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Water flow in the planted aquarium?

Gilles

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29 Mar 2011
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From a flow/distribution perspective, place the filter inlet tubes wherever you want. They do not contribute much to the shape of the flow field. The placement and orientation of the outlets are much more important. THEY must be on the same side pointing in the same direction, otherwise the risk of energy cancellation and incoherent flow is high. When multiple outlets work together they multiply the flow energy and contribute to uniform flow.
While thinking of adding a NW pump i was doubting how to place the outflow of that NW. If i read this entire thread correctly, i would have to place the outlet of the co2 enriched water just like the filter outlet, across the entire length of the tank, but with slightly larger holes, to prevent that my plants are blown out of the substrate. Am i right?
 

ceg4048

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Well it may not have to be as elaborate as a double spraybar, if that's what you mean. You can use a second spraybar if necessary but you may get away with simply having a single pump outlet mounted below the spraybar of the primary filter/pump. Always try the simpler approaches first.

Cheers,
 

Gilles

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Well i like the idea of a spraybar as it does not give much current in my tank. Reason for opting for a second spraybar is this;
if i put the outlet of the co2 in one corner and blow it in thesame direction as my spraybar (e.g. horizontally across the length of the tank) i am afraid that my background plants are affected by the strong current...
 

Manisha

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Hi Steve,
Here is a photo of a sample installation. You might just be able to make out the back glass. There are actually 3 spraybars. Two of them are ganged together on the left side with an inch long piece of tubing. I was too cheap to buy a 4th for the right side. Remember this is a 6 footer. This is not a very sophisticated installation at all. They are just mounted on the back with suckers and just joined to the filter outlet tube. I don't even use the shepherds crook, no need and better flexibility. Now, Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble would have done it this way so I'm not particularly proud of it's lack of modern aesthetic appeal but it works. The holes in the bars point straight out - horizontal towards the front, maybe even slightly upwards. I previously had HC in the foreground which used to just decay when I used the £40 lily pipes. Subsequently, after spraybar installation, huge mats of it would detach from the substrate due to the buoyancy from pearling, which actually became annoying.
View attachment 76935

This shot shows the bars more closely and shows the orientation of the holes. I found a much better behaved ground cover plant (P. helferi) and it also benefits from this simple configuration.
View attachment 76936

I use two inline diffusers and two filters, one is a Cal Aqua and the other an AM1000. Ideally, mount the spraybar centrally but you can do as I did and join two bars together. This gives you better coverage and lowers the exit velocity at each hole because there are more holes. On my setup there are a few gaps, like at the two far ends of course and a foot or so in the middle. No big deal.

Remember, if they look too ugly you can mount them way up at the waterline so that you hardly notice them. Of course, real aquascapers would never even consider such a cheesy setup, but hey, it works. Just you try growing a 6 foot mat of HC 2 feet underwater. Not even remotely easy. :wideyed: This give you the best chance. Anyway, I've completed a self hypnosis course and now I tell myself "what spraybars?" :p

Cheers,

Apologies if this is a silly question - but is the water low because...? Is it to increase surface agitation from the spray bars? Or is it to decrease the depth so light penetration is improved?

Many thanks
 

Costa

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I've read this thread from start to finish and can't help but wonder, instead of diy spray bar solutions, can't we just use a water maker that propels water across the length of the tank and get the flow sorted once and for all?

Thank you all for the great info.
 

ian_m

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See Zeus's journal about using a monster filter and custom spray bars to get decent flow across the length of the tank.
 

ceg4048

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I've read this thread from start to finish and can't help but wonder, instead of diy spray bar solutions, can't we just use a water maker that propels water across the length of the tank and get the flow sorted once and for all?

Thank you all for the great info.
Hello,
Yes, of course. Anything that enhances flow and distribution in the tank is useful and we are not bound to any particular method. The OP started the thread trying to understand the science and purpose of flow, filtration and distribution. At the time, there was a lot of confusion regarding this aspect of a planted tank. We simply offered an explanation of the concepts and offered possible methods and solutions that were alternative to the standard methods being used.

At the time, and even today, many folks were not aware of the importance and impact of good flow/distribution.

Making people aware of the critical nature of good flow/distribution in a planted tank is much more important than the method used to achieve it.
One just has to ensure that the method is valid and that it achieves the goal.

Cheers,
 

Andrew Butler

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Jumping on this thread............
Firstly has anyone managed to find either a decent ready made spraybar kit or a pipe and fittings in black?
Secondly how does everyone go about ensuring they have the 'correct flow'? - I'm sure this is not an easy question to answer. Also how do people that only run little glass lilly pipes end up having great results? I find I'm having soil move unless it's under a carpet, I can't be the only one; can I? I'm using the split outlet supplied with fluval G6
 

ian_m

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thanks for the input, I came across these but there's no mention of whether you can add extra pieces to it which I'm sure you can but involves buying another kit
I bought an extra set to go with my JBL e1501 so that the spray bar covers the full width of the back of the tank.

 

Zeus.

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Secondly how does everyone go about ensuring they have the 'correct flow'

planing and trial and error, watching plant grow and algae issues

early pic of twin spray bars on room divider tank, bar on right is aimed slightly towards the right side of tank knowadays
upload_2017-9-28_19-21-47.png


Smaller holes in spray bar gives less pump output but higher tank turnover and visa vesa. But not too small OFC I have 25 4mm diameter holes on 500mm bar on left. Bar on right have increased the hole size (have a few different bars) to decrease flow ATM
 

Zeus.

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Were these 2 not competing against each other

looks like it, but it worked and got great tank flow with the one on the right jetting the water down and too the left. The other reason for the initial setup was like you say

I know you said it's now aimed slightly towards the right now but does than not stir the soil up being that close to the glass?

and Ian_m also said the same to me when I was discussing the my plans with him before any water in the tank. But know the carpet is well rooted not a problem really, esp when carpet is thick. After a trim when I'm cleaning the glass a few AS granules do slightly move about but no big deal. But its the flow at the carpet level I'm after so hopefully plenty of CO2/nutrients. Plus with the flow going straight down it will/should increase the flow within the substrate so increase the ionic exchange rate of the AS which then can buffer the water better.
 

ojustaboo

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I've read through this excellent thread in it's entirety and have a couple of questions.

At the moment I have a Eheim Pro 3 with two spray bars linked together at the back of my tank, these ate 16/22. It's being replaced by a Eheim classic that has 12/16 as it's output size.
I presume it's not wise to use the 16/22 spray bars as from this thread that the pressure is reduced by using a smaller pipe, hence then going to a bigger one, there wont be enough to properly drive the water to the bottom of the tank? Or have I misunderstood?

The other question relates to the placement of them. I initially put my spray bar out of the water a bit like Ceg4048 post no 11 (except that my water line was up to the top of the tank, well up to 2" from the top, so when looking at it, it seems full of water), and my lovely wife complained about the noise it makes . Hence yesterday I moved it down so it was just under the water, hence it's a lot quieter, the plants are still all moving but does that means there's no surface agitation? Or just because the spray bar output isn't hitting the water from above, the fact that the water is still moving, does that mean I do have surface agitation. Or to put it another way, do I need to sweet talk my wife and turn the TV up or not :)

I have the spray bars pointing directly towards the front of the tank, I suppose I would get more surface movement bu pointing them slightly up, but I also presume that by doing so would send the CO2 up too?
 

Andrew Butler

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I initially put my spray bar out of the water a bit like Ceg4048 post no 11
I'm quite sure the photo was take during a water change to show the spraybar and how they were set up so they would normally be underwater.

Here are some of the words of wisdom Clive (Ceg) has given me which I'm sure he won't mind me sharing and might answer some of your questions.
Hope it helps!
Andy

If you have healthy plants and clean water then you never need to worry about oxygenating the water. That is not what a filter does. In fact one could argue that filters actually decrease the oxygen content of the water because the bacteria inside the filter media use oxygen to perform their detoxification of ammonia and nitrite. This actually lowers the oxygen content of the water.

So in un-planted tanks the nozzles are often place at the surface of the water to create agitation which helps to off-gas Nitrogen and to oxygenate. If the tank is planted however then plants release Oxygen into the water column. That's what plants do. People don't realize this but all the oxygen in the world's atmosphere was created strictly by plants. That is their main function.

At night though, plants do not produce oxygen, they consume it and therefore compete with the animals for oxygen. Some people use an airstone at night to off-gas CO2 and to help with oxygenation at night, then they turn the airstone off during the day.

The purpose of a spraybar therefore is not to oxygenate but to provide the correct flow pattern in the tank in order to distribute nutrients and CO2 evenly to the plants. Spraybars do not do any more oxygenation than other nozzles, except for the fact that since they do a better job of distribution, the plants will do a better job of producing oxygen.
 

Andrew Butler

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I bought an extra set to go with my JBL e1501 so that the spray bar covers the full width of the back of the tank
Did you also fork silly money out for the rubber suckers to fix it to the aquarium or find a cheaper source?

I'm not too impressed with the quality to be honest; not very straight, pipe connector not all that amazing either.
Does anyone else have any other suggestions?

All I want is a source of straight black pipe and fittings which are a sensible size (20mm ish) that I can solvent weld together and put a hose barb on - I just don't think it exists though does it?
 

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