How much water flow is ideal for a planted tank? I know these are broad terms, but my filter (I have a top fin-60 filter, for what it's worth) has a max setting and a minimum. I can adjust anywhere in the middle. On the max, the flow is strong enough that it makes a couple plants under it sway, this is in a 40g. On the minimum, a small tetra can swim by it and not even have much resistance. I don't care either way.. but is one beneficial for the water/circulation/etc?
The fish are the prime concern, as the plants can manage unless it is extreme (and swaying plants is extreme). Fish from quiet waters like flooded forest and forest streams prefer minimal water movement. Having to constantly battle currents is stressful. The "small tetra" probably fits this category.
Concerning the plants, the minimum is probably best. Plants that assimilate nutrients via the leaves (and all plants assimilate CO2 this way, plus some others) need little flow, sufficient only to prevent particulate matter from resting on the leaves as this can slow and even prevent the necessary nutrient and gas exchange. Too much water movement pushes the nutrients past them before they can be assimilated.
you want enough water current to circulate your tank water, but not so much as it's gonna uproot your plants or stress your fish out. . one thing that you maybe didn't think about is how HOB filters break the surface of the water. in a planted aquarium, you want to try and minimize this as much as possible. so if you're gonna continue to use that filter, you'll want to keep the water level as high as possible.
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