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Powerhead Necessary?

This is a discussion on Powerhead Necessary? within the Freshwater Aquarium Equipment forums, part of the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium category; --> I fail to see the benefit in spending money on equipment to solve a problem that doesn't even exist. I'll bet there are countless ...

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Old 06-19-2013, 11:19 PM   #11
 
I fail to see the benefit in spending money on equipment to solve a problem that doesn't even exist. I'll bet there are countless 55g tanks out there with a single filter on the back wall (HOB or canister) that function just fine w/o powerheads or more filters.

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Originally Posted by Sanguinefox View Post
I fail to see the benefit of close to stagnate pockets of water in a tank.

As for OP, you could go out and choose to spend additional money on an HOB as people have suggested. I personally don't see an cons to wanting to run a power head, but pay attention to the preferences of your fish. Don't buy something too strong if your fish won't like the flow.

You could go ahead and buy an inexpensive small sponge filter to attach to the power head and then you have added filtration that can be sunk in areas of low with the current pointed where necessary to complete your circuit of water flow.
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Old 06-20-2013, 09:31 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Sanguinefox View Post
...
Areas of low filtration to none become dead spots. Dead spots cause hypoxia. Hypoxia leads to cold pockets of water that lack oxygen, cause surrounding areas to suffer, and create pockets that fish simply don't like.
...
I have a very hard time believing that there can be defined stratification in the water column combined with oxygen depleting factors in a tank environment to actually produce areas of hypoxia. Dead spots don't become hypoxic just because the water SEEMS to not be moving.

Sure, it may be advantageous to ensure that all of the water does move but in a situation where the plants end up in the still water zone (I would argue that this is still not a dead water zone) it is impossible for the water to become hypoxic anyway without some serious bacterial bloom or something actually actively sucking up the O2. This would be a tank wide concern as the volume is just not large enough to support the conditions necessary to create little areas of hypoxia except, perhaps, under some deep small grained substrate.

I recall temperature differences coming up on this topic before, so...

Temperature graduations in a tank that could be a factor are not so much a real factor either. With room temperature being, say, 65F (worst case) and water temperature being 80F the temperature MAY vary from top to bottom in a totally still tank with a heater at the surface of the tank that full 15F. Given even slight convection currents due to the heater and the insulating factor of the glass, however small it may be, the entire tank will be above room temperature by some margin, add a filter of any caliber and the water will both circulate to most of the tank and even the still water areas will benefit.

I tested this out myself during the winter (inadvertently) as I left the filter off overnight The room temperature dropped to 60F ( it may have been lower as it is the far end of the open concept area from where the heat and thermostat are) and my tank target temperature is 77F. The heater (only a 150Watt unit) is mounted vertically (least effective orientation I believe) at one end of a 30" 37 gallon tank (no, not a 48" 55). The temperature drop across the length of the tank was 7 degrees and the fish all stayed at the warm end, they know where the water is best for them. That temperature drops quite fast under those circumstances so after 8 or more hours, I expect that was the equilibrium. No induced circulation other than the little bit from the heater and the resultant water convection.

After having said that, I still stand by my suggestion of changing to a canister and spray bar to create more circulation anyway... although the powerhead and sponge filter is a far more cost effective method and would probably work equally as well.

Jeff.
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Old 06-20-2013, 10:19 AM   #13
 
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Water lower in the aquarium will alway's be lower in 02 .(easy to check yourself with DO meter)Add to this tropical temp's (less 02 than cooler temps),and biological oxygen demand,(often overlooked but significant),and good circulation throughout the tank is of consierable benefit to the life therein.
Is my opinion shared by many many other's ,and I have yet to hear anything to change my view.
Many,Many, folk's who run high energy planted tank's,use 10 x the tank's volume in turnover each hour as golden rule to prevent stagnant area's and to help distribute CO2.(I think it's a bit much).
I have tried the less is better approach,fine filtering,slow flow,, and it just ain't what produces for me.
But there are those self professed sages,that have never tried anything other than their method,never expierimented with different idea's.They will tell you that this is not needed,or that is absolutely needed whether it be filter's and or snake oil's,potion's, that in theory promise to speed the maturing process of your aquarium.
If OP want's to add another filter, try different filtration method's,different plant growing method's, then I say do it.Then speak from your expieriences.

Last edited by 1077; 06-20-2013 at 10:32 AM..
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Old 06-20-2013, 01:58 PM   #14
 
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Originally Posted by JDM View Post
I have a very hard time believing that there can be defined stratification in the water column combined with oxygen depleting factors in a tank environment to actually produce areas of hypoxia. Dead spots don't become hypoxic just because the water SEEMS to not be moving.

Sure, it may be advantageous to ensure that all of the water does move but in a situation where the plants end up in the still water zone (I would argue that this is still not a dead water zone) it is impossible for the water to become hypoxic anyway without some serious bacterial bloom or something actually actively sucking up the O2. This would be a tank wide concern as the volume is just not large enough to support the conditions necessary to create little areas of hypoxia except, perhaps, under some deep small grained substrate.

I recall temperature differences coming up on this topic before, so...

Temperature graduations in a tank that could be a factor are not so much a real factor either. With room temperature being, say, 65F (worst case) and water temperature being 80F the temperature MAY vary from top to bottom in a totally still tank with a heater at the surface of the tank that full 15F. Given even slight convection currents due to the heater and the insulating factor of the glass, however small it may be, the entire tank will be above room temperature by some margin, add a filter of any caliber and the water will both circulate to most of the tank and even the still water areas will benefit.

I tested this out myself during the winter (inadvertently) as I left the filter off overnight The room temperature dropped to 60F ( it may have been lower as it is the far end of the open concept area from where the heat and thermostat are) and my tank target temperature is 77F. The heater (only a 150Watt unit) is mounted vertically (least effective orientation I believe) at one end of a 30" 37 gallon tank (no, not a 48" 55). The temperature drop across the length of the tank was 7 degrees and the fish all stayed at the warm end, they know where the water is best for them. That temperature drops quite fast under those circumstances so after 8 or more hours, I expect that was the equilibrium. No induced circulation other than the little bit from the heater and the resultant water convection.

After having said that, I still stand by my suggestion of changing to a canister and spray bar to create more circulation anyway... although the powerhead and sponge filter is a far more cost effective method and would probably work equally as well.

Jeff.
When I use the word Hypoxia I simply mean areas of low oxygen. If it is going to cause this much confusion I can simply refer to it as that. When you run long tanks on a single unit (especially HOB's, or internal units) your current can do funny things. If you stick it on one end, and you have it pointing across the tank, your current carries but depending upon the unit it can stop being strong about half way. It'll still feel like it's there on that opposite end to some degree. Then directly below that you can have little to no actual circulation especially close to substrate level. Now if you have the tank loaded up with plants, and decor, it's easy to see where over time if a person is only ever dropping the tank to half, or isn't doing water changes as regular as they should...you can get these pockets that are not as well filtered. They can be cold, and quite possibly be low in oxygen as well.

Moving onto your bit about temp...again I would like to refer to the above. If you take a tank, fill with water, and stick a heater and a filter in...you may find that the temp difference across is all well within the fish's actual limits. Now factor in things like planting, decor, drift wood, caves...etc. All these little variables add up and where one area might have been well within the limits of a fish's tolerance...it may actually drop further than that.

If we go AD's route, so what...the fish can move right? What if that pocket forms in the middle of a dense planting. Might not be so good for the plants. What if that pocket forms at the end of a tank, behind some decor and the owner never notices? Unless he picks up the decor and actually vaccums around it, it can become a collection point for debris (I've seen this myself where areas that don't have flow begin to collect debris just from the movement of fish).

9 times out of 10 a person probably will never have to worry about these things. If it comes into their thinking that they may have an issue, it's not a bad thing to go ahead and get additional equipment. I've run tanks for 5 gallons to 150 gallons with many in-between. I'm running 5 right now. It never hurts to have extra equipment. ultimately it's up to OP if he considers what he sees in his tank concerning enough to purchase additional equipment. If he wants to replace his filtration with a canister, hey that might be a nice juicy bonus for him. He doesn't have to spend that much money though. He could get something like a small internal, a second HOB, a power-head...or even just an airstone (disc types are nice for creating movement in areas where the circulation is lacking). I've said all I can say here.

EDIT: I didn't want to double post but ran out of time to put this in as an edit. Apologies. If a mod wants to merge this with my previous post that's fine by me.
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Old 06-20-2013, 02:25 PM   #15
 
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Originally Posted by Sanguinefox View Post
I fail to see why it is okay in situation where people are willing to spend the extra money to double their safety net with their tank...why it is okay for a mod to come in and spew nonsense.
I generally don't give filtration advice because I've been told not to encourage people to waste their money. I don't understand it either, but I don't have to since I generally abstain from such discussions. I'm just not interested in wasting my time fighting the power. There is no shortage of places for people to get advice on filtration - the general consensus of the forums that I've been a part of is quite different than the ideas that are pushed here. For what it's worth.
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Old 06-20-2013, 06:04 PM   #16
 
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Go spend about a dollar at the local hardware store. Biggest problem with all hob filters is that the intake is directly below the output. Get a foot or two of the proper size tubing, extend & move the intake away from the output, as far as your heart desires. I've seen black tubing of various dimensions, black always adds to the cool factor.

There, $1. A buck. Don't go killing each other over a dollar upgrade, conserve that ammo for the $200 canister filter debates.
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Old 06-20-2013, 10:51 PM   #17
 
To the OP you came here feeling something was wrong with your circulation. I personally believe that is enough to say you should add more. What exactly is up to you. Both aquaclear and penguin do make very adaptable powerheads, they are both very good quality powerheads as well. I have some penguin ones that are 10+ years old. A single penguin 550 would be a good option for a 55 gallon in conjunction with a HOB filter. Ten years ago these were the typical powerheads that game with under gravel filters for a 55 gallon(two of them). I personally would use a prefilter in conjunction with this powerhead which basically makes it a filter in itself. Or like 1077 said you can get a koralia which is a stand alone powerhead which has no real abilities to be adapted into a filter. Prefilter/sponge filters do take up considerable space in a tank but they do work great. Or you can do as Tolak suggested and try using an extension on the intake of the HOB before adding additional circulation.

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There, $1. A buck. Don't go killing each other over a dollar upgrade, conserve that ammo for the $200 canister filter debates.
What about sponge filter debates? We could argue over who has the trashiest filter. Mine's made of more garbage then yours, ect.
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Old 06-20-2013, 11:19 PM   #18
 
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I'll bet I could make one out of things I garbage pick. It actually will be a trash filter!
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Old 06-20-2013, 11:23 PM   #19
 
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I'll bet I could make one out of things I garbage pick. It actually will be a trash filter!
Haaha, you could make a trash tank...
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Old 06-21-2013, 12:07 AM   #20
 
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Hahah
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