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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am (still) struggling with my 37G corner tank. Currently I have intake in the middle of the left wall and a spray bar across the top of the right side hooked to Eheim 2026. The spay bar has the firs 2 sections (4 holes each) pointed down and the last section pointed about parallel to the water surface.

I'm not sure that I get decent circulation in the tank. Any opinions or pointers? Should I switch out the spray bar for a "duck bill" spout for better current? Position the spray bar vertically? Should I run an airstone at night? Re-position intake / return? Too many choices driving me nuts :)

The tank is fully planted but overstocked atm. Thanks a bunch.
 

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The water flow accoring to ADA should be strong but without being pointed. Basically wide and strong. I think they do not use spraybars for aestethic reasons. Also the Lily pipe, as we all know, works on a ventury principle - enhancing the water flow because of its design.

For a heavily planted tank you will have to have a pump that moves 8-10x the water in the tank. Also the flow through your filter needs to be probably more than what you are getting out of the box.

Also in ADA tanks the water moves in such a way that it lifts particles from the bottom. Without stirring them. More like pulling them up gently. Imagine a constant moving circle - the water going up "pulls" the water coming from below.

You can emulate that by having the outlflow go under a slight angle along the tank. And (very important) - the intake must not be close to the bottom. Such placing makes sure that the particles do not float along the bottom but are lifted up. Constantly.

If you have visible floating particles in your tank you will be able to see how they float up from the bottom.

Any fish that stirs the waste is good for your tank. They help lift the particles. I believe that the role of Amano shrimp and Otocinclus is both to eat the algae they can eat AND to gently and constantly stir the stuff that needs not accumulate.

I've just told you things that you will not find in such a concise and clear way anywhere else. These are the basics. Remember them but also play it by ear accordingly to your tank and pipes.

--Nikolay
 

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Niko, You said the intake must not be close to the bottom. What do you mean by "close"? In all of Amano's pics I see the intakes are being relatively close to the bottom and not high in the water column. I thought having them close to the bottom helped catch particles, especially the heavier ones that aren't going to flow upwards as well as the small ones.

Also, some people uses an intake on one side and the outflow on another, and also sometimes the inflow and outflow are on the same side. Which is better?
 

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OVT - simply mount your spraybar vertically, not horizontally.
that will give a nice circular water movement that is a natural
fit particularly for a rounder hex or corner tank. you can vary
the water flow by aiming the holes along or a bit at the glass,
rather than pointed out into the tank center.

duckbills are more appropriate with salt water coral that
need to catch food debris in the water column to survive.

other stupid spraybar tricks;
point the holes at the glass for indirect circulation when your
filter output is high. point the holes up toward the waterline
to get the tank water more oxygenated. for a waterfall effect,
point the spraybar down mounted just above the waterline.
you get a nice bubble curtain, and wonderful water sounds.
obviously with more aeration, comes more Co2 outgassing.
 

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Corner tanks are really tough.

I have a 54g bowfront corner which means that there are 3 deep corners that will become dead spots if it's not just right. I struggled with circulation for a long time before discovering something that worked.

What I eventually discovered was that you can get the entire tank to have a round circulation pattern despite the triangular shape of the tank.

So, lets say you are standing right in front of the tank facing directly at the front glass , and you can see the left/rear glass and the right/rear glass on either side.

I have my filter intake on the left/rear glass, very close to the rear corner and only about 3 inches from the bottom of the tank. Meanwhile, the filter output is about midway on the rear/right glass, and it's aimed straight at the front of the glass. So now we have current pushing along the right/rear glass towards the front of the tank. When the water hits the front of the tank is has nowhere to go, so it goes down and across the front of the tank. There is a MaxiJet 600 about 5 inches behind the filter output that pushes in the exact same direction.

If I wait an hour or two after it's all running, I can observe (by watching bubbles) that the water comes out of the filter output/powerhead and comes forward along the rear/right glass. Then hits the front glass and goes sideways along the front. It makes it go the far left corner, although the current is more gentle, and is finally sucked to the rear of the tank by the filter/powerhead input.

does that make any sense? :)
the take-away is 'make a big circle' lol
 

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I see a lot of thought out suggestions here.

But to me, after inventing the wheel for years, I started to look more closely to what is it that ADA does.

And for circulation they have the inflow and outflow on the same side of the tank. The intake does not touch the bottom. I don't know if there is a rule on how high it needs to be. But once again - the idea is to make the water gently flow from the bottom up.

And I don't know if ADA's way is the best. I'm just tired to try to resolve some issue in my tanks only to arrive to a solution that the Japanese have implemented for years.

--Nikolay
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Great replies. Thank you all. Looks like I am not the only one struggling and re-inventing the wheel. I will digest the information in this thread and post what I did and how it works out for me.

In some places I see intake and outflow next to each other, in other places they are positioned on the end-walls, some use duck bills, open-ended pipe, spray bar, etc for the outflow. I also see supplemental circulation in form of power heads, air stones, air wands, water pumps, and what not. Some outflows positioned in a way to create surface movement, others are totally submerged, others are angled at walls, bottom, sideways, some move back and forth.

This might be an art, but I have a feeling there is a big part of science here also. For novice and old hands, wouldn't it be nice to have at least some general guidelines, a set of general principals of intake / outflow configurations based on the tank shape, size, planting density? "This works for me" does not mean it will work for anyone else. I WANT SCIENCE :)

Please keep the ideas coming.
 

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Tanks are different, yes.

But the japanese tanks, tank after tank, have the same placement of pipes. Except the monster tank that Amano has in his humble abode. Until all of us save enough money from lunches to get such tanks all the other ADA tanks could be a good example.

Their tanks do not have extra powerheads or pipes pointed backwards. They do have quite the flow in them compared to the average fish tank here in the US. Having large and even flow is another wheel I've invented. Took me but 10 years - no time at all, I'm smart, you know.

So! Don't be smart like me. Be like the Japanese - more emulation, less wheel invention. They seem to have more of the "This works every time" stuff (instead of the "This works for me" kind of material.)

--Nikolay
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Niko, ADA's Layout Manual shows both intake and outflow in the same corner. And I do respect their (and yours) expertise.

Dave-H, the basic science might be easy, and yes, all tanks are different. But, why not look at and adapt from HVAC? HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) is a field in Civil Engineering with a corresponding 4-year college degree. Air and water might be close enough for your purposes and HVAC engineers deal exactly with the issues I am trying to address in this forum. They have to figure out how to keep hospital rooms, airports, massage rooms, residences, etc etc at specific temperature, with specific air flow, with no up or down-drafts, no dead spots, you name it. I bet there are multiple computer modeling tools out there that might be adapted to our needs.

Anyways, the idea of one big circle does make sense, given that my tank is not that big. Assuming enough flow, then both intake and return could be mounted side by side at the rear corner of the corner tanks. This would sort of combine your approach with Nikko's / ADA's "same spot mount". If I want to go a step further and worry about multiple layers of the water column, then a vertically mounted spray bar, as suggested by spypet, instead of a "single hole" return, with enough pressure, should really tear things up :). Now I wonder how plants and fish would take it. Maybe it's time for food coloring testing :)

Then there is an "easy" field of fluid dynamics...
 

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I don't think any of this matters as long as you have decent flow. I'm not saying it's rocket science, and most tanks can have good flow with a variety of setups. The computer modeling tool is probably more trouble then just fooling with it until it has nice flow :)
 

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You say that the flow is rather strong, but the Super Jet Filter is only 6 liters per minute (360 liters per hour) or about 95 gallons per hour, and is recommended for a 60-P. Don't you think that's kind of slow? I've got a filter rated at 700 Liter/hour on my 60-P.

His line of filters offer HUGE amount of media capacity, however. I still think 95 gallons per hour on a 60-P is kind of slow. His line of filters increases in capacity with the ES-600 series for larger tanks, but the ES-600 , ES-600EX, ES-600EX2 all have the same flow rate. Not until you go into the ES-1200 series do you see in increase in flow rate to approx. 250 gallons per hour. Nothing in between. The smallest ES-1200 filter can hold 12 liters, though. Huge media capacity.

Huge price, too. I'm not sure if super-jet filters are used on all of the "real" ADA tanks at the gallery or in his personal home..It would make more sense that an Eheim would be used, just based on the low flow of 95 gallons per hour of the ES-600 series which starts at like $500 for a filter. I just don't think 95 gallons per hour is all that much, and I doubt he uses an ES-1200 line on a 60-P. I'm using a 60-P as an example because that's the most popular size aquarium, at least in the U.S.
 

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Because of the efficiency of the Iwaki pump + the Lily pipe/intake placing ADA does use less flow they themselves suggest.

In the US the only canister filter that has a pump designed to keep on moving water when the media clogs is the old style Diatom with a pump motor that smells like motor oil if you run it too long.

Note also that the media that ADA uses after the break-in period is good size granules. They can hardly clog up.

Bottom line - their flow is as unrestricted and as consistent as you can get. And we here are trying to do the same by compensating with higher flows, media cleaning and placing multiple outflows. The Japanese are going for simplicity and ease of upkeep + results. We are going for results only.

In any case - logically, ADA or not, higher flow or not - if I'm not flushing the tiny debries away from my plants, decorations, and lifting them from the bottom it's only a matter of time something will change for the worst. I just put 2 Koralias in my 180 gal. tank last night. They stirred a small amount of debries from the plants. This morning I can see some particles still floating. I know my biofiltration is not perfect (flow through filters too slow) - and with debries able to settle on everthing no wonder I have BBA.

--Nikolay
 

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Niko I have been following you posts about filtration for a while and while I get what you are saying about haw it should be set up and what it takes to get it properly sized to a tank. The one question I have for you is what is the most heavily planted ADA tank you have seen? Because in my limited searches I have yet to see a tank even half as planted as some peoples here on APC.
 

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Niko, you mention how Amano uses media with decent sized granules after the initial setup. You're referring to Bio Rio, right?

I use Bio Rio and find that it is very small compared to what most people use (Ehfisubstrat, Matrix, Biomax etc) and is the consistency of garden center perlite, but a little heavier. It "packs" in the filter and is great at catching debris. I'm having a hard time understanding what you mean, because 2 liters of bio rio should clog faster than 2 liters of ehfisubstrat, biomax, matrix, etc

I have always wondered why Amano doesn't use a filter pad. Every other filter suggests using a filter pad, yet Amano just uses a hemp net (to keep the bio rio from falling under the grate I guess, it's very small), Bio Rio, and if you want you can use bamboo charcoal in his filters or you can just use straight up bio rio.

His line of filters have HUGE media capacity and can hold a LOT of Bio Rio. Enough so that I can see it catching most of the particles on the way up. Maybe this is why no polyester filter pads are used?

You'll also notice that his filters don't come with double taps, and ADA doesn't make double taps. With a classic style filter (It's a metal Eheim Classic at the end of the day) this is very inconvenient for doing maintenance. I can see is as an aesthetic decision, but it also tells me that his filtration systems are meant to go very long periods without maintenance. Maybe this is why no sponges or floss/pads are used.
 

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I have no exact answer why the pumice looking small sized Bio Rio ADA filter media is the size that it is and not bigger like some other medias.

But what I've seen with using Poret filters is that they have the ability to somehow break down the big pieces of waste. So the big particles that normally plug the filter are broken down to small ones. Also the waste is not sticky or slimy. So clogging is basically avoided because the biofilter does some kind of magic.

I'd say it's reasonable to assume that if the biofilter has been developed properly the conditions are radically different from what we normally deal with. Not only the water clarity is exceptional but the processing of the waste is at a whole different level.

Now what is the optimal filter setup, flow etc would be hard to figure out as an isolated advice. ADA had figured it out as part of a system. Parts of the system used by themselves may or may not produce results. Smaller size biomedia may seem counterproductive but in the context of the ADA filter design and the entire system design it probably makes a lot of sense.

--Nikolay
 

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Here is where I am interested and confused, and its about the biofilter. Usually planted tanks are lightly to moderately stocked, so the primary concern when it comes to filtration (from what I have gathered from peoples opinions over time) is mechanical, and to a lesser extent chemical if you use Purigen. From what I have read, people say biological media doesn't do the primary biologica filtration, and that plants and the substrate do most of it.

So why does Amano, or the users of Poret foam place such an importance on the biofilter? From what you say about Poret foam, it sounds like the matrix of the foam holds the particles in place as they decompose, and then break apart and go through the next layer of foam which would have a higher PPI rating, and that would hold the smaller particles in place and the cycle repeats. The person who runs Swiss Tropicals told me the best way to use the foam if you are using a canister is to layer it for progressive filtration, so it would go from 10 PPi to 20 PPI to 30 PPi and then to 45 PPI.

So I get the impression that poret foam allows the particles to basically decompose within the foam, then moving through progressive layers until almost nothing is left.

In Amanos case, Bio Rio sort of "packs" and is a great mechanical filter since the grains of pumice are covered with pores to trap debris, and the irregular shape allows the media to compact.... And comparing it to Poret foam, I can see similarities between the two when it comes to both biological and mechanical filtration.

To me, Bio Rio seems to be a natural type of Poret foam, and perhaps this is why the granules are meant to be so small.
 
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