Let's get the Flow Factors Flowing!

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What are the biggest factors that you consider when adjusting the flow of your reef aquarium?

  • Sand Bed

    Votes: 122 32.2%
  • Corals

    Votes: 329 86.8%
  • Fish

    Votes: 56 14.8%
  • Precipitation

    Votes: 10 2.6%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 12 3.2%

  • Total voters
    379

revhtree

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Finishing up the Water FLOW topics for this week today! When it comes to reef aquarium water FLOW there are many factors that come into play as it pertains to how much or how little water flow you have happening in your tank! Too much or not enough flow and corals die. Too much or not enough flow and your sand bed turns into a sand storm or storage for all the dirt and waste of the tank and so on! Let's talk about it today!

What are the biggest factors that you consider when adjusting the flow of your reef aquarium?

image via @ChristopherKriens
elos-3.jpg
 

i cant think

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Finishing up the Water FLOW topics for this week today! When it comes to reef aquarium water FLOW there are many factors that come into play as it pertains to how much or how little water flow you have happening in your tank! Too much or not enough flow and corals die. Too much or not enough flow and your sand bed turns into a sand storm or storage for all the dirt and waste of the tank and so on! Let's talk about it today!

What are the biggest factors that you consider when adjusting the flow of your reef aquarium?

image via @ChristopherKriens
elos-3.jpg
For me it’s coral and fish. Just leaving it as “fish” can be rather open so to narrow it down I will pick flow for the fish that are specialised. For example, seahorses need a lower flow tank compared to a tang or a shark. So if I have a fish that needs high flow in the tank I will go for the high flow because fish can adapt to live in high flow areas, seeking refuge in coral or rocks if need be. Even my CBB which “NeEdS” slow water movement will absolutely love swimming right into the wave maker in the highest area it can get for flow then just give up and let the current push it back, then repeat it several times.

Coral also heavily depends on the species, if it’s an acro I’ll give it as much flow as I can (Which can be difficult in my nano as I have gobies which don’t love all that flow). In my 4’ I have soft coral but again, these can adapt in many cases and with my tank having a huge ricordea rock you’d assume I give it low flow, no I give it high flow and the coral that dislike flow I will move either lower down or behind another coral so it doesn’t get smacked quite as much.
This is how I get coral like these guys to be happy in flow. My ricordea gets beaten by flow but he bubbles like mad whereas my ricordea that aren’t beaten by flow they really don’t bubble.
D2744AFB-867E-40E9-A3FE-3AFC3421A029.jpeg

9F7DF02F-D3A9-4BE9-B99B-825BED0D1DEB.jpeg
 

trainbob

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I don’t know enough about flow to answer. I have two AI Nero 5s one at 75% and one at 65% plus my return pump which I run at 50% . Watched a you tube video by Dana Riddle and he said if your sand isn’t blowing around not enough flow. My sand is not blowing around however I hesitate to run my pumps at to high a percentage
 

shakacuz

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i believe i run a medium low flow rate on my tank. enough to make the corals flow and PE from most of my SPS, but low enough to not stress the fish or stir the sand
 
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revhtree

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Thanks for the feedback so far!
 

i cant think

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For me it’s coral and fish. Just leaving it as “fish” can be rather open so to narrow it down I will pick flow for the fish that are specialised. For example, seahorses need a lower flow tank compared to a tang or a shark. So if I have a fish that needs high flow in the tank I will go for the high flow because fish can adapt to live in high flow areas, seeking refuge in coral or rocks if need be. Even my CBB which “NeEdS” slow water movement will absolutely love swimming right into the wave maker in the highest area it can get for flow then just give up and let the current push it back, then repeat it several times.

Coral also heavily depends on the species, if it’s an acro I’ll give it as much flow as I can (Which can be difficult in my nano as I have gobies which don’t love all that flow). In my 4’ I have soft coral but again, these can adapt in many cases and with my tank having a huge ricordea rock you’d assume I give it low flow, no I give it high flow and the coral that dislike flow I will move either lower down or behind another coral so it doesn’t get smacked quite as much.
This is how I get coral like these guys to be happy in flow. My ricordea gets beaten by flow but he bubbles like mad whereas my ricordea that aren’t beaten by flow they really don’t bubble.
D2744AFB-867E-40E9-A3FE-3AFC3421A029.jpeg

9F7DF02F-D3A9-4BE9-B99B-825BED0D1DEB.jpeg
I will add, I don’t really focus on the sand as much as I have sand sleeping wrasses that’s will move detritus out/off of the sand and keep it turned all the time and the flow that gets the coral usually knocks the sand off of them anyway.
 

vlangel

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Mine are sandbed and coral. Since my system is high nutrient by design, I try to have as much flow on the sandbed as it will tolerate without blowing it around. I don't like sand that is rust colored. I have nassarius snails and a fighting conch to help with that too.
Since my tank is 24" high and I have rock at differing heights, I can usually place coral in an area where both the flow and light are to it's liking. Most of my Coral are easy ones that are not too finicky which helps.
 

Chee-tomorpha

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For me, it's been mainly about the sand bed. I have been trying for a few months now to adjust the gyre pumps to give enough flow to keep the sand bed clean while not getting bald spots. I think I have found a good setting finally. It may change if I can get my tiny SPS frags to grow into colonies.
 

MnFish1

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I guess I think the flow in the ocean is far higher than almost any flow we can generate in a tank (at least at times) - IMHO - the more flow the better - Except it needs to be varied - i.e. one direction for a while then the opposite direction for a while - like a wave action as compared to a straight constant blast.
 

design.maddie

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Other!

I manage my flow by how food is dispersed. When I pour in food/nutrients, how easily is it getting to all the sessile creatures? I don't care how much the fish have to fight to get the food, they have a plush life as it is. Does the flow disrupt the feeding behavior of my corals? Does the flow accumulate food where I don't want it? Am I wasting energy by turbulent water across the surface of rocks? Flow is my favorite part of this hobby, and always has been. Growing up 5 miles from the gulf made me love the tidal flows and currents of the waters.
 

Dr RBG

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How do you measure "flow' I find it interesting that we measure other parameters to 1 or 2 decimal points.
Flow. Oh just look at the tank.
I have been trying to design a simple but objective meter that would cost less than $50 bucks retail. Do any engineers out there want to do this?
 

Dburr1014

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Need flow but it shouldn't be unidirectional. I have my wav's anti-sync during the day along with a mp40 on pulse. I have a wave generator also on the return.
The tank is very random.
 

Jedi1199

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For me, it is all about keeping the corals happy. I have a lot of Euphillia and Goniapora in my tank so I need a lower flow rate in the majority of my tank. Fortunately, I have a LOT of sand sifting snails and a bunch of fish that love to dig so my sandbed gets churned up fairly well.

My tank is also a new build so I am still moving and adding rocks which changes how the flow pattern goes. Last night, I turned off all of the flow to take some pictures and about 30 minutes later, most of the Goni's that have been all tightly closed up for weeks were open and extended. This prompted me to turn off 2 of the more powerful flow makers in the tank.

This morning when I fed the tank, I can REALLY see how the pattern has changed and how little it moves the food particles around the tank. I still have some tinkering to do. Oh, and the Goni's are all closed up again.. grrr...
 
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