Power Heads function in a FOWLR tank?

offminded
  • #1
HI All,

I am getting all of my supplies together for my 55 gallon FOWLR tank and I had questions about power heads...can someone give me some ideas as to their function? Do they merely stir up water or are they used for bringing water back to the aquarium from a sump? Do I really need power heads for my set up? As always...thanks!!

Dave
 
pistorta
  • #2
They help circulate oxygenated water needed by live rock and most fish love the current they produce. They are relatively inexpensive and I believe two would be recommended for a tank that size.
 
offminded
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
so these would be in addition to the water that returns from my sump, right? basically, they circulate the water that is already in the tank...they do not use an external water source, right? are they battery powered or use a plug to a wall?
 
sgould
  • #4
Generally speaking, they are used just to circulate, yes. They just plug into the wall, suck tank water in one end and shoot it out the other. The number of power heads recommended for your tank depends on how powerful they are. You want at least 20x your tank's volume in hourly circulation. For a 55 gallon tank, you want to be circulating 1100 gallons per hour. At least. You can count your filter's flow rate, as well as your skimmer's flow rate towards that, then add power heads as needed to get the total circulation up. Keep in mind though, that the gph is a recommendation that is designed to get you to the real goal, which is to minimize dead/low circulation areas in the tank (which are conducive to algae growth), as well as to ensure good flow through your live rock so that your biological filtration is maximized.
 
offminded
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
ok...I understand now. so it seems like it would be a good idea to have two power heads in order to get flow all over the aquarium and to hit the "dead" areas...right? some say that they can be used in conjunction with wavemakers...they can be used without them, right? I am looking at the foster and smith catalog now and the various brands and models. do you have any recommendations? the "doctor's choice" is the Maxi-Jet Powerhead. what do you think? I seem to be attracted to the Hydor Koralia...thoughts?
 
sgould
  • #6
They work just fine without wavemakers. I do not have any of the Koralias, but I have heard really good things about them. I'd say definitely give them a go if you are drawn that direction anyway.
 
sgould
  • #7
Oh, incidentally...maxi-jets are good too. I have 2 of them.
 
offminded
  • Thread Starter
  • #8
ok...call me goofy, but I assume that too much power can be a bad thing, right? I can see it now...my fish getting blown around like some giant tsunami...lol
 
sgould
  • #9
Sure. Current is good. Storm surge not so much.
 
agsansoo
  • #10
I highly recommend either Koralias or maxi-jets. I have both, though I favor the Koralias because they come with a built-in magnet. My stock maxi-jet always fell off the glass because they just have suction cups. Flow on the Koralias is wider than most powerheads, which makes them gentler on the corals.
 
offminded
  • Thread Starter
  • #11
ok...got it...no storm. the magnets is what sounded good to me for the Koralias...I think I will go with them. what is the trick with placement? is it a trial and error thing to make sure that there is movement throughout the entire tank?
 
Gozer_1
  • #12
ok...got it...no storm. the magnets is what sounded good to me for the Koralias...I think I will go with them. what is the trick with placement? is it a trial and error thing to make sure that there is movement throughout the entire tank?

Pretty much trial and error. Your first concern should be flow through your rocks. Second should be dead spots. A wavemaker would involve more power heads that would alternate back and forth. I'm planning to get that going sometime in my 55. Being FOWLR it's less important. The current just flowing through the whole tank in a constant flow is fine. Shifting back forth is more for corals I believe. Even then just good coverage of flow through out the tank is more important than wave action. I recently made a longer intake tube for my exsisting powerhead so that it would draw from the bottom of the tank through the live rock. I'll be doing the same as I add Powerheads when I move my skimmer down to the sump that does not yet exist lol. Really, your water flow isn't to hard to deal with until you add livestock with differing flow requirements. I have high flow and low flow corals so I have to position them as well as powerheads accordingly. I had a heck of a time getting things just right so my poor Fox Coral wouldn't get blown away.

By the way, I started FOWLR too. It's only a matter of time until you start to want some "color" and such. Those corals at the store will only look prettier and prettier.
 
offminded
  • Thread Starter
  • #13
I thought that it would be a trial and error process and I look forward to the challenge! I like the idea of adding onto the intake tube to get water from the bottom near the live rock. I am planning on having a sump from the get go. how many powerheads do you have? what type are they?

I am blown away with all of the options in the aquarium hobby...from fish to corals and reefs...its awesome!!! I just want to make sure that I can handle some fish and some live rock and sand before I venture off into the corals...they do look awesome though!!!
 
Gozer_1
  • #14
I use one lonely ZooMed PowerSweep powerhead. I like it because it's output swishes back and forth. You have to fiddle with it sometimes to get it to work and it's not really that great a quality but it's also the only one I could find with sweeping action. Mines been going strong for quiet awhile so I'd say it's AOK just doesn't seem well built. Kinda pricey too for the product quality. Like I said though it does the trick you just have to coax it once in awhile. They come with a small piece of riser tube with a cap which is what I used to cap the new long riser tube. All in all I'd recommend them.

The powerhead is in addition to 2 canisters and a skimmer by the way. I have about 20X circulation and need more. Especialy the front corners and behind the rocks. Those are my "deadest" areas. Eventually I plan for one in each corner that alternate wave style with one in the middle back running constantly to help keep my future overflow going. All will draw from the bottom with my tube modification. I'll be eliminating 1 canister and moving the skimmer to the sump so I'll need to make up for it. I'm shooting for 30X.
 
offminded
  • Thread Starter
  • #15
being that this is my first time with an aquarium, I just want everything to work out the way I plan it...I know that this is unrealistic. I talked to the owner of my LFS and he raved about the Koralias...so it looks like that's what I am going with. I would like to get around 25X circulation for my tank...we'll see...
 

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