Is an air pump necessary in a salt water tank? all the bubbles in mine look awesome but its been only a few days and i'm sick of the noise the pump makes. Should i just get a powerhead to move the water around and loose the air pump?
No air pumps are not required and are rarely used. It is a way to increase the oxygen in your tank though but this can be better accomplished with a Skimmer. It will also creat water movement as well witghout adding heat to the tank as well. However a Power Head will do this task much better and only generate a little heat that shouldnt cause an issue in the average tank unless you are already having challenges with keeping the tank cool right now.
Not all water flow is created equal. Most powerheads generate a narrow high pressure stream of water which does in fact move the water well. However this narrow concentrated stream of water can over whelm smaller tanks like Nanos. A much better style of power head is one that moves a large volume of water at moderate pressure. Some examples are some of the Tunze Powerheads or the Koralia series power heads. You can use modified Maxi-Jets to accomplsih the same thing and the mod kits are readily available. Additionally putting these power heads on the appropriate wave controller is even more benefical. This does a much better job of creating the kind of water flow that is natrually found on the reef. If you dont have the fun dollars to spring for such a set up as some can be pretty pricey, you can stratigicly place your power heads and the flow from the filter and Skimmer to create a fairly irratic flow pattern in the tank which is exactly what you want...moderately strong but irradic water flow. This is healthy for corals and it will better aid you in keeping particulate matter suspended in the water so that your filter can remove it keeping your tank much cleaner. Its a generally accepted idea that in a reef tank needs to have 10x water turn over per an hour minimum. Many move a lot more than this.
An example of the type arrangement I am talking about is like a 10 gallon nano. I have a AC 50 rated at 200 gph and 2 x Koralia Nanos rated at 480 gph combined. The Koralias are hooked up to a seio wave maker module so only one is running at full power at a given time. This provides a total of very irradic flow of 440 gph in a 10 gallon tank. This is enough to turn the tanks volume of water over 44 times an hour! That sounds pretty insaine but its not as bad as it seems like it would be. This provides a good amount of flow but not so much as to trun the tank into a snow globe or peel the skin off delicate corals.
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