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Flow advice please.

ForestDave

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12 Nov 2020
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Forest of Dean
Hi.
I'm just setting up my 200L Fluval Roma and have used it as a plant holding tank for the past month. I will be using CO2 from an inline diffuser into a DIY reactor and dosing Ei ferts. Lighting will be Iquatics 4x 39w tube T5s. Filter is an FX6 listed at 3500lph. I have an APS surface skimmer and at the moment an in tank heater which will I'll change to an inline one at some point.

I thought I'd guarantee good flow by putting an intake in both back corners and using a full width DIY spray bar fed from both ends to create some sort of vortex which would cover all areas of the tank. This works well but I needed to drill the spray bar holes (20mm apart), to about 7mm dia. otherwise the floating plants just churned around. After doing this the floating plants stopped churning around but instead just spun in a circle either side of the tank. This is a low light area and also quite annoying to watch. I also fitted sponge, shrimp safe filter intake covers on the 22mm pipe intakes but am concerned that they collect too much crap and slow the flow down as well.

So before I build the scape proper I am contemplating plumbing a different set up. I have attached some sketch diagrams which show the present set up and 2 possible set ups. I suppose Plan A I see as probably the best option for floating plants as the water would have 90 odd cm to calm down and the floating plants would congrugate up one end of the tank. Plan B would probably give the best overall flow though but I think I'd still need big holes in the spray bar which in turn cuts down on the good flow to the back of the tank and defeats the object of the arrangement.

Any suggestions for the best set up/controlling of floating plants would be most welcome!
Thanks.
 

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ForestDave

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Why not just get rid of the floating plants? Are they really worth the headache?
Maybe, but a a lot of good scapers recommend them when starting out to soak up excess nutrients and light and also as a good guide to overall tank water conditions so to cover all bases I'd like to keep them in if possible....
 

john dory

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16 Nov 2014
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Sounds like you had an excellent set up.shame to lose it for a few floaters.
Can you run 2 tubes?
 

Courtneybst

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I used to own a Fluval Roma 200 and had most success with the 'Plan A' setup with the spray bar on the left off the tank.


Expert at nothing, dab hand at many.
 

Andrew Butler

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HALF OF MY REPLY DISAPPERED! - (not added to quite the same as before)

Hi @ForestDave Just so I get this right; you're currently just using the one FX6?

7mm holes for the spraybar; that's huge - I wouldn't go over 4mm tops.
There's lots of threads and information around the internet suggesting that the total area of holes should match that of the filter hose but I would completely disregard that as false information from experience.
@foxfish and @zozo will likely be good people to speak with about spraybar experience.
Have you thought about adding a prefilter before your filter instead? I know the size of pipe on the FX6 may cause a problem but all the foam over your intakes is doing is acting as a prefilter so when they get blocked with detritus they won't allow water to pass as easily. All Pond Solutions do a cheap pre-filter that might give you inspiration and allow you at water change to simply isolate the water and give those a clean instead, hopefully increasing the time between taking the whole FX6 apart. You could stick with two intakes inside the tank and do the fiddling around with pipe reducers until after the two smaller pre-filter sized ones.

The CO2 reactor will also likely reduce flow, again from experience.

Another thing you might read is how a spraybar should just disturb the surface of the water which might mean you don't need a skimmer at all and I did run one without a skimmer using a spraybar. A setup I used a skimmer on (without spraybar) I added a timer to and set it to turn on at several points for 15 minutes during the day, whether this is helpful or relevant I'm unsure.

@Zeus. adopted the spraybar along the short side of the aquarium but does supplement the flow using a powerhead at the other end.
My vote is keep a spraybar along the long edge.

I've attached an image to give you an idea of how I would (have) attached a spraybar if I have two feeds to give it more even flow, you could always split your larger pipe just before the spraybar and have it feed this way with relative ease.

I'll happily talk you through some spraybar tips I found along the way if you like.

With regard to the floating plants, I'm unsure quite how much they are/were being disturbed but have you thought about putting them in a ring made from airline? Something I've seen done to keep them out of skimmers, you likely have the materials to hand so nothing to lose by trying it.

I'm unsure what else I added now but that's some of it.
 

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John q

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Probably won't win you any aquascaping medals but couldn't you put the floaters in a diy floating ring. They can easily be made out of air line tube and you might find whilst it still spins a bit it might move around the tank more, failing that use a suction cup and anchor it where you like.
Aesthetically not the best solution but can serve a purpose.

Bellow is a glass one but gives you some idea.
 

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Libba

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Maybe, but a a lot of good scapers recommend them when starting out to soak up excess nutrients and light and also as a good guide to overall tank water conditions so to cover all bases I'd like to keep them in if possible....

I'm not sure I get the logic regarding soaking up excess nutrients. If you're worried about excess nutrients then just dose less in the first place. I'm not sure I get the excess light logic either. If you want to reduce light then you can use a dimmer or just not use a light that is more powerful than you require. I can understand using them as an indicator of nutrient levels but it's not worth compromising an ideal flow setup imo.
 

ForestDave

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Probably won't win you any aquascaping medals but couldn't you put the floaters in a diy floating ring. They can easily be made out of air line tube and you might find whilst it still spins a bit it might move around the tank more, failing that use a suction cup and anchor it where you like.
Aesthetically not the best solution but can serve a purpose.

Bellow is a glass one but gives you some idea.
image.jpg
The glass one looks good. I could just have a few plants maybe like a canary in a mine to show any issues. My orange net bag would definitely not win me any medals! 😂
 

ForestDave

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I'm not sure I get the logic regarding soaking up excess nutrients. If you're worried about excess nutrients then just dose less in the first place. I'm not sure I get the excess light logic either. If you want to reduce light then you can use a dimmer or just not use a light that is more powerful than you require. I can understand using them as an indicator of nutrient levels but it's not worth compromising an ideal flow setup imo.
Your reservations have crossed my mind. I’m not using super high powered LEDs. So hopefully too much light won’t be a problem if I step it up gradually.
 

ForestDave

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HALF OF MY REPLY DISAPPERED! - (not added to quite the same as before)

Hi @ForestDave Just so I get this right; you're currently just using the one FX6?
Thanks for the indepth reply Andrew.
Yep. I'm using an FX6
7mm holes for the spraybar; that's huge - I wouldn't go over 4mm tops.
There's lots of threads and information around the internet suggesting that the total area of holes should match that of the filter hose but I would completely disregard that as false information from experience.
@foxfish and @zozo will likely be good people to speak with about spraybar experience.
Have you thought about adding a prefilter before your filter instead? I know the size of pipe on the FX6 may cause a problem but all the foam over your intakes is doing is acting as a prefilter so when they get blocked with detritus they won't allow water to pass as easily. All Pond Solutions do a cheap pre-filter that might give you inspiration and allow you at water change to simply isolate the water and give those a clean instead, hopefully increasing the time between taking the whole FX6 apart. You could stick with two intakes inside the tank and do the fiddling around with pipe reducers until after the two smaller pre-filter sized ones.
I started with 4mm holes but the floating plants just churned downwards and around like the sipe view of a washing machine. I upped it to 7mm holes which stopped that but then the floaters started spinning on the surface either side due to my vortex like flow. I'm starting to think I'll just have a few floaters in a container as a water quality indicator.
The CO2 reactor will also likely reduce flow, again from experience.
I've set it up like Zeus so the outlet pipe from the FX6 splits and half goes straight to the tank and the other does a detour into the APS diy reactor and then re-joins the other pipe. So hopefully that won't be too much of an issue.
Another thing you might read is how a spraybar should just disturb the surface of the water which might mean you don't need a skimmer at all and I did run one without a skimmer using a spraybar. A setup I used a skimmer on (without spraybar) I added a timer to and set it to turn on at several points for 15 minutes during the day, whether this is helpful or relevant I'm unsure.
I'd read your post on that and was thinking I'd have it on when the lights were off with the venturi on to oxygenate the water when the plants needed it most and to clean the surface a bit. I'll definitely take your advice and tweak the angle up a bit though to agitate the surface a bit
@Zeus. adopted the spraybar along the short side of the aquarium but does supplement the flow using a powerhead at the other end.
My vote is keep a spraybar along the long edge.
I was wondering how much circular flow was possible that way. I'd love a Maxspect Gyre xf250 one day but probably don't need it on this sized tank! My reasoning thinks full width spraybar is easilly the most reliable way to get easy comprehensive flow so yeah I'll keep that.
I've attached an image to give you an idea of how I would (have) attached a spraybar if I have two feeds to give it more even flow, you could always split your larger pipe just before the spraybar and have it feed this way with relative ease.
I like your solution. I had thought of that also but as the Roma tank surround had cut outs at both ends of the tank I stuck with those although I did widen them to accommodate the inlets and outlets. I was going to scrap feeding the bar from both ends but do you think there would be too much pressure drop along the 80ish cm length and I should stick with a double feed as per your image. I suppose it makes for the ultimate even flow so I probably don't need to ask you that! :D
I'll happily talk you through some spraybar tips I found along the way if you like.
Any tips welcome!
With regard to the floating plants, I'm unsure quite how much they are/were being disturbed but have you thought about putting them in a ring made from airline? Something I've seen done to keep them out of skimmers, you likely have the materials to hand so nothing to lose by trying it.
I tried airline, then moved to 16mm pipe. The plants still got catapulted down below the surface and excaped. I then attached upside down clothes pegs to the 16mm tube ring to form a plant cage, (For the ultimate Amano look 🤣). Either way I think I should take the advice and focus on flow and don't stress about the floaters.
I'm unsure what else I added now but that's some of it.
Cheers Andrew
That's a great reply. Sorry to hear your stepping away from the hobby for a while, you're obviously massively passionate about aquascaping and know your stuff.
 

ForestDave

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Have you thought about adding a prefilter before your filter instead? I know the size of pipe on the FX6 may cause a problem but all the foam over your intakes is doing is acting as a prefilter so when they get blocked with detritus they won't allow water to pass as easily. All Pond Solutions do a cheap pre-filter that might give you inspiration and allow you at water change to simply isolate the water and give those a clean instead, hopefully increasing the time between taking the whole FX6 apart. You could stick with two intakes inside the tank and do the fiddling around with pipe reducers until after the two smaller pre-filter sized ones.
The idea of a prefilter sounds good but I'd probably need 2 if the pipe was reduced to 18/25mm. I might look into 25mm adaptors I could maybe fit myself. Would you recommend having the tank outlet pipes with the standard FX6 guards and if any shrimp get sucked up then retrieve them from the pre-filter once a week. Zeus said he'd fitted a stainless mesh on his FX6 outlet guard and if any shrimp got past that he would gather them up and put them back in the tank apparantly none the worse for wear.
 

Andrew Butler

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know your stuff
:lol: Maybe more experience with a spraybar is where my knowledge lies after toying around with them.

I'll just go through things instead of keep quoting, whatever doesn't make sense then just ask.

I don't think you need a Maxspect Gyre or anything of the like, Zeus has a peninsular aquarium which is likely part of the reason it's setup like that but only he can tell you that for sure. He used to have a spraybar at either end.

If you've a black background then just stick with having your inlet(s)/spraybar along there is my opinion.

With regard to splitting the pipe to put only half through the DIY reactor might make it harder to stabilise things and also when you get to the spraybar I don't think the 2 feeds will get equal force, a way around this could be to rejoin them so they only have one feed to your spraybar or you could think about making your own reactor that could take the 25mm hose from your filter and have it all go through there, plenty of people have made them in the past.

I'm not familiar with the aquarium but if cut outs restrict you then it's a case of working with them, personally I'd want to feed from both ends but others would disagree and as I say above about the pressure difference (force) would want to be balance.

I'm not saying this is the correct way to do things and is just an idea but I'd maybe think about keeping two inlets where you could utilise two APS filters (prefilter) and then after those prefilters join the pipes together to a 25mm adaptor and feed your filter with prefiltered water. You could make the pieces you need easily enough with a little DIY and time.
The only thing I see here is the area of a 25mm pipe is around 490, the area of a 16mm pipe is around 201 making the 2 pipes 402 so only around 4/5 of the area.
Also be careful of the APS as I think they might be as small as 10mm in places, @Zeus. might be able to tell you and offer you advice with regard to the FX6 and how small he's gone etc.

Whether the inlets work out or not I'd think about doing something similar to what you have with the spraybar assuming you feed it from both ends (or the design I showed you) and ditch the APS filter as a CO2 reactor in favour of either a DIY one or adapting something like Aquamedic 1000 if it's possible. To be honest I would DIY one to keep the 25mm going straight through until you split it for the spraybar.

I might have some of the smaller fittings you want for the CO2 fittings and bleed.

Places like PlasticPipeshop and Pipestock sell a variety of pipe and fittings to give you an idea.

A lot of effort for not a lot isn't it!
Andrew
Andrew
 

ForestDave

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:lol: Maybe more experience with a spraybar is where my knowledge lies after toying around with them.

I'll just go through things instead of keep quoting, whatever doesn't make sense then just ask.

I don't think you need a Maxspect Gyre or anything of the like, Zeus has a peninsular aquarium which is likely part of the reason it's setup like that but only he can tell you that for sure. He used to have a spraybar at either end.

If you've a black background then just stick with having your inlet(s)/spraybar along there is my opinion.

With regard to splitting the pipe to put only half through the DIY reactor might make it harder to stabilise things and also when you get to the spraybar I don't think the 2 feeds will get equal force, a way around this could be to rejoin them so they only have one feed to your spraybar or you could think about making your own reactor that could take the 25mm hose from your filter and have it all go through there, plenty of people have made them in the past.

I'm not familiar with the aquarium but if cut outs restrict you then it's a case of working with them, personally I'd want to feed from both ends but others would disagree and as I say above about the pressure difference (force) would want to be balance.

I'm not saying this is the correct way to do things and is just an idea but I'd maybe think about keeping two inlets where you could utilise two APS filters (prefilter) and then after those prefilters join the pipes together to a 25mm adaptor and feed your filter with prefiltered water. You could make the pieces you need easily enough with a little DIY and time.
The only thing I see here is the area of a 25mm pipe is around 490, the area of a 16mm pipe is around 201 making the 2 pipes 402 so only around 4/5 of the area.
Also be careful of the APS as I think they might be as small as 10mm in places, @Zeus. might be able to tell you and offer you advice with regard to the FX6 and how small he's gone etc.

Whether the inlets work out or not I'd think about doing something similar to what you have with the spraybar assuming you feed it from both ends (or the design I showed you) and ditch the APS filter as a CO2 reactor in favour of either a DIY one or adapting something like Aquamedic 1000 if it's possible. To be honest I would DIY one to keep the 25mm going straight through until you split it for the spraybar.

I might have some of the smaller fittings you want for the CO2 fittings and bleed.

Places like PlasticPipeshop and Pipestock sell a variety of pipe and fittings to give you an idea.

A lot of effort for not a lot isn't it!
Andrew
Andrew
Cheers!
I'll get building.
You're telling me it's a lot of effort! Once you start messing around with non standard installations you get lost down the rabbit hole! My wallets getting lighter by the minute and I keep blanking out the thought of "what the heck have I taken on here!" 🤣
 

Raws69

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Re controlling the floating plants, I cut some acrylic so that’s it hangs off the sides and is deep enough to sit 5mm below the water.
 

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