp

Community Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Oct 5, 2021
Messages
81
Reaction score
34
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Sydney
Thanks guys. That really really helps. I think i will look at finding another pump or two which I can angle away from the corals. Ill try aiming the Neros away from the coral and see what happens from there. I appreciate your help thank you.
 

Toys For Kids Drive

Untitled-2 copy.jpg

Gluemasters - your best choice for CA super glue
Top