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I found some old pictures of one of my first high tech planted tanks. I have talked about that tank - the one with the extremely healthy Java Fern in it. The picture of Java Fern that you have probably seen somewhere on thenet came from that same tank. The plant is not Photoshopped at all. The background is made blacker than it actually was, that's it:



On this picture you can make out the spraybar in the back:


So on the pictures I just found something pretty amuzing. The tank was basically a Gyre indeed! The very thing we discussed here few weeks ago. The water flowed out of the spraybar that was placed on the bottom, at the back glass. From there the water moved forward under the Java Fern roots. Then the water went up and to the side to the intake.

Besides the Java Fern the tank had only very short hairgrass that barely grew because the Fluorite substrate was new. There were also two Crypts which also barely grew. So nothing blocked the good flow pattern.

As I said - that was a 4' long 55 gal. standard tank. When I pulled the Java Fern out of it I laid it on a 6' long table and it stretched from one to the other side. A strip of Java Fern 6' long and 8"thick! Every leaf was completely healthy too.

Since I have very much posted all the above information already in this or other threads here's the new and strange part - the flow on that tank was very little. Smallest Hydor canister filter. Something like 160 gph. Add the hydrostatic head, the 90 degree elbows for the spraybar.. and I bet the flow was something like 50 gph if so.

So I believe that the open layout of the tank allowed for very good flow pattern and almost 10 years later I think I have it figured out.

--Nikolay
 

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This has been a find... Especially the illustrations of flow, grye, and the u shapes. They have really hit home. I recently made a mistake in the hardware arrangements on a long low tank (a GLA 91-B) than I think has an incorrect flow pattern. I hand bent some acrylic tubing to make a spray bar flush to the right end the tank with a spread pattern aiming toward the left. I built an intake with acrylic on the left hand side of the tank in the rear. I then hooked up an old monster 404 fluval to the pile and just prayed I wouldn't blast the substrate off the bottom. I figured that the filtration would flow smoothly from one side to another and the tank would have distinct flow patterns. Instead it stalls out and has built up a pile of protein scum on the left side surface that I wouldn't have expected. Even with the slightly unusual dimension's of such a flat tank I am now thinking I will be much better served with the Amano style setup. Any thoughts before I go thru the work of re-engineering the the stand and the acrylic?
 

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Best thing to try that anyone can suggest at this point is to emulate ADA's placement of the pipes. That's the best starting point.

In the past I have tried huge flows and was always surprised to see that they did not take care of all the trash in the tank. I always assumed that with a lot of flow you can clean anything. That is not so. Flow pattern is REALLY important. It's somewhat amusing that we are starting to understand that just now.

--Nikolay
 

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Jedi
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Best thing to try that anyone can suggest at this point is to emulate ADA's placement of the pipes. That's the best starting point.

In the past I have tried huge flows and was always surprised to see that they did not take care of all the trash in the tank. I always assumed that with a lot of flow you can clean anything. That is not so. Flow pattern is REALLY important. It's some what amusing that we are starting to understand that just now.

--Nikolay
Sorry to burst your bubble but of all my equipment I own a single powerhead and never purchased a flow accessory besides eheim plastic and ada style glass. Besides the fancy verbage I am trying hard to find the incredible breakthrough here. Thanks for breaking it down for the rest of us.
 

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Brilliant,

If you think you have something uselful to say can you please retype the first sentence of what you just said because it makes no sense.

This time do not start with "sorry to burst your bubble". It is a cheap insult and you know it.

I'm interested in the rest of the sentence and your experience. And note - I'm not confrontational.

--Nikolay
 

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Jedi
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Brilliant,

If you think you have something uselful to say can you please retype the first sentence of what you just said because it makes no sense.

This time do not start with "sorry to burst your bubble". It is a cheap insult and you know it.

I'm interested in the rest of the sentence and your experience. And note - I'm not confrontational.

--Nikolay
Apparently you were able to comprehend.

Now kindly explain in laymens terms what we have all been in the dark about for years. Ive read through the pages and can only see that elaborate flow setups are not as useful as imagined and single output is more effective. Am I missing something? If so I am interested in understanding what the big deal is all about. Thats all.
 

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How enlightening! I've been having some major issues with particulate matter in my new set-up, the 125 I got from mudboots. I recall him having the same issues when he had it.

I've got a canister filter and 2 powerheads (Koralia II and off-brand) and I thought I was getting the right movement. After reading this thread, I looked carefully and sure enough, particles were just floating all over the place, never settling, never making it to the canister intake.

I just now removed both powerheads and placed the canister filter output/intake at the end of the end of the tank as described for ADA stuff. I don't see the circular motion from top to bottom, but I do see it from front (water going forward) to back (water returning to intake). Probably I won't see the "Lily Pipe" motion because I don't have lily pipes, but it will be interesting to see in the next couple days if this helps with the particulate issue. (I'll let you know. )

I need to find the data on that filter so I know what ghp I'm looking at. My guess is that it is very low.
HERE it is. It says it pumps 250 gph.
 

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Apparently you were able to comprehend....
Apparently in your culture you constantly need to be cocky. Or you personally are that way. If you have something useful to say I'm interested to hear it and could care less how cocky you are. But so far I've seen only short bitter remarks.

What you are missing is so simple that it may sound like an insult. Once again - I'm not confrontational. Here it is:

We do have some good understanding how to run planted tanks. But we often find ourselves asking questions without answers.

That's it.

This thread and the 2 others that are connected with it now have about 5 000 views total. Keep in mind these threads are in a local club sub-forum. They would not get that much attention if there was no interest in this topic. Originally I wanted these 2 threads to be only in our local club sub-forum with the idea to boost interest among the members of our club. It turned out that the threads cannot be contained on a local level. I do not take the success of these threads as a triumph of my own puffy persona. I find that to be a proof that quite a few people would like to find more answers.

Am I missing something?

Personally I'm sorry, really sorry, that we, as a whole, are "discovering" things that some hobbyists have known and used for a long time. At least in the future we don't have to do that again. I hope. "Use Poret for quick filtration establishment", "Use Lava Rock for long term filtration", "Place the pipes to the front", "Don't let the filter clog"... now it sounds simple. But 2 months ago NOONE had ever talked about these things in a way that it became common knowledge.

I'm not going to say "Where were you, Brilliant, 3 months ago and why didn't you explain these things to us?". I'm not going to say that because I hope you now understand what are my reasons to discuss these topics.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to clarify all these things. It is probably useful for someone to see the perspective in all this.

--Nikolay
 
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Jedi
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Apparently in your culture you constantly need to be cocky. Or you personally are that way. If you have something useful to say I'm interested to hear it and could care less how cocky you are. But so far I've seen only short bitter remarks.

--Nikolay
If I wanted to insult you I would have typed something different.

I thought I was quick and to the point. Since Ive gotten nothing back in the form of an answer I will assume my thoughts were correct.

What you are explaining seem to be the fundamentals of setting up and maintaining an aquarium so yes its quite simple hence my comments. No offence man.
 

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If you typed something insulting your post would have been deleted by the moderators. You should see what I wrote in a new post 3 days ago about the ADA contest judging and expectations. My post disappeared within 1 hour.

Here. Let's be constructive;

Brilliant, could you write your thoughts on filtration? Simple and clear.

I will not come back with some half-baked witty remarks. Or any remarks that are negative. That will kill this thread.

--Nikolay
 

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You have to understand I was under the assumption planted tank people were experienced aquarists. I never really thought someone would be starting the aquarium hobby with a planted tank right off the bat. You will have to forgive me for thinking we were all from the same heritage. You know golfish bowls or tanks with background, fake ornaments and colored gravel.

Filtration is very simple.

Buy Eheim
Dont over-engineer your flow config
Use oem or buy fancy glass pieces


My intake has always been in the corner to be visually pleasing more than anything. It just so happens that thats an ideal place to locate the intake.

The output flow should roll the tank. I remember messing with my output years back now I always put it on the side of the tank. Its visually pleasing and more effective. I even put aquaclears on the side.

Ive added a koralia to provide more flow once in an attempt to increase co2 throughout the tank.

The planted tank in itself is a filter. I dont really know how to explain how it works but let the natural filter do its job. Large water changes and man made filtration is counterproductive to the natural filter.
 

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So the title of this post caught my interest, as I just graduated aerospace engineering and want to find *some* way to apply my shiny new degree :) Reading this post, I'm realizing how little I remember from the past four years.

I had a couple questions, though. Reading through the posts, I wasn't sure if there was the underlying assumption that either laminar or turbulent flow was better for the tank, or if that point itself was what was being discussed. If one or the other is better, could someone explain why that is? Is it in general better to have suspended particles, particles in the gravel, or do you want those particles filtered out? I assume that you would want the dissolved nutrients evenly distributed throughout the tank.

A couple posts caught my attention. One subtle distinction (not sure if it matters) is that a flow goes turbulent once a flow has achieved a high reynolds number (Re), but the turbulent flow itself doesn't have a high Re. There is no corresponding descriptor for turbulent flow, actually. Also, one thing that wasn't discussed (I don't think...sorry if it was) was the property of turbulent flow to "stick" to a surface better than a laminar flow. It's for this reason that airfoil designers sometimes actually want turbulent flow in some regions of an airfoil. This property might be relevant in considering the flow past leaves. The flow is much more likely to separate from the surface of a leaf if it is laminar. Another property to consider is that turbulent flow is an inherently chaotic process. This means that something like cigarette smoke is not (usually) a turbulent flow in the technical sense, though in the colloquial sense of "turbulent" it might be described as such. With regards to the coral vs plant discussion, if I understand correctly, coral is a colony of tiny polyps. Because they're a colony, they have no central means of distribution like a plant does. Thus, each polyp must have all its nutrients flow past it, whereas a plant uptakes many of its nutrients through its roots (but not CO2, I believe). That would extend the discussion to what would provide good flow through the gravel. Another distinction that just came to mind was turbulent flow in general versus in the boundary layer. The boundary layer (region close to a surface) of a laminar flow is turbulent due to the imperfections of the surface. The thickness of the boundary layer is dependent partially on Re.

Phew...sorry if that wasn't useful, but it felt good to try to remember what I know. I'm about to start my first planted tank after five years of lurking but never having enough time to start a tank. Maybe I'll get to experiment with some flow properties!
 

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@redFishblueFish: If your using co2 injection, you want to run your flow below the boundary layer so you can use the surface tension to help keep the carbonic acid from releasing into gaseous carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
 

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@redFishblueFish: If your using co2 injection, you want to run your flow below the boundary layer so you can use the surface tension to help keep the carbonic acid from releasing into gaseous carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
Consider the discussion below on this issue. IMO, surface turbidity should be a part of every aquarium, as we should put fauna health first; flora second. Keeping a high O2 level is just as important, actually more so, than keeping a high CO2 concertration:

http://www.barrreport.com/showthread.php/8175-Too-little-O2-or-too-much-CO2-Please-help-me-make-sense-of-this.
 

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@Ekrindul
That was a fascinating read! They focused on phosphate and ammonia - I wonder if their results hold true for trace nutrients.

@digital_gods
I think we're using two different definitions of boundary layer. If I understand it correctly, you're using it to describe the boundary between air and water, whereas I'm using it in the fluid dynamics sense - as the boundary between a fluid and a solid. With air, at least, when you have a flow past a solid surface, the boundary layer is referring to the thin layer of air between the main airstream and the solid surface. The properties of that layer of air can be radically different than the properties of the surrounding air.
 

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@Ekrindul
That was a fascinating read! They focused on phosphate and ammonia - I wonder if their results hold true for trace nutrients.
Unfortunately, much of the small amount of research there seems to be available on the subject isn't freely available. Hopefully, Phil will see this and enlighten us.

I've read that the bulk of nutrients in aquatic plants were collected by the root system, and also that the bulk of nutrients were collected by the leaves. I've read that the roots primarily function to collect carbon and anchor the plant. I seem to recall reading somewhere that iron transport in water hyacinth from root to leaf can take a few weeks to accumulate to a significant amount (would certainly point to an advantage for a plant that could collect iron from its leaves).

Seeing as plants cannot move when things aren't going well, it would seem reasonable that they would have evolved to have options.
 

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I just read this entire post and it is very fascinating. It might be just me but I find designing a flow pattern to be mostly common sense. Just keep it simple, and it will be effective. Take powerheads for example, I personally feel that there is no place for them in most freshwater tanks, especially planted ones, unless you are running no filter and need it for singular movement.

Think about the natural environment. In a marine environment there is a LOT of turbulence around reefs cause by the water going rapidly from deep to shallow, e.g. waves. With the extremely large volume of a wave there is a lot of pushing and pulling of water in every direction. That's why reefers use so many powerheads pointed in every which direction and wavemakers on top of the outflow from the sump. They are attempting to emulate the corals natural environment on a generally very turbulent reef.

Now look at the typical freshwater plants natural environment. The current almost always flows in a fairly uniform direction, at a uniform speed. Typically there are no harsh cross currents or highly turbulent areas where these plants grow. If you think about a freshwater system, spring to end-point, it seems to me like a giant never ending train, one big continuous cycle. By the way I live in the most lake populous state (stick a sock in it Minnesota) so looking at a map I can see more lakes and river systems than I can count. Anyways what I'm trying to say is typically there is only one directions of water movement, forward. All there is, is where its coming from and where its going. Inflow and outflow. In this context it is easier to imagine the plants natural environment as a closed system and relate it to our own.

What you want, as has been previously mentioned, is one flow, in a loop, with inflow and outflow near the same point. This is as close to a magic formula as you are going to get, unless you want to build the same tank every time, and there is not fun in that. The rest of the details such as direction, flow rate and location are personal to your individual tank and are easily worked out on set up. Just observe and adjust. There are generally plenty of bubbles and other crap floating around in the water, just start with a high flow rate, find your location, find your direction, adjust your flow rate and your done. I feel that this is as close to the natural system as we aquarists can reasonably achieve, and it shouldn't take you 10 minutes. I usually find myself aiming the flow down the largest dimension of open water.

On the subject of laminar vs. turbulent flow, sometimes I find it is hard to have one and not the other. Take my 55 long for example. I was found it was difficult to get uniform flow and total tank coverage due to the length. What I ended up doing was taking the spray nozzle and aiming it directly across the middle of the tank. It was about 3 inch below the surface and blowing parallel to the water line. Once I adjusted the flow rate, it was perfect for my tank! The flow near the surface was of course a pretty turbulent but only a little past half way. When the water hit the other side it slowed a bit and formed a strong undercurrent that when to the bottom and then back across to complete the cycle. And wouldn't you know it, after the turbulence spread out I had perfect, even flow throughout the rest of my tank. The upper-left was turbulent, but the upper-right, bottom-right, and bottom-left were laminar. I also had no dead spots. Like I said though, this was perfect for MY tank. The tallest hardscape was maybe 7 inches and the tallest plants were probably 12, so they were unaffected by the turbulent top few inches, and my dannios loved the turbulent section. They'd sit there a swim head on into the outflow like it was nobodies business.

I love this thread and can't wait to read more on this.
 

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Unfortunately, much of the small amount of research there seems to be available on the subject isn't freely available.
Do you have names of articles you'd like to take a look at? I get access to a lot of databases through my university. Please, not too many though (I'm a busy grad student) :D But feel free to send me some article titles that you think would be useful and I'll see if I can post them.

The flow near the surface was of course a pretty turbulent but only a little past half way.
Just wondering, how did you determine that it was turbulent? Did you use food dye or just observe particles in the flow?
 
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