When would you want to use a powerhead?
Any time you can. Powerheads increase the flow over the bio-bed. This increase is not only healthier for the tank, but also encourages a healthier environment for the de-nitrifying bacteria that keep your tank healthy. It increase the flow of oxygenated water over the bed.
Powerheads have been thought to only be used with ugf's, I also use them in this application. However, in recent years, some manufacturers have developed adaptors which allow the powerhead to become a powered sponge filter, re: Penguin 660r powerhead available at www.PetSolutions.com . This powerhead also allows you to run a reverse flow application on your ugf's. I swear by this type of filtration. Reverse flow helps to reduce substrate compaction and reduces mulm build-up. However, I must stress that no system is 100% effective by itself. The addition of external/internal powerfilters and canister filters only improve overall filtration of the water. And if Toolman Tim had aquariums, he would say, "More is always better". You must take note, though, that some fish do not care for heavy water movement. Anabatids,ect, would benefit in the use of a reverse flow application.
Powerheads are also beneficial to create current. Fish that would enjoy this would be fish like gobies.
Heck you left out a couple of other great theories.
Powerheads keep water moving near the surface of the tank. This seriously increases the amount of dissolved oxygen in the water. More O2, the less the fish have to work to breathe. More O2, more fish can be kept in the same environment. Powerheads bring unwanted ammonia gases to the surface to vent off faster than if they had to saturate into the water column and rise to the top. Powerheads can help prevent detritus from building up in one area and or prevent it from lodging down into the substrate. By being suspended, the detritus can easily be removed by your mechanical filters. There really are very few "stagnant" water environments in the world. When you visit any lake or stream you will feel the currents or undertows. Fish grow up in very powerful currents and it is nice to replicate this for them. How many of you keep S. Americans? Most of those fish are pulled from fast moving streams, not stagnant fish tanks. I added 3,000gph of flow to my 125g tank through one Tunze stream, thinking it was to much. Within minutes several of my large plecos came out to "play" in the new currents. They'd swim head first into them and then glide back on the ride like birds.
I feel so enlightened now! lol
I shall go forth and get a powerhead, maybe the day after christmas.
YOU GUYS ROCK!
So would you say the penguin 600r powerhead is better than the AquaClear powerhead for a 20 gallon tank?
MaxiJet are considered the cream of the crop for small powerheads. I'd probably go with the Hagen Aquaclear if those were my choices.
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