Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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-   -   Can Freshwater Tanks have Powerheads? (

FreshWaterTanker 05-22-2009 08:51 PM

Can Freshwater Tanks have Powerheads?
I have been an owner of freshwater tanks for 10 years, but I am not a professional breeder, just a hobbyist.

I upgraded from my old standard 10 gallon tank to a modest 20 gallon.

My new 20 gallon tank is from TopFin.

My 12X24 underground filter is via PerfectaFlo.

I have an Aqua-Tech Power Filter for aquariums that are 10-20 gallons.

And I have installed two (2) Aqua-Tech Power Heads at 170 GPH per powerhead.

My questions are: 1.) Can Freshwater tank even have powerheads and 2.) if so, how many powerheads are recommended for a standard 20 gallon tank?

This is my first time ever using a powerhead.

In the past, I have always used the Aqua-Tech Premium Undergravel Filter system that included two (2) Filter Plates, two (2) Gravel Guards, two (2) Uplift Tubes, two (2) Elbow Diffusers, two (2) Rigid Airlines, two (2) Air Diffusers, two (2) Carbon Cartridges, and one (1) Plug; however, now that my local retailer no longer carries the Air Diffusers or the Carbon Cartridges I am forced to upgrade to powerheads.

So, I bought two. One for each Uplift Tube. I placed them both in the back of my tank, one on the left-hand side and the other on the right-hand side.

My new 20 gallon tank only inhabits five (5) Calico Fintail (Fancy) Gold Fish. Each Calico is approximately five (5) inches long. Nothing exotic like tropical fish or coral reef tanks.

Although, I wish I had the mad skills and abilities to run with the big dogs in those salt water habitats, but for now it is just simple freshwater tanks for my daughter's amusement.

P.S. The five (5) Calico Fintails are currently not in the new 20 gallon tank. I have not switched them over yet. Waited for advice and/or feedback.

1077 05-23-2009 01:12 AM

My only concern would be too much current from powerheads for fancy tail guppies in a twenty gal tank. In a larger tank,, current would not be a concern. Could place one of the guppies in the tank to see?
Or order what you need from online store such as

TonyMayer 05-23-2009 01:17 AM

What are Powerheads?


fishkid 05-23-2009 06:23 AM

Powerheads are a device that creates current in an aquarium.

Twistersmom 05-23-2009 07:04 AM

Are these guppies or goldfish? I think you say goldfish in your post.
I am thinking the current may be to strong. Do the powerheads have adjustable flow?

Where are the goldfish now? I am also thinking (five) 5 inch goldfish will be to much for a 20 gal tank.

TonyMayer 05-23-2009 09:09 AM

Thanks fishkid. I just got into the fish thing a few months ago, and I'm trying to learn all I can (and it's AMAZING how much there IS to learn!). At the risk of asking another dumb question, what is the current needed for?


FreshWaterTanker 05-23-2009 09:31 AM


I have five (5) Calico Fantail (Fancy) Gold Fish.

Member 1077 typed that I had guppies. This is incorrect.

I agree. Personally, I feel that the current was too strong. The powerheads do not have an adjustable flow. I have removed my two (2) 170 GPH powerheads.

The Calicos are separate individual temporary hosptial tanks. Five (5) fish, five (5) tanks. One (1) fish per tank.

One of my friends suggested that my new 20 gallon TopFin tank was too small, but I already have it set up and running. Now I have to tare it down and take it back. Good think I never added the fish.

Thanks SO much for your feedback. Much appreciated. Draining tank now. Dismantled the Aqua-Tech Power Filter for aquariums that are 10-20 gallons and the two (2) Aqua-Tech Powe Heads at 170 GPH per powerhead.

Taking 20 gallon aquarium and equipment back today.

Twistersmom 05-23-2009 09:32 AM

Power heads can be used to run undergroud filter. (something I would not recommend)
They are also good in longer tanks, such as a 55 gal with the filter on one side. The power head will remove any still areas in the tank and help push any dirt to the filter side.
Some fish come from high current rivers, like some loaches, and it is recommended to try and duplicate their natural habitat.
Also, an airline can be connected to a powerhead to help aerate the water.

Twistersmom 05-23-2009 09:37 AM

You may want to keep an eye out on Craigslist. Sometimes you can find great deals on used tanks.
Might find a tank large enough to house all those goldfish for the same price you paid for the 20 gal.
Good luck with it!

FreshWaterTanker 05-23-2009 12:15 PM


Yeah, the two (2) power heads that I bought was use strictly for the under ground filter. Something that I quickly realized was a bad deal! If the are so problematic, why do manufactures still make and/or sell them. Aren't they just about worthless?

If you remove the under ground filter how do you operate a power head? The two (2) I bought only fit onto the Up Tubes of th under ground filter system.

You see, I had the right-hand side of my tank with an Up Tube and power head, the middle of my tank was my hanging filter and the left-hand side was my 2nd Up tube and 2nd power head. Made a butt load of bubbles in that 20 gallon tank. Splashed up onto the sides of the aquarium and everything.

At first, I was awestruck, fascinated with all of the bubbles. I had never seen anything like it before. However, then I began to worry if the current was too strong for the Calicos. I was afraid that they would be beaten to deat by all of the stream of bubbles.

"Might find a tank large enough to house all those goldfish for the same price you paid for the 20 gal.
Good luck with it!"

Girl, Amen to that! The TopFin tank alone. was $59.99.

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