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How much flow do planted tanks need?


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How much flow do planted tanks need?
 
I've seen many different ways of doing planted tanks and I was wondering how much flow/circulation do planted tanks actually need? I see lots of people who have planted tanks with big canister filters adding tons of flow and the have success but I also see people with very little flow like a sponge filter or sometimes just an airstone like Ocean Aquarium San Francisco or The Secret History Living in Your Aquarium what has your experience been? what works better for you?
 
I want to create a low maintenance natural aquarium but I don't know what kind of filtration would be good in this situation?
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On 3/6/2023 at 6:40 AM, Theplatymaster said:

@Jacob Hill-Legion Aquatics

for the most part its not about the plants, it about the fish.

What stocking are you planning for the tank?

Guppies dont like high flow, and hillstream loaches do.

Im planning on getting lots of nano fish like green neons, cpds, pygmy corys and scarlet badis for a 40g breeder.

I want the tank to rely more on plants and natural things then technology

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On 3/6/2023 at 6:46 AM, Jacob Hill-Legion Aquatics said:

Im planning on getting lots of nano fish like green neons, cpds, pygmy corys and scarlet badis for a 40g breeder.

I want the tank to rely more on plants and natural things then technology

all of those fish will just do fine with a basic sponge/matten/box filter that just runs on air. definetly do plants like Water Sprite and Pogostemon Stellatus Octopus that grow quickly and will consume nitrates quickly.

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@Theplatymaster thanks I guess I was just wondering if flow matters in a planted tank, the plants and substrate would give enough filtration for the fish I plan on keeping but i was wondering if having good flow really matters? and if I get mulm in spots cause of low flow will that cause algae problems? also what substrate would you recommend for a tank that I want to have going for many years? the plants I want to use are lots of crypts and swords but also some fast growing stems, i want a substrate that will let the heavy root feeders get really big and not starve out but last many years unlike some aquasoils. what would you do?

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On 3/6/2023 at 8:00 AM, Jacob Hill-Legion Aquatics said:

@Theplatymaster thanks I guess I was just wondering if flow matters in a planted tank, the plants and substrate would give enough filtration for the fish I plan on keeping but i was wondering if having good flow really matters? and if I get mulm in spots cause of low flow will that cause algae problems? also what substrate would you recommend for a tank that I want to have going for many years? the plants I want to use are lots of crypts and swords but also some fast growing stems, i want a substrate that will let the heavy root feeders get really big and not starve out but last many years unlike some aquasoils. what would you do?

its simple, normal gravel, with a kind of root tab.

you need to replenish the root tabs (i use the ACO ones)(you probably want to avoid the ones that contain ammonia).

mulm has to do with algae, as mulm is decomposing matter, which algae thrives on.

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On 3/6/2023 at 6:40 AM, Theplatymaster said:

@Jacob Hill-Legion Aquatics

for the most part its not about the plants, it about the fish.

What stocking are you planning for the tank?

Guppies dont like high flow, and hillstream loaches do.

I have to say your wrong there >"Guppies don't like high flow,"
I had mine in a 55 with high flow pumps & they would play 
in it, but it wasn't through the whole tank either just at 1 end 
where it could keep the muck stirred up for the intake filter.

They got where if they didn't get high flow they weren't happy 
they wouldn't breed they would fight & kill each other so yea 
not ALL guppies like it but mine sure did & I got videos of it.

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On 3/6/2023 at 6:46 AM, Jacob Hill-Legion Aquatics said:

Im planning on getting lots of nano fish like green neons, cpds, pygmy corys and scarlet badis for a 40g breeder.

I want the tank to rely more on plants and natural things then technology

What kind of substrate you going to have ? sand, gravel, ?

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On 3/6/2023 at 7:00 AM, Jacob Hill-Legion Aquatics said:

@Theplatymaster  also what substrate would you recommend for a tank that I want to have going for many years? the plants I want to use are lots of crypts and swords but also some fast growing stems, i want a substrate that will let the heavy root feeders get really big and not starve out but last many years unlike some aquasoils. what would you do?

Have you considered a dirted tank? Use organic potting soil and cap with pool filter sand. 

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On 3/6/2023 at 9:26 AM, Theplatymaster said:

its simple, normal gravel, with a kind of root tab.

you need to replenish the root tabs (i use the ACO ones)(you probably want to avoid the ones that contain ammonia).

Mulm has to do with algae, as Mulm is decomposing matter, which algae thrives on.

So that explains why some people I watch on video has their 
tanks COVERED in algae, cause they don't vacuum enough.

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On 3/6/2023 at 9:35 AM, Flying fox 6523 said:

I have to say your wrong there >"Guppies don't like high flow,"
I had mine in a 55 with high flow pumps & they would play 
in it, but it wasn't through the whole tank either just at 1 end 
where it could keep the muck stirred up for the intake filter.

They got where if they didn't get high flow they weren't happy 
they wouldn't breed they would fight & kill each other so yea 
not ALL guppies like it but mine sure did & I got videos of it.

i was using guppies as an example of fish with long fins, who cannot swim as well in current, and can get swept around.

i dont know the specifics of your fish.

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On 3/6/2023 at 9:44 AM, Theplatymaster said:

i was using guppies as an example of fish with long fins, who cannot swim as well in current, and can get swept around.

i don't know the specifics of your fish.

I didn't have the fancy guppies, they were mutt guppies 
but l enjoyed them none the less watching them play &
dart in & out of the flow like a bunch of kids playing.

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I don't know that any plant is a 100% column or root feeder. Plants that are considered column feeders would benefit greatly from some water movement

In my 29 I use gravel with a side mounted HOB filter.  The HOB provides circulation across the entire aquarium, and back. The flow is strong enough to move some of the leaves on the plants, but not strong enough to bother the tiny Embers.  It also gives some of the fish the opportunity to chase their food. Circulation moves plant nutrients through the tank, provides surface aeration, eliminates hot/cold/dead spots, and to some extent helps control algae.   

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I’ve been thinking about adding the aco power head to my sponge filter in both the 29 and the 10. I need to go look for a solid video on surface agitation it kinda sounds like people don’t count the airstone in the sponge as having enough alone. 

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There are lots of variables (type of substrate, water flow, nutrients, bioload, filtration, filter media, types of plants, tank size, lighting, "clean up crews", etc) that have to work together to have a successful system, especially in a low maintenance setup.

I think the amount of flow you need will be determined by some of those other variables, but also by how "clean" you want your tank to look. I have a super healthy 40g breeder with barely any flow, but the mulm buildup in and on top of the substrate would make some people crazy. The water is also never crystal clear. Low flow means you are going to get very little mechanical filtration. 

It would probably be best to have enough flow to see movement in the plants if you aren't sure. I like overpowered hob filters with coarse prefilters because flow can be adjusted as your plants grow in and prefilters really buy you time in filter maintenance. 

 

 

Edited by Ogpulchra2
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On 3/6/2023 at 2:31 PM, Furbs said:

I’ve been thinking about adding the aco power head to my sponge filter in both the 29 and the 10.

The ACO powerhead is much to powerful for a 29 gallon tank.  I tried it on mine and it whipped the fish and plants around…

The coop powerhead is rated for 211 gallons per hour.

 

It will be put to good use on the 75 gallon in my future.

I ended up getting a Fluval underwater filter which is essentially an internal filter using sponge for biofiltration and has an adjustable spray bar.  Designed for tanks up to 15 gallons.  About $18.00.

I am using mine on the tank back in the middle flowing water toward the sidewall my co2 diffuser is mounted to.  It provides enough flow to circulate the bubbles and keep them in suspension a bit..

Edited by Pepere
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On 3/6/2023 at 3:28 PM, Ogpulchra2 said:

Low flow means you are going to get very little mechanical filtration. 

I had that on a tank I set up. It had UGF and a box filter for mechanical filtration.  The substrate was capped with coarse sand and I had no Corydoras originally which led to a build up on the substrate…

 

once I added Cories there was lots of stirred up detritus floating in the tank…

I added a few internal power filters which Stirred things up and filtered it out.

I am thinking 1 small internal filter providing flow to hold the CO2 bubbles in suspension will be enough going forward with maybe using the other internal filters from time to time to clean up if needed..

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On 3/6/2023 at 2:00 PM, Pepere said:

The ACO powerhead is much to powerful for a 29 gallon tank.  I tried it on mine and it whipped the fish and plants around

I ended up getting a Fluval underwater filter which is essentially an internal filter using sponge for biofiltration and has an adjustable spray bar.  Designed for tanks up to 15 gallons.  About $18.00.

I am using mine on the tank back in the middle flowing water toward the sidewall my co2 diffuser is mounted to.  It provides enough flow to circulate the bubbles and keep them in suspension a bit..

Yikes that would have been a stressful afternoon thanks for the info 

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On 3/6/2023 at 7:37 PM, Furbs said:

Yikes that would have been a stressful afternoon thanks for the info 

Early on, I successfully used a powerhead and UGF in my 29 with the TFBs.  Years Later when I redid the tank with smaller fish. The powerhead was out of there in 5 minutes or less. I don't want to think about what it might have been like in a 10 gallon.

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